Kids Health & Vitamin D

  • Feeling seen, heard and supported during times of struggle has been shown to enhance patient immune function (p<0.001). In a meta-analysis and systematic review of 56 randomised-controlled clinical trials, psychological support provided to 4,060 patients (e.g. cognitive-behavioural counselling) led to a 14.7% improvement in systemic immune function.1 Such clinical outcomes were evidenced with higher immune cell counts (CD+4 lymphocytes), as well as an 18% decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6) associated with weakened immune function. These results persisted for six months following treatment, evidencing the therapeutic value of interpersonal support to promote healthy immune function.
  • In obese patients, reducing body mass index (BMI) has been shown to enhance the adaptive immune response involved in fighting infection.2 In a randomised-controlled clinical study, subjects underwent a weight-loss program involving 135 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly combined with a calorie-restricted diet (i.e. 1,200 kcal/d) for 12 weeks. Compared to the control group (who received no intervention), the treatment group achieved a four-point reduction in BMI (31.73 ± 2.68 reduced to 27.86 ± 2.24), which was associated with enhanced levels of cluster of differentiation 4 (CD+4) and CD+8 lymphocytes (p<0.05). Such evidence supports the importance of addressing metabolic disease with diet and lifestyle interventions to promote a more effective immune response.
  • A poor sense of smell is common amongst older people, and now, research has found it may have broader implications for immune health. In a prospective cohort study, 2,494 participants aged 71 to 82 years were tested for olfactory function and monitored over 13 years. Outcomes of the study indicated that patients with poor sense of smell were 37% more likely to develop pneumonia compared to patients with good olfaction scores (p<0.019).3 These findings provide evidence that poor sense of smell is associated with a long-term risk of pneumonia, however further research is required to understand its implications in clinical practice.

Focus On

Decades of research supports the role of vitamin D as a cornerstone of immune health. In fact, evolutionary biologists estimate that vitamin D has enabled the innate and adaptive immune system of vertebrates to overcome infections for around 550 million years.4 Fast-forward to the present, vitamin D is making headlines as science explores new strategies to manage corona virus disease (COVID-19); with early findings supporting its benefits to enhance patient recovery and survival rates.5

Fortifying the Immune Response on All Sides: A review of Vitamin D in Action

Following its endogenous synthesis or supplementation, vitamin D binds to vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which activate several genes and transcription proteins involved in modulating immune cell activity,6 including: • Cluster of differentiation 14 (CD14) glycoproteins; • Thymocyte selection associated family member 2 (THEMIS2) genes; • Leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor subfamily B member 4 (LILRB4) genes; and, • Leucine-rich repeat-containing protein 25 (LRRC25).
 
Upon activation, these genes coordinate various immune functions. For example, CD14 promotes activity of pattern recognition receptors that detect infections, including toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), located on immune cells.7,8 This, in turn, stimulates antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as macrophages and dendritic cells, to initiate co-stimulatory signals to T cells, engaging the adaptive immune response.9 Similarly, THEMIS2 also fortifies immune function, involved in the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages, as well as promoting the development of T lymphocytes that are necessary for an effective immune response.10

Checks and Balances: How Vitamin D Moderates the Immune Response to Manage Infections

Beyond stimulating immune activity, vitamin D plays a key role in immune modulation, which is fundamental to managing infectious disease. Vitamin D-sensitive LILRB4 genes promote differentiation of T regulatory cells (Tregs),11 which are key modulators of the immune response.12,13 Notably, Tregs downregulate excessive inflammatory responses triggered by viral disease, subsequently reducing infection-associated tissue damage.14Comparably, LRRC25 activation in monocytes, dendritic cells and T lymphocytes regulates cytokine production to supress inflammation,15 thereby limiting the degree of inflammatory damage to the body. As such, sufficient levels of vitamin D are required to coordinate several events that enhance and modulate immune function.

Tried and True: Clinical Research Supports Vitamin D for Minimising Infectious Risk

When it comes to human clinical trials, positive effects on immunity have been observed following vitamin D supplementation in both healthy and immunocompromised patients.16,17 For example, in a systematic review and meta-analysis, 11,321 infants, children and adults with and without pre-existing illness were prescribed supplemental vitamin D (between 800 IU/d and 2,000 IU/d). Outcomes of the study revealed a reduction in acute respiratory tract infection risk (p<0.001).18 Interestingly, greater protective effects were seen in individuals with baseline vitamin D deficiency (<25 nmol/L; p<0.006), emphasising Vitamin D’s ability to support a protective immune response in deficient populations susceptible to illness. Similar findings have also been observed in immunocompromised patients with inflammatory bowel disease and insufficient vitamin D (i.e. <50 nmol/l); highlighting the importance of optimising vitamin D status to offset infectious risk.19 Research further supports the immune-enhancing effects of vitamin D in seriously ill patients without vitamin D insufficiency (i.e. >50 nmol/L). As an example, in 208 paediatric patients with invasive Candida albicans infection, 300 IU/d of vitamin D significantly lowered growth of candida, measured in blood and urine samples, as well as reducing patient ICU admission time.20 This demonstrates the clinical value of prescribing vitamin D to enhance immunity and minimise infectious load, subsequently reducing hospitalisation length and illness severity.

Vitamin D: A Key Player in the Fight Against COVID-19

To date, research has yielded promising results for the role of vitamin D in management of COVID-19. In one randomised clinical trial looking at the effects of high-dose  vitamin D3 in 50 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, only 2% of cases required intensive care unit (ICU) admission compared to 50% in the non-supplemented group (p<0.001).21 Clinical data has also revealed that vitamin D insufficiency (<50 nmol/L) is associated with raised inflammatory markers+ and longer COVID-19 hospitalisation time. Additionally, these presentations were more prevalent in individuals with hypertension and cardiovascular disease; complicating COVID-19 recovery outcomes in these patients.22 Collectively, these findings suggest that vitamin D improves COVID-19 outcomes, while insufficient levels of vitamin D can compromise immune function, particularly in patients with comorbid diseases, increasing infection severity.

Set Your Patients’ Immune Function up for Success

When acute and chronic infections present clinically, vitamin D may be the key to shifting patient immunity in the right direction, paving the way forward for a stronger immune system. Vitamin D’s ability to enhance and modulate the immune response has been demonstrated in numerous population studies and clinical trials, highlighting its capacity to prevent infectious onset and severity. As such, Practitioners should consider vitamin D supplementations as a core treatment strategy to support immune function, particularly for infection and in immunocompromised individuals.
 

References

1 Shields GS, Spahr CM, Slavich GM. Psychosocial interventions and immune system function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020 Oct 1;77(10):1031-1043. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0431. 2 Al-Sharif FM, Abd El-Kader SM, Neamatallah ZA, AlKhateeb AM. Weight reduction improves immune system and inflammatory cytokines in obese asthmatic patients. Afr Health Sci. 2020 Jun;20(2):897-902. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v20i2.44. 3 Yuan Y, Luo Z, Li C, Pinto J, Shiroma E, Simonsick E, et al. Poor olfaction and pneumonia hospitalization among community-dwelling older adults: a cohort study. Lancet Healthy Longev. 2021 May 1;2(5):275-282.doi: 10.1016/S2666-7568(21)00083-0 4 Koivisto O, Hanel A, Carlberg C. Key Vitamin d target genes with functions in the immune system. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1140. doi: 10.3390/nu12041140. 5 Pereira M, Dantas Damascena A, Galvão Azevedo LM, de Almeida Oliveira T, da Mota Santana J. Vitamin D deficiency aggravates COVID-19: systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Nov 4:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1841090. 6 Koivisto O, Hanel A, Carlberg C. Key Vitamin d target genes with functions in the immune system. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1140. doi: 10.3390/nu12041140. 7 Koivisto O, Hanel A, Carlberg C. Key Vitamin d target genes with functions in the immune system. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1140. doi: 10.3390/nu12041140. 8 Zhu Y, Yao S, Chen L. Cell surface signaling molecules in the control of immune responses: a tide model. Immunity. 2011 Apr 22;34(4):466-78. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.04.008. 9 Zhu Y, Yao S, Chen L. Cell surface signaling molecules in the control of immune responses: a tide model. Immunity. 2011 Apr 22;34(4):466-78. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.04.008. 10 Koivisto O, Hanel A, Carlberg C. Key Vitamin d target genes with functions in the immune system. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1140. doi: 10.3390/nu12041140. 11 Koivisto O, Hanel A, Carlberg C. Key Vitamin d target genes with functions in the immune system. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1140. doi: 10.3390/nu12041140. 12 Fisher SA, Rahimzadeh M, Brierley C, Gration B, Doree C, Kimber CE, et al. The role of vitamin D in increasing circulating T regulatory cell numbers and modulating T regulatory cell phenotypes in patients with inflammatory disease or in healthy volunteers: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2019 Sep 24;14(9):e0222313. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222313. 13 Mocanu V, Oboroceanu T, Zugun-Eloae F. Current status in vitamin D and regulatory T cells–immunological implications. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2013 Oct-Dec;117(4):965-73. PMID: 24502077. 14 Veiga-Parga T, Sehrawat S, Rouse BT. Role of regulatory T cells during virus infection. Immunol Rev. 2013 Sep;255(1):182-96. doi: 10.1111/imr.12085. 15 Koivisto O, Hanel A, Carlberg C. Key Vitamin d target genes with functions in the immune system. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1140. doi: 10.3390/nu12041140. 16 Arihiro S, Nakashima A, Matsuoka M, Suto S, Uchiyama K, Kato T, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin d supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza and upper respiratory infection in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 May 4;25(6):1088-1095. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izy346. 17 Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, Greenberg L, Aloia JF, Bergman P, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017 Feb 15;356:i6583. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6583. 18 Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, Greenberg L, Aloia JF, Bergman P, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017 Feb 15;356:i6583. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6583. 19 Arihiro S, Nakashima A, Matsuoka M, Suto S, Uchiyama K, Kato T, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin d supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza and upper respiratory infection in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 May 4;25(6):1088-1095. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izy346. 20 Xie J, Zhu L, Zhu T, Jian Y, Ding Y, Zhou M, et al. Vitamin D-supplemented yogurt drink reduces Candida infections in a paediatric intensive care unit: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2019 Aug;32(4):512-517. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12634. 21 Entrenas Castillo M, Entrenas Costa LM, Vaquero Barrios JM, Alcalá Díaz JF, López Miranda J, Bouillon R, at al. Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020 Oct;203:105751. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105751. 22 Hernández JL, Nan D, Fernandez-Ayala M, García-Unzueta M, Hernández-Hernández MA, López-Hoyos M, et al. Vitamin D status in hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Mar 8;106(3):e1343-e1353. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgaa733.

Naturopathy Can Help With the Following Childhood Conditions

Fiona provides tailored health plans based on a multitude of factors relevant to your child’s symptomology (how they are feeling), pathology (how their body is responding), plus dietary and lifestyle factors.

  • ✅ Digestive complaints – constipation, diarrhoea, loose stools, pain or bloating
  • ✅ Allergies and allergic conditions – such as asthma, eczema or hayfever
  • ✅ Poor Immunity – recurring colds or ear infections
  • ✅ Skin Conditions – rashes, eczema, acne, pimples or allergic reactions
  • ✅ Moods – anxiety, depression or mood swings
  • ✅ Food Intolerances – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Food Allergies – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Growth and development issues – fussy eaters or nutritional malabsorption
  • ✅ Behavioural challenges – ADHD or others
  • ✅ Energy – poor energy or chronic fatigue
  • ✅ Picky Eaters – fussy eaters
  • ✅ Sleep – trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

What happens in a children’s nutritionist consultation

During your consultation, Fiona will seek information about your pregnancy, birth and post birth experiences. This will provide an integrated view to give a full picture of the foundations of your child’s health status. You can expect to leave your consultation with a thorough understanding of the potential contributing factors of the presenting symptoms. Fiona will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates possible herbal/nutritional medicine, dietary/lifestyle recommendations, recipes and handouts. Plus an overview of the consultation so you feel empowered to care for your child’s wellbeing with Fiona’s guidance. At The Children’s Naturopath, Fiona Stock an expert in childhood health, she understands children’s needs and considers working with kids and teens to be an absolute joy. She finds that children typically respond to naturopathic treatment very well – bouncing back to good health in no time.  And she treasures the opportunity she has to teach kids about their bodies and engage them in their health journey, setting them up with strong foundations and knowledge for life.

Meet Children’s Nutritionist – Fiona Stock

Fiona is skilled at getting to the heart of childhood health challenges – helping to initiate lasting change.

Fiona Stock is a respected Paediatric Naturopath & Children’s Nutritionist with a career spanning over 23 years. Armed with an abundance of experience and a true desire to transform your child’s health, she’ll listen closely to understand the underlying causes of their troubling condition. Fiona gets to the heart of your child’s presenting symptoms by deciphering what their body is trying to tell you. She will suggest simple and specific changes as well as herbal or nutritional medicine where required to nurture and restore your child, so they can enjoy the good health they deserve. Deeply compassionate and highly skilled, either of the Naturopathic Consultation Options with Fiona is a wonderful investment in your child’s health. If you’ve tried everything and are yet to find solutions to your child’s health challenges – this could well be the path to take.

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FIONA STOCK | PAEDIATRIC NATUROPATH & CHILDREN’S NUTRITIONIST

 

Fiona treats the following conditions:

  • ✅Poor Immunity
  • ✅Poor Focus & Concentration
  • ✅ Behavioural Problems
  • ✅ ADHD
  • ✅ Depression
  • ✅ Anxiety
  • ✅ Food Allergies
  • ✅ Food Intolerances
  • ✅ Constipation
  • ✅ Diarrhoea
  • ✅ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • ✅ Tummy Pain
  • ✅ Eczema
  • ✅ Asthma
  • ✅ Obesity
  • ✅ Auto-Immune Disease
  • ✅ Recurring Infections
  • ✅ Fussy Eaters
  • ✅ Sleep Issues
  • ✅ Plus many more…

Online Learning | Children’s Health | Children’s Nutritionist

Would you like a consultation with me at a fraction of the cost? My online learning classes are jam packed with more advice than I provide in a face-to-face appointment. It’s evidence-based naturopathic wisdom coupled with the latest scientific research on kids health I’ve successfully shared with clients over my 20+ year career.

I’ve also included cheatsheets, checklists, nourishing recipes and 25 page book of class notes.

You will learn:

  • ✅ Understand the cause if common childhood conditions (eczema, poor immunity, food allergies, food intolerances, poor focus & concentration, ADHD, behavioural problems).
  • ✅. Supporting immune function to help support allergic conditions.
  • ✅. Support optimal brain function.
  • ✅. Healthy Eating Plan – including portion size for each age-group.
  • ✅. Natural medicine recommendations,
  • ✅. Plus much more…

Brisbane Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Brisbane

Adelaide Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Adelaide

Sydney Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Sydney

Perth Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Perth

Kids Nutritionist | Children’s Nutritionist | Baby Nutritionist



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