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The Top 5 Best Immune Supports for Kids


With the start of back-to-school and all those back-to-school bugs that our kiddos bring home, parents are often asking about children’s immune support.

These recommendations here are for the whole family, and our favorites because they work so well, they taste great, and they are very safe for everyday use in keeping those viruses and bacteria at bay.


Although we understandably dread every illness our children get and bring home, it's important to realize that our immune system remembers all these illnesses, and with every illness, it gains more experience and becomes better developed to handle everything we'll be exposed to in our lifetime.


As adults, these exposures are also "boosters", helping to maintain the immune system memory of those infections and continue to protect us over time.


In this article, we will discuss the best immune support for kids to help your family survive the back-to-school bugs.


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5 Natural Immune Boosters for Kids

Now more than ever, natural immune boosters for kids can be beneficial to any household.


If you’re looking for home remedies to improve immunity in your child, these five natural immune boosters are a great place to start.


At Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine, we offer these natural children’s immune boosters in our in-office natural pharmacy.


#1: Echinacea

Echinacea is the Purple ConeFlower and grows in many people's yards. This tall flower produces isobutyl amides and various polysaccharides which activate macrophages against microorganisms, as well as increases T-lymphocyte proliferation.


It enhances the immune system's resistance to infections and stimulates wound healing. I have never seen an adverse reaction to this herb in patients, so I use it in just about anyone who needs immune support.


Echinacea purpurea also has the properties of a neuraminidase inhibitor, which is what Tamiflu does, but without any side effects! You can take it as a tea, tincture, or capsule.


Dose early and frequently, so at the first sign of an illness and every few hours or so. If you're allergic to flowers in the daisy family, then echinacea is not for you.


#2: Elderberry Syrup

These delightful little berries taste great and fight viruses like a champ! When it's made into a syrup, it's your kiddo's favorite immune support.


The berries and flowers are high in flavonoids which impart anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. The berries contain high amounts of anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants and vitamins A and C.


Elderberry can help prevent the binding of the influenza virus to host cells, which means it can help prevent the flu! Tastes way better than a flu vaccine feels!


I recommend 1/2 tsp 2-3 times a time for prevention in children and more frequent doses when sickness arises. Adults can take 1 tsp 2-3 times daily for prevention, and up to 6x daily when sick.


#3: Vitamin C

Also known as Ascorbic acid, this water-soluble vitamin is the main ingredient in popular immune support products such as Emergen-C and Airborne.


This nutrient can reduce the duration of the common cold, by stimulating the production and function of white blood cells and killing pathogens by being a potent antioxidant while protecting white blood cells from damage.


It also has antiviral activity and helps with the differentiation and proliferation of B and T-lymphocytes (white blood cell types). In addition to its immune-boosting functions, vitamin C is also helpful in hypertension (high blood pressure), reducing cardiovascular disease risk, stroke risk, and certain cancer risks.


Vitamin C is difficult to overdose on, as signs of too much are generally loose stools. I recommend 2000-5000 mg daily as prevention, and "bowel tolerance" when fighting an infection. If you get loose stools taking it, simply decrease the dose.



#4: Selenium

Selenium deficiency has been associated with immune system dysfunction and chronic inflammation. Selenium plays essential roles in regulating the migration, proliferation, differentiation, activation, and optimal function of immune cells, thus influencing innate immunity, B-cell dependent antibody production, and T-cell immunity.


Selenium supplementation in HIV-positive patients helps to reduce complications. It is also helpful in reducing auto-antibodies in autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Graves and Hashimoto's.


Brazil nuts are high in selenium and a handful gives adults the recommended daily allowance, 1-2 Brazil nuts are plenty for children if they like them. For supplementation doses, please do speak with your physician as too much can be toxic.


#4: Zinc


Like selenium, zinc deficiency is associated with immune system dysfunction and increased susceptibility to infections. It plays a large role in immune system function, specifically for the normal development and function of cells that mediate both innate (neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells) and adaptive (B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes) immune responses.


Taking too much zinc for too long can deplete copper levels, so be sure to discuss with your provider if you plan on taking zinc long-term. I recommend 30-60 mg in adults daily for a short period of time when illness or deficiency signs are present.


Dosages lower than this (15-30 mg per day) are safe for prevention in adults. Intranasal zinc (Zicam) and zinc lozenges are common immune support products.


A Note on Fever Reducers and Immune Support in Kids


Using medication to suppress the immune response, such as fever reducers like Tylenol and Advil, can do harm.


Studies show these medications prolong viral illnesses, and Tylenol in pregnancy and early childhood may play a role in the development of autism. We need to avoid these medications when possible, as fevers are rarely dangerous in a healthy child or adult.


Fever is a protective mechanism of the body, which reduces viral and bacterial replication, stimulates the immune cells, and helps fight the illness faster.


Be sure to discuss fever with your doctor, so you'll know exactly what to do to stay comfortable when the time comes. We provide our patients with "Fever Instructions", to keep on hand for when a fever arises.


Looking for More Immune Support for Kids? Schedule a Complimentary Consultation With Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine Today


If you’re looking for more ways to boost your kid’s immune system, book an appointment for either an at-clinic visit or telemedicine appointment to speak with one of our naturopathic doctors today.



References:


Echinacea:

Elderberry:

Vitamin C:

Zinc:

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