With the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive fast approaching, I’ve begun thinking about how to keep Julian healthy for seven weeks. We stay in the city for an extra week so he can dance at the great studios there for another six or seven days after the intensive ends.
So, I thought I’d posts information to share our method of staying healthy during periods of intensive activity, which is all the time for Julian. Please note, however, I am no doctor. You should always consult with your child’s physician on any healthy issues concerning your children.
My son’s doctor actually sent us to our herbalist. Our doctor also is fine with him going to a chiropractor and an acupuncturist or a massage therapist. (Julian wishes I’d take her up on her suggestion that I take him for a massage.) We also employ the services of a sports specialist who treats the dances at Ballet San Jose and have used his Pilates dance therapist after an injury.
Today I want to talk about nutritional supplements and herbs. I will follow this post with two from an expert on supplements.
Julian used to be my sickly kid. He would end up on an antibiotic just about every eight weeks for either an ear infection, bronchitis, or a sinus infection. He had pneumonia several times. To try and keep him healthy I finally took him to an herbalist. She prescribed tons of pills to strengthen his immune system, which did help. I’m a real believer in herbal supplements.
Then my sister suggested I try putting Julian on a vitamin regimen. She had discovered a supplement line used by Olympic athletes and shown by independent testing to be the mostly highly absorbed line on the market. (Vitamins that aren’t absorbed by the body don’t us much good. Most vitamins out there, such as those from Sam’s Club, CostCo, Wal-Mart and even pharmacies are not highly absorbed.) She suggested I give Julian the vitamins and see if they didn’t strengthen his immune system enough so I could reduce the number of herbs he took.
To my surprise, the vitamins, which are made by Usana, helped. Within six months he was healthier, and we were able to reduce his herbal regimen to just two or three I felt would continue to support his immune system. Later we also added in Usana nutritional drinks and bars, both of which serve as a complete meal, and healthy energy drinks. (They also do not have any peanut or nut products in them; Julian has an allergy to peanuts.)
For the last two years, he has been on antibiotics maybe twice. Plus, last summer at ABT he remained healthy for seven weeks with the exception of one bout of dehydration (He was stupid…be sure your kids drink a lot!) and one hurt foot.
Julian’s regimen now includes Usana vitamins and minerals (and nutritional food products when he agrees to eat or drink them) and two herbs to support the immune system and one for his adrenal glands.
The herbs I use come from Nature’s Sunshine. To support joints, muscles and tendons and to prevent overuse injuries, I add in Usana flavanoids (Proflavanol), omegas (Biomega), and glucosamine (Procosa), plus a product called Zyflamend by New Chapter. (You can get this product at Whole Foods.)
I know this sounds like a lot of pills, but Julian takes pills easily. He also knows they help him, so usually he takes them. Sometimes he skips some of them at night; I have him leave out the herbs if he wants to drop something. During the ABT Summer Intensive I make sure I watch him take all of these pills. During the school year, my husband dishes them out, and Julian takes them in the car on the way to school. At night, I think Julian takes the minimum unless someone is watching.
You can figure out what your child needs. At the minimum, a great multivitamin from a company like Usana will work wonders. To find out more about Usana and using supplements to keep your dancer healthy, please contact my sister, Leora Amir; please use my name and say you read about Usana products in my blog (place this in the comments section of her form). You also can contact Dr. Karen Wolfe, a former Olympian, who can answer any medical questions you might have about Usana and using supplements; also please use my name and say you read about Usana products in my blog (place this in the comments section of her form).
In my next post, Dr. Karen Wolfe will talk about the cellular nutrition needs of the serious, pre-professional, professional, or competitive dancer.