It’s already a couple of weeks into the school year for most of the youth in America. I’m learning that it isn’t just the kids being affected by school being back in session. We’ve started the routine in our house and my young family is struggling to keep up! This year, we’re jumping from 1 to 2 kids taking classes and unfortunately, we don’t have things figured out yet. I noticed that my kiddos are handling things better than expected, but my wife and I seem a bit slower to adapt to the new schedule of waking, getting ready on time, homework, bedtime and more. The days are long, starting out around 6:30 – 7 AM prepping to leave the house and finishing homework sometimes as late as 8 PM. To meet demand, we’ve used some brain boosting techniques to elevate everyone’s ability to focus and to keep our mental endurance humming along. Here is my list of things that everyone needs on the back to school train; Kids Probiotics – good bugs are crucial to good health including our brain and immune system. It’s not easy getting kids to eat fermented foods, rotating between a couple brands of your favorite probiotics is the first thing to check off on this list for the entire family. Vitamin C and D3 – vitamin C benefits and it’s safety has been touted since Dr. Pauling’s studies in the 1970’s. Vitamin D3 on the other hand, has been growing popularity with research showing positive effects for depression, cancer, MS and more. Sleep / Exercise / Fun – many times, school felt like a demanding mental marathon, that wasn’t just me was it? Do you at least remember the joy of school bell ringing at the end of the day? Make sure to balance out your children’s academic load with plenty of exercise and rest. Both are free and science continues to show the devasting effect of not getting enough. Hydration – it’s almost too simple, but proper hydration levels a key to a healthy brain. It’s important to nail the quantity, so take body weight, cut it in half and that is the minimum amount of ounces to aim for each day. If your kids are involved in any sports or activities outside of school, they need even more support. Here is a link to the top 3 most important factors for water beyond quantity, including quality, pH and structure. Parents Adaptogenic Herbs – surprisingly, stress can be good for the system; think working out for a couple minutes and feeling your body come back to a “normal” afterwards. Stress can also be very bad; think of unexpectedly losing a job or a loved one and the prolonged anguish that can create ripple effects through all aspects of life. Adaptogenic herbs help the body come back to homeostasis faster and easier from both mental and physical stressors. Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, and Schisandra are usually the most effective ingredients to look for in supplement blends. B Complex – people with digestive troubles have difficulty absorbing vitamins properly, but every person I’ve tested over the last 10 years of practice has been deficient in B-vitamins whether they had digestive issues or not. The wide-ranging benefits of this foundational nutrient are hard to ignore; neurological health, cellular health, energy levels and much more. Adding in a simple B-Complex can really do wonders. Mitochondrial Support – mitochondria are the “engines” of our cells, and therefore our body. They need the right fuel to avoid a deficiency and keep pumping along just like the motors in our cars do. The waste products they create need to be eliminated from the cell to avoid toxicity, just like our cars! There are many products and diets on the market, if you’re feeling sluggish or foggy, this is another easy addition that can go a long way. My first experience with a supplement in this genre included PQQ, CoQ10, ALA and NAC. Anti-Inflammatory Diet – this can mean a lot of things, as there is no nutrition plan that works for everyone. But there a few common threads that can cause inflammation for all of us; sugar, grains, additives and preservatives, processed foods, etc. What items in your diet are helping? Which are hurting? What two items are the most realistic that you can change right now, given your budget and your schedule? Get it done :-) This list could grow and grow, but there are a few tips to spark some thought. Our philosophy at Rooted Apothecary is to help families build a healthier medicine cabinet and to empower the doctor inside all of us. We’d love to hear about your favorite health hacks to keep the entire family happy and healthy now that school is once again back in session.