There are many passionate people in the natural health product industry that fight to preserve its reputation and integrity. Unfortunately, the industry is also beset with constant pressures to keep up with the latest fad. This is both unfortunate and sad because by definition a fad implies some trend devoid of science. It is something concocted to be the flavor of the month purely for marketing purposes, and we have seen many such fads in the past that have only tarnished the reputation of the industry. These detrimental fads have caused an up roar and labelled our industry as nothing
After the relaxing fun of summer, Back-to-School season is here again. Although every school year offers its share of gratification, it’s typically also a balancing act, for both parents and kids. Trying to juggle a busy schedule and the many demands of parenting while keeping the kids healthy and ready to learn can be a challenge. For kids, the return to bedtime and homework routines and new academic and social challenges can result in increased stress, which may lead to weakened immunity. These factors, combined with the increased exposure to flu bugs and other infections, can spell sick days for the whole family if we aren’t careful.
Stacking the Immunity Odds
There are some natural and straight-forward ways to ensure your family’s immune system is up to the test of the school year, however. Practising frequent hand-washing, making time for nutritious family meals, cutting down on sugar (which impairs the immune system), limiting screen time before bed, and making sure kids get to unwind in healthy ways (like exercise) can all contribute to healthy immune systems.
There are also some clinically proven nutrients, vitamins and natural formulations that can give the whole family an added immunity boost. Consider adding these to your Back-to-School list this year.
Let the sunshine (vitamin) in
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, known for its role in aiding with calcium absorption and promoting bone formation, but also in balancing immune function and supporting mood. During our long, dark winters, it’s easy to become deficient in the “Sunshine Vitamin”. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health conditions, including frequent infections, so everyone needs to get enough. Vitamin D3 is the most effective source of vitamin D. AOR’s vegan version comes in an adult size and a child size, or in non-vegan capsules, for your convenience.
Probiotics, fibre and immunity
A healthy gut not only controls digestion; it benefits your immune system. Probiotics help to re-establish and support healthy bacterial microflora in the intestines. And, despite the hype, more strains aren’t always better when it comes to the effectiveness of probiotics. Probiotic-3 is a unique probiotic formula from AOR with just three strains. While they are new to the North American market, they have been widely used in hospitals and pharmacies throughout Asia for over 50 years. Clinical studies have shown wide-ranging health benefits, including improved immunity, allergy reduction, and even enhanced detoxification. One of the unique strains has been shown to have antagonistic effects against several pathogenic bacteria such as C. difficile, H. pylori, and E. coli, while others promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Part of a healthy gut involves staying regular. Children often suffer from stress-related constipation and doctors say that it can lead to abdominal pain, appetite suppression and other problems if not addressed. Xylo-oligosaccharide (XOS) is a prebiotic fibre that selectively promotes the growth of only beneficial microflora while inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. These beneficial strains also lower the pH of the intestines, making it an inhospitable environment for harmful bacteria to live. Improved gut microflora has benefits for digestive, cardiovascular, and overall health, especially in improving occasional gastrointestinal disorders that may arise from a stomach bug. It also quickly and gently relieves constipation or diarrhea, potentially avoiding the necessity for oral laxatives while boosting gut immunity.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 different processes in the body, so it can indirectly affect our resistance to illness. For example, we now know how important sleep is to overall health no matter what your age. Those who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to viruses such as colds; they also recover more slowly. Magnesium may assist, as its relaxing effects include reducing blood pressure and increasing the neurotransmitter GABA, thereby improving sleep quality.
Other benefits of magnesium include improved energy production, nutrient metabolism and muscle function. It’s also involved in the production of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, something every family member can use more of.
Magnesium is an excellent option for those sports-oriented families with teenagers (or parents) looking for an extra boost of energy or enhanced muscle strength and flexibility. AOR’s Magnesium Synergy contains complementary vitamins, minerals and amino acids and comes in a powdered form that can easily be added to a beverage before the game. As an added bonus – it won’t have you running off the sports field to the bathroom like some magnesium supplements do.
This year, there’s no reason not to start school feeling healthy, rested, and strong – with a little immunity boost the whole family can benefit from.