When it Comes to Children’s Immune Health, Diet is Not Enough
By William Sears, M.D.
Among the conclusions of a recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published online by The Journal of Pediatrics, June 20, 2012, was that most kids under age 8 get the nutrients they need from the food they eat. In my many years as a practicing pediatrician, I must disagree, particularly when it comes to immune support.
The human immune system develops over time as the body develops exposure to and memory of germs, so it needs a little help to work effectively in young children. The need for immune support is underscored given today’s unprecedented incidence of allergies and arthritis and other inflammatory diseases that are starting at younger and younger ages. Case in point: the incidence of asthma alone has doubled among children in the past 10 years.
Most children do not get enough immune support in the foods they eat, particularly fruits, vegetables and seafood high in Omega 3 fatty acids. How many children do you know that get 9 to 11 servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Most, instead, are consuming an immune-depleting diet of processed carbohydrates and white bread.
While the NIH study contends that supplements have a role in general where diet may be lacking, supplementation that specifically targets immune support is needed regardless. Until their immune systems at working optimally in their teens, kids need to augment their body’s natural defenses with supplements such as Omega-3 fish oil, fruit and vegetable extracts, or daily consumption of Wellmune WGP through supplements or as an ingredient in foods.
Dr. Bill Sears is one of America’s most renowned pediatricians and author of over 40 books on childcare. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.