Here we go again. It’s already time for school to start. It’s that season where we’re all a lot busier, and more stressed. We’re worried about being on time, worried about cold/flu/COVID hitting our family, worried about our children’s and our ability to focus on the tasks at hand. We could all use a little supplemental support.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a few thoughts on where you can get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to surviving school – for children and adults.
By now you’ve probably heard that most experts agree that everyone needs ample omega-3 oils. Studies show they can improve cognition, including in cases of ADHD and even Alzheimer’s. Some studies show they relieve anxiety, while their ability to lower inflammation is well documented. You get multiple benefits just by taking one pill daily with food.
Probiotics are another hard-working supplement. Studies show they can improve immunity, mood, allergies, gut health, and skin conditions. Given that returning to school is a time of high stress, adding a probiotic to your regimen makes good sense.
Last, consider taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement. It will contain vitamin C and zinc – known immune boosters – and multiple B vitamins that help with mood and nerve function.
We all know that congregating kids in school means quicker transfer of colds, flu, and COVID, which then spreads to homes and finally the workplace. Having a strong immune system may help you avoid illness, and at the very least get over it quicker.
Studies of vitamin D show it not only helps to build strong bones, it also helps to minimize respiratory infections. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to severe COVID. Because vitamin D is fat soluble, it can build up in the body and it’s possible to take too much. Given that, the safest route is to periodically have your doctor check your levels to see if your supplement is giving you optimal results.
For children, consider adding an elderberry supplement, available in kid-friendly syrup or gummy forms. Elderberry is immune modulating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral. Studies show it reduces the incidence and duration of colds and flu. In a petri dish, elderberry extract inhibits the virus that causes COVID, but no human trials have been done.
If you or your child are not getting vitamin C or zinc from a multivitamin, you might consider adding them separately. Vitamin C is available in gummy or capsule form.
At the first sign of an illness, many people take immune-boosting herbs and/or mushrooms. These include Andrographis, Olive Leaf, Eleuthrococcus, Reishi mushroom, and more. Several are available in combination products. The women at Ruth’s can help you choose the supplement best suited to your situation.
Given that any change can be stressful, it’s not surprising that starting a new school year can produce anxiety for students and parents. The most basic place to start to lower anxiety is a magnesium supplement at bedtime. It’s a mild relaxant and can promote good sleep. Just be aware that magnesium is also a laxative when taken at higher doses.
After that, there are a multitude of choices. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has calming effects. The herb holy basil enhances our ability to deal with stress. For many, a GABA supplement is helpful. Again, there are many combination products available that will get you the greatest effect for the least price. Ruth’s can help you choose.
Just lowering anxiety improves focus, but you or your child might need a little more help. The omega-3 oils mentioned previously are absolutely necessary. The brain is largely made up of DHA fats, and it needs a steady supply to function optimally.
Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance that covers and protects the cells in your brain and carries messages between them. It plays an important role in keeping the mind and memory sharp. Studies show it’s helpful with ADHD, cognition, memory, and depression.
You can often find it in combination products that also contain nootropic (brain-boosting) herbs, such as Bacopa, Ginkgo, Huperzine, Lemon Balm, and more.
If you’ve addressed the above issues, but you find the start of school is making you tired, consider a safe, sustainable energy booster. Red Ginseng has long been used to increase endurance and stamina, along with other herbs, including Astragalus, Eleuthrococcus, Schisandra, and Codonopsis mushroom, to name a few. Again, they can be found singly or in combination. All are caffeine-free and safe to use for long periods.