Back to School Immune Support
A successful school year requires a strong immune system. From a dietary supplement standpoint, there are many ways to support immunity throughout the school year. Kids will benefit from a strong foundation with omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and targeted nutrients such as A, C, D3 and zinc.
Alot of energy and excitement accompany back-to-school activity and preparation. Adjusting to new classrooms, new teachers and new friends can be stressful in many ways and taxing on the immune system. A successful school year requires a strong immune system. From a dietary supplement standpoint, there are many ways to support immunity throughout the school year. Kids will benefit from a strong foundation with omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and targeted nutrients such as A, C, D3 and zinc.
Many integrative practitioners recommend fish oil to their patients on a regular basis. One of the reasons they suggest fish oil supplements is because they have been shown to support immune cell function.* A 2018 pilot study featured in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry demonstrated that it specifically supported B-cells.*
Probiotics are another foundational supplement. We often think of gut health when we think of probiotics, but research also shows that probiotics support immune function as well.* In a 2018 double-blind, randomized prospective trial published in the journal Synthetic Systems Biotechnology, probiotics helped specifically support upper respiratory tract function compared to placebo.* The microbiome has an important role in digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients, helping kids get the most out of the food they do consume. Probiotics which help children support a healthy microbiome will also help to boost their overall health and immune system function.*
Research also shows that vitamins A, C and D3 can help support innate and adaptive immunity.* Zinc is also an important nutrient for immune system support. According to a 2017 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, zinc homeostasis is necessary for the immune system to function properly.*
In addition to these foundational nutrients, many botanicals have been shown to support immune function for kids including astragalus, curcumin, elderberry and mushrooms (maitake, shiitake, lion’s mane, and turkey tail).*
When preparing for the journey back to school, consider these three key lifestyle areas:
1. Sleep—Getting enough sleep is critical for the immune system. It is recommended that school-age children get nine hours of sleep each night.
2. Nutrition—A colorful diet that features lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, avoiding processed and “fast” foods is better for the immune system.
3. Physical activity—Exercise has been shown to support immunity and is good for a kid’s body, mind and emotional health.
Preparing for the back to school adventure is a bigger deal for kids than we might realize. Counseling parents and kids on the benefits of immune system support can contribute to another successful school year.
Carr AC, Maggini S. Nutrients. 2017;9(11).
Guesdon W, Kosaraju R, Brophy P, et al. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2018;53:72-80.
Huang Z, Liu Y, Guangying Q, et al. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2018;7(9):258.
Maywald M, Wessels I, Rink L. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(10):2222.
Zhang H, Yeh C, Jin Z, et al. Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology. 2018;3(2):113-120.