• Dr. Caroline Ricker

Back to School? Our Top Tips to Supporting Their Immune Systems!

I think that we can all agree that this year is pretty unique. Whether right now you are readying your kiddos to go back to school in person, prepping for e-learning, or learning how to homeschool, lots of changes are being made to everyone’s routine.

Big changes can mean big stress, and stress can affect the immune system pretty heavily. Couple that with the impending change in whether and possible return to more sports, clubs and activities and it could be a recipe for decreased immunity. But it doesn’t have to be!

Studies show that increases in stress and anxiety will lower your body’s natural immune response to fight off illness. In fact, a study following students during final exams showed that for the three day periods during their testing, their bodies virtually stopped producing gamma interferon and killer T-cells, both of which are super beneficial in combatting illness.

No matter how you’re schooling, this is not good news if you don’t know how to help keep your immune system on track. The better news is that there is PLENTY that you can do to help support your body’s natural ways of fighting off the bugs!

This Fall’s Top Tips for Great Immunity

1. Work on decreasing stress that you don’t need

Look through your daily schedule, and maybe your kid’s too if applicable, and see what really does and doesn’t need to be there. Now is not the time to be stretching yourself or your kids thin, and while your family may be used to running around like crazy, it’s time to consider slowing down while school picks up. Also, check our blog from last week for more tips on how to reduce or manage your stress so that it is less likely to affect your immune system.

2. Decrease Sugar

Sugar is not your immune system’s BFF, trust me. While it might feel stress relieving to sink your teeth into that double chocolate brownie, the effects on your body’s ability to work for you aren’t worth it. Sugar not only causes inflammation and makes your body work harder to regulate blood sugar and hormones, it also is a super food for bacteria and viruses who thrive off it. One of the easiest ways to “starve” an illness is to cut all sugar. While cutting all sugar out of your kiddo’s diet right now is probably more stress than it’s worth, taking care to remove sugary stuff that really doesn’t need to be there can go a long way in helping them stay healthy.

3. Vitamin C

It should come as no surprise that Vitamin C is making our list of immune supports, but what good would this list be if I didn’t mention it, right? There is a laundry list of ways that Vitamin C helps support immunity. It is a powerful antioxidant, keeping cells health a regulating DNA. It also actually supports skin cells in staying healthy and keeping out invaders. In addition, it enhances production of certain immune cells while also being necessary for the detox/clean up process that happens when fighting an infection. While there are a large amount of supplements for Vitamin C available, our favorite kid friendly versions are: DesBio Liposomal Vitamin C or Designs for Health Lipsomal Vitamin C

*Use Registration Code CR1735 to order online

4. Vitamin D3

Vit D3 also packs a powerful immune punch. Both a vitamin and a hormone, this baby will help your babies keep their immune systems on track. While still being heavily researched to discover just how and why Vitamin D3 is so effective in supporting immune systems, so far it has been show to help decrease inflammation during and immune response, regulate DNA and plays a part in production of immune cells. Researchers also agree that there is too much evidence to ignore the correlation between the colder months, when we have naturally lower levels of Vitamin D3, and increased levels of sickness. Unless you’re living near the equator you and your kids won’t be getting any vitamin D after September so we recommend a quality supplement. Our top picks are: Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte or DesBio Liposomal D3-K2 Creamy Vanilla

*Use Registration Code CR1735 to order online

5. Increase Sleep

When increasing stress and exposing ourselves to more things that can make us ill it is more crucial than ever to help our bodies have time to recover. Much of our healing and restoring comes during the night when we experience deep sleep states. Limit your child’s screen time after dark and at least one hour prior to bed to help them reach these natural deep sleep states. In addition, be sure that any caffeine consumption stops around noon. While the buzz-like effects of caffeine are only felt for a few hours, its stimulant factor has a half-life of around 12 hours, meaning that some of a soda drank around lunch time will still be doing some stimulating close to midnight! While many kids (and adults) can easily fall asleep with that level of it in the system, it has been shown to disturb the normal sleep cycle causing us to fall short of that restorative rest our bodies crave.

There are so many ways outside of these top tips that can also help you keep yourself and your child as healthy as possible this school season. Cleaning up the diet and regular exercise are great examples. So is eliminating seasonal or food allergies that can cause a breakdown in our systems leaving us open to illness as well.