Nervous about sending your kids back to school?

Well, the announcement has been made to send children back to school, how does this impact you and how can we best support our children as they make this transition in the most uncertain environment that we’ve ever encountered?

When the weather shifts in the fall, we are more susceptible to the usual colds and the flu, and with increased interactions with other people, our risk of contracting other viruses also increases.

When it comes to acquiring infections, we need to remember that the state of our immune system and the environment within our bodies needs to be hospitable in order for a virus to take hold and spread.

How we feed our bodies, what our genetics are and how stressed and how much sleep we are getting will greatly impact our susceptibility.

So far, we know some general nutrition recommendations are very helpful to keep our bodies healthy. We want to maximize our antioxidants, these are found in all the brightly colored foods; beets, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, squash, citrus, and berries. To make it simple, just think about eating the fruit and veggie rainbow!

Immune boosting supplements include vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C and zinc. As a baseline, ensure that you have adequate levels. We also encourage probiotics as part of good immune maintenance and reduction of inflammation. The environment in the GI tract determines your immune capacity.

There has also been recent evidence to show that melatonin and quercetin may act as potent antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral benefits.

Vitamin D is important

Nutrients have been linked to increased adverse effects to corona-type viruses, specifically, vitamin D. Researchers have looked at blood vitamin D levels in COVID positive and negative patients and have noticed that there is a significant increase in adverse outcomes in those with low serum vitamin D.

Vitamin D testing is no longer covered by Alberta Health, if this is something you would like to have tested we do offer this testing privately through the lab for $110.

Generally, if we’ve been outside in the summer, we will have good vitamin D levels, but once we have shorter days and there is less absorbance of UV rays, our vitamin D levels decline.

Supplementing throughout the winter is recommended, but if you really want to know if you’re taking enough vitamin D, testing part way through the winter would be recommended.

Please see the link to the study below:


Stay Informed and Reduce Stress

Stress is huge these days, it’s hard not to be when every news story is discussing the latest in COVID-19 numbers and the fallout from this around the world. Our children can also sense the changes in our stress levels as well as the lack of normalcy from their usual routines.

Remember to turn off the news sometimes, this will give you a break and your kids some time to stop wondering what is happening in the world. Some of them may also be experiencing anxiety around the return to school, what are they allowed to do and not do, will they be able to see their friends, who will be their teacher, and when will they eat lunch?

Keeping kids informed of the facts, practicing what the new procedures will be, wearing masks when out in public, using hand sanitizer or hand washing, following the lines in supermarkets and malls and standing on the 6 feet circles, will help to normalize all the new expectations when they get back to class. Making sure your kids are comfortable with these procedures will make the new routines less stressful and help them to feel successful.

Genetic Links to Virus Susceptibility

The gene component of COVID-19 susceptibility is an emerging area of research. From early on, there seems to be some level of gene involvement that determines the intensity of response that someone will have to the virus, although this has not been confirmed entirely, we find this interesting and perhaps something that will be an evolving part of treatment for this infection.

The ABO blood type gene doesn’t just influence our blood, it’s also active in a wider variety of tissues and organs, including our digestive and respiratory systems. Numerous early studies have identified blood type as one factor that can increase the chances of a more severe reaction.

Blood type A seems to be more susceptible to contract the virus and develop more severe symptoms. Whereas, blood type O, seems to be less likely to contract and has less severe symptoms. Knowing your blood type should not determine your level of concern, but knowing your blood type, and eating for your blood type could be helpful in protecting you.

If you don’t know your blood type and you would like to, we can do this test easily in the office with a simple finger prick blood test. Blood typing cost is $20.

Other genes, such as the one that influences blood pressure and blood vessel dilation have also been linked to the intensity of reaction to the COVID-19 virus. Currently, a few countries, including Canada, are conducting genetic research to determine if there are other gene connections to the virus.

If you’ve had a DNA test, such as 23andme or Ancestry, you can actually look at your genetics through other analyzers, such as PureGenomics, which we have here in the office, and you can learn how to balance your genetics through nutrition and nutritional supplements. (Your genes are not your destiny!)

Please see more information in the link below:


Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Stay Healthy,

Dr. Rebecca Sagan, ND and Dr. Hajnalka Pinter, ND