Tag Archives: MD

Natural Remedies for Kids: 5 Smart Supplements to Consider


When a study out this month showed that CAM use in kids may be more common than doctors realize, lots of mainstream publications, like Time, covered the news. Why aren’t pediatricians asking about the use of herbs and supplements? They should inquire when taking patient histories, because those remedies may interact with conventional medicines.  Will this study change anything?  I hope so, but I doubt it.  Many more systemic changes have to take place before integrative medicine takes hold. There is more resistance to common sense  incorporation of safe and effective natural remedies than you’d think. When I tried to write about the best supplements for kids last year, the editors of a mainstream publication found my well-researched tips too controversial to publish. Read them at your own risk!

5 Smart Supplements for Kids:  

Probiotics Found in some yogurts and fermented foods as well as capsules, powders, and liquid form, various strains of these “good bacteria” are considered useful for several childhood ailments. With early treatment, probiotics can help shorten the duration of an episode of diarrhea. Regular use might reduce the frequency of colds and other upper respiratory infections. Studies show that the healthy bugs can help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, too. So whenever the pediatrician writes a prescription for an antibiotic drug to treat another problem, ask about supplementing with probiotics to help minimize side effects.

Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids Nutrients in fish are known to benefit brain development, and some data suggest that the fatty acids may even help children with attention deficient hyperactive disorder, autism or dyslexia.  However, there are no firm guidelines and research is ongoing. Aim for your child to eat an age-appropriate size serving (about the size of the child’s palm) of fish twice a week.  Note the Environmental Protection Agency advises avoiding shark, swordfish, mackerel, and tilefish to limit mercury exposure, and opting for canned light tuna over white albacore.  Despite the promising data, some small children just will not get on board with eating fresh, non-fried fish. If your school-aged child falls short, supplement with an EPA/DHA blend of high quality fish oil—about 1 gram per day.   The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set an acceptable range for total omega-3 fatty acid intake at 0.6-1.2 grams per day for ages 1 and up. However, IOM admits that the data are lacking in this area, and these may be conservative figures.  Consult your child’s doctor.

Ginger Studies show that ginger is effective for nausea and vomiting. Drinking some cooled, freshly brewed organic tea is best for infants, while older children might prefer a cold, lightly sweetened tea. Although ginger is not as well studied for motion sickness, it is commonly used to help prevent car sickness, too.

Chamomile One of the oldest cures for colic, chamomile can soothe and relax children and adults alike. The safest way to administer chamomile to an infant is to make a tea from organic chamomile tea leaves, cool the brew, and then feed her one ounce by bottle.  Older children can sip hot or cold tea, with a little sweetener added. Just remember: Do not add honey for children younger than 12 months.

Iron If your child is deficient in any one area, it’s probably iron. Routine supplementation starts at 4 months, but some of the mineral can be absorbed from fortified cereal or infant formula.  Needs increase with age and vary by gender; compared with adolescent boys, girls need more and may be at risk for deficiency due to menstrual blood loss.


Chemical Sensitivity, Simplified

Alternahealthgrrrl followers have to know that I’m a huge fan of Dr Leo Galland and his smart website, Pill Advised. Don’t miss his recent post, Are Chemicals Making You Sick? The Hidden Health Problem of Chemical Sensitivity on the Huffington Post Healthy Living channel.

People who are intolerant of chemicals in everyday products or the environment often find their problems ignored or brushed aside by other people, even their doctors.

Over the past 30 years I’ve routinely asked patients about intolerance to chemicals, foods and drugs and found a normal bell-shaped curve of distribution: Most people in my medical practice have some degree of chemical intolerance, a small percentage are sensitive to just about anything that’s synthetic and a small percentage report no sensitivity at all.

Where a person sits on that curve may change, depending upon numerous factors, which include infection, toxic exposures, nutritional depletion, and life stress. (More)

Related alternahealthgrrrl content: The Racket Known As Flame Retardants; Air Pollution Linked to Kids’ Anxiety + Attention Problems; What Siberian Husky Sled Dogs Reveal About Our Human Bodies

The Mean Girl Diet: Why processed food pisses you off

Can dropping processed food from your diet help you drop a bitchy attitude? And maybe even some extra pounds? Don’t miss Cynthia Sass’s recent story on Shape.com.  The author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim reports on a new study that suggests eating “bad” foods can put you in a bad mood—and even make you mean. The research  suggests that consuming trans fats increases aggression and irritability…more

A New Call To Take Back Our Health–Together

Mark Hyman, MD gave a preview of his new book, The Blood Sugar Solution, due out in the end of February, at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium this month.  In addition to a bunch of daily detox tips (sweat, drink water, eat garlic) he told us about the new movement he’s launching alongside the book. Take Back Our Health.org is a social movement, a conversation about how to get healthier together.

It’s not just about occupying healthcare, it’s about taking back health in our schools, in our places of worship, and in our communities.  Like Surgeon General Regina Benjamin in her recent praise of the Seventh-Day Adventist commitment to healthy living, Mark Hyman stressed the important role that social support (aka love) plays in individual health.  Especially in group worship, he says, because a rabbi, priest, minister, pastor, or imam can encourage care of the body as well as the soul. He sited the Saddleback Church project, where he worked with Daniel Amen and Memhet Oz to help create The Daniel Plan, a get-healthier small group guide.  The tagline is “Glorifying God in the Way We Eat, Move and Think!”

It’s the new “group health plan” or group fitness class, and I love the team approach. Belief in a higher power can be motivational–I think (and hope) it’ll be successful.  Especially thanks to the part of Mark Hyman’s site that lets members post pictures of people “caught in the act” doing something healthy.

New Natural Sleep Aid


Here’s the next big nightcap: Tart cherry juice cordials. A new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition says two glasses a day could add up to 40 minutes more sleep.  You can learn more on Pill Advised.  Sweet dreams!

Holistic Health Today: Breast Cancer + Booze

Leave it to Dr Pat Allen to give us real life advice–and real context–on the recent findings regarding alcohol and the risk for developing breast cancer. Check out In the News:  Breast Cancer and Booze before you next nightcap.