Teen Supplements 101: What Should My Teen Be Taking?

This guest post is by Dr. Heather Manley, who in 2001 received her medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families. She is the author of Human Body Detectives, her educational series of story-telling children’s story books. She also promotes wellness and naturopathic healthcare on her website drheathernd.com. She lives on the Big Island of Hawaii with her husband and two daughters, and is currently at work on the next Human Body Detectives adventure.

Zinc

Why is it good for me?

 

Zinc is an essential mineral that is required for vision, as metabolic cofactors, enhancing wound healing and immune system support. Zinc can be found in the muscle, spleen, bone marrow, and liver.  High zinc concentrations may also be found in white blood cells and red blood cells.

 

Many of our teens’ immune systems are not as optimal as they could be and many of them struggle with skin blemishes. In fact, adolescents have shown to have lower zinc levels than other children or adults.

 

Best way to take:

You can find zinc in a liquid form, capsule or lozenge. The recommended daily range is 15 mg. Dosages over 20 mg may cause digestive upset and zinc should always be taken with food.

 

A side note: Zinc absorption is enhanced by soy protein, glucose and lactose and will be inhibited by iron, copper, and phylates ( whole grains, nuts and legumes). It is best to take zinc away from these foods.

 

Food sources:

 

Oysters, beef, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, cheddar cheese.

 

Liquid Chlorophyll

 

What is liquid chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is what creates the green coloring in plants which is accomplished through photosynthesis.

 

Why is it good for me? Here are a few reasons …

 

Refreshing and energizing.

Cleansing to the body – some studies suggest it detoxifies and cleans the liver.

Aids in the clarity of the skin, there fore, maybe extremely helpful in preventing skin breakouts.

Rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium.

 

 

 

 

Best way to take:

 

You can purchase liquid chlorophyll at any health food store. Many come in a mint flavor which makes it a little more flavorful. Try it as your first drink of the day by putting 1 to 2 teaspoons in my water.

 

Food sources:

 

All green plants will have sources of chlorophyll in them, spinach having the greatest amount. You will also find chlorophyll in some of these healthy green vegetables:

asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, celery, collard greens, green beans, green peas, kale, leeks, green olives, parsley, romaine lettuce, sea vegetables, swiss chard, and turnip greens.

 

Calcium

 

Why are they good for me?

 

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is the one nutrient kids can not simply miss taking. It’s an essential building block for strong bones and teeth a process that is complete by the end of the teen years. If a teen does not get the required calcium needs met during the teen years, problems later in life may arise (osteoporosis and bone fractures).

 

Best way to take:

 

Calcium comes in many forms with calcium citrate and calcium citrate malate being the most absorbable forms. The recommended daily dose is 1200mg for both males and females.

 

Food sources:

 

Gruyere cheese, mozzarella cheese, turnip greens, sardines, yogurt, broccoli, almonds

 

A side note: Teens who drink soda pop, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages may be at higher risk of not getting enough calcium into their diets as these drinks often interfere with calcium absorption.

 

Essential Fatty Acids ( EFAs)

 

What are they?

 

EFAs are fatty acids that humans need to ingest because our bodies do not make them. There are two types of EFAs; omega 3 or alpha-linolenic acid and omega 6 or linoleic acid. The omega 3s have EPA and DHA and omega 6s have GLA and AA.

 

Here are a few reasons on why they are good for teens…

Repair cell membranes.

Aids the body in the anti-inflammatory pathways.

EFAs, by acting as nutrient carriers, enable cells to obtain optimal nutrition.

Regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting.

Aid the immune system by regulating inflammation and helping the body fight infection.

 

 

Best way to take:

 

Cod liver oil, hemp oil, and flax seed oil are all good supplements. They can be taken as a capsule or in a liquid form. Do a little research to find a good quality oil company. I suggest to my patients to purchase their oils from Nordic Naturals and use the dosage on the back on the bottle.

 

Food sources:

 

Nuts, seeds, cold water fish, avocados, eggs, dark colored leafy greens, cod liver oil, flax seeds (and oil) and hemp seeds (and oil).

 

 

HEATHER MANLEY, N.D. BIO

 

Dr. Heather Manley, who in 2001 received her medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families. She is the author of Human Body Detectives, her educational series of story-telling children’s story books. She also promotes wellness and naturopathic healthcare on her website drheathernd.com. She lives on the Big Island of Hawaii with her husband and two daughters, and is currently at work on the next Human Body Detectives adventure.

This Week’s Sponsor:
If you can survive a teenager, you can survive anything.
In Leah’s Wake – a novel by Terri Giuliano Long
“This is a story that will stay with you for days and weeks.” –Radical Parenting

 

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