by Glen Depke
It is estimated that 1 of 8 children in the United States has a brain development disorder. While many think of this as Autism or severe ADD, this can often be recognized as fidgeting, poor social skills, tics or lesser know symptoms. Thankfully, this can often be prevented and even reversed with proper natural health practices.
The current medical model for addressing this is to medicate to reduce symptoms through the use of amphetamines, sedatives, anti psychotics, beta blockers and/or behavioral therapy. A special not that most of the drugs listed are also addictive. The next step to conventional therapy is to hope the child grows out of it. Sounds like a less than optimal approach to me.
So what natural methods can be used to address these disorders. First of all, have toys everywhere. Specific toys that engage your child and their imagination and thought. Engaging the brain plays a significant role in developing the brain. Introduce physical activity that requires the use of balance. Get your child involved in a musical instrument or in learning a new language. These are all ways of engaging brain function.
Absolutely address the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Remember that when the gut is suffering, so is the brain. Understand that approximately 90% of the brain output goes right down the vagus nerve and into the nervous system tissue in the gut. With this in mind, when there is a brain issue, this very well could be a gut issue and likewise. To address the gut:
- Eliminate gluten
- Address any potential cross reactive intolerance
- Use a high quality gut restorative supplement (We use Repairvite with our clients)
- Daily and regular use of a probiotic (We use the DW Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula)
- Enzyme use with cooked foods (We use the DW Prime Digestive Support)
- Check for pathogens in the gut such as parasistes, protozoa, amoeba, H-pylori and the list goes on (We use a 4 day stool collection at our office)
- Test the blood/brain barrier function (We use a GABA challenge in my practice)
With a healthy gut you can increase the absorption and assimilation of healthy nutrition. Eating a balanced diet with carbohydrates, adequate protein and lots of good fats such as avocado, olives, olive oil, fish oils. Even a step further is to understand the need for the DHA component of your omega 3’s. While everyone typically gets the need for omega 3’s for brain health, very few understand that the DHA component of the omega 3 fatty acid is the actual brain food. For children, and adults for that matter, I will suggest a supplement called Brain-E that is a 14:1 ratio of DHA to EPA. Now that’s food for you brain!
It is also important to improve blood flow to the brain. Increasing gut function and improving the diet is only so helpful without proper blood flow to the brain. Remember, your blood moves oxygen and nutrition to your brain for proper function. Generally speaking, those with brain and developmental disorders are also stuck in poor peripheral circulation. This means less blood flow to the brain and in the end, less oxygen and proper nutrition. We often use a liquid supplement called Nitric Balance to assist with blood flow with great success.
Remember as mentioned above, brain and developmental delay does not always mean full blown Autism or ADD. Some times you’ll recognize early symptoms such as poor digestion, poor bladder tone, poor stool control and/or floating stool. There may also be challenges with sleeping and constant sugar cravings due to hypoglycemia. Also look for signs such as poor coordination. I remember the “clumsy” kids when I was younger. Poor coordination equals poor brain development.
If we want to take this a step further for our kids, it starts with preconception the parents. A pregnant mom that abuses alcohol, living with hypothyroid and undiagnosed autoimmunity as an example, is asking for poor brain development in their child. Parents, yes both Moms and Dads, need to get control of their own health and wellness prior to conception. As a parent, do you have adrenal issues, gut challenges, gluten intolerance, cross reactive intolerance and/or a poor diet. Well if you do, address this now and give your children a fighting chance.
Of course if you are past this and already have a child with brain or developmental disorders, the first step is to not only follow the directions earlier in the article for your child, but for yourself also. Don’t think you can teach your child to not eat gluten, while you “pig out” on a plate of pasta and a loaf of garlic bread. Understand that children learn much more from watching than they do from listening to what is told to them. Be the example for your child and allow them to emulate you. That’s what they are doing anyway.
Also understand the the brain is in constant development from the time of conception to the age of approximately 18 to 20 years old. Don’t think that since you child is 10 years old there is nothing you can do. There absolutely is! Please though, address this as early as possible, which is the whole reason for this article. In essence the older the child becomes the more difficult it is to see progress and the more permanent the disabilities may become.
Also recognize what is important to eliminate due to the fact that these actions actually stimulate the lymbic brain, which is detrimental for these children. The activities that stimulate the lymbic system are passive activities such as watching television or computer games. Move into the frontal cortex of the brain by stimulating via movement as mention earlier in the article.
Also recognize stress levels for your children. Often I hear adults say, what do kids have to be stressed about. Easy for us to say, when we were kids the world was a different place. There is so much more stress and expectations for children in these days that is completely overwhelming. Recognize that too much video game engagement by kids may actually counteract the stress-induced activation of the HPA axis. This axis allows the body to fall into a deeper state of relaxation after a stressful event. There are also some helpful vascular creams to assist in reducing the stress/adrenal response.
Many times assistance with neurotransmitter supplementation would also be helpful but you would really want to work with a natural health practitioner trained in this area, so I do not make these recommendations via the Internet.
For those adults that find themselves living with brain disorders, the same recommendations above apply to you also. Regardless of age, it is never too late to work on your brain.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave these below for me to address personally.