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Lately, I have had a few friends ask what supplements we use at our house. I will start out by saying that I am NOT an expert. I am just a mama who has done quite a bit of research, and have some smart friends who have helped me along the way.
We believe that good nutrition, and a diet full of healthy (when possible) and (mostly) organic foods. We also believe in traditional ideas about food and its preparation (check out the book Nourshing Tradations). Food is the foundation to a healthy body and immune system. We are most definitely not perfect. We do the best we can with the budget we are working with and the time we have. Some days we eat well, other days we don’t. You have to find a good groove in these areas. It has taken us years to get to this point and we still have a long ways to go. By taking gradual steps it really has been so fun and not that hard. You will rarely regret the time you spent making a nourishing meal…or that your hubs spends making a nourishing meal. 🙂
With that being said, there are a few different supplements and vitamins we use at our house.
Here is what we are currently giving the children (and often ourselves too).
1) Probiotics. Most people don’t eat a lot of fermented foods, or good quality cultured foods with probiotics. Many people eat yogurt, but it is often full of sugar which negates a lot of the benefits, or eats a variety that has few strains of the good stuff in it. Over time we have also decided to limit our dairy consumption somewhat and this is why we supplement with a good probiotic. Why take probiotics? Because approximately 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system. Having good gut health and flora is crucial to our health in so many ways. Check out this article for more information.
What to look for- Make sure that the probiotics you are buying in the store are refrigerated. Check to see how many “billion” cells per gram the brand has. The higher the better. Also, the more strains the better (lactobacillus casei, bifidobacterium breve, etc)
We use Udo’s Choice Infant’s Probiotics for the children right now. It is in a powder form and can be easily shook on top of something they are eating (like applesauce), or mixed with something like a spoonful of elderberry syrup.
Source-I take Udo’s Adult probiotics (about $15 for 60 count)…hubs is working on it. After he got hit hardest with a cold bug I think he is realizing the value even more. These can be purchased from Vitacost, or your local health food store. If ordering probiotics online make sure that they will be “cold shipped” to preserve the good stuff.
If you or a family member has taken antibiotics recently this will be hugely important for you. Get on a good probiotic as soon as possible with the highest “billion” number you can find. Your local health food store can help you with this. If you are currently on an antibiotic you can start taking a probiotic, just be sure to not take them at the exact same time. Take your antibiotic, and then a few hours later take your probiotic. Continue the probiotics after your prescription has ended as well.
2) Vitamin D- This is a biggie for feeling well and preventing the flu. After the twins were born I was feeling VERY run down and quite miserable. I went to a regular doctor and finally an endocrinologist that ran every test under the sun and took 14 viles of blood. What showed up? Nothing but a vitamin D deficiency (I was also suffering from serious lack of sleep that was contributing as well). People who have great vitamin D levels are FAR more likely to fend off the flu. “The risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D, doctors in Japan have found.”Read more from the source HERE.
Source/Dose-We use Genestra Brands or Biotics D-Mulsion 1000 for the whole family (You can purchase any drops, just modify the dose appropriately) . I give a drop or two to the children (1000-2000IU), and hubs and I take about 4-5 drops (4000-5000 IU). We purchase this at Vitacost. (New customers get $10 free to spend and shipping is free after a $49 dollar purchase.)
3) Fish Oil. We take Nordic Naturals Omega-3 fish oil or Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. We prefer FCLO, but often use Nordic Naturals because is more easily sourced, is a well known brand and they take purity seriously. When you are consuming fish products you want to make sure that you are being careful about things like mercury and other toxins. I trust these brands and am willing to pay a bit more for the peace of mind. We all use the Omega-3/FCLO and just give a smaller dose to the children.
Recently I ran out of the Nordic Naturals Omega-3 for awhile and I eventually noticed a huge difference. My excema flared up, a joint in my foot that hurt before I started taking fish oil started to hurt again after a long time, and my skin got more red and blotchy. It turned into an interesting experiment I had not planned on doing. It was nice to know that these things actually are helping us.
Dose-Of the Omega-3 I take a teaspoon or more a day and give the kids about 1/2 a teaspoon. For the FCLO we just follow the directions on the bottle.
My naturopath said that omega 9 can be a bit inflammatory, and the omega 3 is the most important one for me to get the highest dose of. That is why I chose this version of fish oil.
4) Elderberry– We LOVE elderberry. You can purchase it at the health food store, or easily make it a few different ways. We use it mainly for its amazing benefits for the immune system. Check our this post I wrote awhile back with more info on making Elderberry syrup which includes my sources and dose.
We also give the Littles a multi vitamin here and there, vitamin C when needed, things like honey mixed with apple cider vinegar (like Braggs brand), and garlic when it looks like they might be coming down with something.
Other good articles
Once again, NOT an expert. Just a mama trying to care for her family.