Supplementation For You And Your Family – Do Infant Probiotics Work?
I get his question a lot. “How early is too early to start giving supplements like infant probiotics to my children?” This is usually followed by “and should I/we be taking something?”
The answer to this is, it’s never too early to start giving supplements to your children! And Yes, you should be taking something too. Always. I tell Mom’s that supplementation should start before pregnancy, continue during pregnancy, and then both Mom and baby should be taking some key supplements from day one. It’s NEVER too early to start getting the entire family on track.
We want to optimize your health, your nutrient status, the function of your body, so that you avoid having to take pills to treat illness later. We need to move from the idea of “sick care” to “self-care.”
Supplementation is still a bit of a mystery to some people. It is often hard for people to wrap their heads around the idea of taking something, especially if they don’t actually feel unwell. Why take a supplement if you feel fine? Why take something, when you can’t necessarily feel the benefit. It’s been engrained in us that we take “pills” when we’re sick. However, this is the whole point of preventative medicine. We don’t want you, your family or your kids to get sick. We want to optimize your health, your nutrient status, the function of your body, so that you avoid having to take pills to treat illness later. We need to move from the idea of “sick care” to “self-care.”
When it comes top optimal health, most of us are functioning at a nutrient deficiency.
Many people counter this by saying they eat well, and they want to get all their nutrients from their food. Unfortunately, in today’s world, that’s barely possible. I’m a healthy eater, but even I know I’m not getting 10-13 (!) servings of fruits and veggies daily. I’d be eating all the time, and have to consume way too much sugar and too many calories to get close. In addition, the quality of the foods we eat today just isn’t top notch. An apple I eat today has way fewer nutrients that an apple my grandmother ate 50 years. We have food processing, chemicals and pesticides to thank for that. When it comes top optimal health, most of us are functioning at a nutrient deficiency. And let’s be honest, most of us aren’t eating as well as we could be. Alcohol, soda, fried foods, fast foods…. These don’t help. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat and live well, it just means we still need a little help while we do it.
I’d love to meet the non-picky eater who consumes every drop of the perfectly nutrient-balanced meal you’ve placed in front of him/her.
When it comes to kids, I’d love to meet the non-picky eater who consumes every drop of the perfectly nutrient-balanced meal you’ve placed in front of him/her. Exactly. I’ve yet to meet this mythical child either. So for those non-mythical little ones, you’ve got to get those vitamins into them! Now is the time when their brains and bodies are growing and developing, so these nutrients are essential.
Our lifestyles also play a role here, with stress as a main factor. We live in a society where stress has become the norm. The detriments of chronic stress could fill an entire book, but a key factor here is that it contributes to inflammation, which is at the root cause of most chronic disease, it throws off the bacteria in our guts, dampens our immune system and it zaps our nutrient supplies, as the body searches for vitamins and minerals to make sure we can function and meet current demands. We have to put those vitamins back, or make sure they’re there to begin with.
The detriments of chronic stress could fill an entire book, but a key factor here is that it contributes to inflammation, which is at the root cause of most chronic disease.
So when it comes to supplementation, do we need to? yes. And we should start as early as possible!
So, what are we taking? In my opinion, there a 4 things that EVERYONE, not matter what age, should be taking for optimal health. Then you move on from here if you have other health concerns to address.
First, a multivitamin, to ensure adequate basic nutrient levels, so the body can function as it needs to. Next is a Probiotic. What do probiotics do? They put healthy bacteria in your gut. Everything happens in our gut. Digestion, immune response – it’s now being considered the second brain, so you want to make sure you’ve got the right, healthy bacteria there to make sure it’s working properly. Not to mention the amazing benefits of probiotics on skin, immune, urinary, brain and digestive health. Fish oil would be the next key supplement, to help manage inflammation and optimize brain function, focus and concentration. Pregnant and breast-feeding mom’s should look for a high DHA fish oil. Lastly, Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. This amazing vitamin is implicated in so many different processes in the body, and yet most of us are deficient. Even if we live in sunshine-y locations, we’re still lacking in our outdoor time. The benefits of vitamin D are never ending, from bone and teeth health, to protection against disease such as cancer and diabetes.
So for everyone from birth onwards, even if you feel well now, your lifestyle and environment can and will eventually take a toll. So do yourself, your body and your family a favour, and stock up on those basic essentials to optimize your health now and prevent damage later.
Want to learn more about probiotics?
Healthy fats your kids should be eating?
Have a picky eater at home?
*Please Note: The information presented in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure, or to replace the medical advice of your health care provider. Before beginning any nutraceutical interventions, it is always best to consult with your health care provider to ensure that it is safe and right for you.
Andra is one of Toronto’s leading Naturopathic Doctor’s. She specializes in women’s hormonal and sexual health, and loves to share her knowledge and experience to help women through all the different phases of life. Life should be fun, and Andra will help you stay healthy while enjoying every bit of it!