Back to school supplements

  • Tue, 08/09/2022 - 18:27
  • Back to school supplements
  • by IMI health

The beginning of the school year often starts with a checklist. New school uniform. Homework. And a lunchbox filled with nutritious food…

We know our kids need nutrients for learning, but what you may not know is that despite our best efforts, nutritional deficiencies in Hong Kong children are widespread, and not necessarily due to fussy eating.

Studies show that fruits, vegetables and grains today have less nutritional value than those grown years ago. Modern farming has stripped soil of vitamins and minerals, leading to fresh produce with low nutritional value. [1]

Supplements fill nutritional gaps, ensuring your kids have all they need during their key stages of growth and development to stay healthy, happy and ready to learn.

Our practitioners have compiled a list of supplements designed to empower kids to face the challenges of the classroom, boosting their mental health, immunity and cognitive ability.

For daily support in the classroom


Your gut is your second brain, and has a powerful hold over your wellbeing. If your child has a healthy balance of bacteria in their gut, they’ll have a stronger immunity, better moods and cognitive function.

Unfortunately, dysbiosis, a condition which occurs when the bad bacteria outweigh the good, is common in Hong Kong. Research shows that 40% of the Hong Kong population experience moderate to severe dysbiosis.

Probiotics help colonies of good bacteria to flourish in the gut.

70% of our immune system actually resides in our gut. The good bacteria in our gut and immune cells pass information to each other, in order to help us, and our kids, maintain a healthy immunity. 

These super-bacteria also benefit our mental health, supporting production of GABA and other neurotransmitters like serotonin in the gut. In fact, 90% of serotonin is made here. Ensuring your child has a healthy balance of good bacteria in their gut protects the neurotransmitters which help them stay calm and happy.

Probiotic consumption supports cognitive function. This is due to the connection between your brain and your gut, which send information to each other. A healthy gut = a healthy brain. [2]

Probiomed Kids is a tasty way to ensure your child boosts levels of good bacteria in their gut. It features 10 billion CFU from a broad spectrum of 11 probiotic strains, for better strength and protection.

Fish oil

Omega oils must be consumed, but unless your child is an adventurous eater - eating the recommended two or more portions of oily fish per week, they aren’t getting enough from diet alone.

Omega oil supplements contain EPA and DHA, the two fatty acids responsible for improving cognitive ability, mental health and your kids’ overall wellbeing.

In the classroom, omega 3 supports verbal learning and memory, reading, spelling, attention span and processing speed, giving your kids a clear boost to improve their learning potential. [2]

Having lost two years of socialisation due to the pandemic, many children are struggling with their mental health upon their return to school. Fish oil has been shown to reduce symptoms of low mood and stress in children. [3]

Its antioxidant effects reduce oxidative stress: a key factor which contribute to low immunity and mental health conditions. [4]

Fish oil improves sleep quality and duration among children, giving their minds and bodies enough time to rest, improving mood, immunity and learning capacity.  

Ultra Pure Fish Oil 1400 is a lemon flavoured liquid free from contaminants, which passes our practitioners’ clinical tests, and kids’ taste tests.


With produce low in nutritional value, you can ensure your kids have all the nutrients they need for mental and physical development by giving them a multivitamin.

Safe to take daily, these supplements provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to fill any deficiencies. When unaddressed, deficiencies in nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and zinc can lead to symptoms like:

  • Tiredness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor appetite
  • Failure to grow
  • Stress, low mood and irritability
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Pica- eating non-nutritional substances like stones or hair

B vitamins are important for brain function, particularly B12 which is essential for cognitive development. B vitamins reduce fatigue, and folate (B9) improves mood by reducing irritability.

Multivitamins provide an abundance of minerals like magnesium, calcium and zinc to nourish your kids’ immunity, bone health, mood and brain. Look out for formulas which provide them in chelated forms for optimal absorption.  

Orthoplex Pure Children's Essential contains easily absorbed nutrients. B vitamins (including B12) are provided in their active forms, ensuring that everyone can absorb them (even people who cannot methylate B vitamins naturally. This formula is available to purchase in our dispensary. 

For an added brain & immune boost

Vitamin C

Well known for its ability to support a healthy immune system, vitamin C also boosts your kids’ moods, while easing the negative effects of oxidative stress.

Antioxidant vitamin C bolsters lung and respiratory function, while enhancing your little ones' immunity, and boosting their white blood cell count if they do fall ill. 

Its antioxidant quality combats oxidative stress, which otherwise can negatively affect our whole body: causing harm to our immunity, mental health cells and DNA. Oxidative stress is heightened by pollution, which is particularly high in Hong Kong.

Oxidative stress plays a role in the development of mental health conditions like depression, especially when children have had adverse childhood experiences in their youth. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events typically characterised by abuse, however recent reports have suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated lockdowns could be considered an ACE. [6] [7]

Vitamin C supports kids’ energy levels and concentration skills, while reducing physical and emotional symptoms of stress.

Innate C Complete is our practitioners’ favourite for boosting your kids’ vitamin C levels. Its powder format means it’s easily adjustable for the whole family.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiencies are an epidemic in Hong Kong; people of all ages are affected, from infants as young as 3 months old.

Deficiencies inhibit kids' immune defences; those with inadequate levels falling ill twice as often than those with enough vitamin D. They also leave kids more prone to stress, low mood and irritable outbursts.

Vitamin D is celebrated for its ability to support healthy bones and teeth, but it’s an unsung hero for brain health, supporting learning, memory, motor control and behaviour. Adequate levels also provide protection from mental health conditions. [8]

Key to immunity, vitamin D strengthens lung and respiratory function while boosting levels of sIgA, an antibody which acts as our first line of immune defence.

We love Micellized Vitamin D3, offering the easiest absorbed form (D3) from a natural source in tiny particles for maximum bioavailability.

Antioxidants and immunity

Pollution, pesticides, toxins and even stress can contribute to oxidative stress, affecting your child’s immunity, mood and behaviour. 296 pollutants are known or suspected neurotoxins, and data shows that infants born now have measurable amounts of up to 200 of these pollutants.

With Hong Kong’s poor air quality, it’s particularly important to ensure your child consumes enough antioxidants. While it may be hard to boost this through diet alone, supplements can help.

ArmaForce for Juniors is abundant in antioxidant-rich ingredients, and is designed to provide therapeutic support for your child's immunity, but also offers additional benefits. Elderberry boosts their immunity; echinacea can reduce stress; and zinc ensures their brain development stays on track: boosting cognitive performance and memory. 

This formula is only available in our dispensary, but well worth the visit. Find out our location and opening times.


Allergies and food intolerances can also affect your child’s immunity, behaviour and mood. They could be responsible for fatigue, restlessness, irritability and impulsivity, making it hard for your child to concentrate and enjoy being in the classroom.

The most common allergies are dairy, gluten and wheat. If you think your child may have an allergy or food intolerance, it’s best to get them checked out.

Arrange an appointment with one of our naturopaths, or request more information.


[1] National Geographic, Fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than they used to be, 2022
[2] Harvard, Probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function, 2023
[3] J Trebaticka, Emulsified omega-3 fatty-acids modulate the symptoms of depressive disorder in children and adolescents: a pilot study, 2017
[4] Y Osher, R H Belmaker, Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Depression: A Review of Three Studies, 2009
[5] K P Su et al, Association of Use of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids With Changes in Severity of Anxiety Symptoms, 2018
[6] S R Horn, Childhood adversity, mental health, and oxidative stress: A pilot study, 2019
[7] M A McManus, E Ball, COVID-19 should be considered an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), 2020
[8] J A Weydert, Vitamin D in Children’s Health, 2014