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As a Mum I totally understand every parent who thinks this is the longest summer holiday ever. It feels like my two have been at home for a very, very long time now. However, while home school lessons via Zoom have finished, we’re making the most of the sunshine and trying to do our usual summer holiday fun activities. But like most parents, I’m very aware that in just a few weeks they may well be returning to school in a whole new way. From temperature checks as they arrive, to spending their days in bubbles, it is going to be a time of change and adjustment for us all.

We have a range of products designed to help the whole family to keep their immune system in tip top condition, as well as help with the symptoms of anxiety which are sure to strike some of us down as the return to school looms ever closer. Here are my top tips, as a fellow Mum, to help this year’s return to school.

  • Vitamin D. It’s been the buzzword of 2019 / 2020, especially since the onset of COVID. While news reports switch daily from telling us it can help us keep COVID at bay, to it has no impact on it all, it’s been important long before we’d ever heard of Coronavirus. The so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ is usually manufactured by our bodies in the summer months when our skin is exposed to sunlight. But we also protect our little ones from burning and future skin damage which reduces their capacity to make their own Vitamin D. Current NHS guidelines recommend that children under 5 take a daily supplement of Vitamin D (unless they are formula fed with an enriched formula) and that children and adults over 5 should take a daily supplement from September to April and may consider doing so during the summer months as well1. It’s also probably the easiest vitamin to get even the fussiest of kids to take. We have drops or even totally taste free oral sprays suitable from birth – why not try the Better You range here?

  • Elderberry. Many of us have enjoyed a refreshing glass of Elderflower Cordial in the summer months but did you know that once their flowers are over, the little reddish-purple berries are one of Mother Nature’s most awesome remedies. They can support your immune system as they contain vitamins A & C which support the immune system, therefore helping to protect against illness and infection. They also contain active chemicals such as anthocyanins which can help to boost immune function2 and provide anti-viral effects.3 This means that Elderberries can help protect against future infections. Another component of Elderberries are flavonoids which may increase the action of interferons. interferons are proteins which cells make in response to viruses. They help to regulate the immune response and can interfere with the way in which viruses replicate.4 Not only is elderberry useful in preventing cold and flu viruses, it may also help to combat symptoms if they have already developed. A recent study has found, for example, that black elderberry supplements can effectively treat symptoms of an upper respiratory infection such as coughing, sneezing and congestion.5 These positive effects were seen in those with the common cold, as well as in those with the influenza virus. Elderberries can also help prevent cold and flu viruses from spreading. Elderberry, on the other hand, is useful in blocking viruses from leaving an infected cell and moving on to infect other cells.

    The wonderful thing about Elderberry is that it can be taken by all ages, starting with the littlest ones from 3 months old. To see our full range of Elderberry supplements, take a peek here.

  • Probiotics. So much new research in recent years has focused on the role our friendly bacteria plays in keeping us safe and well. We know that as much of 70% of our immune system is formed in our gut, which makes these amazing organisms even more special. Our friendly gut bacteria are our first line of defence against bacteria and viruses that we ingest and these friendly bugs can ‘communicate’ with our immune cells to keep us healthy (amazing, isn’t it?!). If the protective barrier is weaker then we are more likely to pick up viruses and infections. Daily probiotics designed for smaller tummies are an ideal way to easily do this. Strains such as Bifidobacterium breve M-16V®, Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Bifidobacterium infantis Rosell-33, and Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71, have been shown in clinical research to help support children’s health6.

  • Sleep. Getting enough sleep for children can be a challenge (as I write this the weather is predicted to top 35 degrees in the coming days and it’s unlikely that my two will be getting a great night of sleep!) but so important to help keep them in fighting fit condition for school. A regular evening routine, screen free time and a calm relaxation can really help. As a mum, I’ve discovered no end of apps lately which can play soothing bedtime sounds. I often set one of these playing on a speaker outside their bedrooms. Some are just sounds, others play very clever bedtime stories, full of keywords to help them think and relax. Others contain guided meditation style approaches – spend the time to find the one that suits your family best, they can be a real game-changer.

  • Vitamin C & Zinc. For a long time, we’ve known that both vitamin C and Zinc can help maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can be taken in drops or pleasant chewy tablets for children, often alongside other immune supporting nutrients such as zinc or elderberry. As we enter the back to school time, it’s another easy way to help keep children and young people the healthiest we can.

  • Avena Sativa. Not for the immune system this time, but for anxiety and stress. Avena is made from oats and is particularly helpful for children who feel worried or upset about things, often with racing, uncontrollable thoughts and worries. Simply add one drop per year of age to water or juice 2-3 times a day to help they stay calm, reassured and balanced. Adding it to a warm drink at bedtime can be a great tip to help them sleep well too!

If you want to know more about the products available to help your children during this year’s rather different back-to-school season then do drop us a message, call or pop in and see us!

1 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/ 
2 https://www.actahort.org/books/1061/1061_12.htm 
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1954829

4 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6350/498 
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30670267 

6. Stojković, A et al. (2016) Clinical trial/experimental study (consort compliant): Optimal time period to achieve the effects on synbiotic-controlled wheezing and respiratory infections in young children. Srp Arh Celok Lek, 144(1-2):38-45.