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  • Nutrition Essentials for Healthy Kids

    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.

    Fish Oil
    "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.

    Vitamin D
    "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
    “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.

  • Early Essentials for Natural Kids

    Get your children off to a healthy start by making natural choices when it comes to their care. Pharmaca’s in-store staff of licensed health care professionals can direct you to the best products, whether your little one is feeling bad or staying well. Shayne Case, a clinical herbalist at Pharmaca’s Portland store, and Tyler Bruno, a former acupuncturist at the Pacific Palisades location, lent their expertise on the best choices for the early years.

    Bruno recommends Rainbow Light’s Complete Prenatal vitamins for soon-to-be mothers. These include additional herbs to help support pregnancy on top of the essential nutrients. Case suggests vitamin B6 for mothers experiencing nausea or morning sickness. If the idea of swallowing a vitamin is challenging, try WishGarden’s Calm-A-Tum or the homeopathic remedy Ipecacuanha.

    “The number one thing we see is colic, especially in first 3 months,” says Case. She recommends Cocyntal Colic Relief by Boiron, a homeopathic remedy in a liquid single dose for gas pains and irritability due to sensitive digestive systems. For mothers with newborns, a great formula to help with milk production is Lactation Blend Nursing Support by Vitanica.

    Bruno encourages toddlers to enjoy Nordic Berries by Nordic Naturals for their daily intake of fish oil. “Kids love them, and they are great for brain development,” she says.

    School Age and Beyond
    During this time of growth and development, a good multi-vitamin is great for providing stable nutrition. Taking a combination of fish oil and probiotic is recommended for kids experiencing hormonal changes. Case likes Jarro-Dophilus probiotic system for immune health. This product is easy because it comes in single use blister packs that don’t need to be refrigerated.

  • Back to School Days

    Get your little one prepared to head to school with the right nutrition, brain-boosting supplements and eco-friendly gear.

    8am: Breakfast
    For complete nutrition, send them off with a spoonful of ChildLife Essentials delicious orange/mango-flavored multivitamin. While you’re at it, jump-start their immunity with a dropperful of WishGarden Herbs Kick-It Immune Kids in their morning OJ.

    9am: Off to school
    Fill their backpacks with eco-friendly notebooks and pencils from a variety of brands, along with CleanWell Hand Sanitizer Wipes (triclosan-free!) to keep germs away.

    10am: Recess
    Make sure they’ve been slathered ahead of time with some all-natural sun protection, like the Environmental Working Group’s top-rated Goddess Garden Kid’s Natural Sunscreen. And rest easy when they hydrate with water from a fun, safe and reusable water bottle from Sigg, Lifefactory or EarthLust.

    Noon: Cafeteria
    Fill one of the retro-inspired lunchboxes from So Young Mother with whole foods like apples, carrots and yogurt. “Keep away from processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup,” says Whitney Elkins-Hutten, nutritionist at our North Boulder store. “If you give them healthy options, they’ll take the ones that are most interesting,” she says. She notes that adding stickers to a sandwich bag, or even cutting the sandwich it into fun shapes, can be enough to encourage them to eat well. And in the end, don’t worry if they want to eat the same thing every day. “Kids like routine,” says Whitney. “Just keep trying to introduce new foods slowly.”

    2pm: Snacktime
    When little ones need brainfood, make sure they’ve got a package of Pharmaca’s healthy and delicious snacks. They’ll get a great afternoon pick-me-up with nut and fruit mixes like Organic Protein Power or the Antioxidant-Rich Trail Mix (including cranberries, papaya and raisins).

    And don’t forget the omega-3s! Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Gummies are an easy and tasty way to get the DHA and EPA that growing brains need.

    4pm: Playtime
    Set up your little Picasso with non-toxic art supplies from EcoKids. Colored pencils are made from recycled newspaper, wax and vegetable-derived glue. Or outfit them with recycled crayons from Crazy Crayons.

    6pm: Shower/bathtime
    Lather up with Clean Kids by Gabriel’s Liquid Soap or Foaming Bath to bust germs and gently clean skin. And they’ll enjoy bathtime even more when you turn on Putumayo’s Rock & Roll Playground CD, featuring Dan Zanes and friends doing a kid-friendly version of early rock and roll.

    8pm: Bedtime!
    After a full day of activities, they’ll need to get the best sleep possible to prepare for the next school day. If they have trouble falling asleep, turn to Hyland’s Calms Forte 4 Kids, a well-loved sleep remedy that quells restlessness without making them groggy. You can even switch on Cloud B’s Twilight Turtle and they’ll fall asleep to soft light and starry constellations.

    Good night!

    To get expert advice about your child’s growing needs—or just to pick up some fun gear for school—stop into a Pharmaca today. 

  • Addressing ADHD

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric conditions affecting children. According to the centers for disease control, an estimated 4.4 million youth between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with this condition, with over half receiving prescription drug treatment. Prolonged symptoms, such as chronic inattention and constant hyperactivity, can be treated with prescription medication or complementary therapy. David Villareal, pharmacy manager at Pharmaca’s Monterey store, and practitioners Julie McGinnis and Erin Stokes from the South Boulder store share both options.

    DV :: The two most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD are Concerta and Adderall XR. These drugs help people gain focus although classified as stimulants. The side effects depend on the individual, but can include agitation, insomnia, and loss of appetite. These two formulas can be addictive, so some physicians prescribe Strattera because of its lower abuse potential. Treating someone affected by ADHD properly is like giving a new pair of glasses to someone who really needs them.

    JM :: Fish oils, especially DHA omega-3 fatty acids, can help promote brain health in those affected by this condition. We carry a high potency, flavored liquid supplement by Pharmax, as well as chewable options by Nordic Naturals, that are both great for children. It is best to get between 1,000 and 1,500 mg of fish oil per day.

    ES :: Good nutrition can also help children affected by ADHD. By consuming enough protein during the day, blood glucose levels can be kept stable. Try making protein powder shakes as an after school snack. I also recommend L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea plants, to increase the production of alpha brain waves for improved mental focus and concentration.

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