Want to give your little one a foundation for good health? We spoke with Shannon Wood, naturopath at our Menlo Park, Calif., store, about her recommendations for what every child under 12 should be taking to help keep them healthy, strong and focused.
"My first recommendation is always fish oil," says Shannon. "We know it's imperative for mental cognition." That's especially important during the learning and developing years, and can help with any issues in the neurological or nervous systems. Shannon loves the Nordic Naturals Children's DHA, which has a great strawberry taste and comes in easy-to-swallow capsules (or try their DHA Junior, in even smaller capsules).
While Shannon always encourages parents to teach good nutrition, most children can still use a multivitamin to make up for deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals. She likes ChildLife's Multi Vitamin and Mineral liquid formula, especially good for kids who are picky eaters or who are at risk for nutrient deficiencies. She also likes that the liquid is more bioavailable than capsules, and comes in a tasty orange-mango flavor.
For older kids, Nordic Naturals' Nordic Berries is another good choice. "It's a pretty complete multi and kids enjoy the taste," says Shannon.
A “maintenance” dose of probiotics can be key for a number of things, including boosting immunity, lessening the effects of allergies and soothing digestive issues. For daily use, Shannon recommends Yum Yum Dophilus by Jarrow Formulas, a chewable, raspberry-flavored probiotic that kids love.
But, she says, “If kids go on a round of antibiotics, make sure they’re on a high-potency probiotic for at least one month afterward.” This will help replenish the good intestinal flora that the antibiotics may have stripped away. Shannon recommends parents look for high-potency probiotics for children from Metagenics.
"I just love vitamin D," says Shannon. "It's essential for almost everybody, since our population is chronically deficient." Vitamin D is essential to bone health, especially in growing children, as well as a variety of other health conditions. She says Rainbow Light's Sunny Gummies are very popular ("We can't keep them on the shelf!" Shannon says), and they come in two different potencies. She recommends the 400 IUs for children under 12, and 1,000 IUs for kids over 12.
If you're looking for a liquid form, Pharmaca's Kids Vitamin D3 is an easy way to administer them, either under the tongue or in juice.
“Vitamin C is good for general immune support,” says Shannon. That immune boost can be especially important as kids get back into the classroom and are exposed to more germs. She recommends Natural Factors Vitamin C Natural Fruit Chews, available in six fun flavors.
Talk to a Pharmaca practitioner about other important supplements to boost your child’s health.