Interview by SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson
Ever since my daughter started eating solids, I wondered if a supplement was necessary. If so, what do I look for? Can they really boost her immune system and keep her healthy? Are they overkill and a waste of money if she is eating healthy foods? All of these questions and so many different products to choose from.
There is an overwhelming selection of vitamins, minerals and immune boosting support supplements on the market. So, I decided to ask my pediatrician for her recommendation. She suggested ChildLife® Essentials Vitamins and also added that it was one of the best supplement companies on the market. Then we read the survey done by the FDA that found elevated levels of lead in many supplements available for children and we really wanted to dig deeper. We wanted to know more about ChildLife®.
So we contacted the founder, Dr. Murray Clarke. He was kind enough to share his expertise and answer our many questions. The answers gave us more insight than we expected and third party test results on their products that we greatly respect.
ChildLife® Essentials Product Review
We want to make clear that this post is a product review. We personally tried ChildLife® products with our 2 toddlers for a few months and loved our personal results. SO, we wanted to learn more about supplementing and ChildLife® in particular.
We do not use all of these supplements every day. We do use these supplements however, and I personally use the Multi Vitamin daily with my baby girl and this fall and cold season I am sometimes using the Cod Liver Oil in her yogurt or smoothies and keeping her on a very small dose of the Echinacea tincture for added immune boosting support since we travel often. SafBaby believes that supplements should never take the place of a nutritionally sound diet.
Here are our questions as parents when it comes to supplementing. Also, we choose to share the entire line of ChildLife® with our readers so that you may find what best suits the needs of your baby and child this season too.
ChildLife® Essentials Founder and Homeopathic Doctor: Dr. Murray Clarke
ChildLife® provides a complete line of nutritional supplements designed specifically for infants and children. Their experience with infants’ and children’s healthcare is extensive. Dr. Murray Clarke, who founded the company and developed the product line, has been specializing in pediatrics in his homeopathic and nutritional clinic in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, for the past twenty years.
Many Children’s Supplements Contain Heavy Metals
Here is how our email conversations began with ChildLife®:
We were so delighted to try your supplements and are amazed at how much our little girls love to take them! We are also concerned with this survey, done by the FDA, which states that there are high levels of lead in many children’s supplements. Can you please comment on the survey?
We are pleased to hear that your daughters are enjoying the supplements. Thanks for forwarding over the link to the FDA survey on the Children’s, Pre-Natals and Women’s Formulas. Overall, this study and survey highlights the reality of today’s world. That the last 100 years of industrial pursuits have contaminated the earth’s water, air and soil. Not even the south or north poles are immune from contamination.
“Twenty-five percent of the pollutants in our Los Angeles air each day comes over from China.”
The air we breathe in Los Angeles contains particulate matter, including lead and mercury. Twenty five per cent of the pollutants in our Los Angeles air each day comes over from China. No matter how cleanly we try to live it is almost impossible to completely avoid exposure to chemicals and metals. Over the past 20 years in my clinic, I have conducted thousands of hair analyses on children and adults to screen for all the heavy metals. The results show that no one is completely clean and my conclusion is that we have to look at how we can reduce exposure wherever possible and take supplements that can help our bodies and our children’s bodies detoxify and eliminate these contaminants on an ongoing basis. Then we need to look at the results and amounts of the lead in each of these products and determine what is acceptable.
For a child I would suggest that it would be good to keep the acceptable level below 0.25 mcg. From the results you can see that there are about 20 or so products that are above this amount in the Children’s category. At ChildLife® we also periodically test our products for heavy metals with an independent third party laboratory analysis. The panel tests for total amounts of Lead, Mercury and Cadmium. I have enclosed a copy of these test results for you.
We always look for these results to be below 10 ppm (parts per million), which is at the lowest end for detectable amounts. I trust that this helps to clarify the subject and once again appreciate your interest in our ChildLife® formulas. Best Regards, Dr. Murray Clarke
Why Supplementing Our Babies’ and Children’s Diet is Important
You state, “We have to look at how we can reduce exposure wherever possible, and take supplements that can help our bodies and our children’s bodies detoxify and eliminate these contaminants on an ongoing basis.” What products of yours help detoxify and eliminate contaminants from children’s bodies?
The antioxidant vitamins and minerals are the body’s first line of defense against all environmental pollutants. Vitamins A, E, C, and the minerals zinc and selenium are actively involved in neutralizing toxins and assisting their elimination and removal. This is why taking a Multi Vitamin/Mineral and additional Vitamin C on a daily basis is so important.
What contaminants are being detoxed?
The main pollutants and toxins that we are all exposed to these days are metals such as mercury, aluminum and lead, the petrochemicals which include phthalates, bisphenol-a and PBDE’s (polybrominated biphenyl ethers) and the insecticides and herbicides that are used in agriculture and consequently end up in the food chain. These are the primary contaminants that need to be neutralized and eliminated on a daily basis.
“Researchers found an average total of 287 industrial chemicals and pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of each baby.”
Are there ever any side effects to detoxifying with these supplements?
No, if your child is taking the correct dosages on an ongoing basis then it is a gentle process of neutralizing and eliminating these pollutants as exposure occurs.
What is the number one way children’s bodies are being contaminated with heavy metals?
From the air, the water and food. They are all number one in this day and age. There are some outstanding individual sources such as the mercury content in shark, swordfish and tuna but it is really the combined effect and impact of our entire environment that we should be aware of. A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies in America was conducted and published by the Environmental Working Group in 2005. Researchers found an average total of 287 industrial chemicals and pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of each baby. This is where children are starting from, the exposure only continues to accumulate from there. Parents have a choice, help your child’s body detoxify and eliminate these contaminants.
Do children, who live in larger cities, where there is generally more pollution, need more supplements? Any other suggestions to parents about what they should do to make sure their children stay healthy.
Studies conducted by the University of Southern California in Los Angeles have documented that children who are born and grow up in larger cities have a higher degree of pollution exposure which directly contributes to an increase in allergies, asthma, skin conditions, immune conditions and even reduces the overall size that a child’s lungs will grow to. When the environment is unable to be avoided then the only wise action you can take as parents is to take the steps that counteract and neutralize the negative exposure.
- Keep your homes clean and green with all non-toxic cleaners, materials and furniture wherever possible.
- When you can control your child’s diet, always provide organic foods.
- Always use clean, pure water.
- Provide your child with the daily supplements that help their bodies and brains cope with the exposure that they are unable to avoid.
Immune System Booster
We love your First Defense. It works like magic! After how many days should you stop giving this product to your child before taking a break from it?
The First Defense can be used when symptoms arise and also preventively throughout the cold and flu season. When needed the First Defense can be given 3-4x daily for up to 10 days. Preventively it can be given 1x daily on an ongoing basis through the winter months.
To boost my child’s immune system during cold season, do you recommend giving him/her First Defense or Echinacea or both?
The First Defense and Echinacea work a little differently. Because the First Defense is a formula with five ingredients it is stronger in action than the Echinacea. They can both be utilized to boost and protect your child’s immune system. If your child is relatively healthy and doesn’t catch things too easily then the Echinacea may be enough and can be given 1x daily to boost and protect
If your child is catching things too often and too easily then the First Defense would be a better choice, 1x daily for boosting and prevention.
It makes sense to supplement if my child is a picky eater, but what if my child gets plenty of vegetables and fruits? Aren’t supplements a waste of money?
If your child eats well and you can provide 100% organic foods all the time then your child can obtain all the nutrients they require for their growth and development. Then you need to consider supplementing to provide the additional nutrients and antioxidants that your child requires to neutralize, detoxify and eliminate the additional toxins and pollutants they are exposed to from the environment. I like to give the analogy that if you are living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, growing all your own foods and gathering pure rainwater to drink, then you don’t need to provide your child with supplements. However if you are living in or near any major city in the world then supplements become essential to protect and nourish your child’s health and growth from the environment they are being exposed to.
Iron Missing in Multi Vitamin
I noticed that you do not include Iron in your Multi Vitamin, why not? Isn’t iron extremely important for a young child for proper brain function?
Iron is an important mineral for children. It is also the one mineral that has the highest degree of consequences and toxicity if over given. In a liquid formula like the ChildLife® Multi, iron also compromises the stability and integrity of the other vitamins and minerals. To ensure the quality of the formula and to ensure that iron is not overdosed we leave it out of our Multi Vitamin.
If a child is vegan or vegetarian, do I need to supplement him/her with iron or does cooking in cast iron a few times a week provide enough iron?
For a vegan or vegetarian child, iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 should all be carefully monitored. The only sure way you can be certain that your child is receiving enough of these nutrients is with a blood test. Cooking in cast iron may provide enough iron for some children but not enough for all children depending on their individual metabolism and needs. The folic acid and B12 need to be monitored as well.
TIP FROM SAFBABY
If you have a vegan or vegetarian child, ask the pediatrician to do an iron test. If it is low, tell the parent about Floradix. (Breastfed babies rarely have iron deficiencies.)
Floradix is a highly absorbable, non-constipating liquid iron and vitamin formula which helps prevent iron deficiency. Combined with B vitamins & vitamin C to provide the highest possible absorption rate. It is free of lead, pesticide residues, alcohol, preservatives or artificial coloring.
My daughter’s pediatrician recommended that I give her 1 teaspoon per day.
When is the best time to give the vitamins, calcium, essential fatty acids? I never know if I should give it to my child one after the other or together and before, during or after a meal.
Generally in the morning, with breakfast is the best time to give these supplements. They can all be given together, and this way your child’s body is able to absorb, metabolize and utilize these nutrients throughout the day when they are the most active and utilize the most energy.
What are Omega-3, Omega-6, DHA and EPA?
What is the difference between Omega3, Omega6, DHA and EPA, and why are they so important for children?
The Omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids are all important and essential for a child’s health. It is primarily a matter of the right amounts and balance. Omega-3 oils supply DHA and EPA. DHA is the primary fatty acid that is found in the brain and every brain cell requires DHA to grow and function properly. EPA is primarily involved in regulating the body’s anti-inflammatory immune response. Omega-6 oils supply GLA which is also considered an essential fatty acid and works with EPA to maintain balance in the anti-inflammatory/inflammatory immune response system. ChildLife® provides three products that supply these essential fatty acids; a vegetarian Essential Fatty Acid complex, Cod Liver Oil in liquid form and Pure DHA in a softgel chewable capsule.
1. ChildLife® Essential Fatty Acids provides the omega-3 oils from all vegetarian sources: flaxseed, sunflower, olive and pumpkin seed. This will provide your child with the essential omega-3 fatty acids, primarily in the form of EPA. However, your child’s body will then need to convert some of these fatty acids into DHA, which is the fatty acid so involved and important for brain function.
2. ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil provides the omega-3 oils derived from the liver of Cod fish. The difference here is that Cod Liver Oil contains EPA and DHA in a form that is ready for immediate absorption and does not need to be converted as with the Essential Fatty Acid formula.
3. ChildLife® Pure DHA provides the same Cod Liver Oil as in our liquid formula, with the EPA and DHA immediately ready for absorption, but in a flavored chewable soft-gel capsule for those children who prefer to take their Cod Liver Oil in this form.
Is there mercury in the ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil that the DHA is derived from?
There are many different grades of Cod Liver Oil available and being sold in the marketplace today. ChildLife® always uses the highest grade of Cod Liver Oil available in the world, which provides the cleanest, freshest oil. Each and every batch of Cod Liver Oil is tested and certified to be free of any detectable amounts of Mercury, PCB’s and dioxins.
Why don’t you offer a vegetarian DHA supplement? DHA-rich marine algal oil is as effective as Cod Liver Oil and contains less environmental contaminants?
Cod Liver Oil was the world’s first and original nutritional supplement. So many parents in so many countries around the world have historically given their children Cod Liver Oil. We now know that Cod Liver Oil contains and provides DHA, EPA, Vit E, Vit A and Vit D. This combination provides the perfect blend of the most important nutrients for growing children. DHA for the brain, EPA for the immune system, Vit E as an antioxidant, Vit A for the eyes and Vit D for the bones. It is the perfect food supplement. That is why I prefer Cod Liver Oil as a source of DHA, rather than the algae, because Cod Liver Oil provides the full spectrum of all these nutrients to work together.
Is it true that if we eat too much Omega-6 the conversion from Omega-3 to DHA is hindered?
This depends on a lot of variables and will differ from child to child based on their nutritional status. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 oils, like flaxseed and pumpkin contain EPA which then needs to be converted into DHA with the help of co-factors which include Vitamins B3, B6, C, E, A and the minerals magnesium and zinc. If a child does not have enough of these particular vitamins or minerals on any particular day then the conversion of EPA to DHA can be compromised and diminished. Cod Liver Oil already contains EPA and DHA complete and ready for immediate absorption. No conversion needed. This is why Cod Liver Oil is the preferred way to give your child their Omega-3 oil.
Colostrum More Effective Than Flu Vaccine?
When should I give my child colostrum supplements?
Colostrum is rapidly being understood and appreciated as nature’s finest food for strengthening, balancing and regulating the entire immune system. If your child suffers from any type of recurrent infection, or seems to catch things too easily and too often, then consider supplementing with the ChildLife® Colostrum with Probiotics formula on a daily basis for 2-3 months. Colostrum can also be used preventively through-out the winter months of the cold and flu season to help protect your child. A well conducted study published in the Italian medical journals in June 2007 demonstrated that the daily intake of Colostrum can be 3x more effective than the flu vaccine for providing protection. “Colostrum, both in healthy subjects and high-risk cardiovascular patients, is at least 3 times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu and is very cost-effective.” Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2007 Apr;13(2):130-6.
Why ChildLife® Essentials is a Safer Alternative
Why do you think you stand apart from the other supplement products for children on the market?
ChildLife’s® complete focus and specialty is nutritional supplements specifically for children. My experience as a homeopathic pediatrician has allowed me to see what works and what nutrients are most important for children growing up in today’s world. All of the products that we provide are formulated from this experience and are made from the highest quality ingredients available. The ChildLife® Essentials line is literally the product of this experience. The ten products we offer are those, which have proven to be the most important, and the most effective in supporting healthy development and promoting natural immune strength in infants and children. We are very proud of this product line and are deeply committed to promoting improved nutrition for children as a foundation for good health and well-being.
ChildLife® Essentials Quality
ChildLife® Essentials are made from the highest quality natural ingredients for infant and children (6 months – 12 years). There are no artificial additives in any of the products. No artificial flavorings, no artificial sweeteners and no added colorings. The great taste of the products makes taking nutritional supplements an easy part of a child’s daily routine. (No, seriously! When my daughter takes this stuff, she ALWAYS says, “Oh, Yummmmmy!”) Here is a short description of each of their products with comments and tips by us. Following this list is a wealth of information on how vitamins, minerals, immune boosting supplements and essential fatty acids work to support a healthy, happy child! This is information every parent should know!
All Natural Essential Daily Supplements for Children
Multi Vitamin & Mineral
ChildLife’s® Multi Vitamin provides essential vitamins and minerals. Giving your child a daily doses ensures that all nutritional needs are fulfilled.* Contains no milk, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or wheat. No corn, yeast or alcohol. No artificial colorings. No artificial sweeteners. Gluten and casein-free. Vegan. “Our girls love the orange/mango flavor. We feel great giving it to them especially on days when they’re not eating as healthy as they should.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
ChildLife’s® Liquid Calcium/Magnesium supplement provides these two essential mineral combines with Vitamin D and Zinc in a balanced, very absorbable, great tasting formula. These are the primary nutrients required for supporting your child’s healthy bone growth and development.* Contains no gluten, casein, dairy, egg, yeast, wheat, corn, alcohol, artificial colorings and sweeteners. “This supplement with a natural orange flavor is one of our kids favorites to take!”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
Essential Fatty Acids
ChildLife’s® Essential Fatty Acids supplies the optimum balance of vegetable-based Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These nutrients are necessary on a daily basis and cannot be manufactured by the body. EFAs are especially necessary in growing children for healthy skin, intelligence and immune function.* Contains no dairy, egg, yeast, wheat, corn or alcohol. No artificial colorings. No sweeteners or preservatives. Gluten and casein-free. “The natural Butterscotch flavor is tasty enough to give directly with a spoon. We also put it into smoothies, yogurt, or juice and they’ll eat or drink it right up!”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
DHA plays a vital role in how well a child’s brain can grow and function. Up to 60% of the human brain is built from, runs on, and is constructed by the Omega-3 family oils. DHA continues to be the vital nutrient within this family for supporting healthy brain function and development.* Attention, focus, intelligence, and growth, create a healthy state of mind. ChildLife® Pure DHA is sourced from the purest cod liver oil available and is in a fish gelatin capsule (most other brands use Beef gelatin). The contents of each capsule are tested for any contaminants including PCB’s, dioxins, metals, mercury, or other toxins, and exceeds the highest international standards for purity.
Available in The SafBaby Shop 90 Soft Gelatin Capsules (chewable or can be swallowed)
Cod Liver Oil
For many generations among many different cultures, families have given their children Cod Liver Oil. Folklore tells us that this was because families observed how children raised with Cod Liver Oil grew healthier and smarter. Modern research now confirms this historical wisdom.* Each and every batch of this ChildLife’s® Cod Liver Oil is tested and certified to be free of any detectable amounts of Mercury, PCB’s and dioxins. Contains no dairy, gluten, egg, yeast, wheat, corn, alcohol, artificial color, sweetener and preservatives. Gluten and casein-free. “We all remember how horrible cod liver oil tasted when we were kids! No more of this! It comes in a berry flavor soft cap, so children think it’s candy! We had to try it ourselves, and it is tasty! Just add it right into your baby’s yogurt or smoothie for picky eaters.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
Probiotics with Colostrum
For immune support and environmental protection, another great tasting supplement from ChildLife® that can be taken daily as fundamental nourishment.* Contains no dairy, gluten, soy, egg, yeast, wheat, corn, alcohol, artificial colors or artificial sweeteners. “We use it as an extra immune boost with ChildLife’s® First Defense and ChildLife’s® Echinacea.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
Immune Support Formulas for Children
For stimulating natural immune responses and defending the body. ChildLife’s® First Defense can be used as a preventative and as an immune boost at the onset of a cold.* Contains no dairy, gluten, soy, egg, yeast, wheat, corn, alcohol, artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. “We had amazing results with this product. Cold symptoms seem to be shortened. We like to use it to boost immune system before and during travels. Great to use if you child is at a daycare/preschool during cold season.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
ChildLife’s® Aller-Care provides seasonal support for children.* It is an all-natural formula with nutrients to regulate hyper-immune response, anti-oxidants to reduce environmental irritation* and herbs to support the immune system.* This formula provides seasonal support for children. For optimal benefit, use with ChildLife® Vitamin C.* Contains no dairy, soy, egg, yeast, wheat, corn or alcohol. No artificial colorings. No artificial sweeteners. Gluten and casein-free. “We just started to give this yummy grape flavored supplement to our toddlers, to boost their immune system for this coming cold season.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
For immune support and environmental protection, Vitamin C is another great tasting supplement from ChildLife® that can be taken daily as fundamental nourishment.* Contains no dairy, gluten, soy, egg, yeast, wheat, corn, alcohol, artificial colors or artificial sweeteners. “We use it as an extra immune boost with ChildLife’s® First Defense and ChildLife’s® Echinacea.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
Echinacea is known and respected as a primary immune stimulating and strengthening herb.* ChildLife’s® Echinacea is made especially for infants and children – alcohol free, organically grown, and flavored with natural sweet orange essential oil. Used to protect a healthy immune system. Contains no egg, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts or wheat. No corn, yeast or alcohol. No artificial colorings. No artificial sweeteners. Gluten and casein-free. “We like the convenience of having a small bottle tincture to take with us when we travel. That way we know our toddler’s immune system are nourished when we are in airports, traveling, experiencing weather changes and more.”
Available in The SafBaby Shop
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Supplemental Facts and in-depth information about each ChildLife® product can be found in The SafBaby Shop on individual product pages.
ChildLife® products are sold in natural stores, health food stores and pharmacies throughout America. Internationally, they are distributed in Taiwan, Singapore, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Ireland, Croatia, Poland, Romania and New Zealand.
About Dr. Murray Clarke, Founder of ChildLife®
Dr. Clarke was born in New Zealand, moved to America in 1984 and began to study medicine. He now holds licenses and doctorates in three fields of medicine: Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine and Chinese Medicine (including Acupuncture and Herbology). His clinic is located in Santa Monica, California, where for the past twenty years, he has helped to pioneer the field of Holistic Pediatrics.
Dr. Clarke opened his medical clinic in 1988 with a general practice utilizing acupuncture, herbs, nutrition and homeopathy. Mothers and fathers who experienced restored and robust good health after treatment began bringing their infants and children to him for treatment. With the same measure of benefits and success working with children, Dr. Clarke’s reputation continued to grow within the community. Local MD pediatricians began referring their own patients to him when they were unable to help with the standard pharmaceutical approaches. He continued to focus his experience, treatments and quest for knowledge on what causes ill health in children and how to treat and heal in the safest, most effective manner. His current reputation, success and pediatric clinic are a result of this continued dedication.
In 2000, Dr. Clarke founded the company ChildLife® Essentials, formulating and manufacturing the first complete line of nutritional supplements exclusively for infants and children.