Probiotics are all the buzz right now. But, what exactly is a probiotic? Let’s break it down, the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro meaning “promoting” and biotic meaning “life.”
They are known as friendly microorganisms that live mainly inside our gut. We often associate bacteria as causing disease, but what if we told you that probiotics are GOOD bacteria that can be beneficial to our bodies!
Probiotics work to balance the number of good microorganisms versus the not so good microorganisms that live in your body. By establishing a good balance of microorganisms – your immune system and digestive system are able to maintain a healthy environment. This healthy balance reduces your child’s susceptibility to colds, digestive concerns, allergies, and more.
Probiotics - PROTECT, PREVENT AND PLAY!
They help us to:
- Have a healthy digestive system9
- Have a strong immune system (more than 70% of your immune system lives in your gut!)8, 11
- Create a friendly and healthy gut environment by outnumbering bad bacteria
- Protective us from invading pathogens
Probiotics can help children with:
- Negative effects from antibiotic exposure7
- Common colds6
- And more!
So, you can see how probiotics are friendly and can help our children have a
- Happy tummy
- Happy skin
- Happy immune system
- Happy development
To increase the number of good bacteria that your child receives, you can supplement with a good quality probiotic. Alternatively, probiotics are present in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. In order to get enough probiotics into your system a supplement can be the best option! Be sure your child consumes the probiotic supplement with food to ensure optimal absorption!
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- Anabrees, Jasim et al. “Probiotics for Infantile Colic: A Systematic Review.” BMC Pediatrics 13 (2013): 186.
- Chapman, CM et al. “Health benefits of probiotics: are mixtures more effective than single strains?” Eur J Nutr 50.1 (2011): 1-17.
- Cruchet, Sylvia et al. “The Use of Probiotics in Pediatric Gastroenterology: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations by Latin-American Experts.” Paediatric Drugs 17.3 (2015): 199–216.
- Das, Rashmi Ranjan. “Cesarean delivery, antibiotic exposure, and probiotics: Relationship with childhood asthma.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 128.5 ( 2011): 1133-1134.
- Furrie, Elizabeth. “Probiotics and Allergy.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 64.4 (2005): 465-469.
- Hatakka, Katja et al. “Effect of Long Term Consumption of Probiotic Milk on Infections in Children Attending Day Care Centres: Double Blind, Randomised Trial.” BMJ : British Medical Journal 322.7298 (2001): 1327.
- Hempel, Susanne et al. “Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” JAMA 307.18 (2012):1959-1969.
- Mueller, Noel T. et al. “The Infant Microbiome Development: Mom Matters.” Trends in molecular medicine 21.2 (2015): 109-117.
- Quigley, Eamonn M. M. “Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease.” Gastroenterology & Hepatology 9.9 (2013): 560–569.
- Scourboutakos, Mary et al. “Mismatch Between Probiotic Benefits in Trials Versus Food Products.” Nutrients 9.4 (2017): 400.
- Vighi, G et al. “Allergy and the Gastrointestinal System.” Clinical and Experimental Immunology 153.Suppl 1 (2008): 3-6.
- Yeşilova, Yavuz et al. “Effect of Probiotics on the Treatment of Children with Atopic Dermatitis.” Annals of Dermatology 24.2 (2012): 189–193.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our babies! We as humans absorb UVB rays from the sun in order to produce Vitamin D naturally in our skin! Our babies are very gentle, especially in the early stages of their lives and exposure to the sun is not recommended. So, how do babies get Vitamin D and why is it really an essential vitamin to be given so early on? Below we will go through my ultimate guide on Vitamin D and babies!
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is produced naturally in our bodies when we are exposed to the UVB rays of the sun. However, exposure to the sun has been controversial over the years. This has led to covering our skin with clothing, sunscreen, shade, etc. But the less exposure we have to the sun the less Vitamin D we produce. Therefore, supplementing with Vitamin D can be very helpful!
Should you give your child a Vitamin D supplement?
A Vitamin D supplement can be very beneficial to our babies especially under the age of 6 months when they should not be exposed to the sun. A deficiency in Vitamin D has been known throughout history to cause Rickets, which is a weakening or softening of our bones. This is due to the role Vitamin D has in the absorption of calcium.
As your child ages, you may feel like they are exposed to enough sun. However, there are some other factors to consider. For example, our latitude, cloudy days, their complexion, time of day, smog and the season. Those with darker skin tones have a harder time in producing Vitamin D than those with lighter skin tones.
Even if a mother takes a supplement and eats Vitamin D rich foods and breastfeeds, their child will still not get enough Vitamin D. Therefore, it is important to give your child some sort of Vitamin D supplement to ensure they are getting their recommended daily requirement.
How do I know if my child has a deficiency in Vitamin D?
• The child is breastfed
• The child is not exposed to sunlight
• The child lives in the northern hemisphere (includes Canada – since fewer UVB rays can reach us here!)
At what age, should your baby start taking Vitamin D?
You can start as early as a few days after they are born. If you are breastfeeding, your child needs to supplement since there is not enough Vitamin D in breastmilk. If you are giving your child less than 32 ounces of Vitamin D fortified formula daily, you can also supplement with Vitamin D. Please consult your doctor before giving your child any supplement.
What are the benefits of Vitamin D?
The biggest benefit of Vitamin D for our children is the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also beneficial in supporting our immune system!Therefore, it is important our children get enough Vitamin D as their immune system is constantly developing.
How do you know what supplement is best?
Ensure you obtain a Vitamin D3 supplement and NOT Vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is the active form. Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, make sure your child takes their supplement around the time of feeding. This will ensure it is absorbed properly.
Are there food sources of Vitamin D?
Some foods are fortified with Vitamin D such as cereal and milk. There are also some foods that naturally contain Vitamin D such as salmon, tuna, and liver.
As you can see, Vitamin D is one of the most important supplements we can give to our children. So, if you are thinking about providing your child with any supplements, Vitamin D can be the best place to start! As always, speak to your healthcare provider before giving your child any supplements.
Johnson, Lana R. “Vitamin D Insufficiency Due To Insufficient Exposure To Sunlight And Related Pathology”. Inquiries Journal. N.p., 2017. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.
“Vitamin D Supplementation | Breastfeeding | CDC”. Cdc.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.
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Jaundice is often used to describe the yellow color of the skin or the whites of eyes. It is a common condition seen in newborn babies. So, what truly going on in the body to cause this? Well, it indicates that there is excess bilirubin in the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a yellow material created in the body as it replaces old red blood cells. The liver’s role is to break down the bilirubin which will eventually be removed via stool. But the liver may be still developing in babies, therefore the liver may not be able to keep up with the production of bilirubin in the body.
While it may seem alarming for your baby to have a condition so early on in life, it is very common and often not worrisome!
What are the common causes of Jaundice?
- Bilirubin is produced faster than the liver can break it down.
- The liver is still developing in babies, meaning it might need some time in order to effectively break down the bilirubin.
- The intestines may be absorbing the bilirubin which would normally be removed via stool.
- Breastfeeding jaundice can occur within the first week of the baby’s life. This is due to babies who are not nursing well or the mother’s milk supply is low.
What are the common symptoms associated with jaundice?
- Yellowing of skin and whites of eyes
- Babies with severe jaundice may be very tired and feed poorly
What should you do if you notice jaundice in your baby?
Health care providers will check for jaundice once the baby is born. Hospitals will generally check for jaundice after 24 hours have passed. However, jaundice can be seen in babies after 2-4 days of being born. If you notice any signs of jaundice you should get your baby tested. This is done with a blood test to measure levels of bilirubin. Most of the time it is not a problem and goes away within 2 weeks.
What is the common treatment for jaundice?
Treatment is generally not required. Initiating treatment for jaundice will depend on the level of bilirubin, how fast the levels are rising, the baby’s age, and how early the baby was born.
The best treatment is to ensure the baby is getting enough fluids via breastmilk or formula. Feed the baby often is recommended in order to encourage regular bowel movements.
Phototherapy may be used if the baby’s bilirubin levels are really high – this is the common blue light used in hospital settings. The light helps to encourage the breakdown of bilirubin in the skin.
When should you be concerned?
You should be concerned if your baby has a fever, seems to be listless or is not feeding well. If in any case, you have a suspicion that your baby has jaundice talk to your medical provider.
Jaundice, Newborn. "Newborn Jaundice: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia". Medlineplus.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
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I’m sure it no surprise that you have heard the buzz about DHA/Omega-3/fish oil supplementation for our kids! It has become a known supplement that is important to include in our daily routine. But, why exactly is it important for our children? What kind of fish oil is best? On the blog today, we are going to go into the nitty gritty on everything you need to know about fish oil supplements for kids.
What is Omega-3 (DHA)?
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They are essential because our bodies cannot produce them, instead we must get the fatty acids from our diet. These fats are incredibly important as they make up every single cell in our body! Two common types of omega-3 are known as EPA (eicosapentaenoicacid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
In order to get enough omega-3 from our diet we would need to consume salmon or sardines a couple times a week and our bodies would need to properly absorb the fish in order to obtain the value of the oils. Therefore, most children do not get enough omega-3 in their daily diet. So consuming a fish oil supplement is key for our children’s health!
What are the benefits of DHA in fish oil?
There are a multitude of benefits of fish oil, especially for our children. Here is a list of benefits:
• Supports healthy brain development
• Supports growth and development
• Helps to improve vision acuity
• Helps to treat skin concerns (ie. eczema)
• Helps with mood disorders (ie. anxiety, depression)
• Helps children with ADHD
DHA, in particular, has been shown to help with brain development in our children. A study done at Oxford University showed higher levels of DHA helped with reading, memory and behavioral problems. Therefore, looking for a supplement with higher DHA than EPA is important for children!
How to choose a good fish oil?
There are a few things to look out for when purchasing a good quality fish oil. The first is the type of fish that is in the product – look for sources of small fish such as anchovies and sardines. The second is making sure the fish oil is in triglyceride (TG) form as this is the form commonly found naturally in fish. If the supplement is in ethyl ester form it is not found in nature and can only be created through chemical synthesis (therefore this ethyl ester form is cheaper!).
So as you can see, fish oil is a great way to provide some extra support to our little ones! As always, talk to your doctor before supplementing with fish oil.
"Taking Omega-3 Every Day Could Help Children Who Have Poor Reading Skills". Mail Online. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
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Is your child battling another cold? Tired of your child missing school or their favorite hobbies because of a cold? Luckily there are some safe and gentle herbs that can help to ease a cold so that your child can get back to their daily routine.
Here is a list of our favorite natural herbs and their uses!
Also known as the “purple coneflower,” echinacea is one of the most known herbs for preventing and treating a cold. Echinacea is safe to give to children of any age. It has the ability to target upper respiratory tract infections, bacterial infections, and sinusitis. Many people use the herb prophylactically to prevent a cold or flu from occurring.
It is best to take echinacea when you first feel any signs of a cold coming on such as sneezing, cough or a runny nose.
Elderberry’s satisfying tastes makes it one of our favorite herbs for kids. The great thing about elderberry is that it is essentially a food making it incredibly safe for children. The best part about elderberry is that is it a potent anti-viral meaning it has the ability to ward off any viral infections invading the body. What elderberry is known for is its ability to help calm a cough down. It is also used to calm a fever and has anti-catarrhal effects, meaning it will stop a runny nose in its tracks.
Remind you of Hunger Games, doesn’t it? Well, catnip is an excellent herb for children. It is known for its ability to calm the nervous system. It also helps to calm a fever down and assist in colds with digestive upset. Catnip is also known for its anti-spasmodic action meaning it will help to calm down the lungs in a case of bronchitis.
4) Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is an excellent herb for children. It is especially known for its calming and relaxing properties in kids who tend to get nervous or anxious. It also has anti-viral properties and is used to help calm down a fever. Lemon balm can also be used to relieve an achy tummy. Next time, try it as a tea it has a wonderful flavor that will ease a sick household.
Important things to note:
- Always talk to someone who is trained in herbal medicine before giving your child herbs such as Naturopathic Doctor or Herbalist.
- Dosing for herbs will change based on the child’s weight and ages so always follow instructions given by your Naturopathic Doctor.
Godfrey, Anthony and Paul Richard Saunders. Principles & Practices Of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine. Toronto: Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine Press, 2010. Print.
Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Print.
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Don't let the sniffles get in the way!
It happens….you are rushing around trying to get your child’s dinner ready while he is playing with some colored blocks on the floor as you hear a “cough, cough.” You stop what you are doing and think to yourself, “Oh no, is he getting sick.” You come over to your kid and check his temperature with the back of your hand on his forehead. Everything seems fine, but deep down you are concerned. “What if he gets sick.” “What am I going to do?” “Should I take him to the doctor just in case?”
The thought of your little one getting sick can be scary but if you have some key preventative strategies it can help to minimize the chances of your child catching a cold.
Key Signs to Look Out For
• Lack of appetite
• No interest playing
• Child seems more clingy than usual
• Child is lethargic
• Signs of serious illness: dehydration, trouble breathing, high fever
Here are our top 5 natural ways to prevent a cold.
1) Beat the sweets
Sweets can be hard to get away from. Sugar can be very sneaky, as it finds it’s way into your child’s snacks, sauces, and treats. But white sugar can cause our immune systems to weaken. The more sugar we consume the less our immune system is able to fight off any infections that might be on the horizon.
So one of the best things you can do as a parent is to minimize your child’s intake of refined sugar. Consider a whole foods diet filled with brightly colored fruits and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats and whole grains.
2) Boost your immune system (vitamin C)
One of the best ways to boost your child’s immune system is to have them consume foods high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for the immune system as it boosts our body’s natural defense to any unwanted visitors!
Foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, kiwi, strawberries, spinach and kale. Ensuring your child receives their daily intake of Vitamin C is important to maintaining a strong immune system!
3) Get some sunshine
Soak up the sun! When exposed to the sun our skin will create Vitamin D. However, as the colder months come along we tend not to get as much sunlight. Therefore, taking a Vitamin D supplement is essential. Vitamin D is important to prevent a common cold as it works to boost the natural processes of the immune system. This will ultimately help the body to deal with any exposure to infections.
4) Get your zzz's
Sleep is important as it allows the body to rest and recover. During our sleep, our bodies work hard to regenerate and get ready for the next day ahead. Studies have also shown not enough sleep or lack of quality sleep can increase your chances of getting sick if you are exposed to a virus.
Having a routine can be a step towards your child getting a good night sleep. Have dinner, take a bath, read a book and tuck them in. Ensuring they go to sleep at the same time each night will reinforce a routine.
5) Get moving!
One of the best ways to prevent an infection is to participate in regular exercise. Exercise can help to flush out any bacteria in the lungs or airways reducing your child’s chance of getting sick. Exercise also may increase the body’s White Blood Cells (WBC). WBCs are kind of like a personal security guard. They watch out for any invaders and bring in more personnel to help in an attack!
Great way to start moving is to go on walks, ride a bike, go swimming or playing a sport like soccer, basketball and hockey!
Immunity, Exercise. "Exercise And Immunity: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia". Medlineplus.gov. N.p., 2016. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
"Lack Of Sleep: Can It Make You Sick? - Mayo Clinic". Mayoclinic.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
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