For children to be able to enjoy optimal health and development, they need a nutrient-rich diet, enriching activities and careful nurturing. Yet as children reach school age, their diets are increasingly affected by peers and outside influences. At the same time, they may exert their independence by voicing dietary likes and dislikes. Often fruits and vegetables are the first things they cross off their “like” list. Fast Facts on Children’s Nutrition and Health
●Omega-3 deficiency is considered to be one of the major causes of degenerative disease and decline in brain function.
●In Japan, the omega-3 DHA is considered so important to brain function that it is used to enrich some foods and some students take DHA pills before exams.
● The diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) in the U.S. increased an average of 3 percent per year from 1997 to 2006 to reach 4.5 million children age 5 to 17.
● Choline and zinc are vital for memory and thought processes, while iron can lift mood and reduce anger.
● 35 percent of adult bone mass is formed during puberty. Consuming sufficient levels of bone building minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D in childhood is essential to prevent osteoporosis later.
● In 2007–2008 in the U.S., 10 percent of children age 2 to 5 were obese; 20 percent of children age 6 to 11 were obese; and 18 percent of adolescents age 12 to 19 were obese.
● Researchers have found that insufficient levels of vitamin D may reduce the immune system’s ability to react to infection. In addition, scientists report that daily supplements of vitamin D3 reduced the influence of seasonal flu by more than 40 percent.
OMG! Omega-3s are Brain Boosters!
The evidence about the power of omega-3 essential fatty acids — especially for the brain — seems to multiply every day. The omega-3s include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic (DHA).
Omega-3s are vital for brain memory, performance and behavioral functions as well as vision development. DHA is the main component in brain tissue, which is likely why a DHA deficiency in the diet may lead to a brain function deficiency. DHA has been shown to play an important role in normal brain development of the unborn, infants and young children. ALA is also critical for normal brain development in children.
Nutrition’s Impact on the Brain and Behavior
Omega-3s may play an important role in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A clinical study of nearly 100 boys showed those with lower levels of omega-3s had more learning and behavioral problems such as temper tantrums and sleep disturbances than boys with normal omega-3 levels. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that boys age 8 to 10 years old who supplemented with DHA for eight weeks had improved brain function during a sustained attention task.
In addition, a Japanese study gave children age 6 to 12 with ADHD (not on medication) a combination of DHA and EPA over a two-month period. The result was a significant reduction in aggression when compared to the control group.
Children with ADHD are also often deficient in magnesium, which helps to calm the brain, and zinc, which helps produce the brain’s neurotransmitters.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fatty acid found in high concentrations in the brain. PS benefits brain functions and cognitive performance, and has been shown to improve attention and focus, behavior and learning performance in children and young adults. Supporting this is a study where 27 children with ADHD took PS daily. After four months, 25 of the 27 children showed improvement in learning capacity and behavior.
Relìv Now® for Kids is a good source of DHA, EPA and PS, along with other vital brain-boosting nutrients children need to function their best.
A Nutritional Approach to Immunity Nothing to Sneeze At
Researchers have noted that nutrition has a significant impact on immunity, allergy development and symptoms and can improve symptoms of asthma, a related disease.
One study shows a combination of omega-3s, vitamin C and zinc may improve symptoms of asthma in children. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 and zinc combined with the antioxidant power in vitamin C may reduce the lung attacks by bacteria, viruses or other sources.
Omega-3 also benefits the immune system to improve or prevent allergies. In addition, vitamins A, C and E along with zinc, garlic, cayenne, and enzymes such as bromelain also have been shown to help strengthen the immune system to reduce allergy symptoms.
Relìv’s FibRestore® contains bromelain and is loaded with 10 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per serving to encourage healthy probiotic growth. And Relìv Now for Kids is a great source of vitamins A, C, D, E and zinc to boost immunity and fight the sneezy season.
Better Nutrition Key to Raising Healthier Generation
Only 9.5 percent of teens eat enough fruits and vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And a recent USDA survey shows affected by the early teens most children receive less than 50 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of key nutrients.
Yet the foundation for lifelong good health forms early in life. For example, studies have shown the silent build-up of plaque in the arteries can begin during childhood and escalates into full-blown heart disease in adulthood. An inactive lifestyle, being overweight, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are all risk factors for heart disease starting in childhood and adolescence.
So what are parents to do? While we can’t offer parenting advice, we can offer nutritionally balanced products. Relìv Now® for Kids provides a broad base of essential vitamins, minerals and micronutrients necessary to keep growing bodies healthy, as well as advanced ingredients that research shows help boost energy and mental performance.
Healthy kids become healthy adults. Relìv is here to help.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings, Relìv Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer