Supplements not just for grown-ups
Question: Is it safe for me to give herbal supplements to my kids?
Dr. Wright: Many herbal supplements aren't just safe for children; they can also help them be healthier -- and even smarter -- than they might be without them. My colleague and regular Nutrition & Healing columnist Kerry Bone has written about the herbs for children several times over the years, covering topics ranging from the immune-boosting effects of echinacea to the intelligence-enhancing benefits of bacopa.
Of course, as Kerry always reminds his patients and readers, whenever you're giving children medicine of any kind -- even something completely natural -- it's important to consider dosage. Children differ from adults in their metabolism of herbs, they have lower body weights, and they have developing nervous and immune systems that make them more sensitive.
Kerry uses various rules for figuring out doses of herbal supplements for children. The easiest one is Clark's rule: Divide the child's weight in pounds by 150 to determine the fraction of the adult dose that he should take. For example, if a child weighs 50 pounds, he should be given 1/3 of the adult dose.
But before starting your child on any new supplement, you should always check with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in herbal medicine who can verify the appropriate dose and make sure that the herb won't interact with any other medications or supplements he or she might already be taking.
About the author
Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.
As of today, Dr. Wright has received over 35,000 patient visits at his now-famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State.
To learn more about Dr. Wright, and to sign up for his free Health e-Tips eLetter, please visit www.wrightnewsletter.com.