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Back to School Vitamins

Posted: Wed, 27 August 2014, 18:47

Summer, don't go! As August draws to a close, we could be forgiven for wishing for a few more weeks of long evenings and warm(ish) weather. Children up and down the country will be heading back to school this week, with many parents celebrating the start of September and many others busy preparing for what the new school year might bring.

Our first blog will concern back to school vitamins and supplements. These days there are a huge number of children's supplements available, containing a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fish oils, fibre and much more.

Firstly, not everyone will necessarily benefit from taking some sort of vitamin or supplement. With a broad, balanced diet, it's possible for your child to get all the nutrients they need. However, the majority of children (and adults) do not get the well balanced diet they could. This could be down to a number of factors, such as bad habits, taste preferences, reluctance to try new foods, budget restrictions or time constraints...it's not easy!
With children, it can be more difficult, with some kids not fond of eating fruit, vegetables or fish. These foods contain important nutrients that help support growth, energy levels and even brain function and concentration.

Getting ready during the breakfast time rush and then spending the day at school can take a while to get used to again and some children can get a bit run down and show increased signs of tiredness. Indeed, some children may be more prone to picking up an illness in the weeks after they start back at school, especially if they are a bit run down. Many parents will visit their local pharmacy and ask about a good vitamin or 'tonic' for their kids in late August/early September.

There are many products to chose from but we will focus on three areas that we are commonly asked about.

  • A 'tonic' to help with fatigue and tiredness
  • Products that can help with concentration levels at school
  • Vitamin supplements that can help boost immune systems

To help prevent busy, active children from becoming very fatigued, or after a period of illness Pharmaton Kiddi Health and Vivioptal Junior both provide an excellent range of quality ingredients. They have a good levels of the B vitamins, which are important for the correct functioning of the nervous system and for turning carbohydrates into energy. All the other key vitamins and minerals you would expect, such as Iron and Folic Acid are also included. Pharmaton Kiddi also contains Calcium, Phosphorous and the amino acid Lysine to help support healthy growth. Pharmaton Kiddi is currently available at a special offer price of €5.99.

s well as the B vitamins we mentioned above, it's important that we get an intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, either from our diet such as oily fish and certain nuts and seeds. These fatty acids are great for growing minds and have been shown to help improve concentration levels if taken for a period of six months.

Paradox Omega 3 Chews have been formulated with high quality omega 3 oils, these lemon flavoured chews are perfect for school kids as they don't have any fishy aftertaste which can put children off from taken such a supplement. Each capsule provides the omega 3 you would expect from a portion of oily fish each day, so they are really useful for children that don't like to eat salmon, mackerel or other oily fish.
While they can help with your child's brain function and concentration, there are other things you can do to help also. Limiting the amount of high sugar products in lunch boxes can help limit a post lunch crash when blood sugar levels drop again, which can negatively affect concentration and mood. Making sure your child is well rested and getting good quality sleep will also contribute to better concentration levels in school.

The last area we mainly get asked about is to do with immune health. Parents are always keen to try prevent their children picking up illnesses, especially when they go back into the classroom environment. Products containing vitamin c and zinc can help support good immune health and there are many of these on the market. They can help but are no means a sure fire way of preventing your child form getting a cold. Since 2012 when the MHRA advised against the use of echinacea containing products in children under 12, products containing vitamin c and zinc have become the mainstay of immune support products for children. These ingredients are also found in multivitamin products we mentioned earlier, such as Vivioptal Junior and Pharmaton Kiddi. Combining that with a balanced diet, rest, and good hand washing habits, you can give your child the best chance of staying healthy going back to school.

Does your child have any allergies or medical conditions?

Whether your child has an allergy to peanuts or penicillin, is a diabetic or a coeliac, you can help bring this attention to teachers or carers with simple, fun wristbands, from Allermates. These are such a useful product, designed especially for kids.

Allermates awareness bands come in the following versions peanut allergy, penicillin allergy, nut allergy and dairy allergy. Awareness bands that identify the wearer as having requirements for gluten free, diabetic, asthma and autism are also available. They provide vital information without the stigma traditional medical alert bracelets can bring to children. You can buy Allermate bands here for only €7.95.