Nontraditional Treatments for Your Child's Health Concerns

little girl drinking milk
(Photo: iStock)

Becoming a parent is an incredible experience, but it's one that usually causes stress as it involves your child’s health as your top priority. Certain health problems may leave you a bit anxious and unsure of the best approach to address their needs. We recommend consulting your pediatrician, but there are diet changes and natural remedies that can work alongside your doctor's recommendations to gently strengthen their immunity without causing adverse side effects like some drugs can.

Hyperactivity
Raising a child with ADHD doesn’t typically fall into traditional parenting. Since usual rules and household routines often become impossible, it’s crucial to adopt different approaches. One of the first ways to reduce a child's trouble with concentration is to cut sugar and processed foods from their diet. The Journal of Pediatrics suggests additives like artificial coloring and processed sugars adversely affect some children with ADHD.

To help them perform their best, add vitamin B12 and magnesium to their diets. Whether through meals or a broad-spectrum multivitamin, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests this combination not only normalizes their blood cell levels to relax the body and mind, but promotes emotional well-being and reduces feelings of unease.

Ear Infections
While anyone can get an ear infection, children are more commonly affected. The National Institute of Health reports five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Since ear infections are an indicator of a compromised immune system and begin as acute episodes, use multivitamins as the first step in immunity strengthening.

To ensure protection from future infection, pair their multivitamin with cod liver oil, an essential fatty acid packed with vitamin A and omega-3. In his book, New Medicine, David Peters, M.D. details the success of this combination in clinical trials, stating researchers saw a reduction in length and frequency of ear infections.

Childhood Asthma
There might be nothing worse or scarier than watching your child suffer from asthma. From a recurrent cough to wheezing and shortness of breath, asthmatic children often have less stamina than others their age. But often, children develop asthma as a result of a triggering allergen present in their environment. Since their lungs and airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain factors, it’s vital to eliminate the disruptive allergen immediately as to not risk colds or respiratory infections.

The Journal of Asthma found a natural plant extract derived from the bark of French maritime pine trees called Pycnogenol could reduce symptoms associated with childhood asthma. Touted a key player in the management of mild to moderate childhood asthma, the substance possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiviral and antioxidant qualities. Vitamin C can complement and further support the benefits of Pycnogenol. When trying a natural remedy like this, remember not to discontinue any medication your doctor has prescribed your child without discussing it with them first.

Growing Pains
Cue the sighs because they grow up so fast. KidsHealth reports almost two out of five kids get growing pains. And while it usually happens to young children or pre-teens, right around the time of those growth spurts, it’s a pain that extends past their bones. Since they are growing fairly rapidly, their muscles, tendons and ligaments are growing as well — just not at the same pace.

To aid in their discomfort, calcium and magnesium are necessary for diets without calcium-rich foods. Bone density often suffers when calcium is not effectively met during the formative years and can lead to osteoporosis — beginning in early childhood when diets don’t provide ample calcium. For younger children, try a more palatable liquid formulation that is easy to take if they’re not fans of multivitamins.

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Obesity
Today, the American Heart Association reports 33 percent of kids and teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Besides causing an extensive range of health problems, obesity’s link to negative body image and depression can lead to a depleted mental and emotional well-being.

Since doctors cite nutrient deficiencies as a cause of cravings and overeating, add a multivitamin addressing all of your child’s needs. Since clinical trials show most overweight children have iron deficiencies, which often leads to fatigue and lethargy, find a multivitamin with iron. Additionally, integrate an A-B complex supplement that converts food into energy — not fat, and vitamin C, which supports oxidation of fat.