Updated: May 26
Oh October! How I love you! The changing color of the leaves, the crisp cool air, the family friendly fall activities, and Down Syndrome Awareness Month! I'm well aware that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I'll definitely be posting about this soon but today let's talk about Down syndrome (DS).
As a parent of a child with DS and a naturopathic doctor, I find it both fascinating and overwhelming at times to weed through all the research on what may help individuals with DS.
Unfortunately, medicine hasn't yet caught up with research when it comes to providing the best for individuals with DS. When's the last time you went to your child's health care provider and they recommended CoQ10 for DS?
Since the dogma of medicine refuses to acknowledge that our kiddos with DS can live a more fulfilling life with a little help from some special supplements, I decided to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month by introducing you to 21 supplements that may help improve your child with DS's life!
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Celebrate Down syndrome Awareness Month with these Supplements
I've written about coQ10 for DS before here because of how powerful this body made molecule is for Down syndrome health. CoQ10, is an antioxidant made in the body that helps reduce free radicals and produce energy.
People with DS tend to be lower in coQ10 production than typical individuals. Supplementing with coQ10 may help reduce free radical damage, help with DNA repair, and improve energy levels in people with DS. [1,2,3]
This super supplement is essential for DS health. Glutathione is considered the master antioxidant I've covered the benefits of glutathione here and especially for Covid, here but glutathione may help improve your child's health overall, Covid or not.
Glutathione helps reduce oxidative damage and improve liver health. Even typical individuals may benefit from taking a glutathione supplement.[4,5]
I haven't written much about the power of polyphenols for Down syndrome and this is something that I have to change! Resveratrol is phytochemical found in grapes and red wine. It has been found to improve mitochondria impairment in brain cells in the animal model of Down syndrome.
This may lead to an increase in cognition and the growth and creation of new mitochondria, the energy producing powerhouse of the cell.
In the class of supplements, Epigallocathechin-gallate or EGCG has been studied in individuals with DS. Caretakers who gave EGCG to their loved ones with DS characterized them as less severely disabled.
Watch this quick video about EGCG and its potential health benefits for people with DS.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for thyroid health. Unfortunately, many individuals with Down syndrome tend to have thyroid issues. While having an extra chromosome undoubtedly plays a role in thyroid dysfunction in DS, so does a lack of selenium.
Studies show that people with DS tend to have lower selenium in the bloodstream than their typical counterparts. Introducing selenium into your child's supplement line-up could improve thyroid health and reduce oxidative stress.
6. Bacopa monnieri
Bacopa monnieri is one of my favorite herbs for Down syndrome. I've extolled the virtues of bacopa before on this blog here and here and I don't think I'll ever stop. That's because it acts as powerful antioxidant, a thyroid supporting herb, and a nootropic.
While bacopa helps to improve cognition and reduce oxidative stress, it's not recommended for those who have low thyroid function.
Citicoline is another powerful nootropic that may help improve cognition people with Down syndrome. That's because citicoline helps to create more neuroplasticity in the brain.
Neuroplasticity is the ability for the brain to learn, grow, and adapt to new and different situations. People with DS tend to have impairments with brain plasticity and citicoline may help decrease these deficits.
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for health in individuals with and without Down syndrome. People with DS tend to be lower in vitamin D levels due to lower outdoor exposure and higher BMI (body mass index).
Vitamin D helps support health bones and an immune system so adding vitamin D to your child's supplement regimen may improve your child's health exponentially.
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce free radical damage and premature programmed cell (apoptosis). Melatonin is often in higher amounts in mitochondria but since people with Down syndrome tend to have mitochondrial dysfunction, adding melatonin to your child's supplements may help improve mitochondrial health.
I've talked about how amazing zinc is for people with Down syndrome many times. That's because zinc is necessary for proper immune function, cognition, and growth. Unfortunately, many individuals with DS tend to be zinc deficient leading to poor immune function, short stature, and loss of taste.
Adding foods rich in zinc like pumpkin seeds, beans, shiitake mushrooms, and green peas into your child's diet as well as supplementing with zinc can help improve your child's zinc status.
Curcumin, the major component of the golden spice, turmeric, is an absolute must for Down syndrome health. Curcumin has so many health benefits for people with DS ranging from free radical scavenging to potentially improving cognition.
Curcumin also has solid research about potential benefit for those with Alzheimer's disease  which is something that the majority of individuals with DS develop in mid-life.
Benfotiamine is a fat soluble synthetic form of vitamin B1, thaimine. People with Down syndrome can benefit greatly from benfotiamine. This is because people with DS tend to have thiamine deficiency.
Loads of older research show huge benefit to individuals with DS when taking thiamine supplementation but for some reason, time has forgotten this wealth of information and doctor's never pass on this knowledge to parents.
13. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is crucial for overall health and necessary specifically for immune support. Since people with Down syndrome suffer from immune dysfunction, any boost that can be added to the immune system can be beneficial.
Vitamin C helps create more white blood cells which people with DS tend to have less of. Since white blood cells help fight infection, adding extra vitamin C into your child's supplement routine may help work wonders for their health.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea. It. is often used for anxiety and can help to induce a peaceful sleep. Since many people with Down syndrome struggle with getting sleep, L-theanine can be a calming way to introduce sleep.
It may also benefit cognition in individuals with DS as well.
Homeopathy is a type of medicinal that is very individualized to a person's symptoms, feelings, and over all constitution. Homeopathic medicines address a wide range of conditions from physiological to emotional.
Using homeopathy for a hard case my help boost your child's overall health.
Down syndrome and folate should go hand in hand. People with Down syndrome tend to have either folate deficiencies or abnormal metabolism of folate which causes a huge hosts of issues from lowered DNA synthesis to decreased cognition.
Increasing folate rich foods like asparagus, whole grains, and sunflower seeds and even supplementing with folate may have a huge benefit in your child's health.
17. Lion's Mane
Lion's mane is a mushroom that also acts as a nootropic or a cognition enhancer. Lion's mane helps produce neurite growth. This helps improve brain cell growth and differentiation which, in turn, improves cognition.
18. Silver Hydrosol
Silver hydrosol is different from colloidal silver in that the former is silver ions and nanoparticles while the latter is metallic silver suspended in water. While long-term use of colloidal silver has been associated with argyria (a bluish discoloration of the skin), silver hydrosol hasn't been shown to cause argyria.
Silver hydrosol can help stimulate and support the immune system giving your child a boost in their health.
Beta-glucans are another hard hitter when it comes to immune support. One of my absolute favorite kid friendly supplements, Immuneberry Liquid by Designs for Health*, has beta-glucans to help improve and support immune health.
Since people with Down syndrome tend to have immune dysfunction, supplementing with beta-glucans can help support a strong and healthy immune system.
20. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another nutrient that may benefit individuals with Down syndrome when supplementing. People with DS tend to have more respiratory tract infections. Vitamin A deficiency is linked to respiratory tract infections as well as slower growth.
Supplementing with vitamin A may help improve your child's respiratory health and increase their growth!
Astragalus is one of my favorite immune boosting herbs for Down syndrome. Astragalus has powerful antiviral and immune boosting properties to help support your child's immune system.
So there's 21 supplements that may be beneficial for individuals with Down syndrome! Using a naturopathic medicine approach to health for your child with DS can
I'm Dr. Candace Mathers, boy mom, girl mom, Down syndrome mom and naturopathic doctor. Life Blossom Wellness will be releasing a NEW self paced online course all about homeopathy for kids! Homeopathy can be a gentle effective treatment for many conditions, especially those that are hard to manage with conventional approaches,
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Zaki, M., El-Bassyouni, H., Tosson, A., Youness, E. and Hussein, J. (2017). Coenzyme Q10 and pro-inflammatory markers in children with Down syndrome: clinical and biochemical aspects. Jornal de Pediatria (Versão em Português), 93(1), pp.100-104.
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