Happy Summer! Even though we are thoroughly enjoying ours, my forward thinking mind goes to the start of a new school year. It’s coming up fast and I want to be prepared for the special gift that it always brings to everyone... the Crud. If you are a parent to a young child, you will know what I am talking about. This pesky villain likes to make his visit fall, winter, and spring and when he does we will be ready with our armor tightly strapped! Think Captain America and Spider Man meet the Crud, episode 1. Hehe
In all seriousness now, a lot of my patients ask me what I give to my boys to help their immune systems. So here is my basic checklist: (I may add a few other Chinese herbs based on symptoms, but in general this is the base. Of course, be mindful to follow dosage guidelines recommended based on the weight of your child as I did not include dosage in the list below.)
Vitamin C: helps to increase the anti microbial effect our immune system has on pathogens by increasing the phagocytosis activity. Think old school Pac Man game!
Zinc: shown to inhibit rhinovirus (otherwise known as the common cold) replication and shorten the duration of the cold on your body.
A good multivitamin with Methyl folate: methyl folate is the more absorbable form of folic acid. Many of us have a mutation in one or sometimes two of our genes, that predispose us to have absorption issues with folic acid.
Probiotics with its prebiotic food: A very large majority of our immune system resides in our gut wall/ intestines. It helps to fight off infections with its ability to secrete beneficial Immunoglobulins, T cells, and B cells. Having a good probiotic on board daily decreases our susceptibility to upper respiratory infections and certain viruses. Plus it helps regulate digestion and reduce bloating. If your probiotic doesn't contain a prebiotic, just make sure to include some fermented foods in the diet.
Jade Windscreen: Yu Ping Feng San is comprised of three herbs, huang qi (astragulus), fang feng (ledebouriella root), and bai zhu (atractylodes). This formula has been shown to increase the release of cytokines, which in turn send signals to use macrophages and natural killer cells to attack the infectious microbes.
In clinical trials, this formula has shown to decrease the incidences of upper respiratory infections in children more susceptible to these frequent infections.
Note - it's important to change this formula to one with more anti-viral, anti-bacterial action at the first signs of sickness. I typically replace this formula with either Yin Qiao, Gan Mao Ling, or Chuan Xin Lian (Andrographis) depending on symptoms.
Elderberry liquid: my secret weapon for making Chinese herbal formulas taste good plus a bonus of this deep purple berry is that it's loaded with anthocyanins that increase the production of cytokines.
Let's help prepare our little hero's for battle!
Blog postings by Natalie Maddox Rougie, AP, DACM owner of Palm Wellness in Tampa, FL.