Friday Blog: What’s Up Doc?

December 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

This month’s “What’s Up Doc?” article comes from Jasmine Jafferali, MPH, ACE-CPT.  Jasmine  is the Program Director for Healthy Results, Ltd, and Program Coordinator for Educational Fitness Solutions, Inc. She has a diverse fitness background with over ten years of fitness and wellness industry experience working in campus recreation, corporate wellness, and a high-end commercial health club setting. She has presented on a wide range of health and fitness topics for the community, at major corporations, and at national and international conferences. Jasmine specializes in Maternal and Child Health and Wellness focusing on pre and postnatal fitness and is a Master Trainer for Healthy Moms® Fitness and Resist-a-ball®.

It is the cold and flu season and germs are everywhere!  While the best way to prevent germs from spreading is by washing our hands with warm, soapy water for 20-seconds, most children and adults are failing to do this important step in cold and flu prevention.  Paired with hand washing another important way to ensure a healthy and functioning immune system is to eat a diet that is low in refined sugars, trans-fats and boxed, processed foods. Supplementing can be a great way to get some important vitamins and minerals needed to support our defenses.  However, not all supplements are created equal and many big companies just use fillers such as cornstarch, gelatin (often from hooves of animals), artificial sugars, dyes and other non-essential ingredients.  How do you know you are getting quality vitamins?  Well first, the important vitamins and minerals that support our immune system is:, Vitamin D3, probiotics, Omega-3/DHA and Zinc.  Here is what you need to know about each and how to shop for some good quality supplements:

Vitamin D:  Known as the “sunshine” vitamin is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone.  When we are deficient, studies show people have more frequent colds and flus.  Over 300 research articles have proved this is one important supplement we must take a closer look at in our diets.  The ideal way to get Vitamin D3 is from the sun.  This can be tough if you live in the Chicagoland area during the winter however, Vitamin D3 drops are the easiest and most effective way to supplement.  Drops can be added to all drinks and foods without altering the taste.   Recommended brands:  Support local and buy Carlson’s Vitamin D3 drops from Arlington Heights or Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 drops.  Read:  Family Health 101:  How much vitamin d your family needs

Probiotics:  Research has proven preventative probiotic use does cut colds and flus according to the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics.  We all have a balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut that keeps our immunity in check.  Approximately 70 percent of our immune system lies in our large intestine and when it becomes imbalanced, we are more prone to getting sick.  A high sugar, processed and fast food diet can decrease our immunity.  Also those who have food allergies or food sensitivities have a decreased immunity because those immune systems have to work harder to digest foods not easily tolerated.  Keeping your large intestine healthy is the way to go!

Omega-3’s/DHA:  Studies show Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for the heart, but they also support a child’s memory, focus and learning.  This is a double bonus as it also increases the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria.  These fats are crucial as it decreases inflammation in the body that is caused by stress, but also helps strengthen the cell membranes thus, speeding up the healing process. Here’s what to look for when you are purchasing fish oils:

  •  Choose fish oils that are “ultra-purified.” This means harmful contaminants, (such as PCB’s, mercury and dioxins) due to contaminated waters has been removed.
  • Buy “pharmaceutical grade” which means it follows it follows the proper ratio of Omega-3’s and Omega-6 fatty acids and contaminants have been removed.
  • Fish oil should be purchases in a dark bottle and needs to be refrigerated.  DHA is sensitive to heat and can go rancid fast.  Liquid form is best.
  •  Try to avoid purchasing fish oil pills as they are filled with other oils such as soybean, partially-hydrogenated oils and other oil fillers.  Recommended brands:  Buy locally and purchase Carlson’s Fish Oils or purchase Nordica Naturals online.  Read:  The ABC’s of DHA


Zinc:  This trace mineral does a lot to keep your child healthy.  This is another double bonus nutrient as it not only supports the immune system, but it is important in helping the child to pay attention, their ability to process information as well as remember and retain new info. Kids and adults who have ADD/ADHD are often deficient in zinc and show improvement after four months of supplementation. Because 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc, it is zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems and brain to help fight infections and improve their ability to focus that is crucial for children.  A zinc deficiency may show up as white spots or bands on your fingernails.  It is best to get zinc through your foods, including oysters, raw pumpkin seeds, pine nuts (make pesto) and pecans, roasted and unsalted peanuts, toasted wheat germ, wheat bran, brewer’s yeast and low fat roast beef (not deli-meat), oatmeal and brown rice.


When you look at all of the evidence, finding the right dietary supplement to boost your child’s immunity can be easy as 1-2-3!

Suggested by the author:

Continue reading on Back to school supplements to boost your child’s immune system – Chicago family health |



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