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Keeping Up Kids’ Immunity Naturally

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 1 views
by Dr. Tyson Perez
 

It’s that time again…Back to School.  This is the time of year when children tend to get sick more often, which can be a real drag for both the child and the parents.  If you listen to the conventional advice of your pediatrician or TV doctor, you will probably be told to make sure that your kids wash their hands frequently and are up to date on their vaccinations, as if that were the best or only way to prevent sickness.  From years of clinical practice and taking care of thousands of children from all walks of life, I know this is absolutely not true.  In order for a child’s immune system to be strong enough to fend off any and all germs, a number of factors are important including diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress levels and nervous system function.

Diet

Of primary importance is your child’s diet. The foods he or she eats will heavily influence whether or not they get ill and, if they do, the severity and length of their symptoms. Diets high in sugar, particularly refined sugars like those found in candy, soda, juices and even some breads, can significantly depress a child’s immune function.  A famous study out of Loma Linda University demonstrated that sugar intake depressed the ability of the body’s neutrophils (aka white blood cells) to respond to germs.  These sugars also feed the pathogenic bacteria in the gut.  If a child’s gut flora is out of balance, you can bet that they will get sick far more often.  This can be addressed by eliminating processed sugars and restoring healthy gut bacteria through fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir or taking a good probiotic supplement.  Good hydration from a clean source of water is also essential. Viruses, for instance, are hydrophobic.  They hate water.  The more water a child drinks, the quicker the virus is eliminated.  Water also help to increase circulation and allow the immune cells to reach the invaders more quickly.  Vitamin C from a WHOLE FOOD source like acerola cherries (not a synthetic version like that found in Emergen-C) is very effective at preventing and mitigating illness.  If children get a bacterial infection such as whooping cough, Lipospheric vitamin C works far better than antibiotics in most cases.

Exercise

Unfortunately, too many of today’s youth spend way too much time in front of their TVs, computer screens, or smart phones and not enough time in the great outdoors. Regular exercise is vital to the immune system.  It increases blood flow helping to circulate the body’s immune cells who are constantly on the look-out for invading bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.  It also enhances lymphatic flow.  One of the lymphatic system’s primary roles is to rid the body of invading organisms and toxins.  Additionally, playing or exercising in the sun will also optimize a child’s vitamin D status which is essential for a strong, robust immune system.  I believe that low vitamin D status during the fall and winter months is one of the major reasons we see such an increase in the number colds and flus.

Stress & Sleep

Never minimize the importance of sleep and stress on a child’s immune function.  The amount of stress that our children are under today, in order to get good grades or make the team  so that they can get into a good college or “go pro”,  is tremendous.  Add to that, the stress of just being a kid and dealing with bullying, acne, puberty, etc. and you are setting the stage for illness.  Be sure to talk to your kids on a daily basis and address any issues immediately.  We have a rule in our home…everyone eats at the dinner table and no phones, computers or TVs are allowed.   Also, I recommend a set bed time.  In general, the younger the child, the more sleep they need.  Having electronic devices of any kind in their bedroom, including night lights, can disrupt normal sleep patterns which will increase their body’s level of stress.

Nervous System

As a chiropractor, I know that the most overlooked aspect of immunity is the function of the nervous system.  Few people ever relate chronic or recurrent infections to their spine.  Let me be clear…your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) controls every function in your body including the immune system.  Interference in the nerve supply can and will increase susceptibility to infections.  Ear infections are an excellent example.  Countless parents, who are fed up with the recurrent ear infections & endless rounds of antibiotics, seek out chiropractic care as a natural and safe alternative.  It works!

Remember, it’s okay for kids to get sick once in a while.  In fact, it’s absolutely essential for their bodies to fight off germs in order to train and strengthen their immune systems.  When their  immunity is strong, they will get sick much less often and be able to quickly and easily recover when they are ill.

If you live in the Carlsbad, CA area & would like more info about how chiropractic care can help strengthen your child’s immune system, I can be contacted through my website www.WestCoastChiropracticCarlsbad.com.

Republished with permission from the author.

Dr. Tyson Perez is a Chiropractor in private practice in Carlsbad, CA (San Diego County), who currently owns West Coast Chiropractic where he specializes in prenatal, pediatric & family practice.

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