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The Clean Medicine Movement & Children’s Health

As parents, we always strive to give our children the best possible care when they’re suffering from allergies or cold and flu symptoms. However, it’s possible that medicating your child with traditional over-the-counter (OTC) medications could cause more agitation than solution. According to a recent study published in Science Translational Medicine, about 75% of a pill or capsule of an oral medication is made up of inactive ingredients that may have hidden dangers. Inactive ingredients merely serve as binders, fillers or coloring. Ingredients like dyes, parabens, phthalates, talc and gluten can contain potentially toxic effects.

This is concerning to me as both a physician and a parent who aims to provide a clean lifestyle for my children. Many parents do not realize that medications they use to help their children might also be posing other potential health problems. Inactive ingredients in OTC medications can potentially present a bigger problem when it comes to children, as their bodies are smaller than an adult, and they could have unknown allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients. As our children head back to school and face an upcoming flu season, it’s important to recognize potentially toxic ingredients on a medication label, and what cleaner alternatives are available today.

What ingredients do I need to look out for?

Parents should examine medication ingredient labels closely, so they are fully aware of what they are giving their children. More studies need to prove this connection in the medical literature but I, myself, try to avoid these inactive ingredients as much as possible:

Dyes: Artificial food colors have been associated with worsened attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children.
Parabens: Studies have linked parabens to breast cancer and tumor growth. Parabens have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, which may affect hormone function in children and lead to early puberty in adolescents.
Phthalates: These chemicals have been linked to problems such as childhood obesity, damage of the reproductive system, heightened allergy and asthma symptoms, and altered behavior in toddlers.
Talc: This ingredient has been linked to thousands of cases of ovarian cancer. Some forms of talc have been shown to be contaminated with asbestos fibers, and even non-contaminated talc can be toxic and a carcinogenic.
Gluten: If your child has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, medications containing gluten could be making your child feel worse. If you are keeping your child’s diet free of gluten but noticing they are still having symptoms it may be due to gluten found in inactive ingredients.

What is being done to make children’s medicine cleaner?

Creating clean medications is not an easy task, which is why there were not any clean alternatives available until recently. The good news is there are innovative companies that are changing OTC medicines and making them cleaner for our children by removing some of these inactive ingredients mentioned above.

One such company that I’ve been working with as a medical advisor, Genexa, was started by parents, like myself, who were concerned about potentially toxic inactive ingredients found in children’s medicinesGenexa’s children’s product line provides clean OTC medicines for some of parents’ topic concerns including colds and flu, allergies, sleep and stress, and I believe other companies will soon follow Genexa’s lead to create more OTC medicines made with USDA Certified Organic and non-GMO ingredients.

Physicians and parents need to become more aware of the amount of toxins our children are consuming and being exposed to in food, medicines, cosmetics and the environment in order to safeguard their health and developing immune systems. I believe a cleanmedicine lifestyle is just as important as a cleanfood lifestyle for our children’s health, plus it gives parents one less thing to worry about.

Dr. Amy Shah, MD, is a double board-certified medical doctor in internal medicine and allergy immunology who received her medical training from three of the top schools in the country: Cornell, Harvard and Columbia universities. Shah is a wellness and nutrition expert who utilizes her specialized skill-set in Eastern and Western medicines to focus on hormones, allergies and gut health to help the body heal from the inside out. Shah found her medical calling after a car accident led to her belief of a strong mind-body connection and her philosophy that life is short, so live it well – an insight she shares with all her patients. Shah operates a medical practice in Arizona where she sees more than 5,000 patients each year. She helps busy professionals implement diet and lifestyle plans that work around their schedules and acts as a coach to help keep them accountable for the healthy choices they are making. Twitter: @Amyshahmd Instagram: @dramyshah 

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