Immunity

Vitamins 101

 

Vitamins fall into two categories – water soluble and fat soluble.  Water soluble vitamins are all the B vitamins, as well as vitamin C and biotin.  The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.

 

Why is this important?

 

Water soluble vitamins are more likely to be destroyed by heat or cooking and are minimally stored in your body.  One notable exception is vitamin B12, which is stored in your liver for a few years.  When you eat water soluble vitamins, they are absorbed directly into your bloodstream along with water in your small intestines.  Because they aren’t stored, and because they are easily excreted in your urine, you need them in your diet every day.  It’s these vitamins that people notice turn their pee fluorescent yellow.

 

Fat soluble vitamins are not absorbed directly into your blood.  Bile from your liver and gallbladder is necessary for proper breakdown and absorption of these vitamins.  Once broken down in your intestines, fat soluble vitamins go through your lymph channels to get into the bloodstream, and they typically need protein to carry them there.  Fat soluble vitamins are more stable than water soluble vitamins so they stand up better with cooking.  They are also stored in your body (mostly in your liver and fat tissue).  Because they are stored, you don’t necessarily need them in your diet every day.  To avoid toxicity of fat soluble vitamins, don’t supplement with them unless directed by a medical professional.

 

You need a variety of vitamins in your diet every day for optimal long-term health.  My favourite (and easiest) piece of advice for patients is to make sure you’re eating a rainbow on your plate at every meal.  What’s great about this advice is that it’s also easy for children to learn and understand, plus it can make eating fun.

 

Need ideas about how to incorporate greater variety into your diet?  Head over to Pinterest and check out my boards: www.pinterest.com/DrLisaGhent.  Follow me there to get notified about new and interesting recipes every week.

 

Want more personalized help?  Visit me for naturopathic care and I’ll do a full assessment of your current health and goals and get you on the right track.  Click here to book an appointment online: www.drlisaghent.com/book.

Healthy All Year

My child seems to be sick all the time.  What can I do?

This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked, and there are two parts to my answer. The first is to remember that getting sick isn’t all bad. If your child gets sick and then quickly fends it off with minimal complications, it’s a sign that their immune system is functioning well. It’s nice to know that when a bug gets into their system that they have the ability to fight it off.

The second part of my answer focuses on increasing immune function so that when kids get sick it’s less severe or that they get sick less often. Here are a few of my top recommendations for increasing immunity in children:

  • Probiotics – I know this has been a bit of a fad, but the right probiotic, in the right amount can be really helpful. Think about it this way – many of the bugs that make us sick get into our body because they are ingested. Probiotics are the good bugs, and if we have enough of them then they can help to kill the bad bugs and make sure they don’t ever have a chance.  This is especially important if someone has ever taken antibiotics, which get rid of what is making you sick but also get rid of good bacteria.  Sometimes you need antibiotics, but then you need to put some good bugs back in.RONyPwknRQOO3ag4xf3R_Kinsey
  • Vitamin D – This has also been a bit of a fad, but for good reason. Fact: kids on average spend less time outside than they usedto, and when they are outside they are often slathered in sunscreen. Now I’m not opposed to sunscreen, but it’s important to remember that it’s necessary for the skin to be directly exposed to sun in order for vitamin D to be activated in the body. While the actual amount of vitamin D supplementation is different for everyone, starting with the basics (400 IU a day in kids and 1000 IU a day in adults) is safe for most people.
  • Variety everyday keeps the doctor away – From a young age I taught my kids two things about eating vegetables; that they should eat a rainbow, and that half of their plate at any meal should be vegetables. Both points are very important, and it’s never too late to start with your own children. Many kids don’t eat enough vegetables, and of those that do, many eat only a couple different types. Kids can’t grow up optimally eating only tomatoes and carrots. Stay tuned for some creative cooking ideas on how to introduce some diversity into your family’s eating, but in the meantime, follow me on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/DrLisaGhent). I have a whole board dedicated to picky eaters, with lots of valuable ideas for introducing greater nutritional variety to your kids.

There are other ways to increase immunity in your child, and I would love the opportunity to sit down with you one-on-one and come up with a personalized solution for your specific needs.  Head over to the Book Appointment page and book online today.