Today I want to share with you some quick and easy recommendations to protect the health of your children, based directly off of the exciting new medical research that’s being conducted right now on Autism and ADHD.
5 Holistic Ways To Decrease Your Baby’s Risk Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders:
1. Take Vit D:
In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry on Sept 30, 2016, researchers found that the lower the Vitamin D concentration in cord blood carried a significantly higher risk of ADHD in childhood. Every 10 nmol/L increase in cord blood Vit D concentration offered an additional 11% decrease in incidence of ADHD.
Hop over here to find my favorite, pharmacy grade, proven effective Vit D supplements.
2. Take a Multivitamin:
Published in the British Medical Journal on Oct 4, 2017, a new study found that a daily multivitamin is associated with a 31% lowered risk of Autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability.
Find my favorite prenatal multivitamins in my online dispensary, waiting for you right here.
3. Avoid Tylenol:
Published in Pediatrics in Oct 2017, a recent study shows that pregnant women who take Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy doubles her child’s risk for ADHD.
This data was taken after analyzing over 100,000 children… so it was a particularly large and significant study.
With an estimate of about 70% of pregnant women in the United States taking Tylenol during pregnancy, this is something that is absolutely critical for health care practitioners to be aware of and to begin to advise pregnant women not to use.
It is estimated that approximately 65% to 70% of pregnant women in the United States and approximately 50% to 60% of pregnant women in western and northern Europe use acetaminophen.
I’ve been blogging about avoiding Tylenol since this article I wrote after Tylenol was found to increase incidence of asthma symptom, eczema, and allergic conjunctivitis.
A study published in Pediatrics in 2011 showed that children who received Tylenol in the first year of their life had an increased risk of developing asthma by age 3.
Taking Tylenol increased the general risk of asthma by 46%… and it was dose dependent. Meaning babies who received more Tylenol had a higher risk of asthma, all the way up to a 7 TIMES HIGHER RISK if they were given 4 tablets of Tylenol a month in the first year of life.
That’s disturbing news, especially when Tylenol is routinely recommended for treating infants who are in pain from teething, colic, fevers… in fact, Tylenol is seen as the go-to medication for infants. No longer. Physicians should be questioning the wisdom of recommending Tylenol for fever and pain control, particularly if a patient has a family history of asthma, eczema, or allergic conjunctivitis.
And do not think this is just advice for infants… this study looked at a half million patients from child through adulthood and found the same results of increased asthma/wheeze after Tylenol use.
And adults shouldn’t rely on Tylenol either… as I blogged about back in 2012, a study published online November 22 2011 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that taking just a tiny amount more Tylenol then recommended, on a chronic basis, may lead to death.
And if not death, brain injury requiring artificial ventilation and liver injury requiring dialysis are increased outcomes as well.
This large study, which followed 663 patients admitted for liver injury from 1992 – 2008, showed that folks who repeatedly took Tylenol doses just *slightly* higher than recommended had brain injury, liver damage, and an increased risk of death. This was compared to the patients that were admitted for taking a single massive overdose, and the shocking findings were that miniscule, chronic overdoses had a worse outcome then those taking massive overdoses.
Hold up, what?
Taking just one extra Tylenol pill a day on a routine basis is harder on your body then a massive overdose.
So liver problems, brain problems, and an increased risk of death, from chronic doses that are only ONE EXTRA TYLENOL PILL a day. That’s all it takes to exceed the recommended safe dosage. For a list of alternative solutions to using Tylenol, check out my previous blog post here… I go over everything, from topical options, natural solutions, supplements, grounding and more.
4. Eat Red Meat During Pregnancy:
A study published in Alcoholism on Nov 11, 2017 looking at over 5,000 patients found a link between addiction and red meat consumption during pregnancy.
It turns out, that eating little or no red mean during pregnancy significantly increased that child’s risk for becoming alcohol or drug dependent as an adult.
Interestingly, eating fish did not protect the offspring from substance abuse problems… it was only when mothers ate more red meat that the children were protected from forming addictions.
I believe that if a child has a nutritional deficiency — even one that started back in the womb, as in this case, not getting enough saturated fats or B vitamins or iron, this creates a deep craving that is hard to satiate as an adult. Thus setting the child up for substance abuse issues, trying to fulfill a deep craving that is never met.
The thing is, infants and children truly need saturated fats.
This is backed by Mother Nature… our human breast milk has over 50% of it’s calories from fat, much of that saturated fat. If there was one great head start you could give your children it would be to nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse… for as long as they will let you!
We start out life consuming animal fats through breast milk… for good reason. Children absolutely need to have saturated fats to develop properly. Not only do saturated animal fats help us absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, but fats themselves make up the structure of our cell membrane.
As you know, children are literally growing machines! It’s what they do! They lay there smiling up at us and cooing and drooling and meanwhile are literally replicating cells so fast it would make your head spin. Each one of these cells needs an intact cell membrane to function. Kids also need saturated animal fats to create the growth hormones they need to regulate growing. Hormones affect how we grow, how we function, how we feel, how we think. We all need healthy hormone levels or we just don’t feel right.
Children literally need healthy saturated fats to grow their brain. Did you know over half of the brain is made up of fatty tissue? We need fats to properly grow and myelinate our neurons… our brain and nerves. Animal fats support proper brain development in a way that plant fats (which are mostly unsaturated) can not.
Not only do children need more saturated animal fats than adults do, to literally grow their brains and create healthy growth hormones… but they also burn saturated fats faster than adults, running through their fat intake faster.
While I understand completely that there are ethical and eco-friendly reasons to become a vegetarian, I think it is crucial for children to get healthy animal fats in them initially. As our body development slows, the amount of saturated animal fats we need declines dramatically.
So while becoming vegan or vegetarian is a reasonable adult move, it’s not in a child’s best interest early in childhood and/or during pregnancy. And this latest study, revealing a link between lack of meat intake in pregnancy with substance abuse later in life, backs this up.
(plus, continue multivitamin supplementation throughout your child’s childhood:)
In a study published Oct 2, 2017 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers followed children ages 7 to 12 years of age who were given either a multivitamin/mineral formula or placebo for 10 weeks.
During this time, researchers obtained data from the children’s parents, teachers and doctors, measuring ADHD symptoms, levels of aggression, mood, emotional regulation, general functional and impairment.
Half of the children taking the multivitamin improved clinically, in comparison to the placebo group.
I think it’s awesome news that something as simple as taking a multivitamin can improve emotion, attention, and general functioning in children with ADHD.
Gut dysfunction, food sensitivities, food dyes, processed foods, and low intake of fruits and vegetables can play a significant role in ADHD, as I am going to blog about for you in detail next week!
5. Avoid Household Chemicals:
…impairing cognitive function and altering behavioral development.
Chemicals that are routinely found in homes that are implicated in impairing cognitive function of children are commonly found in nonstick cooking pans, carpet pads, upholstery, and in electronics.
Exposure during pregnancy to these and other toxic items containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is now definitively associated with decreased cognitive function of children later in life — significantly correlated with lower cognitive function, worse behavioral control, marked deficits in global brain functioning, and poorer metacognition as well.
These findings show that the mother’s concentration of these chemicals in the blood during pregnancy is having a functional impact on her child almost a decade later. Children aged 5 – 8 years old were found to have impaired executive mental function corollary to their exposure in utero.
PDBEs and PFASs are persistently found in detectable blood concentrations ***worldwide*** — and this exposure is taking a toll on our most valuable resource… the future of our children.
Almost everyone has detectable amounts of PBDEs in our bodies thanks to the global usage of these toxic chemical compounds in household products.
So what can you do?
You know I never ever share upsetting health information without providing lots of things you can do to make a difference right now in your own health.
So here are some recommendations that will decrease your exposure to these toxic compounds:
- use a HEPA filter in your vacuum
- use a HEPA filter if you have air conditioning in your home
- consider running a HEPA filter air purifier in the bedroom
- routinely wipe down surfaces with an all natural surface cleaner (hop over to my blog post here for a recipe toinexpensively make your own!)
- wash your hands regularly, especially before eating and touching your face (for example, prior to applying make up or putting in contact lenses.)
- limit or eliminate your use of microwave food packaging (if you must microwave, transfer the food from the packaging to a glass container first!)
- limit or eliminate your use of nonstick coated pans and cookware, particularly if it shows signs of deterioration! I recommend stainless steel pots and pans and glass bakeware whenever possible.
What can you do, after birth, to support healthy functioning if your child is diagnosed with ADHD? Plenty!
4 Additional Holistic Treatments For ADHD:
1. Avoid ADHD medications if possible:
Even more alarming, another study published in the British Medical Journal (May 31, 2016) found that the stimulant methylphenidate (commonly prescribed for children to treat ADHD: Ritalin, Daytrana, Concerta) increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.
The increased risk for cardiac arrhythmia remained statistically significant no matter how long the child was on the medication… rising steeply to a 100% increased risk during the first 1 – 3 days after the start of the Rx.
There was also an increased risk of hypertension during the first week of being on the Rx and an increased risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction) starting a week after introduction of the Rx.
The bottom line?
The minimal benefits were so incredibly inadequate to risk the very high rate of side effects that physicians are now being urged to curb use of these medications — a very surprising admission from the world of conventional medicine that maybe drugs are not the answer here!
2. Ensure adequate sleep:
Sleep problems have long been considered a hallmark of ADHD…
…leading to reduced quality of life, reduced level of functioning and reduced school attendance.
A study published on January 20, 2015 in the British Medical Journal, has found that even a simple, brief sleep intervention with ADHD children provides lasting benefits that lead to improved sleep and decreased ADHD symptoms.
244 families of children (aged 5 – 12 years old) with ADHD were given sleep hygiene counseling (setting a routine bedtime, removing electronics from the bedroom, avoiding caffeine, etc…) during two different consultations. The control group had the same aged children and the same diagnosis but control families received only routine clinical care and no sleep counseling. After only two sessions focused on supporting sleep, not only did the sleep problems improve, but the actual ADHD symptoms, quality of life, and even memory improved as well!
There was a significant decrease in sleep problems, an increased average sleep duration time, a marked and significant decrease in ADHD symptoms, improved assessed working memory and recall, and parents and teachers both reporting improved behavior and improved daily functioning.
These improvements were sustained at both the 3 month assessment AND the 6 month assessment, showing that addressing sleep problems can lead to substantial and sustained benefits for children with ADHD, over and above the effects of any medical interventions or medications.
Want help getting your child deep restorative sleep tonight and every night?
The answer is to sleep grounded.
Every single child (especially children with ADD, ADHD, or any sleep disturbances at all) should sleep grounded all night long to help prepare them to be resilient to whatever they may face the next day.
3. Allow room for spontaneous activity in your children!
Wondering if sitting still at a school desk all day long is actually healthy for your child?
Wondering why this is still the mold we are trying to fit children into?
Hop over here to read more about why prolonged sitting is so deadly and how to prolong your life (and your child’s life!) by getting up, moving about more and allowing them to get up and fidget more too!
I’m personally a big fan of homeschooling for many reasons, but one of them is so that children can have freedom of movement.
Boxing bright and multi-focused children into a classroom isn’t the answer.
Learning to live with and even thrive with each child’s own learning style and see it as a strength in the long run will help these unique children thrive in life.
Not all kids can learn sitting down.
Not all kids can learn straight from a textbook.
For years, my son ate most of his meals standing up.
Would I medicate him so he would sit to eat?
That would be insane.
Would I likewise medicate him so he would sit to learn?
Lots of healthy physical activity daily is not only a must for ADHD children, but really it’s a great message to instill in ALL CHILDREN as physical inactivity is the most damaging thing you can do for a person’s long term health, so getting them in a routine of sitting at a desk all day is a deadly habit to get them into.
As I blog about here, the secret to a long life is the get up and get moving, the exact opposite message that we give children in a school setting.
4. Use Omega 3 supplements instead of the Rx meds.
We’ve known for quite a while that Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely fabulous for the body… especially the brain.
Fish oil (specifically Omega 3 fatty acids) literally calms the body from head to toe.
Everything, and I mean everything, works more smoothly in our bodies with fish oil… skin is calmer, hair is shiner and softer, our cardiovascular system is more resilient, our joints are more protected, our muscles get less sore and recover from stress and injury faster, our chances of senile dementia lessen… incidences of stroke and heart attack decrease… it’s just fabulous, whole-body-anti-inflammatory stuff.
The Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recently published the results that Omega 3’s were effective in treating ADHD.
Researchers studied over 700 children on Omega 3 supplementation and found a significant improvement in both measured inattentiveness and hyperactivity… as measured by clinicians and as reported by the parents of the children in the studies.
Previous research has shown that there is a difference in Omega 3’s in both plasma membranes and erythrocyte membranes of ADHD patients as compared with their healthy peers. So supplementation would make sense, based on the fact that it would help rebalance and stabilize those membrane imbalances… as well as act as a general anti-inflammatory to the central nervous system at large.
Not only is this large meta-analysis study great news for families who have failed “conventional” medical approaches (meaning medicating them with Rx hasn’t worked) but also to families who are hesitant to risk the crazy toxic side effects offered from prescription meds. The prescription meds used to treat ADHD, both the stimulant drugs and non-stimulant drugs, have side effect profiles like hypotension, bradycardia, heart block, syncope, sedation, and somnolence.
These results are so exciting, because the effects seen from Omega 3 supplementation (and in particular, eicosapentaenoic acid) were seen to be effective in studies that were as short as 7 weeks long, which means Omega 3 supplements work quite quickly in helping treat ADHD.
You may notice a supportive difference as early as two months on fish oil supplements!
What if your child is diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder?
You can do plenty to support their health as well!
3 More Ways to Naturally Support Children with Autism:
A small but important study showed that a component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts (sulforaphane) can help give autistic patients a significant boost to social skills and verbal communication… naturally!
Published Oct 13, 2014, researchers studied 40 males between the ages of 13 and 27… all who had moderate to severe autism. 26 received broccoli sprout extract (50 to 150 umol daily) and 14 received placebo and measured the results after 18 weeks.
The results were impressive — almost half showed measurable improvement in several different areas including social and verbal skills.
46 % of participants had measurably improved social and verbal skills after taking broccoli-sprout extract for over 4 months, compared to only 3% of the placebo group. Benefits included: improved social interactions, improved eye contact, improved verbal communication, decreased repetitive movements, decreased irritability and decreased hyperactivity.
2. Serve Probiotics:
Because the gut microbiome of autistic patients has lower diversity than non-autistic peers, researchers were hoping that by improving the gut flora of autistic patients they would see an improvement in both GI and autism related symptoms…
…and they were shocked to find such robust, pronounced results!
An 80% improvement in symptoms that showed no decline even after the therapy was stopped!
The Study (published in Microbiome on Jan 23, 2017) showed that GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation all dramatically improved or resolved (an average of 82% improvement in symptoms) and that the improvement was maintained two months after treatment was stopped.
Autism spectrum related symptoms also improved with the flora transfer — resulting in significant improvement in 17 different ASD related symptoms such as social skill deficits, irritability, hyperactivity, lethargy, aberrant speech and more (as measured by PGI-III assessment) and those improvements were robustly maintained with no reversion two months after treatment ended.
Interestingly, researchers found complete correlation between improvements in GI symptoms and improvements in ASD symptoms… the worse the GI symptoms were, the worse the ASD behaviors were, and the more the GI symptoms improved, the more the ASD behaviors improved. This suggests there is a huge correlation between gut microbiome health and ASD severity, and that by supporting gut flora we can modify and support ASD behaviors.
The improvements showed no signs of lessening even two months after therapy was stopped, with 80% improvements still being maintained over 8 weeks after therapy ended.
Although flora transfer is not available clinically in the USA yet, you can support your child’s gut flora by giving them yogurt, kefir and other probiotic rich foods, as well as supplementing with a probiotic meant for children. Find my favorites in my online dispensary here.
The Bottom Line:
The critical importance of the gut-brain axis can not be overemphasized.
Any therapeutic approach to treating neurological or developmental issues must also include support to the digestive system and bowel function.
3. Choose Organic Whenever Possible:
There is ample proof to show that pesticides are contributing to the steep rise of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental delay (DD.)
The latest study was published a few weeks ago on June 23, 2014 in Environmental Health Perspectives.
This study specifically links prenatal exposure of organophosphates (the most commonly applied agricultural pesticide) and other commonly used pesticides to autism rates in offspring.
Pesticides are neurotoxins that are clearly having a known, predictable and permanent effect on the developing fetal neurology during gestation.
Studying almost to 1,000 children, the results showed that children with ASD were 60% more likely to have had organophosphate pesticides applied near their home (1.25 km distance.). Children with developmental delay were 150% more likely to have had carbamate pesticides applied near their home during ANY POINT of the pregnancy.
These pesticides are CLEARLY having a dramatic affect on our neurology.
They are affecting OUR central nervous system… not just prenatally, but throughout our entire life. Neonate to elderly.
Want more holistic ways to support your child’s unique, vibrant energy flow, from pregnancy through adulthood?
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