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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Immune System Supplements for Children

  • Zinc supports immune function and acts as a cofactor in many enzyme reactions. Normal dosage is 10 - 20 mg per day. If zinc supplementation is continued for a prolonged period of time, it should be given in conjunction with copper in a ration of 10 to 1 to prevent copper deficiency (i.e. 1-2 mg/day)
  • Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory effects, anti-oxidant activity, and antibiotic qualities. 500 mg daily for children under 3 years of age. 1,000 mg for older children.
  • Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and increases resistance to infection. Use only natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), not the synthetic form (dl-alpha-tocopherol). A mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E is best because children need the gamma as well as the alpha forms. 100 IU daily for children under 3 years of age. 200 IU for older children.
  • An omega-3 fatty acid supplement such as fish oil capsules, DHA from algae (Neuromins), or cod liver oil helps establish healthy cell membranes that prevent inflammation and resist toxins and attack by pathogens. 200 mg of DHA or one teaspoon of cod liver oil for each 50 pounds of body weight is an appropriate dose.
  • Cod liver oil also contains Vitamin A which is needed for proper mucous membrane function and support of the immune system. The recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin A is 1,000-2,000 IU for children, depending on their age (1,000 at one year of age, 2,000 by age nine). A diet containing significant amounts of fat such as organic whole milk products, butter, and free range eggs will help maintain necessary levels of this important nutrient. Several studies have also shown that vitamin A supplements during viral illnesses promote rapid recovery and prevent complications. Children can take 1,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin A derived from fish oil.