No generation of children in our entire history has ever faced the challenges of today.
Environmental pollutants from this century’s industrial pursuits, such as lead, mercury and arsenic, as well as chemicals, plastics, pesticides, artificial food additives and more have entered the food supply, our air and our water. This, along with a poor diet, foods lacking in nutrition and an over-stimulatory way-of-life due to media and technology are all negatively impacting each child’s mind, body and immune system, whether we care to acknowledge and intervene, or not.
The most important fact to understand is that the mind, body and immune system that is developed in childhood, becomes the foundation, the springboard, for everything that follows in that child’s life – shaping, creating and influencing every aspect, potential and outcome that will be experienced throughout their life. This is why the choices you make every day to support your child’s health are so critical.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do!
- Provide your child with a healthy and varied diet consisting of whole organic fruits and vegetables.
- When providing protein choose organic pastured eggs and poultry, organic grass-fed and -finished meat and wild caught fish (avoid farmed fish).
- Avoid added chemical flavorings and chemical colorings.
- Reduce sugar and avoid processed and fast-foods.
- Favor home-cooked meals from scratch over packaged or restaurant meals.
- Drink filtered water.
- Integrate daily supplements to further support your child’s health.
We’ve all heard that supplements are beneficial for children. But which supplements are most important? And why? How often should you give them to your child? Which brand is best?
In 2008, Safe Baby Healthy Child Founders Sandra and Samantha awarded the ChildLife® Essentials line of supplements their Mom-Approved Child-Tested (MACT) Excellence Award for their effectiveness, pure ingredients, high quality and ease-of-use. Indeed, here are some of the reasons why this line of children’s supplements is superior:
- developed and fine-tuned in a world-renowned holistic pediatric clinic for over 10 years.
- formulated for infant’s and children’s unique nutritional requirements.
- pure and clean: no gmos or artificial ingredients, gluten free.
- the liquid formula allows for greater bioavailability and absorption of nutrients.
- the liquid formula makes it easy to give to infants and children.
- uses natural flavorings for a taste kids love.
- designed to be taken together.
Dr. Murray Clarke, founder and formulator of ChildLife® Essentials writes:
“The ultimate purpose and goal for our company and product line is to provide you, the parent, with the highest quality nutritional supplements available. Specifically designed and manufactured for infants and children and based on my many years of experience as a homeopathic pediatrician, they only include the nutrients, essential vitamins, minerals, oils and herbs that I have observed to be most important and the most effective. I trust that our formulas may assist and be helpful for you and your child’s life.”
Since 2008 ChildLife® Essentials has received many other awards for their outstanding quality and are now the #1 bestselling nutritional supplements for children throughout the world.
With this assurance, the next step is knowing what supplements your child needs daily.
Below, Dr. Clarke shares what constitutes a solid daily maintenance program and why.
A Daily Maintenance Program
Multi Vitamin & Mineral
“Eat Right and Take a Multivitamin.”
This was the title and advice reported in the New England Journal of Medicine from a 1998 study examining the influences that food and vitamin supplements hold in determining our state of health and vitality. This is particularly sage advice for children, since they require these vitamins and minerals, the very building blocks of life, not only for their health, but also for their full growth and development.
A well-formulated multivitamin and mineral supplement is the basis
and starting point for any nutritional supplementation program.
The essential vitamins and minerals provide:
- the raw materials, building blocks for childhood growth and development;
- anti-oxidants for environmental protection and detoxification;
- anti-oxidants for immune support;
- nutrients for supporting proper brain function; and
- growth catalysts and co-factors for energy production and metabolism.
Studies continue to show that even children with a relatively healthy diet are able to improve reading speed, learning capacity, and mathematical skills by daily supplementation with a good multivitamin and mineral. (Wang,Y. Effect of micronutrient supplementation on health status of children. Wei Sheng Yan Jiu, 2003, Sep, 32(5), 455-8).
Daily supplementation was also shown to be beneficial in promoting growth and increasing immune strength in schoolchildren. (Sarma, K., Effect of micronutrient supplementation on health status of schoolchildren. J. Nutrition, 2006, Jan., 22, 8-14).
Eat Right and Take a Multivitamin. This is good advice for us all, but is particularly pertinent to children.
ChildLife’s® Multi Vitamin & Mineral may be given daily for 5 days, taking the weekends off.
In addition to the Multi Vitamin & Mineral, all parents should consider daily supplementation with the essential Omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in vegetable sources like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and olive oil, or from the sea in the form of cod liver oil. The Omega-3 oils provide the primary nutrients for supporting and enhancing brain function and growth.
In addition, the essential nutrients found in Omega-3 oils are also involved in regulating many aspects of the immune system. (Spector, S. “Diet and Asthma, has the role of dietary lipids been overlooked in the management of asthma?” Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, 2003, Apr 90(4), 371-7.)
With all the current research and studies showing how and why the Omega-3 oils are so important for so many functions within a growing child’s brain and immune system, it is no mystery now why so many cultures and countries have a long and rich history of parents giving their children cod liver oil.
ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil or ChildLife® Essential Fatty Acids
The choice between giving your child the vegetable-based ChildLife® Essential Fatty Acids formula (EFA) or ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil is a personal one, with some advantages leaning towards the Cod Liver Oil. One of the primary nutrients derived from these oils is DHA, docosahexaenoic acid. The difference between these two products is that with EFA, your child’s body needs to take the vegetable-based Omega-3 oil and convert, or make, a percentage of that into DHA. Whereas in cod liver oil, the DHA is already present and ready for use.
Cod liver oil contains the highest naturally occurring amount of DHA from any food source along with Vitamin A, which combine to provide the two primary nutrients for both brain and eye development.
DHA is the most prevalent nutrient found and used within the brain for assisting growth, focus, learning and memory. (Helland, I. “Supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids augments children’s IQ at 4 years of age.” J Pediatrics, 2003, Jan. 111(1),39-44.)
Other considerations when choosing to use cod liver oil are the absolute freshness and purity of the oil. At ChildLife® we always use the highest grade of cod liver oil available, with third party testing, to confirm that our oils are purified and free from any detectable mercury, lead, dioxins or PCB’s.
The Omega-3 fatty acids from ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil or the vegetarian ChildLife® Essential Fatty Acids formula are recommended to be given on a daily basis along with the ChildLife® Multi Vitamin & Mineral.
As noted above, DHA is the primary nutrient involved in brain function and growth. Sixty percent of the brain grows from, develops from and is comprised of fats and oils. (Schmidt M. “Smart Fats, How dietary fats affect mental, physical and emotional intelligence.” N Atlantic Books 97). Fifty percent of these fats is the one fatty acid DHA.
This makes DHA the most prevalent nutrient in the brain and
therefore the most important.
The highest concentrations of DHA in the brain are found right in the middle, in the central part of each individual brain cell, where it is used to provide insulation and facilitate the smooth flow of electrical impulses which are carrying and delivering information between the 100 billion brain cells inside our heads.
This specific function of helping brain cells deliver information smoothly, effectively and without interruption is why DHA has been noted to be helpful in supporting and enhancing focus, learning, memory and mood.
Our ChildLife® Pure DHA is derived from Cod Liver Oil, again from the highest quality oil which is purified then tested to be free of any detectable amounts of mercury, lead, dioxins or PCB’s.
In the soft-gel chewable form, we have found that this provides an alternative to the liquid Cod Liver Oil for infants and children to receive this all-important nutrient. Some children prefer the taste and texture of the flavored, chewable capsules to the flavored liquid Cod Liver Oil. You do not need to give a child both products. Just see which one they prefer.
Supplementation with Pure DHA or Cod Liver Oil is recommended when your infant begins to eat solid foods. For infants 6 mo-2 yrs, open the soft gel so that it is easy for baby to consume.
Vitamin C is the number one superstar of all the essential vitamins. Since Linus Pauling (two-time Nobel laureate) began researching, understanding and recommending Vitamin C in the 1950’s, this vitamin continues to demonstrate why it is so important for maintaining and promoting good health and immune vitality.
As the primary anti-oxidant vitamin, Vitamin C has become increasingly
important as the amount of environmental toxicity and pollution that we
are all exposed to continues to increase throughout the world.
Every and any child growing up in or near a city in today’s world will inevitably be exposed to higher amounts of pollutants and external toxicity, than any previous generation. In one of the most recent studies to document the extraordinary exposure and accumulation of pollutants and toxins in children today, the umbilical cord blood of babies from around America was tested for toxins at the time of their births.
Researchers found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of each baby. A total of 287 different chemicals was found in the group. Of the 287 chemicals detected, over 200 are known to be toxic to the brain, over 100 are known carcinogens and 208 can cause abnormal development. (Body Burden, The Pollution in Newborns, A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood. Environmental Working Group, July 2005).
To combat the negative effects of these pollutants, the body’s first line of defense requires extra antioxidants. These antioxidants are used to neutralize toxins and then help the body detoxify and eliminate them safely.
Vitamin C is the main vitamin to use as an antioxidant for children. Vitamin C has never been more important or required for children to take on an ongoing basis and may be taken daily.
Millions of U.S. children are low In Vitamin D. Researchers have suggested that this is due to our current environment and modern lifestyle – pollution, intense use of sunscreens and more time indoors watching television, playing video games and using the computer.
And yet, the benefits of Vitamin D cannot be underestimated with new studies continually pointing to the many ways it supports health.
- Immune Health: Vitamin D can help regulate the immune system. Vitamin D is now seen as playing a critical role in maintaining the immune system throughout life. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to immune disorders. Proper levels of Vitamin D support the body’s natural defenses and help to maintain a healthy-functioning immune system.
- Bone Health: Vitamin D promotes the growth of cells which are found in healthy joints and is a key nutrient for maintaining/achieving proper bone health. The active form, Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which are incorporated into the bones and make them strong and dense. Therefore, Vitamin D is especially paramount for the health, formation, growth and development of bones in growing children.
- Heart Health: Recent studies on the sunshine vitamin support Vitamin D’s role in a healthy heart, both in children, as they develop, and in adults. According to a study of over 6,000 children by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “Vitamin D deficiency could place millions of children at risk for high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart concerns.”
- Respiratory Health: Vitamin D guards against immune issues. In a 2016 study, raw data from 25 clinical trials consisting of 11,000 participants from 14 different countries including the U.S., the UK, Australia and Canada was analyzed to determine if Vitamin D protects against respiratory infections such as colds and flus. This major collaborative research effort yielded the first definitive evidence that vitamin D does protect against respiratory infections.
As quoted in Science Daily, lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau from the Queen Mary University of London said,
[T]he protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels, and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely spaced doses. Overall, the reduction in risk of acute respiratory infection induced by vitamin D was on a par with the protective effect of injectable ‘flu vaccine against ‘flu-like illnesses.
In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their previous guidelines on Vitamin D to double the minimum amount required for infants, children and adolescents. Citing the difficulty in obtaining enough vitamin D from the primary natural source, the sun, and from limited natural dietary sources, the AAP suggested getting the new minimum requirement of Vitamin D from a supplement. And according to this study, children who took Vitamin D supplements were less likely to be deficient in the vitamin.
ChildLife® offers both Vitamin D3 drops and Organic Vitamin D3 drops. While organic is always the ideal choice no matter a child’s age, it’s best to give newborns and babies the Organic Vitamin D3 drops.
The following two supplements do not need to be given daily but should be added based on the considerations below.
Liquid Calcium with Magnesium
As children grow, bone development is one of the most visible and active parts of their body’s increasing stature and size. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, making up 1.5- 2% of total body weight. Around 99% of the calcium in the body is found in the bones. The rest is in the teeth, soft tissues and blood.
All of the minerals, like the vitamins, work in concert with each other and some have particular partners that are required to maintain proper balance, metabolism and absorption. Calcium’s primary partner is Magnesium and it is recommended that these two minerals are always taken together. Along with Magnesium, Zinc has also been noted to assist in the absorption and utilization of Calcium.
For growing strong and healthy bones, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin D are the primary nutrients that are required.
The form that each mineral is in will also determine how easily and readily that mineral can be absorbed and utilized by the child’s body. For most minerals, the “chelated” form is the preferred form. In the ChildLife® Liquid Calcium with Magnesium we use Calcium Citrate, Magnesium Citrate, Zinc Citrate and Vitamin D.
All of the minerals in their “chelated“ citrate form, along with Vitamin D, provide the nutrients that are involved in supporting healthy bone growth and development. Supplementing with this formula can be considered if your child has a restricted diet, not a very well-balanced diet or does not tolerate dairy products well. Ensuring your child is receiving their daily requirement of Calcium is an important part of their growth and maturation.
Probiotics with Colostrum
This is a unique ChildLife® formula combining the outstanding immune properties of colostrum with the digestive and immune functions of the probiotics, as well as including the pre-biotics.
Colostrum: Pure Colostrum, from naturally-raised cows, antibiotic-free, hormone- and steroid-free, strengthens immune regulation and response and provides digestive support.
Probiotics: Bifidobacterium bifidum, bifidobacterium infantis, lactobacillus acidophillus improve and maintain intestinal health, absorption, ecology and integrity. (Fedorak R. “Probiotics and Prebiotics in gastrointestinal disorders.” Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2004 Mar (2) 146-55.)
Prebiotics: FOS (fructo-oligo-saccharides) and Rice tocotrienols are prebiotics that support the efficacy of the probiotics and assist in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
This formula is designed to be used periodically for maintaining and enhancing your child’s immune and digestive system, or it can also be given daily for longer periods of time if your child’s immune or digestive system has been over-sensitive or susceptible. (Staroseik, K. “Immunologically active nonapeptide fragment of proline rich peptide from colostrums and immunoregulatory properties.” Mol Immunol, 1983, Dec(12) 1277-82.)
The Daily Maintenance Program Chart
All the supplements listed in the chart below may be given when your child starts eating solid foods throughout the teenage years. The exception to this is Vitamin D3 and ChildLife® Probiotics with Colostrum Chewable Tablets.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that supplementation with Vitamin D3 begin soon after birth.
ChildLife® offers both Vitamin D3 drops and Organic Vitamin D3 drops. For newborn to at least 6 months, use ChildLife’s® Organic Vitamin D3 drops.
ChildLife® Probiotics with Colostrum Chewable Tablets may be given from age 2.
For infants 6 mo-2 yrs, if you choose to supplement with ChildLife® Pure DHA soft gels instead of ChildLife®EFA or ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil, open the soft gel so that it is easy for baby to consume.
For dosage amounts, follow the instructions on the label according to age.
Safe Baby Healthy Child hopes the information in this article has given you a better understanding of the place that nutritional supplementation can have in supporting your child’s health and development. For alternative health care solutions from pre-conception through childhood, with a range of options including diet, environmental detoxification, nutritional supplementation and holistic modalities including homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture, “Natural Baby, Healthy Child: Alternative Health Care Solutions” by Dr. Murray Clarke, ND., D.Hom., is the ultimate guide.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published April 2, 2018 and has been updated.