Natural Supplements: Omegas, Amino Acids, and Probiotics
This is a long list of abstractly named element essential for health growth and development. I will go though them one by one and discuss some of their benefits. All of these products I purchase through Kirkman Labs and am very satisfied with them. Also, they have a great downloadable Catalogue and Beginner’s Guide to supplements, which I reference continually.
If you would like to see a little video of my children taking their supplements, or as we like to call them “vitamins,” please click on the following link. VITAMIN VIDEO.
Omegas or Essential Fatty Acids
Essential Fatty Acids are fatty acids that the body can not produce on it’s own and have to be ingested though diet. The word “essential” is used in describing Omega-3 and 6. Omega-3 and 6 are always in the form of oils. Some sources of Omega-3 are cod liver oil, fish oils, flaxseed, flax oil, hemp seed, hemp oil, and leafy greens. Sources for Omega-6 include corn oil, soy oil, hemp seed, hemp oil, and many other cooking oils. Recent research has discovered that a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is most important. It is recommended that Omega-6 consumption should be about 4 time more than Omega-3 consumption. But since Omega 6 is more common in our society, especially in processed foods, average consumption is more like 20:1.
Omega-3 and 6 are essential for many biological functions and a balance between the two fatty acids is essential for maximum function. They are essential for:
- several cellular functions including division of cells, growth, healing and inflammation;
- nerve transmission including mood regulation, behavior, and muscle reflexes; and
- immune response including controlling inflammation.
Omega-3 and 6 are especially essential for children who suffer from asthma, allergies or neurological disorders, such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, Sensory Processing Disorder, etc., as they are essential to the immune system and controlling inflammation in the body. The most common supplement used for Omega-3 and 6 is cod liver or fish oil, but because of the toxic mercury levels in our fish populations, it is very important to trust the source for these oils. I give my children Nordic Naturals DHA (strawberry flavor), you can find it almost anywhere and order it from Kirkman Labs. My children take the small strawberry flavored caplets. Claire swallows than, but Ross loves to “pop” them in his mouth. My children, especially Claire, also get a good dose of Omega-3 and 6 in the hempmilk (dairy alternative). It contains both Omegas in proper balance along with fiber and protein. Living Harvest makes it in unsweetened forms. Claire transitioned from the regular to unsweetened without even noticing.
Amino Acids are the building blocks for all tissues found in the body, and therefore are essential in every bodily process. The intestinal tract (digestive system) is responsible for breaking down the protein that we eat and transforming them into amino acids that are allowed to transfer through the mucosal tissue that lines the intestines. Once in the body, organs and tissues use these amino acids to build and repair our muscles, skin, hair, bones, organs, etc. Often if someone suffers from a food allergy/intolerance or Leaky Gut Syndrome, the intestinal tract is not properly breaking down the proteins into amino acids and leaking larger protein and peptides into the body. This causes a number of problems: (1) the body may view them as “intruders” or “toxins,” triggering an autoimmune response and (2) the amino acids essential to all functions of the body are not available. Amino acids supplements can improve the health and function of the entire body, but most importantly of the digestive system (intestines), the detox system (liver), the immune system, and nervous system. My children, especially Claire, again get a good amount of Amino Acids in the Living Harvest hempmilk (dairy alternative) and rice protein. They both contain a variety of essential and non-essential amino acids. I would recommend amino acid supplements for anyone with a confirmed allergy to dairy, casein or gluten; anyone who has cileacs disease or lactose intolerance; and anyone who has had large or consistent doses of antibiotics. Again, Kirkman Labs offers a variety and their online catalog is very helpful. I have most often seen L-Glutamine recommended for Leaky Gut Syndrome and Asthma.
Probiotics generally refer to the “friendly” bacteria that are found in the gastrointestional (GI) tract. The GI tract has residential and transient bacteria (sometimes referred to as flora) that help to fight the “bad” bacteria that may enter the body. These “friendly” bacteria are an essential part of the immune system. The most common way for these “friendly” bacteria to become depleted is through the ingestion of antibiotics. Antibiotics are given to fight bacterial infection in the body (and are therefore NOT helpful for viral infections) and they attack all bacteria, not just the bad ones. This can lead to a stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and suppression of the immune system. Some individuals recover quickly after the antibiotics are stopped, but others often have lingering digestive problem and some doctors even think a lack of “friendly” bacteria can increase asthma symptoms.
My children take the Kirkman Labs Pro-Bio Chewable Waffer daily as a precausion. Ross has a terribly unstable GI tract ever since he was given antibiotic at 10 months old without probiotics daily he will have diarrhea and is very susceptible to viruses. Claire’s GI tract is better than Ross’, but I give her probiotics because I allow her to have some gluten and casein in her diet. I have found that if I give her probiotics, she can tolerate a some casein and gluten without negative side effects. I think part of the reason they have such different reactions to dairy is that Claire’s reactions are to the casein and Ross’ is to the lactose. This is just my current theory and I am still trying to find a way to prove it.
Probiotics are very helpful as preventative medicines. I always double their probiotics when given antibiotics and before and during any travel or exposure to lots of strangers, or immunizations. Also, my husband and I will take them when exposed to a virus. Over all our family will suffer from 1-3 illnesses per year and they are usually short lived.
This may seem like a lot of supplements, but take your time introducing them. If I had to choose only ONE of the above to give my family, it would be the probiotics. They are so key in supporting the digestive and immune systems. But if your child suffers regularly from Asthma or infections, I would highly recommend the Omegas also. I find that the amino acids are helpful for building up a compromised digestive or immune system. For example, if you or your child are just identifying the problems, transitioning to a new diet, or have had several antibiotics in the last year, the amino acids can help to boost the recovery process. But I have not found them to be needed in my children for daily maintenance.
Please let me know if you have any stories or questions about the use of these or other supplements by writing a comment below. I am hoping we can all learn from one another’s experiences.