Catherine Clinton, ND, founded WellFuture in 2010 when her now four-year-old son was six-months-old. She created VacciShield to support him nutritionally during vaccination. Catherine, how does VacciShield support a child during vaccination?
Yes, I wanted another way to support my children during vaccinations. I chose the ingredients in VacciShield to help support the body through immunization and to minimize inflammation. Seven of the ten ingredients in VacciShield have been shown to positively impact vaccine outcomes (vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D3, vitamin E, selenium and 2 strains of probiotics). I added the other three ingredients (choline, inositol and L-Glutamine) because of their ability to support brain, immune and gastrointestinal health during this vulnerable time.
Each ingredient was chosen to do double, triple or quadruple duty in supporting immune, brain, gastrointestinal and detoxification health. For example, zinc has been shown to boost the response to vaccination, support a healthy digestive tract, play a crucial role in brain health and also support detoxification in the body. I tried to find ingredients that not only supported health during vaccinations. but also addressed the inflammation that can cause side effects after vaccination.
Are there any other nutritional products that specifically support children around the time of a vaccination?
VacciShield is unique, it is the first ever nutritional support for infants and kids during vaccinations. There are no other products like VacciShield available today.
Do parents give VacciShield to their children all the time, or just around the time of a vaccination?
Some parents have commented to us that they have seen benefit from using VacciShield for extended periods but it was really designed specifically for the time surrounding vaccination.
Just this year, you launched a second product, WellBelly, a non-dairy probiotic. Why non-dairy?
Digestive health is paramount to overall health, especially in our developing children, so I really wanted a probiotic blend that safely supports immune and digestive health specifically in infants and kids without any of the common allergens like dairy. Food allergens can irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and when they are in probiotic blends they can cause the very damage that they are trying to repair. I had to make sure our probiotics were from non-allergenic mediums.
How would I know if my child needed this product?
There are the conditions that we commonly think of like diarrhea, constipation, and immune health, but probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for allergies, asthma, eczema, colic and autism. New research is constantly emerging. Probiotics are a cornerstone of our overall health and especially so in infants and kids, as they are developing at such rapid rates. Probiotics, whether from supplements like WellBelly or as a regular part of the diet, are a critical piece in the health of our children.
Why are probiotics important? Are some children in need of them more than others?
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that line our digestive tracts and support digestive health as well as health throughout the body. Some children might need probiotics if they don’t eat probiotic rich food or supplements, if they consume processed and sweetened foods, use a lot of antibiotics, drink chlorinated and fluoridated water, use antibacterial soap, are exposed to toxins or have an imbalance in the microflora at birth.
A person’s gastrointestinal tract is seeded with microflora through the birth canal at the time of birth and later through contact with the environment and through breastmilk. Once weaned we get probiotics through raw foods grown in uncontaminated soil, probiotic supplements, or fermented foods like kimchee, sauerkraut, and yogurt. It really depends on the environment, lifestyle and health of the individual child, but everyone needs probiotics. It’s commonly known that probiotics are good for digestion and immune health, but they are essential to the overall development and health in infants and children.
You are following the business model of a social entrepreneur. Tell us about your work with Vitamin Angels.
I heard about Vitamin Angels a couple of years ago from a local midwife. They are a top rated charity that helps at-risk populations in need—specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five—gain access to lifesaving and life changing micronutrients. They do such great work and I’m excited to partner with them. I appreciate their approach to vitamin A supplementation. Proper nutrition is something that not all expecting mothers and children have access to, here in the US and around the world. We have pledged to help 1,000,000 children get the nutrients they need. The mission of Vitamin Angels and ours are so closely aligned that partnering with them to provide nutrient grants was a no brainer.
How has your training and knowledge base as a naturopathic physician influenced you as a mother?
As a naturopathic physician I developed a real love for researching what works nutritionally. I love researching how nutrition impacts the overall health of the body. It’s fascinating to see how diseases can be prevented and treated with something as simple as nutrition, so simple but so powerful. I think that has definitely influenced how I approach nutrition with my children. And I think on a basic level as a naturopathic physician I’m just trying to make it better, now or in the future. I think that falls right in line with what I’m trying to do as a mother.
Take us behind the scenes at WellFuture
Sure. I have a four-year-old son and an eight-month-old daughter who are part of my little WellFuture team—we really are a small, mom owned company. We use a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified, FDA regulated manufacturing facility and when we get the product here at our house, it goes into cold storage until it’s ready to ship. We pack every order at our house with love. It is a lot of work and long hours but I love what I’m doing.
Peggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011 and founded Mothering.com in 1995. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of two.