What marketing message or advertisement reminded you that it’s “back to school” time? Backpacks and school supplies from Walmart or Target? Or maybe tech items like tablets and headphones from Best Buy? For me, it is all the nutritional companies pushing their products for kids, formulated to boost their immune system or give better focus and brain power, blah-blah-blah... Truth is, there are only a few broad spectrum nutritional recommendations that almost anyone can take and receive benefit. More on that later, but first, I rant.
I know you are enticed to buy health supplements on the TV, internet, grocery stores, or just about every retail outlet. Soooooo many awesome sounding products, promising to improve our health, which ones do you buy? The answer, none of them. Due to our biological individuality, choosing proper nutrition requires knowledge far beyond reading a book or doing numerous internet searches. And what’s with everybody being a “nutritionist” these days? The human body is profoundly more complicated than an automobile. Do you repair you own vehicle? Looking back, almost every time I’ve done my own automotive repair, it did not work out so well. Sure, I got lucky a few times and saved some money, but at the expense of spending a lot of my time doing something I did not enjoy. In hind sight, I should have used a knowledgeable mechanic.
Enough with automotive mechanics, let’s up the stakes and talk about the nutritional support for your child. Consider these three questions: will it cause harm? will it help? am I just wasting my money? You will never really know the answer to these questions without a proper evaluation, showing what indicators need to monitored and re-evaluated, to verify progress. Using symptomatic relief as a measure of progress is strongly discouraged. Symptomatic relief is primarily what our health care model is currently based on, and this paradigm has contributed to the opioid epidemic. The phrase “early detection” is thrown around as a way to imply our health care model really works good when the doctors find things early. I agree with that logic, but it is illogical to use remedies directed at suppressing symptoms, and then wonder why the true underlying disease process was not detected earlier. You can’t have it both ways unless you know both ways. Address acute illness when necessary, but focus on prevention and wellness to avoid chronic disease.
All three questions posed above can be answered when you know your child's physiologic weakness and vulnerability, and that is accomplished with the metabolic evaluations we do in our office. From that knowledge, you will know exactly what they should be doing to provide true health support for their mind and body.
By far the most common patterns we find are related blood sugar imbalances, typically caused by improper diet. A child's chemistry is still very vital and reacts quickly to variations in blood sugar, with adrenal hormonal recruitment of adrenaline. For example, consistent over utilization of quick burning fuels, (mainly sugars and starchy carbohydrates), shifts one’s metabolism to operate faster than what is needed. These quick burning fuels do just that, they quickly burn up leaving the biochemistry desperate to find another source of fuel. Our adrenals deliver that fuel with adrenaline to get the job done, but not in a graceful way. This jet fuel type hormone also engages a “fight or flight” (sympathetic) neurological response and sends a youngster climbing the classroom walls. Not an appropriate neurological function while hanging out in a library. This symptomatic expression is often addressed with ADHD medication. Early detection of an improper diet and/or a metabolic stress pattern could have made a difference.
A metabolic evaluation will identify this pattern and tell us exactly what nutrition will best support their Kreb’s cycle chemistry back into balance. By the way, continued mandatory nervous system shifting into a “fight of flight” response eventually causes that part of the adrenals to tire out. Now we have a nervous system that encounters increased effort to muster up an appropriate “fight or flight” response and as a consequence, operates too much with a “rest or relaxation” (parasympathetic) response. Interesting to note, caffeine pushes our chemistry into a “fight or flight” mode. I’m sure you noticed how many kids hang out in Starbucks?
Now with a nervous system operating too much in the parasympathetic side, additional symptoms like food or airborne sensitives, allergies, and asthma emerge. Using current logic dictates and encourages the use of Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin to reduce symptoms. These “remedies” will not correct anything, you know that, but you do it anyway, because you do not know what else to do. Well here is something else you can do. Again, a metabolic evaluation would accurately determine the parasympathetic to sympathetic balance. Only after knowing this relationship can you confidently give nutrition that will specifically drive the nervous system where it needs to go. You will not find that on Amazon Prime, no matter how fast it can be delivered.
I could go on and on regarding the importance of knowing exactly what underlying patterns are driving symptoms, but here are some general take away health strategies we use with Quinn, our 10 year old son.
Regarding diet, we follow a fairly strict guideline and let me know if you want more detail, but see if you can follow just these two rules. They are the most important ones.
1. He never drinks sweetened beverages. That includes soft drinks, fruit drinks, or sports drinks. So essentially he only drinks spring water and occasionally milk.
2. He always eats three meals a day, and each meal includes some form of protein. Those protein sources could be meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or cheese. He never eats a meal that consists of predominantly carbs. Desserts are only after a meal.
*Selina also provides for Quinn at every meal, some type of raw vegetable or fruit. Most often it is one the following: apple, sugar peas, jicama, carrot, or avocado. There could be others, but these are the ones that he most consistently eats and enjoys.
I strongly recommend Mighty Mins, a chewable vitamin-mineral supplement far superior than anything I am aware of. Quinn takes 2-2x/day, every day. He may occasionally miss a dose of the other supplements, but not Mighty Mins. A note about Mighty Mins: The Mountain View Medical Center, a facility that specializes in children with behavior disorders, did a research study that gave no dietary advice and used Mighty Mins as the only means of therapeutic intervention. Every child who entered the study who was on drugs, was able to stop the drugs during the course of the study. These children showed statistically significant improvement in all seven neuro-biological factors selected from the pediatric behavior scale.
The next most important supplement for your child is a properly designed probiotic plus prebiotic to maintain a healthy intestinal microbiota. This is a complicated science and blindly buying a probiotic with billions of hard to pronounce microorganism strains on the label, is just not good enough. I utilize four specifically designed proprietary blends, depending on what physiologic effect we are trying to achieve. None of our formulas include Lactobacillus acidophilus, it is potentially harmful to children with immune compromise, or inflammatory bowel conditions, and can cause abdominal weight gain associated with insulin resistance. Check the one you bought at Whole Foods or online, good chance it contains L. acidophilus, it is the most common strain sold on the market.
For additional immune support we use Lauricidin. It is derived from coconut oil and has antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial effects. It can be taken as a maintenance dosage or in higher quantities during an acute situation.
For additional allergy support, beyond balancing underlying metabolic patterns, we like to use a chewable quercetin. It is a type of flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, and has an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.
The information discussed within this article can be applied to children and adults. Please do not hesitate to ask questions regarding your specific situation. We go to great lengths to ensure the appropriate product and dosage is utilized.