For parents, back to school preparation usually involves purchasing assorted textbooks and school supplies, helping kids put together course schedules, and meeting with teachers. Yet few parents realize the importance of helping a child prep his or her immune system for the school year.
The most prominent threat currently is the novel coronavirus. As of this writing, there is still no viable treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, and no one is naturally immune to it. Going back to school makes contracting the novel coronavirus much easier due to the combination of frequent contact with potentially infected surfaces and a high density of human bodies in one space.
Assuming your child’s school has not changed to virtual classes for the year, maintaining and optimizing their immune systems, along with proper social distancing and wearing face masks, may help to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus. When it comes to immune function, it pays to prepare and maintain healthy habits. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help kids naturally boost their immune systems for the school year, including:
1. Load Up on Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a widely accepted dietary supplement to help address the common cold, wounds, asthma symptoms, and other health issues. As such, parents who provide their kids with sufficient amounts of vitamin C can help them bolster the immune function – and for good reason.
First, vitamin C helps repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues. It has been shown to help strengthen the blood vessels, thereby reducing the risk of bruises from scrapes and falls. Furthermore, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from a myriad of sources, keep the gums healthy, and lower the risk of infection.
Parents won’t have to look far and wide to incorporate vitamin C into a child’s diet. Key sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, kiwi fruits, potatoes, and red peppers. Additionally, parents can provide their kids with VitalC-LD®, a supercharged vitamin C supplement, to augment their children’s vitamin C intake.
VitalC-LD® contains a proprietary combination of ascorbic acid with citrus bioflavonoids,lipid metabolites from natural vegetable sources, and rosehips. It uses a liposomal delivery system that provides a 50% absorption rate versus just 9% absorption from traditional vitamin C supplements. Plus, VitalC-LD® comes in delayed-release capsules that ensure this powerful antioxidant reaches the small intestines where it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream for optimal effectiveness.
2. Provide Proline-Rich Polypeptides
Colostrum-IC® contains 100% concentrated proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs) from bovine colostrum. PRPs are the “educational molecules” that teach the immune system how to respond to pathogens. They are key to helping the immune system be more effective in fighting off viral and bacterial invaders. And unlike over-the-counter cold and flu medications, these sprays treat the cause of illnesses, not the symptoms.
3. Administer Bovine Colostrum
Bovine colostrum offers a safe, all-natural product that helps children shut down the root cause (leaky gut) of most chronic and autoimmune conditions and allergies. It has even been shown to help reduce the risk of intestinal (gut) infections.
Intestinal infections that cause diarrhea may be fatal, particularly for infants and young children who become severely dehydrated. However, colostrum contains lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme, immunoglobulins, polypeptides, and other powerful immune factors that provide non-specific defense against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Another component of colostrum, lactoferrin, is an iron-binding protein closely related to the transferrin protein that transports free iron in the body. It helps fight bacteria by sequestering away iron. Iron is needed by many bacteria and fungi to reproduce, so by taking it away, these microorganisms cannot reproduce. Lactoferrin can also prevent the colonization of Haemophilus influenzae, the primary cause of ear and respiratory infections in children, by deactivating its colonization factors.
4. Ensure Kids Are Getting Enough Rest
Summer vacations create the opportunity for children to stay up late at night and wake up late in the morning. As kids get ready for a school schedule, it is important to establish and maintain a consistent routine that guarantees children are getting sufficient rest. Believe it or not, the amount of sleep that a child gets can impact his or her immune health.
Mayo Clinic points out sleep-deprived individuals are more susceptible to the common cold. A lack of sleep may impact a person’s ability to fully recover from illness as well. Sleep has a direct effect on the immune system. While you sleep, your immune system produces cytokines, a protein that plays a role in reducing infections and inflammation. Without the right amount of sleep, the immune system produces fewer cytokines, antibodies, and other infection-fighting cells. A lack of sleep also increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, and chronically elevated levels of cortisol are known to reduce immune function.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends nine to 11 hours of sleep each night for children between the ages of 6 and 13 years old and eight to 10 hours of sleep each night for kids between the ages of 14 and 17 years old. With a sleep routine in place, parents can help their kids get the Zzz’s they need to maintain optimal immune health, along with ensuring their children maximize their day-to-day productivity.
5. Encourage Children to Eat Healthy and Exercise Daily
No child is immune to the cold and flu, but kids who eat healthy and exercise daily can reduce the risks associated with the cold, flu, and other illnesses.
For instance, providing kids with a diet rich in phytonutrients helps increase the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells and interferon, an antibody that coats cell surfaces to block out harmful viruses. Foods like carrots, oranges, and strawberries contain high concentrations of phytonutrients and can be incorporated into many different meals. Whenever possible, buy organic to avoid insecticides and herbicides.
With that said, try not to overthink it. Focus on a balanced diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables and lean-sources of protein while reducing the intake of processed foods and added sugars. A diverse range of fruits and vegetables will provide your kids with plenty of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, along with heart-healthy fiber.
Meanwhile, encouraging kids to play outdoors for at least an hour a day is a great way to get children to exercise. Studies have shown exercise helps increase the number of natural killer (NK) cells that normally target viruses and attack and kill invading pathogens. If parents highlight the fun and excitement of exercise to children, they can help their kids stay active from youth through adulthood.
Exercise is also one of the best ways to reduce stress. Stress can have some significant effects on the immune system and overall health. As mentioned, elevated cortisol levels can hurt basic immune function, but cortisol also affects blood pressure, weight, and heart health, all of which factor into your child’s immune system. Chronic stress also affects mood and emotional health, contributing to depression and anxiety disorders. Exercising regularly can neutralize stress problems while teaching your child healthy habits.
By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, parents can help their kids balance and maintain immune function for fewer sick days and better overall health.This article was brought to you by Sovereign Laboratories, a world leader in the development of liposomal delivery to maximize the bioavailability of our dietary supplements.