Signs of nutritional deficiencies in kids

Whether your children are going to kindy for the first time or just starting a new school term they will soon be exposed to lots of children and lots of new germs.  So to start your kids off with a healthy beginning to their new school year here are a few tips.

Digestive health

A healthy digestive system is a good foundation for overall health and it can often become disrupted by things like antibiotics, food intolerances, stomach bugs, too much sugar and junk food to name a few.  So putting back some good bacteria can help with good digestion, nutrient absorption and protection of the digestive system.  Studies indicate that the probiotic species like Lactobacillus GG have a positive effect on strengthening the walls of the small intestines and increase the production of protective antibodies (1). In fact the Lactobacillus GG (lactobacillus rhamnosis) adheres strongly to the intestinal wall without damaging the intestinal mucosa (2). It was shown that probiotics stimulate immune response in the digestive system when local invaders are detected (3).  This means probiotics can also help to protect against gastric bugs that can be serious in children due to loss of water and electrolytes.

Switching on the immune system

There are a number of nutritional ways to switch on the immune system, so it is alert and ready to defend the body against invading bugs.  Colostrum is a natural substance from mothers’ milk that switches on the immunity of babies, but bovine forms can be used in children.  The active constituent in colostrum that works with the immune system are PRP’s (called Proline-rich-polypeptides), which carry instructions to direct and coordinate immune cells so they start creating the white blood cells that attack foreign invaders in the body. What is more fascinating with these PRP’s  is that they can turn down an overactive immune system, which cause allergic reactions that can result in  skin or respiratory reactions.  The herb Echinacea also has these protective actions too.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is essential for good mood, concentration and strong immunity.  There are many reasons for kids not sleeping such as too much blue light from electronic devices before bed, too much sugar late at night and food intolerances.  More commonly nutritional deficiencies can play a part as our kids start to grow and develop.  Calcium and magnesium are important players in bone growth and sleep, so quite often kids will complain of growing pains and restless legs when they have had a growth spurt and are not sleeping.  Supplementing with some extra calcium and magnesium at night can make all the difference so kids wake refreshed and ready for school.

Look for nutritional deficiencies

There are several key nutrients for a healthy immune system such as vitamin A, C, D zinc, selenium and iron, but of course a good nutritional balance is important.  Low iron manifests as kids looking tired and pale and open to infection, so with any of these signs take them in for a quick blood test.  Zinc is required to make our white blood cells and provides important protection in the mucosal barriers on the skin, in the mouth and in digestive and respiratory system. Look for signs such as white spots on the nails, mouth ulcers and loss of appetite in kids.

It is important to note that we have a deficiency of nutrients in New Zealand soils such as iodine and selenium, so taking a general multi can be helpful to ensure nutrients are in balance, although this is never a substitute for a good diet.

By Jane Cronin

Clinicians Naturopath

Clinicians produce a range of products that can help keep your kids healthy, including Immune Support Spray, Multi Flora Digest  and Multivitamin and Mineral BoostBuy them and other Clinicians products now from our secure online shop.

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(1) In-Tele-Health © 2013  (from Hyperhealth Pro CD-ROM)

(2) English, J. & Dean, W.  Lactobacillus GG:  new breakthrough probiotic clinically proven to support gastrointestinal health.  Vitamin Research News.  June 1998.


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