East meets West #1: Immune Health: an MD and an ND Share Key Foundations for Back to School Wellness

Collaboration between Dr. Zhiish McKenzie MD and Dr. Monika Herwig ND to support your family's well-being.

Welcome back to another year of school!  
We’ve come together (MD and ND) as mamas and doctors to provide some education to support you and your family this year. We thought we’d start with sharing key ‘Foundations’ to have in place to support our children’s immune system throughout the year.  

Here are some of our top recommendations:

1. Sleep Routine – our bodies and our families thrive when some basic rhythms are in place. To bed and to rise at the same time is anchoring and healing for the body. Have a simple evening routine that you follow with young ones (and yourselves!) that ends in sleep and stick to it best you can. Try to not veer from this too much on weekends and see what you notice in your child’s (and your) overall well-being.

2. 80% of our immune system resides in the gut so it’s probably no surprise to you that probiotics are central to our recommendations. Probiotics are such a simple, potent way to support your child's immune system and wonderful developing body. The type of strains of bacteria and the companies manufacturing practices for a probiotic supplement determine the difference in quality.  

Here some recommendations for high quality probiotic supplements recommended in early childhood – we use these preventatively even if no symptoms are present:
•    HMF Fit-For-School (Seroyal) - NEW - since this has been launched it has had a hard time staying on the shelf. We love what Seroyal has created for our children here. It has three immune supports in one black currant flavoured chewable tablet: 1,000 iu Vit D, 50 mg Vitamin C  and a high potency of quality human microflora probiotic. This product has been tested showing an over 30% reduction in upper respiratory tract infections. We can't believe what they are selling it for - great price for what you get. 
•    HMF Super Powder (Seroyal) - in our families we use this with the Super EFA liquid (Seroyal) daily - great combo foundation for health. The whole family (over 1 year old) can use it. We put some on a spoon and drizzle the oil over it and down the hatch. Keeping high quality supplements cost effective and simple to incorporate is how we like to roll.
•    HMF Intensive has no FOS and has a higher culture amount and is sometimes the probiotic of choice if a child has had antibiotics or is having symptoms of dysbiosis (yeast, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, etc.)
•    Including fermented food in your regular diet is wonderfully health-giving as not all the strains of good bacteria are patented and found in supplement form. 
•    Natren is another line of high quality probiotics we like: they are available at most Health Stores. With probiotics and oils we feel quality is even more important than usual due to the higher possibility of contamination with these supplements.
For more information on probiotics please see:

3. Vitamin D
•    400-500IU/day – big range depending on the age and circumstances. 
•    The research on Vit D’s health benefits keeps coming in. Increasing Vit D is so helpful in immune health, mood balance, hormonal health, bone health and really general well-being. We like the D-Mulsion 1000 from Seroyal as it tastes good enough and one drop is 1,000iu. Their D-Mulsion 400 is great for babes. It’s easy to take and is cost-effective. Seroyal’s Chewable D supplements are yummy lozenges for older ones to switch it up with and still good value.

4. Fish Oil is a great source of Essential Fatty Acids(EFAs). We're not going to list all the reasons EFAs are truly "essential" but supporting brain health and decreasing inflammation are two super common benefits. EFAs are also key in immune health and these days we recommend going the supplement route to get supplements rather than increasing fish consumption.
•    Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA
•    Super EFA Liquid - 500 ml - Great deal for what you get. Clean product that has a concentrated amount of essential fatty acids so that you don't need to take much to get a therapeutic dose. Lasts a while and the whole family can take this - just vary the dose.  Keep this as well as the probiotics in the fridge. Available in Orange and Strawberry Flavour.

5. Rose Hip tea - those of you who order the Cold and Flu Elixir every Fall know how helpful that mix is for supporting our children through the Fall and Winter and change of seasons. By association it's almost like a condiment in our house in that yearlong it shares accommodation with all our other condiments there in the fridge door. So tasty - kids ask for it. One of its lovely ingredients is rose hips - high in Vitamin C and bioflavonoids. If you're not going out and collecting rose hips in the late Fall, go out and gather with your children now - (-: makes a Vitamin-C rich yummy tea and strengthens the beautiful connection and healing nature offers us daily.

Where can I purchase the supplements discussed here?  Some of these items are available at The Community Farm Store or Lyn’s Vitamins in Duncan and at Nutters in Canmore.  You can order the Seroyal supplements from Dr. Herwig who has been offering a "Keeping it Simple" Program for Families where the supplements you order are delivered to your house in 1-2 days at substantial savings. E-mail Dr. Herwig at growingmamalove@gmail.com if you are interested in receiving an order form.

Be sure to tune into the next issue: “At the first signs of a cold”