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Essential Supplements for Supporting Kids’ Health

Would you do it for a million?”

The last time my kids were sick, I vaguely remember offering my husband a million dollars to take over for the rest of the night. Fortunately for all, everyone was getting better by the next day, and he didn’t hold me to it. It’s those kinds of nights – and the groggy days that follow – that remind me to appreciate wellness.

School season is upon us again and most of us will do just about anything to avoid the icky stuff. If you are anything like me, seeing and NOT buying yet another packet of hand sanitizing wipes is no small feat. Better safe than sorry, I say (which is likely one of the reasons I don’t actually have a million dollars.)

Jokes aside, it doesn’t actually have to cost a fortune to help your kids stay well. At Whole Foods Market®, the brands that are on the shelf meet our high quality standards, so I don’t have to worry about what’s in them, I just grab the one that’s on sale. I also frequently choose our 365 Everyday Value® or Whole Foods Market™ brand supplements. They’re often the most affordable option, without sacrificing the high-quality ingredients.

Which kids ‘supplements do I reach for? I start with the basics: a multivitamin, essential fats, and vitamin D, for general health maintenance. Make sure to choose age-appropriate products to ensure they get just the right amount for effectiveness and safety.

The multivitamin covers your bases for those days your child’s diet doesn’t resemble a basket at the farmer’s market. Next, essential fatty acids (EFAs, aka the good fats) are vital for their developing brains and bodies. Omega-3 EFAs are required for growth and maintenance of the brain, heart, nervous system, tissues, skin, joints and immune health. Third in the general health list is vitamin D. Recent research suggests that vitamin D plays a crucial role in immune system support, and most of us aren’t getting enough.

Need a bit of extra support for school season? If, like me, your goal is fewer dreaded million-dollar sick days, try probiotics, astragalus and adaptogens.

  • Probiotics (such as L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium) help kids and adults maintain healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is indispensable for the immune system, good digestion and proper nutrient absorption. Especially since much of the immune system is housed in the digestive tract..Products containing age-appropriate multiple-probiotic strains can be found in powder form for infants, and in chewable form or in capsules.
  • Used preventively, the herb astragalus may enhance the immune system through white blood cell function. It’s available as a tea, a tincture or a powder depending on your preference.
  • Herbal adaptogens such as ashwaganda, holy basil, rhodiola root, or eleutherococcus root can aid the body systems in adapting to stress, thus minimizing the negative effects on a child’s health. These plants can be taken in a capsule or as an extract.

Alas, despite best intentions and stacks of 100% essential oil hand wipes, sometimes children just get sick. Here are suggestions for maintaining wellness:

  • Elderberry: The extract of this fruit provides antioxidant and immune support from quercetin and other flavonoids. You’ll find it in tasty syrups.
  • Vitamin C and zinc: These are integral for white blood cell production.
  • Echinacea: Well-designed studies have shown that this herb effectively supports immune health.
  • Homeopathic remedies: Formulas for cough and cold are part of the few options available for young children.

Learn more about what you can do to support your kids’ health and wellness in our Be Good To Your Whole Body booklets in stores and online.

What works best for your kids?

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Marilee UptonSpatz says …

What about essential supplements for teens?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARILEE - We wrote a similar blog post last year for both kids and teens. You can check it out at https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/nutrition-kids-and-teens.

Debra says …

Hi, anything for eczema, and allergies to cats? We moved to another city, and my 12 yr old daughter is having sever reaction to our cat and her eczema has exploded. We have had animals all her life. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Debra

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DEBRA - Our exact products vary between stores. Check with your local store to see what they would recommend based on what they have in stock!

Selina says …

Hi, could you recommend a good multivitamin for my 6 year old? He doesn't eat his veggies and he just seems to never have good coloring to his skin. He looks puffy and tired all the time. I know he is not getting the nutrients he should through diet. Thanks so much!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SELINA - Since our products differ between stores, check with your local store to see what multivitamins they have in stock. They'll be happy to recommend something for you. It's always a best practice also to speak with your healthcare professional before adding anything to his diet.

marty says …

Do you carry a homeopathic nosode called: Tetanus Tetanotoxinum. Thanks

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARTY - Our exact product options differ between stores. Check with your local store to see if they have this in stock.