As promised after last week’s post, here are four specific ways to alleviate the burden from your child’s immune system. Here we go!
1. Reduce inflammation. Inflammation causes your immune system to be on edge, ready to fight!
a) In order to reduce inflammation, we must first remove all dietary and environmental agents that the immune system is likely reacting to. For a period of 3-4 weeks, remove all wheat, dairy, eggs, sugar, fried and processed foods from the diet. (I understand this is likely difficult with children!) Here are a few tips to help make the food elimination successful:
- Treat it as a family lifestyle change, the child will be less likely to rebel if everyone is eating the same foods.
- Ensure the child understands that this extreme diet is not forever! Have a chart with a countdown on the fridge, so they can see the amount of time left.
- Have little treats and rewards for them each week of completion.
- Discuss how the child is feeling with these foods out of the diet. Focus on positive outcomes.
- Make it fun and compliance will follow!
Note: this is the more roundabout way to remove inflammatory agents from your child’s body. A food sensitivity test (IgG test) will get you the results much quicker, but costs money and requires a finger prick. But the bonus to doing the testing route is that you can pinpoint the specific items your child’s immune system is reacting to without doing the manual elimination, so there’s less of a struggle.
b) Combine the removal of offending substances with the addition of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet!
2. Modulate. A huge portion of the body’s immune system is in the gut. Most people are not aware of this! When you take a high quality probiotic supplement, it actually has the ability to produce anti-inflammatory cell signals which effectively calm and soothe the immune system. It’s called immunomodulation, which means it normalizes, levels out, and makes the immune system less reactive.
Note: The digestive tract must have these ‘good’ bacteria in order to digest food properly and regulate the immune system, but they are killed off anytime your child takes an antibiotic. See an ND to make sure you are re-populating with the good bacteria after an infection!
3. Stabilize. Vit C is an amazing natural ‘mast cell stabilizer’. So, if you remember from above, the mast cells are activated by IgE and are over-eagerly releasing histamine (causing stuffiness, sneezing, itchy eyes and skin, etc). These mast cells must be stabilized to stop their allergic effects. Increasing vitamin C in your diet is sufficient IF you have removed the inflammation producers from the body. If not, supplementation may be required. See your ND for specific dosages for your specific child’s age and severity of symptoms.
4. Re-train. It is crucial to train your child’s immune system at an early age (the earlier the better, but the immune system is finished ‘learning’ by puberty). I encourage everyone to educate themselves on the Hygiene Hypothesis (this website and this website are a start). Most parents think they are keeping their children safe by sanitizing every surface and vaccinating at every chance they get. However, we must think of the immune system as something that needs experience in order to mature; it needs to be exposed to a wide variety of bugs (bacteria, fungus, viruses) in order to be able to correctly identify the actual threatening agents. It’s counter-intuitive, I know!
Good luck to you with your daughter’s symptoms. I hope you found some useful information here!
In good health,
Have a question for Dr. Corinne? Send her an email at email@example.com and your question will be answered here. These suggestions are not intended to provide diagnosis or substitute a private consultation with your healthcare practitioner.
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