Kid-Smart Supplements to Help Children Thrive

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As youngsters head back to the classroom, parents can get their children off to a smart start by giving them key supplements.  Here are some experts’ top picks.

Build Brains

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Because the brain’s nerve cell membranes are made of fat, ingesting a healthy fat–DHA–helps them stay lithe and limber enough to successfully fire off neurotransmitters, sharpening kids’ mental abilities.  “Attention focus, processing efficiency, memory–they’re all dependent on cells working effectively, and DHA will help,” says Randall Neustaedter, a doctor of Oriental medicine and author of The Holistic Baby Guide.  A contemporary study published in Clinical Pediatrics found that 4-year-olds that ingested 400 mg a day of DHA for four months showed improvement in listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition skills.

Because finding an effective dose of pure DHA ( at least 300 mg a day) can be difficult, Dr. Robert Rountree, co-author of Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, recommends administering liquid fish oil in a daily child’s dose of 800 to 1,500 mg at a ratio of 60 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to 40 percent DHA.  “Anti-inflammatory EPA can help allergies and inflammation from colds and other viruses kids get,” explains Neustaedter.

Algae can be a vegetarian substitute for fish oil, Neustaedter continues, but it contains only DhA, not EPA.  Another vegetarian option, echium oil, internally converts to EPA at a one-to-one level, but not to DHA.  Flaxseed oil is mostly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which converts to DHA and EPA at a rate of only 3 to 7 percent.

Phosphatydylserine (PS).  This form of fat facilitates communication among brain cells.  “It’s a natural substance your brain makes,” notes Neustaedter.  Already highly regarded for its ability to enhance memory performance in older adults, it may also improve attention, concentration, learning, behavior and school performance in youngsters.

PS is found in small amounts in foods like eggs and soy.  Therefore, Neustaedter recommends dietary supplementation of 100 mg a day for children that could use a brain booster.  The best PS supplements are made from soy.

Improve Immunity

Vitamin D.  “It’s my top immune supplement choice for most children,” says Rountree.  The vitamin is crucial for triggering the body’s natural immune system to react to and fight off infections.  A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily 1,200 international unit (IU) supplements of vitamin D, reduced cases of seasonal flu in school children by more than 40 percent.  Neustaedter recommends that school-aged children supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day.  Unlike D2, D3 is natural and nontoxic, he says.

Probiotics.  These “friendly” bacteria help reestablish beneficial intestinal flora to both assist digestion and immunity.  “Eighty percent of the immune system is produced int he small intestine,” says Neustaedter.  “Having a healthy small intestine will lead to a healthy immune system.  Probiotics will go a long way to accomplishing that.”

Rountree recommends children receive a mixture of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria–at least 15 billion colony-forming units a day.  A study by an international team published in Pediatrics showed that probiotic supplements may reduce the incidence of fevers, coughs, runny noses and other infections in young children.

Elderberry.  “If kids get frequent colds, elderberry can be helpful,” notes Neustaedter, who suggests that children take such extracts according to label instructions for acute sickness during the cold and flu season.  He considers it a worthy antiviral and immune system stimulant.

Elderberry’s immune-boosting potential may be due to its ability to enhance antioxidant activity.  Several studies, including one issued by the National Institutes of Health, have shown that black elderberry extract may shorten the duration of a bout of flu.

Soothe Stress

Magnesium.  “If kids have a hard time turning their minds off and going to sleep, calcium and magnesium will help,” Neustaedter advises.  As a calming mineral, magnesium trumps calcium; because kids tend to need more calcium for their bones, the two nutrients are usually given together, adds Rountree.  He recommends that children take 100 to 300 mg of magnesium daily, depending on their age and weight.

Lemon balm (melissa officinalis).  To soothe anxiety, Rountree points to lemon balm as safe and gentle, yet effective.  St Mary’s Hospital, in Madison, Wisconsin, reports that researchers have found that lemon balm, in combination with other herbs like valerian, may ease restlessness, anxiety and sleep disorders.  Kids can drink one to two cups of freshly brewed tea daily.  For a tasty and convenient option, substitute glycerites, tinctures that use glycerin to extract the active constituents from herbs.

Information in this article brought to you by:  Pamela Bond-managing editor of Natural Foods Merchandiser and former editor-in-chief of Delicious Living Magazine.

Global Peace and Love


Hello friends,

I received this email today as I am a part of the Global Love Project and  not only did it hit home on what is going on in the world, but also made me stop and think about how much I desire to have PEACE and LOVE in the world as well as PEACE and LOVE  within myself.  These were some of the questions that my good friend Aine Belton had included in her email:

How can  you find resolution, peace, happiness and harmony in your personal world?
In what way can you make peace with yourself and others?

How can you cultivate open, loving, nourishing, relationships and environments?

What can you face and let go of for greater peace? (What judgment, grievance, belief, fear, pain, story…?)

How about bringing acceptance, forgiveness, love, peace, and understanding more fully into your life as you wish to find it in the world?

I want to share this article that she wrote a while back: “10 Steps to Peace Within”, just click this link to read:


For any it may appeal to, she recorded a “World Healing Meditation” some time ago for sending positive intentions, thoughts, feelings and visions into the world.

If you feel called, you can listen to the meditation recording free at:

Never underestimate your impact.  Your thoughts and feelings count.  Your love, intent, imagination, focus and action can help to heal the world.

Peace, love,  blessings from my heart to yours,



Mid-Week Pick Me Up

A Wonderful Wednesday Reminder from “The Presents of Presents:

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Look at the sky:  That is for YOU.

Look at each person’s face as YOU pass on the street: 

Those faces are for YOU….

Remember this when YOU wake up in the the morning and think YOU have nothing. ~ Miranda July

I received an email from Oprah today and inside were different quotes (the above being one of them).  Because it spoke to me, I thought I would pass it along to you.  As ‘Hump Day’ it’s a great reminder for the rest of the week should you need a little pick me up!

You are Loved.

Shine on!


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Celebrate Nelson Mandela Today


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This is  a day to celebrate Nelson Mandela.  A man who may be gone but never forgotten for his many actions of peace throughout the world.


Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother’s birthday and she is still beautiful as ever!

Happy Birthday mom!  Without you my life would be empty.

I love you!

Essential Oils for Summer


Healing Fragrances for Bites, Allergies and Sunburn

A breath of sweet lavender oil can quickly reduce stress.  A whiff of lemon oil can energize us.

“Essential oils are not magic or folklore.  There is solid science behind them,” says Elizabeth Jones, founder of the College of Botanical Healing Arts, in Santa Cruz, California.

Here’s what happens after inhaling lavender, the most popular of all essential oils:  The cilia–microscopic cellular fibers in the nose-transport the aroma to the olfactory bulb at the bottom of the brain, from where it proceeds to the limbic brain and directly affects the nerves, delivering a soothing effect.  “Or put it on your skin and other properties of essential oils are absorbed straight into the bloodstream,” advises Jones, author of Awaken to Healing Fragrance.

Thai studies show that a whiff of lavender oil is calming and lowers blood pressure and heart rate, yet there are many more benefits attributed to the art and science of aromatherapy and essential oils.  For those struggling with summer maladies, here are several simple solutions essential oils can provide.

Minor Scrapes, Cuts and Blisters

Tea tree oil (melaleuca) is tops, because it contains terpenes that kill staphylococcus and other nasty bacteria and works to prevent infection, according to a meta-analysis from the University of Western Australia.  The researchers further suggest that tea tree oil may be used in some cases instead of antibiotics.  Oregano and eucalyptus oils are likewise acknowledged for their natural abilities to eliminate infection-causing bacteria, fungi and viruses.

“Blend all three for a synergistic effect,” says aromatherapy expert Robert Tisserand (, of Ojai, California.  “They sort of leapfrog over each other to penetrate the skin and cell walls.”

Sunburn, Bug Bits and Poison Ivy

A small amount of undiluted lavender oil will cool sunburn fast, advises Tisserand.  Add a few drops to a dollop of cooling aloe vera gel for extra relief and moisture, suggests Jones.  Undiluted Lavender is also a great remedy for insect bites, says Tisserand.  “You can stop the pain of a bee sting in 20 seconds with a few drops.”

Chamomile, either the German or Roman variety, helps with rashes, according to Jones, especially when mixed with her summertime favorite, aloe vera gel.  She recommends mugwort oil for poison oak or poison ivy, a benefit affirmed by animal research from the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine’s Herbal Medicine Formulation Research Group.

***Best Carriers***

Almost all essential oils are so strong that they must be diluted before use to prevent skin irritation.  Use cold pressed oils and mix 10 to 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier substance.  Some of the best carriers are almond oil, aloe vera gel, apricot oil, cocoa butter, glycerin, jojoba oil and olive oil.


Allergy Relief

During hay fever season, several aromatherapy oils from a diffuser can offer relief, counsels Tisserand.  He recommends eucalyptus, geranium and lavender oils, all of which contain antihistamines.  Use them separately or blended.  When using a diffuser, it’s not necessary to put the oils into a diluting carrier oil or gel.  He notes that steam tent containing 10 drops of each of the three oils mixed with two cups of boiling water is highly effective.

Sprains, Strains and Joint Pain

Lessen inflammation and the pains from tendon and muscle sprains and strains with rosemary or peppermint, adding a dash of ginger for additional benefit, says Tisserand.  He recommends rubbing the oils (diluted in a carrier) directly on the sore spot.

Rosemary is particularly effective for bringing blood flow to an injury site, and the menthol in peppermint is a great pain reliever, adds Jones.  A Chinese study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics confirms the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory abilities of peppermint oil.  Researchers from Taiwan confirm that ginger is anti-inflammatory and can even reduce intense nerve pain.

Jones believes that essential oils have a place in everyone’s medicine chest.  “Sometimes I feel like David up against Goliath,” she remarks.  “I encourage everyone to use natural healing products from plants instead of pharmaceutical drugs, the side effects of which actually diminish the body’s natural ability to heal.”


Article source:  Kathleen Barnes, natural health author of Rx from the Garden: 101 Food Cures You Can Easily Grow.  Connect at