Key Nutrients in Children’s Immune HealthSep 30, 2022 ● By Keri Barron
Photo courtesy of Standard Process
Kids are exposed to many germs, viruses and potential intruders from a very young age. Supporting children’s immune health through nutrients and dietary compounds can help reduce time spent sick and provide a much-needed boost to their developing immune systems.
Vitamin C is probably the best-known nutrient for supporting immune health in both adults and children. It can stimulate the immune system, and plays a critical role in preventing oxidative damage that can occur as part of the response to an infection.
Vitamin D is a powerful immune regulator due to the presence of specific receptors on almost every type of immune cell.
Zinc, a mineral involved in hundreds of reactions in the body, is an important component for rapidly dividing cells, including those in the immune system. It helps defend against oxidative stress, increases components of the immune response such as antibodies and helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucosal membranes, the first line of defense against invading pathogens.
Gut health is an important but often forgotten piece of immune health. Maintaining a diverse, healthy population of beneficial bacteria can help the immune system respond properly when it encounters a pathogen. Probiotics can help deliver specific good bacteria to the gut, whereas prebiotics are a source of food for bacteria that are already present.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) can also support children’s immune health. Elderberry contains high concentrations of phenolic compounds called anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants and capable of supporting the immune system’s response to an infection.
Children are especially vulnerable to pathogens due to their developing immune system. Providing additional support through vitamins, minerals, herbs and prebiotics can enhance the immune response and provide both acute and long-lasting immune support.Keri Barron, Ph.D., is the scientific nutrition writer for Standard Process. For more information, visit WholisticMatters.com.