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Helping Our Children Stay Balanced

The weather has finally shifted from cold, gloomy days to bright sunny days with a warm wind that naturally uplifts our mood and energy. In the same way we begin to feel more energetic and happy, this Spring time weather brings about an increase in other activities, which are not always so positively perceived. At this time of year, it is normal to see an uprise in specific behaviours commonly observed in children with Autism or ADHD, but also now more so in many neuro-typical children. You may notice such children acting more emotional (silly or upset) or even more aggressive than usual. They may be more hyper or less able to complete tasks due to being constantly distracted or having feelings of a foggy brain. There may be more cases of skin issues or vaginal itchiness, especially in young girls. There may be more incidents of sleep disturbances or waking up in the night compared to normal. All of these symptoms and actions are usually a result of a higher amount of yeast build up in the body at this time of year. It is not clear yet whether or not these behaviours become escalated during Spring due to the dampness of the environment, also creating an environment in our bodies that promotes the growth of molds and yeast or if it is the pollen activity in the outdoor air that reacts with our internal gut flora and immune system. Either way, an increase in these behaviours are definitely more prevalent.

ADHD is a diagnosis given to children and adults that show a serious problem with inattention, hyperactivity, or both. These behaviours are usually observed in all settings, including school, home and work. ADHD does have a genetic component, however trauma or environmental triggers can also play a part in this disorder. ADHD has many diverse causes so therefore can have many diverse remedies. As with many other disorders and diseases, ADHD has a root problem found in the gastrointestinal system, the immune system and within the nervous system. One of the main causes for mental activity imbalances can be due to the imbalance of the gut flora. A healthy immune system, brain function, normal development and digestive system is dependent on a healthy gut microbiome. Our healthy intestinal bacteria is responsible for making nutrients and for helping us absorb essential nutrients to nourish our bodies to help make enzymes, neurotransmitters, hormones and much more. Healthy bacteria plays a vital role in healthy brain and nerve function, digestion, development and growth. If our

healthy bacteria in the gut is compromised, it is not able to protect our gut lining. This weakened lining leaves it vulnerable for toxic substances to pass through the small intestines into the bloodstream. These “leaked” toxins can disrupt our system and cause havoc in the normal function of the body. A dysbiosis in the bacteria of the gut weakens the immune system and makes the person more susceptible to allergies, infections and chemical assaults. It also allows for bad bacteria and yeast colonies to strengthen in the body. Yeast in the body can cause digestive issues, allergies, asthma, mental fatigue, weight gain and skin issues like eczema. These yeast colonies are also responsible for various behavioural symptoms that can be seen, especially during this time of year.

Some ways healthy gut bacteria can become compromised is if the child was born by C-section (did not obtain mother’s bacteria from vaginal canal), mother or child have been on rounds of antibiotics in their lifetime, child was not breastfed, eating a diet high in processed foods, has high sugar diet, eating lots of wheat or gluten containing foods, birth control pills and other medications. Having a strong count of yeast colonies and weakened healthy bacteria can cause many disorders and disease to begin and grow within the body.

If your child is experiencing odd behaviours or is showing more skin irritiations or mental and physical fatigue or hyperactivity, it is likely due to the overgrowth of yeast in the body.

Here are some ways that you can start to balance intestinal gut flora to improve symptoms:

  • Elimination diet: to repair gut health and determine offending foods
  • Remove: cow’s milk, wheat/ all gluten grains, corn, tomato, yeast, soy, citrus, grapes, eggs, peanuts, mushrooms, sugar, chocolate, artificial colours and flavours, preservatives
  • Multi-vitamin and Minerals (age appropriate) (must include Zinc for gut healing and a full spectrum of B vitamins for energy, focus and methylation)
  • Probiotics – encourages healthy gut flora, reduces allergies, increases immune. At least 8-11 billion parts (for children) per day
  • Follow a high protein diet to reduce hypoglycemia and keep blood sugar balanced
  • Include a cold water fish to diet (no more than 1X per week) and other healthy fats (avocados, flax seeds, chia, hemp, coconut oil, nuts and seeds)- healthy brain and nerve function
  • Hemp seeds beneficial for improving focus
  • EFAs – adequate EPA/DHA ratio needed for brain (fish oil)
  • GABA – daily – calming, natural tranquilizer without side effects
  • Calcium and magnesium – calming effect
  • Other vitamins recommended: Vit. C and D
  • Grapefruit seed extract – anti-fungal and powerful antioxidant that protects the brain

*Mold and yeast can only live in an acidic body. If you create an alkaline environment in the body, the fungus cannot survive.

How to Address an Acidic Body:

* Eat more alkaline foods :

  • leafy greens
  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • plant proteins
  • raw foods (biogenic foods “living”)
  • alkaline water or add liquid chlorophyll, lemon or lime to your water

* Avoid acid-causing foods:

  • eggs and factory farmed meats
  • milk and dairy products
  • pasta, bread (processed wheat and grain foods)
  • alcohol and caffeine
  • refined sugars
  • high sodium foods

By healing the gut lining and improving the healthy bacteria count in the intestines, as well as starving the yeast from growing stronger, symptoms and disease in the body can be controlled and brought back to a healthy balance. By healing our gut health, we can improve mental and physical issues. So if you notice any unusual activity in your children this Spring, it might be time to think about balancing the gut.

Bringing balance to mind, body and soul.

Nindy Grewal – Holistic Nutritionist (CNP, LBA, Cl. Irid., B.Ed), Oakville

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