Supporting Your Child's Immunity
During these uncertain times, it is important to know how to protect your little one’s immune system from diseases
Living through a global pandemic is probably not something any of us would have ever expected to happen in our lifetimes. It has been a strangely unfamiliar experience, and everyone is still trying to better understand how it continues to affect our lives in different ways.
As a parent, your first instinct is to think of how you can protect your child from this ‘invisible enemy’. Enhancing your child’s immune system has never become more important in ensuring their health, especially in the time of an ongoing pandemic. Immunity checks now play a major role in the battle against this pandemic.
Paediatricians say there's a greater chance against this fatal virus if we have a strong immune system.
Ensuring a strong immunity in these uncertain times
During pregnancy, nutrients from the mother boost the child's immune system. From birth through the baby’s first two years and beyond, the baby’s healthy immune system is supported and sustained by essential nutrients found in breastmilk. However, after a certain age, when a child has transitioned to formula, it is important for parents to ensure their child’s immunity continues to be supported by the essential nutrients they need for their development. Among the nutrients they need is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Health benefits for children
DHA is an important part of a child’s development in the early years, but what does it actually do?
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) holds that DHA is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain and eyes in infants throughout the different life stages. According to Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, in her book The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet, “Children require omega-3 fatty acids the same way they require vitamins.” No other fatty acids accumulate in the brain as DHA does. DHA is needed for brain and eye development in the same way calcium is required for bone growth. Oxford Learning and Behaviour (DOLAB) trial published in the PLOS-One1 Journal found that a healthy diet with DHA supplements supported improvements in reading, memory and behaviour in school-age children.
Studies have shown DHA also helps support respiratory health and contributes to the development of a healthy immune system. In a study2 that followed 91 healthy children in a 6-year period, scientists concluded that supplementation of infant formula with DHA and ARA in the first year of life impacts children’s immune systems, and protects them against allergies in early childhood.
What are the available sources of DHA?
Between birth and five years of age, when the human brain is rapidly growing and developing, it is critically important that infants and children consume adequate amounts of DHA in their diet.
For children that have transitioned into formula milk and weaning, the most common source of DHA is seafood, particularly fatty fish or fish oil. Excellent fish sources include mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, and caviar. There are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid – ALA) found in walnuts, flax and other plant foods that can be converted to DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals, omega-3-enriched- or pastured eggs, may also contain small amounts of DHA. However, these are not enough, according to Healthline studies.
Foods that naturally contain DHA are not commonly consumed by young children—at least not enough to help them meet the daily recommended amount of important Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.
So how do we make sure our children get optimal levels of DHA in their daily diet?
While there are a lot of food sources that contain DHA, many of them do not have enough DHA to meet a child’s daily recommended amount. This is why the best way to ensure your growing tots get the daily required amount of DHA is by adding in fortified foods and ensuring that the milk they consume contains enough DHA to meet their daily nutritional requirement. This is especially important for parents of fussy eaters who may be missing out on these nutritional benefits.
The Enfagrow A+ Formula
As published in PEDIATRICS®, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it shows that children consuming milk fortified with DHA, PDX^ + GOS and Beta-Glucan have been shown to have fewer episodes of Acute Respiratory Infections compared to children consuming unfortified milk. It also has been shown to have more school days, giving them more opportunities for learning.
Enfagrow A+ is a scientifically formulated blend of nutrients such as DHA, PDX^ + GOS and Beta-Glucan. Unlike Enfagrow A+, regular milk may not have sufficient nutrients such as DHA that your little one needs to nourish their growth and development.
Learn more about Enfagrow A+ and how it can help support your child’s brain development here.
2Foiles AM, Kerling EH, Wick JA, Scalabrin DM, Colombo J, Carlson SE. Formula with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces incidence of allergy in early childhood.
Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2016 Mar; 27(2):156-61.
Horrocks LA, Yeo YK. Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pharmacol Res. 1999;40(3):211-225. doi:10.1006/phrs.1999.0495
Gonzalez, F.E., Baez, R.V. In time: importance of omega 3 in children’s nutrition. Rev Paul Pediatr. 2017 Jan-Mar; 35(1): 3–4. doi: 10.1590/1984-0462/;2017;35;1;00018.