vitamins and supplements background

Supplements (© MarekPhotoDesign.com - stock.adobe.com)

Kids of all ages are back in school, putting a renewed focus on academic preparedness and bolstering children’s health. The need for reinforcing their immune systems intensifies as students jump back into environments that involve close contact with their peers. Simply put, school can be a breeding ground for germs!

In such close-knit settings, ensuring their immune system is fortified isn’t just an option; it’s a necessary. Familiarizing yourself with top-notch immune-boosting supplements can pave the way for fewer sick days and a vibrant school year. So, what can you do to bolster your health and theirs?

As a pharmacist, here are the top four supplements that can offer a child an essential health shield:

Zinc: The Shield Builder

Zinc is an essential trace element, a cornerstone of the body’s immune responses. It helps to regulate the development and function of several immune cells, including neutrophils and natural killer cells. Zinc also mitigates inflammation and aids in antibody production to counteract pathogens. For people with viral infections, like flu or COVID-19, zinc helps to reduce the symptoms and the severity of the illness. An optimal zinc intake ensures a sturdy barrier against infections.

Zinc supplement tablets on a plate
(Photo by Fida Olga on Shutterstock)

Vitamin C: The Germ Fighter

Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, is a vital component supplement for our body’s immune system. It spurs the production of white blood cells — lymphocytes and phagocytes — which are instrumental in fending off infections. Furthermore, vitamin C boosts the efficacy of these cells, shielding them from potential harm inflicted by harmful entities like free radicals.

Mens multivitamin poured into hand with oranges on table
Mens multivitamin poured into hand

Elderberry: The Super Berry

Elderberries act as potent antioxidants. They are pivotal for defense mechanisms because they stimulate the immune system, accelerating the production of cytokines — vital proteins for immune response regulation. Infused with antiviral properties, elderberries not only prevent but can also cut short the duration of various infections.

Elderberries
Elderberries (Photo by Maddy Weiss from Unsplash)

Echinacea: The Helper Herb

Echinacea, a supplement derived from the North American coneflower, is celebrated for its immune augmentation capabilities. It bolsters the production of white blood cells, vital for repelling infections. Echinacea also enhances cell communication, fostering swifter reactions to invasive pathogens.

Echinacea
Photo by Stephan H. from Unsplash

Why is this important?

A fortified immune system means fewer missed school days and a more productive learning experience. Furthermore, integrating these supplements can lead to a more resilient immune response in schools and all environments. Various studies, including those published in The Journal of Advances in Integrative Medicine, Annual Reviews Journal, The Journal of Complementary Medicine and Therapies, and Molecules, have highlighted the immune-enhancing properties of these supplements.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, ensure the chosen supplements are of high quality, and the appropriate dosage is given based on the child’s age and weight. It’s crucial to consult with a pediatrician or health expert before introducing new supplements to a child’s diet. They can guide you on dosages, potential interactions, and other vital considerations.

Bottom Line

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Gearing up your child’s immune system is an actionable measure for parents as school begins. By understanding the importance of supplements such as zinc, vitamin C, elderberry, and echinacea and how they boost your child’s immune system, you’re bolstering their health and facilitating a seamless learning experience. However, ensuring that any choice is informed and in sync with the child’s unique health needs is essential.

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About Alexander Olumese, PharmD

Alexander Olumese is a DMV-based registered pharmacist and medical writer. He has over 10 years of experience with community and hospital pharmacies, as well as over 3 years within the pharmaceutical industry as a medical writer within medical affairs. He has a background in a variety of therapeutic areas. However, he specializes in cardiovascular disease, oncology, pain medicine, and infectious disease.

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