A Nutritional and Environmental Approach to Children with Behavioral Disorders
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that during 2011-2012, 7.5 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 6 and 17 were being medicated for “emotional or behavioral difficulties” (Howie LD, Pastor PN, Lukacs SL. 2014). The nutritional factors of childhood disease and behavioral issues are being overlooked. Children are suffering from over-medication that is possibly causing long term damage and malnutrition is giving rise to certain negative behaviors. Children are experiencing increased toxin exposure that is damaging their immune system. For example, vaccines and chem-trails expose children to toxins. Rather than treat the children with harmful pharmaceutical medication it has been proven through much scientific literature that nutrition and detoxification can have a much more profound effect on behavioral disorders and disease. With the spread of over-medication, malnutrition, and a toxic environment brings an increase in the alarming prevalence of childhood behavioral disorders. In 1999 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 1 in 5 children suffer from a mental health disorder at some point during their childhood (Brauner C., Stephens C., 2006). Children are being identified with titles such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that around 10,000 toddlers were receiving psycho-stimulant medication (Insel T., 2014). Is it possible that our children are being over medicated for things that can simply be resolved with a healthier diet and proper nutritional supplementation? The struggle for a mother of a depressed or hyperactive child can be disheartening, especially when there is very little information on resolving these issues naturally. Parent’s trust their doctors to make decisions based on the heath of their child and if a prescription drug is offered, parents are lead to believe that it is the right choice. There is little research on the safety and long term effects of the pharmaceutical drugs being prescribed to children. Is it possible that by trying to resolve the behavioral disorder with a quick fix they are only creating further long term damage? It is entirely possible to reverse or control behavioral disorders such as ADHD with nutrition and detoxification. A proper diet that avoids toxins such as preservatives, pesticides, and dyes can have a dramatic impact on a child's behavior. Supplementing with nutrients that are low in the diet can help children to cope with the stresses of childhood much easier. Yale University School of Medicine found that “Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation, particularly with higher doses of eicosapentaenoic acid, was modestly effective in the treatment of ADHD” (Bloch M., Qawasmi A., 2011). It seems as though omega 3 supplementation for the treatment of ADHD rather than psycho-stimulant medication would be a much healthier and safer alternative. There are also certain nutrients that diet alone cannot provide optimal amounts of. For example, vitamin c is a vital nutrient that should be mega-dosed for perfect health. Vitamin c is the safest and most powerful antioxidant in the diet, by providing children with adequate doses daily: nutrient absorption is better, gut health is improved, also illness and disease can be prevented due to the high electron flow. ADHD, depression, and autism are becoming far too common in children. Nutritional supplementation and a change in diet needs to be looked at as a primal remedy rather than extremely harmful pharmaceutical drugs. To understand a child’s behavior we must first look at their diet. The body is designed to function optimally with proper nutrition. When there is a deficiency present, symptoms arise. It’s entirely possible that behavioral disorders are simply the result of an undernourished body. The Standard American Diet also known as the Western Pattern Diet consists mainly of processed meats, refined grains, white potatoes, and sugar. Because the SAD diet is so high in unhealthy fats and sugar it is considered a killer diet. The Recommended Dietary Allowance provides us with a very minimal dosage of nutritional needs. Although these recommendations are nowhere near what a child's body needs to maintain optimal health. For example, a newborns need for Omega 3 fats is critical and it’s possible for a deficiency to be carried on into the toddler years where symptoms will be more conspicuous. Examples of common deficiencies seen in children are B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega 3. It’s entirely possible to calm a child's bad behavior using nutrients alone and by modifying the diet to a healthier version. Fruits and vegetables should become abundant in the diet. Organically grown food is more nutrient dense and has not been contaminated with chemicals or pesticides. By providing children with a healthier diet we are giving their body the nutrients it needs to function and grow optimally. Diet may be the most important factor in normalizing a child's behavior. 80% of the immune system is located in a humans gut, proving that a healthy gut is necessary for a healthy body. Diet and nutrition are not the only things that can have an effect on a child's behavior. Digestive issues are becoming more and more common in newborns and infants. Parents are no longer waiting till 6 months to feed their babies solid foods, causing possible damage to the gut. Constipation, colic, gas, and rashes are just some of the possible outcomes of an unhealthy gut environment. A child's gut microbiota acts as a barrier against possible pathogens and stimulates the immune system. It is very easy to damage a healthy gut with environmental toxins such as vaccines, antibiotics, unhealthy diets, and chemicals. Once the gut becomes damaged, opportunists such as a fungal infection like candida begins to spread and leaky gut becomes an issue. Leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability and once it is established, harmless foods enter the blood stream and this is where allergies and sensitivities are born. Allergies and sensitivities should be identified and avoided until the body has resolved them. Dr. Doris Rapp shared some insightful words in regards to allergies on her facebook page, “The most important observation in my career indubitably was the realization that any area of the body or brain can be affected or altered in different ways by different concentrations of an allergenic substance. Most allergies affect the eyes, nose, lungs or skin but in some people an allergic reaction can alter the way someone walks, speaks or thinks” (Rapp D., 2015). Dr. Doris Rapp was able to use allergens to bring on strong violent and regressive behavior in children, showing that the foods consumed have a large impact on a child's behavior. By establishing a healthy gut environment, children are better able to absorb nutrients from their food and maintain a strong immune system. Not all environmental toxins can be avoided in our world today. Vitamin C is the safest and most powerful antioxidant for the body. By using mega-doses, we are able to create high electron flow in the body negating any oxidative stress. Avoidance of toxins and high dose vitamin c is a substantial move in the right direction for a child's health. Not only is vitamin c an antitoxin but it is also a powerful antihistamine. The Comenius University in Bratislava did a study and found a discrete immune dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorder of pro-inflammatory character(Bujnakova I., Mokra D., 2015). By using vitamin c in high enough doses it’s possible to negate inflammation. Because inflammation is also a result of toxicity and free radicals in the body, it is necessary to take exposure to toxins into consideration when dealing with childhood behavioral disorders. The University of Alabama found that a “30-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of high-dose vitamin C (110 mg/ kg) found a reduction in autism severity as measured by the Ritvo-Freeman scale” (Dolske MC1, Spollen J, McKay S, Lancashire E, Tolbert L., 1993). Considering a child’s gut is of such importance to their health it’s vital to maintain an optimal microbiota environment. Nutrients from a healthy diet will be absorbed much more efficiently in a healthy gut than in a toxic one. Pharmaceutical drugs, nutritional deficiencies, inadequate diets, and body toxicity all play a major role in the development of childhood behavioral disorders. By re-balancing a child’s body to optimal conditions it is entirely possible to reverse any damage that is the root cause of behavioral disorders. We are at a point in time where information can be spread far and wide within moments. With that it’s possible for parents to easily learn and research natural and alternative remedies rather than seeking the quickest conventional treatment to medicate their child's difficult behavior. By resolving the root cause of a child's behavioral disorder we are able to pave the way for a better future, with a stronger immune system and overall healthier body. The cost of healthcare for that individual will be greatly and positively reduced long term. The department of psychology at the University of Southern California concluded through a study that “malnutrition predisposes to neurocognitive deficits, which in turn predispose to persistent externalizing behavior problems throughout childhood and adolescence. It is also important not to confuse exhausted children with a child that has a behavioral disorder. The findings suggest that reducing early malnutrition may help reduce later antisocial and aggressive behavior”(Liu J., Raine A., Venables P., Mednick S., 2006). If we peer into the behavior of a child and strive to see more than symptoms and titles, we are able to see their needs and potential. A well nourished and toxin free child will thrive and be happy. While an overly toxic and undernourished child will struggle with their behavior and emotions. The greatest gift we can give a child is proper guidance on how to nourish their bodies and with that knowledge they will move mountains.
Brauner C., Stephens C., (2006). Estimating the Prevalence of Early Childhood Serious Emotional/Behavioral Disorders: Challenges and Recommendations. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA: Pubmed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525276/ Bloch M., Qawasmi A. (2011) Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for the treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptomatology: systematic review and meta-analysis. Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT: Pubmed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21961774 Rapp D., (2015) The three most important observations in my 46 year career as a pediatric allergist and specialist in environmental medicine are as follows. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/doris.rapp.142