Preparing Your Immune System for Back to School – Supplements

Post 1/4 On Building Your Immune System

Today the topic is Supplements.

There is tons of information out there about vitamins, herbs, and probiotics.  It can be very confusing.
Let’s break it down:

** Vitamin D ** 

We don’t make enough or at all vitamin D.  We must ingest it or have sunlight exposure without SPF (don’t even think not applying sunscreen).  Sunlight helps our bodies change the Vitamin D in our bodies to a usable form.
– In the 1920’s, studies showed that people in sunnier locations had lower rates of infection such as Tuberculosis and Influenza.  Numerous studies recently (2009 during Swine Flu Epidemic), have shown that daily vitamin D supplementation reduces risk of catching Influenza and Pneumonia from Influenza.   Furthermore, a reduction in asthma symptoms was also shown in those taking Vitamin supplementation, especially during influenza season.  These studies were done in both kids and adults.

– Cancer research demonstrates a decrease in risk of cancer in those taking vitamin D or living near the equator. (Cancer is held in check by immune cells)

– How much do you need: Babies- kids 400 International Units (IU), teens 600-1000 IU, adults 1000-2000 IU. It is best to get your levels checked for accurate dosing

– Food with Vit D, Organic Whole Milk with Vit D, Fish, pasture raised organic eggs,  and liver are the best sources in food

** Probiotics **

In Chinese medicine it is said that if your gut is out of sync, so is the rest of your body. Western Medicine has spent millions of dollars in research to come to the same conclusion.

The first line of defense against invading viruses and bacteria is our skin and our nose and mouth. Assuming our skin is intact, the body has to have the correct army to fight off the germs being sneezed at us, coughed on us, and residing on unwashed hands (now we are all grossed out).  Our gut is populated with trillions of bacteria that helps us with digestion and immune defense.  If you eat a diet containing processed foods, tons of sugar and food coloring, or fake sugars like Splenda and Equal, your gut bacteria becomes weak and somewhat useless.  How do you build this army??  First change your diet Building Your Immune System – Nutrition.  Second, probiotics of course, but which one?!!

– Currently I am obsessed with VSL#3. Tons of research in the Journal of Gastroenterology shows its effect on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Disease (both illnesses are inflammatory conditions).
When looking at probiotics – they need to have the following:

  • at least 6 strains (this has 8).
  • billions of colonies (the non-prescription has 118 billion ).
  • must be refrigerated (it’s live bacteria).
  • studies need to show that the pills in the bottles are actually active.
  • Here are a few more options:

– I welcome comments for other probiotics that have published studies.  I am always looking for new and fresh ideas backed by science.

– other great options to build your belly with probiotics is by eating Kefir, sourkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods.

** Juice Plus (JP)**

What might I be talking about??  These are gummies and capsules made from Fruits and Veggies grown organically and pulverized. We need 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day and with the start of school this becomes even more important to fight off the grossness that is out there. Not many folks get 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables regularly, based on my in-office surveys done at every Well Child Check visit. So supplementing with JP will help. Forget your  man-made chemical vitamins and think Fruits and Veggies.

– Back to studies…. Several studies done on Law Students and Adults show an increase in immune function and decrease in viral infections just by taking JP over 60-70days.

Here are the links to the study and several other studies for those interested. Reduction in cold symptomsImmunity in Humans after eating JPImmune Function in the ElderlyIllness Improvement in Men

You can find more info at Juice Plus. For further questions, the contact is at the top right.

Of Note, Juice Plus does not contain any Vitamin D or sufficient probiotics.

** Omega 3 **

From fish oil, flax seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, organic minimally pasteurized milk (never raw).  Omega-3’s not only help strengthen the immune system, but they are a key component for brain development.  Omega-3’s help with focus, attention, impulsivity, anxiety, and depression.  These are also important elements needed for Back To School.

  1. Chia seeds – 3Tbsp = Fiber 11gm, Protein 5gm, Iron, 4800 mg Omega 3
  2. Hemp Hearts (nutty flavor if any) – 3Tbsp = fiber 3gm, Protein 10gm, 3000mg Omega 3
  3. Flax Seed Powder (no taste) – 2 Tbsp= Fiber 4gm, Protein 3gm, 2800mg Omega 3
  4. Barleans Flax Seed Oil is another great alternative that is sweet and flavorful, comes in Berry and Banana Strawberry and adds 1000mg of Omega 3 per Tbsp

You can find some great tips to incorporate these into your diet here:  Morning Smoothies


– fast food

– Refined carbs

– Refined sugars

– Store bought juices (fortified OJ is sugar with Vit D added, just get the Vit D and Layoff the sugar)

– Processed foods

– Non organic dairy

– Flinstone vitamins (filled with corn syrup, tons of sugar, food coloring)

– ANTIBIOTICS for snot and congestion that is viral. Colds can be horrible in the first few days.  Day 3-5 are generally the worst. Just because you are congested and have a headache does not mean you have a sinus infection. Colds can last 7-14 days without being anything more then just a COLD. Coughs are annoying but 90% are viral. Fevers mean the body is fighting off infection, it does not mean that Antibiotics are needed. Missing work, school, exams, from above symptoms is annoying but it does not mean Antibiotics.


In Good Health, Ana-Maria

4 thoughts on “Preparing Your Immune System for Back to School – Supplements

  1. Is there any benefit to doing these supplements separately? I want to start my son (nut allergy & color sensisitivity) on these vitamins but I may have better luck with an “all in one” like Smarty Pants. And it’s a little cheaper. Thanks for all you do. This is a new journey for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smarty Pants Vitamins do have Vitamin D – 600 international units (great), Omega 3 at 112mg which is very low. These are an OK start but Omega 3 needs to be more around 1000mg. Cheaper is not necessarily better. Beware of the price trap – most people get very focused on saving money on supplements while overlooking the price of medications and the price on health. Good supplements backed by medical journals to show effectiveness will be more expensive then generic meds sold at Target and Costco, generally. Supplements that have not been studied in medical journals may or may not have the amount of ingredients listed on the label since there is no organization that measures these standards. Examples – probiotic and omega-3. Many brands make claims on the label, but when investigated the ingredients are actually inactive (in probiotics) or the amounts in the jar do not match the label (omega 3). Thank you for sending such a great question.


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