Summer is here and routines are a mess. As a parent, you’re just trying to survive while ensuring your kids don’t eat you out of house and home. Whether you’re working, staying at home, working from home with them or sending them to camp – we are compiling a little bit of a “Summer Survival Kit” to keep you and the kids well all summer long. First on that list discussing immunity. While most of the patients I have as a pediatric chiropractor are great at managing their health proactively, when summer rolls around it can be hard to have your regular routine interrupted and all those important things you do to promote wellness in your family and yourself can sometimes go out the window. As you probably already know, a healthy immune system regulates itself properly and adapts to its environment easily, even in changing circumstances (read: weird summer routines). Sometimes, even for our most diligence patients, no matter how hard you try, external factors (grandparents, their friends, parties and holidays) can sabotage your efforts to keep them eating clean and staying healthy.
Here are some of our best tips for keeping you *and* the kids well all summer long.
Plenty of Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D is one of the most critical vitamins for the functioning of your immune system – your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease. Vitamin D helps to fight infection by regulating the activity of immune cells that elicit antiviral responses. It binds to receptors on immune cells. Despite it’s critical role in our immunity, 42% of the US population is vitamin D deficient, according to Cantomercy.org.
What to do?
Get outside! This should theoretically be easy during summer when children are out of school, but with the heat index often approaching 3 digits in the summer, we know that it might be a little too hot. Who wants to leave the comfort of your temperature controlled home to melt in the sun when the couch is oh-so-comfy? If you’re not wanting to go outside or you’re a person of color (where vitamin D synthesis may be decreased), you can consider a quality Vitamin D supplement (1000 IU per 25 lbs of body weight). We highly recommend Innate Choice’s D-Sufficiency. Otherwise, get out there for at least 15-20 minutes a day and bask in the sunshine to boost your family’s immune system.
Bump up your gut flora.
Quality probiotics are a great way to boost your immune system and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Klaire Labs is the brand that we carry in the office. They’re the pioneers for research regarding gut flora and have consistently proven that the number of bacteria that they say are In their products are actually in there. They consistently show a dedication to the science behind probiotics that is unparalleled with most store-bought probiotics brands. You can see that when you look at the number of cultures on the back of these bottles and compare it to the number of cultures in most store bought brands. They also offer a product called Synbiotic which, in addition to complementary strains of probiotics, also includes pre-biotics. This helps our patients cycle through a wider variety of bacteria that we might lose in such an “antibacterial” age. The downside of all that hand sanitizer is that we’ve limited the amount and types of bacteria that we’re introduced to on an everyday basis. Your immune system is trained by your exposure to microorganisms, so eating fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut is great, but probiotics help you vary these bacterias and cycle through different types of probiotics.
Both of these options are available in our office at your regular chiropractic adjustment.
Nourish your body with whole foods.
In an age where every terrible food is promoted on every screen your children watches, it can be difficult to ensure that your children are eating as healthy as possible. Going to stay at friends’ houses, off to summer camps, or even at their grandparents can often derail their healthy eating and set them back by promoting inflammation in the body.
What I’ve found works for many of my patients is allowing your children to choose between options, always allowing them to be the ones to control how much they eat (while you provide the options) and allowing them to have fun with their food while educating them on the benefits of great food choices.
Avoiding inflammatory foods in excess like meat, dairy, processed sugar or refined grains as well as limiting or eliminating their exposure to harmful chemicals and food dyes is a great start. The basis of shopping around the outside of the grocery store helps, but really reading labels and understanding what foods are best for their body is really important.
Our clinic offers food sensitivity testing to help determine which foods are causing chemical stress in someone’s body, which can compromise immunity. If you want to learn more about food sensitivity testing using applied kinesiology, be sure to check out our article and explainer video on food sensitivity testing. We have hundreds of reports from patients that have eliminated foods we’ve found them to be sensitive to through testing and had reports of amazing results.
As much as possible, you want to try and ensure that you’re getting whole fruits and vegetables into their diets and avoiding anything that their body is sensitive to, or processed foods and chemicals with little to no nutritional value. The more colorful, whole foods that you can sneak in there, the more micronutrients they will get and the more health benefits they will see. As you build the stores of micronutrients in their system, the body uses them to boost immunity, fight inflammation and increase their overall wellness. Your body’s hormones are created by the fuel you feed it and your best chance for success at health and happiness is by watching carefully what you put into your body and balancing that whenever possible.
Not quite sure how a spine without any vertebral subluxations supports a health immune system? The concept itself is fairly simple, and most of our patients already understand that the spinal cord serves as the information highway between the nervous system, the brain and your major organs. The less interruption (caused by vertebral subluxation in the spine) the messages have as they travel through the body, the more efficiently it can operate.
Here are just a few statements promoting chiropractic for wellness from the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research:
- Children raised under chiropractic care are less prone to infection processes such as ear infections and tonsillitis. These children have stronger immune systems and are also better able to cope with allergens such as pollen, weeds, grasses, etc. as compared to children raised under allopathic care.
- Studies that have measured the effect of chiropractic adjustments on the immune system have shown the chiropractic can influence T and B lymphocyte counts, natural killer cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma beta-endorphin levels.
- Poor movement in the spine can adversely affect the immune response by causing the body to incorrectly activate a stress response, which slows the ability of the immune system to react.
- Nervous system dysfunction can cause immune system dysfunction, and chiropractic theory postulates that by removing the nervous system interference, spinal adjustments can help correct immune system dysfunction.
Research supports pediatric adjustments that promote immune system wellness and overall physical wellbeing.
Summer might have you out of your routine, a little stressed and unsure of exactly how to keep up with your children’s wellness. Making sure that you stick to a few of these tips and following your regular adjustment schedule, practice gratitude (even amidst the thralls of tantrums), take your supplements, hydrate, get outside and be well, you’ll ensure that you not only boost immunity throughout the summer, but for when school starts again and they begin training their immune system with even more germs.
Stay well and we’ll see you at your regular adjustment!