Prebiotics Modulate the Microbiome and Immune Health in Young Children

Modulation of the human gut microbiome is an emerging approach to support gastrointestinal, metabolic, and immune health. One way to modulate the gut microbiome is by consuming prebiotics. Prebiotics act as fermentation substrates for intestinal microbes, leading to a greater abundance of Bifidobacterium, production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and lower intestinal pH. These effects support the developing immune system and are the reason that prebiotics are added to infant formulas. Although the immune benefits of prebiotics for infants are well recognized, their immune effects in children beyond the infant years are less researched.

A randomized controlled trial, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2018, explored whether prebiotic supplementation in young children would reduce the frequency of infectious disease episodes through the winter months. The study was conducted in 219 Hungarian kindergarten children, aged 3-6 years old. Healthy children were randomized to take a placebo or 6 grams per day of an an Orfati inulin-type product with shorter and longer chains for 24 weeks. The primary outcome was the frequency of infectious disease episodes reported by the parents. Stool samples were also analyzed, and physicians recorded any diagnoses or prescribed treatments during the period.

Results showed no significant difference between groups in the primary outcome measure: parents in both groups reported a similar number of infectious episodes during the 24-week intervention period. Parents reported no significant differences in the total number of infectious days, duration of infections, febrile days, days of antibiotic treatment, or days of absence from school.

In contrast to these null results, significant differences were detected in several secondary outcome measures. The number of febrile episodes requiring medical attention and the incidence of sinusitis were both significantly lower in the prebiotic group than in the placebo group. Also, relative abundances of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus were significantly higher in the prebiotic group than in the placebo group at the end of the study. These changes were accompanied by softer stool (still within the normal range) in children taking prebiotics.

Despite no significant differences in parental reports of infectious disease episodes, supplementation for 24 weeks with 6 grams per day of a prebiotic inulin-type fructan product had beneficial effects on the composition of the gut microbiome, improved stool consistency, and reduced sinusitis and febrile episodes requiring medical attention in kindergarten-aged children.

By TAP Integrative


Lohner S, Jakobik V, Mihályi K et al. Inulin-Type Fructan Supplementation of 3 to 6 Year-Old Children Is Associated with Higher Fecal Bifidobacterium Concentrations and Fewer Febrile Episodes Requiring Medical Attention. J Nutr. 2018.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Want to Boost Your Immune System? Hang out with your fur babies

Fall is almost here and besides pumpkin spice everything and breaking out those warmer clothes you have been missing, fall also means cold and flu season. To keep your immune system fighting the good fight, consider spending a little extra time with Fido this year.

Good Germs-

Pets help us develop good bacteria colonies in our own microbiomes which in turn fight off the bad bugs. The University of Arizona is currently conducting a long-term study on specifically which strains from pets and their saliva benefit us the most. So next time man’s best friends licks your face, don’t freak out.


In studies, pets have shown they can help people increase their mood, decrease feelings of loneliness, and decrease stress because interacting with them actually lowers our cortisol (stress hormone) levels. An immune system under stress is more susceptible to infection and disease, so make sure you get plenty of time with your fur babies to relax and play.

Allergy Prevention in Children-

Research has shown that children raised around pets have less allergies in adulthood. This is because their immune systems are exposed early on to pet dander and dirt. This is consistent with the hygiene hypothesis where we essentially are making children’s environments too clean, in turn their immune systems do not get a chance to develop proper antibodies to cope with allergies and other pathogens later on in life.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Build A Strong Immune System in the Garden

As a parent, you have probably heard of the Hygiene Hypothesis by now. In a nutshell, it states that children are becoming more ill and growing into adults with compromised immune systems and more allergies because they are not exposed to enough germs early on in life. Exposure to different pathogens and other microorganisms can help educate the immune system and protect it from other harmful germs in the future. Research suggests that by allowing children to play outside, you know in the dirt, we are helping them build a healthy microbiome.

Typically, being outdoors helps children (adults too) relax and turn off the part of the brain that practices self-discipline. Being able to unwind and get their little hands in the dirt gives children a much needed break, which in turn keeps immune system-depressing stress at bay. Personally my two young boys can be really wild indoors and default to whining, fighting or anything emotionally stressful really. As soon as I take them outside however, they concentrate on putting rocks somewhere, drawing with a twig in the dirt, pushing a toy truck through a puddle and so forth. The point being is that the natural calming effect of the outdoors helps the immune system function properly so we can have healthier happier kids.

Playing in the dirt, specifically gardening also gives children a hidden immune benefit. It creates a closeness to food which fosters a future appreciation of eating healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs. When children have a personal connection to food from the garden, they not only try it, but they will also help you cook it. Foods straight from the garden are packed with beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and nutrients, which makes for an alkaline internal environment where an immune system can be strong and thrive. The end result, very healthy little people.

Next time you’re stressing about your kids getting too dirty outside, just remember that they are actually doing some good for their bodies and that they won’t be little kids forever. Many of us adults already face some allergies or other immune issues, but remember getting dirty in the garden is good for big people too, the same theories apply. Whether it’s planting a tomato plant or building a mud pie, let your kiddos go at it as they’ll thank you in the future for helping them develop into healthy adults.




Vitamin Deficiencies in Children with Celiac Disease

Celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction to gluten-containing grains, leads to intestinal malabsorption. Malabsorption can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vitamin D deficiency explains the association between celiac disease and osteoporosis, and vitamin K deficiency explains the association with hemostasis disorders. Routine testing and management of fat-soluble vitamin levels are recommended in adult patients with celiac disease, but there is no consensus on this issue in children.  

A case-control study, published in BMC Pediatrics in 2018, aimed to evaluate fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies in children recently diagnosed with celiac disease and to determine whether testing of fat-soluble vitamins should be routine in this population. A total of 52 patients (aged 0-18) with celiac disease were matched with 50 healthy controls. Patients and controls were tested for serum vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K1, and vitamin A.  

 Vitamin D insufficiency was present in 92% (48) of celiac patients and 18% (9) of controls. Vitamin D deficiency was present in 62% (32) of celiac patients and 4% (2) of controls. Vitamin A deficiency was present in 33% (17) of celiac patients and none of the controls. Vitamin E deficiency and vitamin K deficiency were not present in any of the celiac patients or controls. The rates of vitamin D and vitamin A deficiencies were significantly higher in the patients with celiac disease than in controls.  

The results of this study provide sound evidence in support of screening children who have been recently diagnosed with celiac disease for deficiencies of vitamins D and A. Correction of these deficiencies could reduce the risk of developing additional symptoms or conditions associated with vitamin deficiency.  

By TAP Integrative



Tokgöz Y, Terlemez S, Karul A. Fat soluble vitamin levels in children with newly diagnosed celiac disease, a case control study. BMC Pediatr. 2018; 18: 130. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Less Salt, More Herbs Day- yes really it's an actual thing

Strange to put the two things together, but yes, Americans could go with less sodium and more herbs in their diets. Nearly 400,000 deaths a year are attributed to high blood pressure, possibly due to Americans consuming more than double the recommended daily amount of sodium according to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level as set by the US Health Department. Before we get too far, let me clarify something: real salt such as sea salt, Himalayan salt and the like, are good for you, containing important minerals that help you achieve electrolyte balance. Where salt gets bad is when you are eating way too much of it and refined versions such as iodized salt found in, well almost everything. Real sea salt and iodine are actually quite important for thyroid health and hormonal production, and often you will see disorders of the thyroid in people who eat little to no salt.


This is a difficult topic for me because I was educated in a classic French kitchen where the solution to most things is to add salt or in a fine dining restaurant, the way to perfect and finish a dish is with a pinch of big flake sel de mer. I noticed the old chefs who spent a lifetime smoking were the ones who wanted even more salt and what I realized is that it boils down to palate fatigue. The same concept rings true in the modern American diet. Eating more and more refined foods with exponential amounts of sodium weakens the palate, add in smoking and it’s a recipe for taste buds that are always going to be wanting more.


People who switch to a clean eating diet without refined foods experience foods which were once normal as now far too salty. Your tastebuds essentially get a chance to regenerate and you find that you want less salt as well. If you are considering cutting back on sodium, here are some of our best kitchen tips:


  1. Make it yourself- Condiments, salad dressings, etc. are usually packed with sodium. Try making your own clean version at home or research brands thoroughly and read labels to help you make the best choice.
  2. Add some acid- When cooking and your dish just tastes flat, it’s usually because there isn’t enough acid, not salt. Try fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, or vinegar to wake your dish up a bit. Bonus, lemon and vinegar like apple cider are also great for you.
  3. Sea Veggies- Sea vegetables like kelp and dulse are nutrient dense wonders. Try crushed sprinkles of sea veggies on your food, they can add that salty umami flavor you so desire. Kelp and seaweeds are one of the only natural ways to get iodine, an essential nutrient your body cannot make itself. As a matter of fact, salt manufacturers started adding iodine in the form of potassium iodine to salt in the 1920’s to offset the occurrence of goiter, an iodine deficiency which affects the thyroid.


5 Culinary Herbs You Don’t Know About- Yet…

I’ve been lucky enough to cook in some amazing farm to table kitchens and help tend to their gardens. There are so many good herbs and flowers that are easy to grow, add a complexity to food and are amazingly good for you that are overlooked. Here are a few of my favorites, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they may become some of your favorites as well:

    1. Borage- It’s technically a flower, but you can cook with the leaves as well. You can grow borage nearly anywhere, making it a versatile plant. The delicate blue-purple flowers add instant appeal and texture to food presentation with a subtle, but delicious flavor. Chop young borage leaves into a fresh salad or add the older leaves into soups, stews and sauces. Borage oil itself has been used in the treatment of skin conditions, chest congestion and even rheumatoid arthritis, an age old remedy for an array of ailments.
    2. Summer Savory- A rare known herb in the states, most Europeans can’t cook through a summer without it. Summer Savory is similar to it’s cousin, the more hardy winter savory, but it’s delicate and bright in flavor. It reminds some people of thyme, but has more depth in my humble opinion. I instantly want to add it to a marinade of anything that is going to be grilled or chop it finely as an uplifting garnish to something like pasta. Medicinally, summer savory can be used to soothe coughs and sore throats, relieve stomach gas and cramps, and even help relieve thirst in diabetics.
    3. Aloe Vera- Ok I’m stretching it here again, aloes are their own species and not really an herb. I always have a fresh aloe plant nearby at home. In well-drained soil, aloe is almost impossible to kill, just keep it safe from frost in cold weather. I’m sure you know that aloe is great for skin irritations and burns, but did you know it’s very soothing to the gut? I simply slice off the skin from the leaves and you are left with the pulp. Toss that in a blender with ice, coconut water, l-glutamine, fresh mint, your favorite yogurt and you have an instant tummy soother. You can also blend the pulp in to kids smoothies or juice to help them out with gastric issues like constipation, diarrhea, and gas.
    4. Fennel- By now you may have tried braving a fennel bulb seeing it on sale at the market or saw a cool recipe for it, but it’s tender green tips make an excellent herb. Fennel also grows like a weed in most places, so it is easy to care for in your garden. The green delicate tips of the plant resemble dill in shape, but impart a grassy bright version of the anise flavor fennel is so famous for. Try adding it to freshly chopped salads, vinaigrettes and even in baking and dessert. Fennel pollen is delicious as well, making a healthy and sophisticated garnish to delicate desserts, chocolates and even savory dishes. I love cooking a whole fresh water fish in the summer stuffed with long fennel stalks and slicing the bulb for the roasting pan to caramelize and serve with the fish.
    5. Lemongrass- Lemongrass may not be a scarcely known herb, but it is definitely under-utilized. It is very simple to grow and forms a thick grassy bush with long thin blades. It actually makes a beautiful landscaping plant and is hard to kill. Lemongrass oil has amazing health properties, especially topically for injured and sore tendons and ligaments. This herb isn’t just something you should taste occasionally in your favorite Thai dish. Try infusing into alcohol, adding it to marinades or to the base of your broth or soup for a whole new uplifting flavor.

By Lauren Cox

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Flu Prevention After a Doozy of a Year

Early this year the US experienced one of the most aggressive and widespread flu seasons with high levels of illness in 43 states and moderate in 48. Shockingly, the CDC estimates that Americans were hospitalized at a rate of 59.9 per every 100,000 making it the highest rate since the 2014-2015 season. With these alarming statistics and the threat the flu can make on the population, especially in infants, children and the elderly, keeping yourself healthy should a priority now more than ever.

As we approach the change to cooler fall weather and children returning to school, this is the time now to start building immune health and take a look at what lifestyle choices you can make to give yourself and your family the best chance at combating the flu. Here are some great tips we have personally had success with:

Check your cleaning products- deep clean, but promote healthy germs

Bleach and Clorox are proven to kill germs, but the problem is that it kills everything including the beneficial bacteria. There are some really fascinating studies now on probiotic cleaners that go after the bad bugs and don’t kill off healthy populations. As we all face an uncertain future with superbugs and antibiotic overuse, probiotic cleaners offer a middle ground option.

Keep your gut healthy- your immune system is in trouble if your gut is

Did you know about 80% of your lymph resides in your gut? Your body cannot fight off pathogens and produce white blood cells sufficiently if your gut is suffering. When your intestinal lining becomes damaged and very permeable from a poor diet, molecules that are not supposed to pass through it do so and go straight to the bloodstream leaving you vulnerable to illness. Work with your physician to optimize your gut health. We recommend adequate daily probiotics and formulations with l-glutamine, aloe, marshmallow, slippery elm and the like to help restore intestinal integrity and function. Probiotic doses should increase in times of stress or if other people in your home are sick.

Defend yourself and home- wear protective oils to keep the yuckies at bay

Essential oils are gaining more scientific traction with good studies to back them up for immune defense and cleaning power. There are gorgeous jewelry options for adults and children that diffuse oils of your choice so you can wear them all day and help defend yourself. A simple oil diffuser around the home or office is a great way to gently spread oils as well. Power blends like Thieves oil combats viruses while other strong oils like clove and oregano are great at killing germs.

Positive vibes bro- negative emotions can literally make you physically ill

Without sounding too “New Age”, we have only hit the tip of the iceberg on understanding how negative emotions and thoughts impact our health. From a clinically studied psychological perspective, people tend to make poor health choices when they continue to have negative thoughts. Work on developing a mindfulness or meditation practice, even for 5 minutes out of your day to see if it makes a difference for you in making healthier lifestyle choices. The product of which is a healthier immune system and that is the overall goal here in flu prevention.  



These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Combating Back to School Jitters

Going back to school is a big transition, for everybody. Whether your kid is going to their first day of preschool, your teen is starting a new year in high school, or even an adult returning to school, we all can experience nerves, anxiety, stress and even the blues. Anxiety and nerves show up differently for everybody and we all cope with them differently, so here are some great tips according to your type or your child’s personality type.

TYPE 1-Are they truly worried or close to panic?

Try GABA. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, playing a central role in regulating cell-to-cell communication. Healthy levels have been associated with positive mood. A recent study indicates that GABA also enhances alpha wave production in the brain to promote relaxation and moderate occasional stress. In the same study, it supported healthy IgA levels, suggesting that it may support immune health during occasional stress.

Also try taking a look at Adrenal function and Cortisol levels. Adrenal dysfunction is common in the US, even amongst children and can compound the effects of stress. Managing Cortisol (stress hormone) production can be a crucial factor in helping adults and children who deal with this type of fear and anxiety as well. As always, consult your healthcare provider before administering any new supplements to your children.

TYPE 2- Are they genuinely sad?

For kids, especially very young children, leaving their loved ones for the day to go to school or daycare can be just down-right sad. To help emotionally support them through this, 5-HTP and Serotonin are both effective. 5-HTP alone may be enough because it encourages serotonin production. Serotonin can help encourage a positive mood, help you maintain calmness during stressful times, and even promote healthy eating habits.

TYPE 3- Do they need stimulation and love video games?

This type of personality responds well to dopamine support. Dopamine is a key player in cognitive function and can help adults and children focus on tasks and school work. Supplements like l-Tyrosine support production of various neurotransmitters, namely dopamine which supports emotional well-being and cognitive function. I-Tyrosine plays an important role in promoting healthy neurotransmitter function in response to mild environmental and emotional stress as well.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The Unsung Gut Superheroes

By Natural Partners

While many of us turn to probiotics and digestive enzymes for digestive help, there are a few popular products on the market that you may already be taking that are beneficial to the gut as well. Take a look at our favorites.


Turkey Tail- Turkey tail is an adaptogenic mushroom excellent at fighting yeast overgrowth such as candida. Candida can wreak havoc on the digestive system if left untreated.

Licorice Root- Many know that licorice can help soothe an upset stomach, but the root actually helps repair the stomach and intestinal lining, which aids in digestion.

Holy Basil- Also known as Tulsi, Holy Basil is known to help immensely with gas and bloating.


Stomach Ulcers- Collagen can help with stomach ulcers by preventing gastric secretion in the stomach lining because of the amino acids found in it.

Repair Stomach and Intestinal Lining- When intestinal and stomach lining is inflamed or even damaged, taking collagen helps repair those smooth muscle tissue cells.

Helps with Acid Secretion- Collagen can help control acid secretion and prevent the environment from becoming too acidic, which can result in gas, heartburn, and cramps.


Diarrhea- Pectin works with the good bacteria in the gut to help fight the bad bacteria that causes diarrhea in the first place from E. Coli or food poisoning, for example. Fiber from foods with pectin can also add bulk to the stool, aiding in diarrhea symptoms.

Lower Cholesterol- Pectin is a soluble fiber so it helps to bind to cholesterol and remove it from the body.

Constipation- The soluble fiber in pectin adds bulk to the intestine and can actually help push matter through the digestive tract when constipated. Pectin can also help soothe irritated intestinal lining.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Bug Talk, Probiotics that is with Doctors Jared Skowron and Holly Lucille

Who let these ???? bugs in!? Dr. Holly Lucille and Dr. Jared Skowron explain to us WHY these bugs are so important to us… What bugs you ask? PROBIOTICS of course!


Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a passionate practicing N.D. and nationally acclaimed TV and radio host. She is also an educator, author and lecturer at various health institutions. Dr. Lucille is the past president of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association and was a recipient of SCNM Legacy Award and Daphne Blayden Award from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.



Jared Skowron, ND, is one of the country’s leading experts in natural therapies for children with special needs, with an emphasis in pediatric autism and ADHD. He is the best-selling author of 100 Natural Remedies for Your Child. He is the co-founder of the Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians, founder of the Pediatric and Autism Clinic at University of Bridgeport, and founder of the supplement company, Spectrum Awakening. Dr. Skowron also serves on the advisory boards of Autism Hope Alliance and Natural Practitioner.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.