As much as I’d like to believe we can achieve all our nutrition from food, and make that my priority, I do believe we simply cannot achieve enough of certain nutrients from our modern diets. I believe there was a time when certain people had diets that were nearly perfect, but today this is much harder to attain. Our soils are being depleted, food is picked early and shipped thousands of miles and we process EVERYTHING. Also, we as a culture are simply not eating things that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were eating.
Update: April 20, 2017 Many of you have asked me why I do not have a multi-vitamin on this list. The truth is, in certain situations, I think a multi is very important. But I do not give my kids multi’s on a regular basis, so I did not have a well-researched answer to your question. I DO believe that a HIGH QUALITY Multi-vitamin is preferable to taking 10 different individual vitamins/minerals that you think you need. A well formulated multi provides balanced nutrition in proper ratios and prevents the likelihood of creating an imbalance with taking some vitamins and not others, especially when you don’t really know what you are doing. That said, I still don’t plan on giving my kids a multi on a regular basis because I will continue to rely on 1) my clinical/medical experience as to whether they are deficient in something, 2) the fact that my kids regularly consume oysters (chock-full of zinc, calcium, iron and Vit C), liver (nature’s multi-vitamin), Green drinks, fish, pasture raised animal protein, raw milk, fermented foods, lots of veggies, back yard chicken eggs, tons of healthy fats and the foods and whole food supplements I mention below! However, IF you have a picky eater, or your child gets sick frequently, or is tired, or not eating enough, I DO NOW have some FABULOUS recommendation for multi-vitamins that I researched and HIGHLY recommend!
For Adults, this one meets multiple, very high standards of quality and testing, has the right forms of vitamins, has vitamins most multi-vitamins formulas are missing altogether, has a separate and differently formulated morning dose and a PM dose suited to what we need at those times of day, does not contain junky fillers and on and on: Drum roll::::::
For kids, the same brand, Thorne has an excellent multi if your child can swallow pills. It has the same quality, standards and proper forms of vitamins as the Elite, but leaves out a few things I don’t think kids need, like green tea phytosome and a few other herbs.
Other than that, here are the supplements I believe even healthy children should be taking regularly :
1. Probiotics supplements and/or fermented foods daily
Historically, our ancestors had a much more diverse micro-biome due to their lifestyle, less sanitation, their methods of food preservation (fermentation) and the complete lack of chemicals, drugs and “foods” that destroy the bacterial tribe living in our intestines. It has not been until fairly recently that the absolute necessity and vitalness of a thriving micro-biome has been realized. Modern medicine is finally catching up to the research that has shown that the intestinal ecology of bugs, equaling the number of cells in our bodies (1) is vital to the functioning of our immune systems, and integral to all the other functions in our bodies. An unhealthy micro-biome has been proven to cause auto-immune diseases (2), and (3), obesity (4), mood disorders (5), autism (6) ,just to name a few. Many postulate that an unhealthy micro-biome is a primary causes for most modern diseases (7).
The benefits of a healthy micro-biome and the diseases associated with an unbalanced one makes this my number 1 supplement that I believe every human, including newborns, need to take on a regular basis if you are not consuming fermented foods daily.
2) High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil
I know it sounds disgusting. But bare with me. Cod liver oil has the highest amount of food source, preformed vitamin A and Vitamin D. Very few foods boast this profile. We in the modern industrialized world are deficient in BOTH A and D. We no longer eat the foods that contain them in adequate amounts (organ meats, animal fats, fish roe) and they need to be consumed together to prevent toxicity. The way they naturally occur in liver is in nature’s perfect packet of a real food in proper ratios. It is hard to overdose on nutrients when they come from food. “High vitamin Cod liver oil” describes the method processing of the liver oil in a way that preserves and amplifies the nutrients. It uses fermentation to gently, extract the oil without using heat or chemicals and leaving the valuable nutrients intact, and in fact amplifying nutrient content.
Not only does the this oil provide immune boosting, bone and brain growth nutrients and ESSENTIAL Vitamins A and D, it also has a satisfactory dose of EPA and DHA for healthy brain growth and function and healthy inflammatory response. So FCLO meets the needs of children for these fatty acids as well.
3) Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is the most misunderstood and under appreciated essential nutrient that we are aware of. We are almost all deficient. This book by Kate Rheaume-Bleue ND, “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” is an eye opener about this missing nutrient. There is not even an RDA for vitamin K2. This nutrient is different from K1, the blood clotting nutrient. K2 was only discovered very recently. It is in the family with Vitamin K1 but has very different functions. K1 acts in the liver to activate proteins involved in blood clotting. K2 activates proteins that tell calcium where to go. Although it has a multitude of important health implications, the top two at this time are in preventing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. If calcium is not properly directed, it can end up in soft tissue, resulting in arterial plaque, instead of where it should be in bone, resulting in osteoporosis. Because of its importance in bone growth, children need higher amounts than adults. (8). Research on Vitamin K2 has only just begun. For more on the boundless possibilities and the research showing the epidemic of deficiency, visit this website.
Vitamin K2 happens to work in concert with Vitamins A and D to grow strong, beautiful babies with robust bone structures that support healthy organs and straight teeth, prevent cavities, boost immune function and prevent disease. This trio of fat-soluble vitamins is lacking in our culture and needs to be supplemented.
This is easily accomplished with this blend: High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil Blend. Vitamin K2 is found in High Vitamin Butter oil and the A and D in the Cod Liver Oil and they can be taken separately or in the blend mentioned above. Emu oil is another way to get K2 either in capsules, or topically.
My kids take about teaspoon of High Vitamin Cod Liver oil and 1/2 tsp of butter oil. Emu oil can be substituted for the butter oil and is an amazing option for K2 and essential fatty acids.
4) Vitamin C
This is an essential vitamin that we humans cannot make. According to many, many studies, the RDA for Vit C is WAY to low. When healthy, there are hundreds of functions for which our body requires Vit C. In times of illness, stress, trauma, or oxidative damage (smoking, pollution, toxic exposure) our bodies use up exponentially higher amounts of vit C. For these reasons, a good daily dose of Vit C in kids is about 500-1000mg per day. When they are sick, that increases to about 1-3000mg per day. This can cause diarrhea, which is nothing to be alarmed about; just decrease the dose and remind them not to worry. SOME fruits have good sourced of Vit C, BUT orange juice is not a good source and actually, neither are oranges unless you are picking them right off a tree. The source of Vit C should NOT BE FULL OF SUGAR or the purpose is defeated. Kiwis, kumquats, and berries are good sources. However, optimal doses are hard to achieve, so periodically, I give my kids about 1000mg of supplemental Vitamin C in pill or powder form.
Otherwise, keep it simple and focus on food! When in doubt,food sources of supplements are best. Avoid synthetic vitamins unless you are confident in the quality and source of the product. Cheap vitamins are full of fillers and useless, synthetic ingredients the body doesn’t recognize. Your best bet is to stick high quality, organic food from a variety of sources, as fresh as possible and as minimally processed as possible.
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