Proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals are key ingredients for reversing mental health symptoms in children. Food and natural supplements that support the body are medicines for the mind, body and spirit. Children have natural and innate abilities to heal there our own bodies. Children can be in control of their own healing process. Food, vitamins and minerals are naturally derived and healing to be body. As stated by Dr. Seuss, “Sometimes questions are complicated, and answers are simple” The most complicated questions regarding mental health, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and behavioral difficulties can simply be answered with nourishment for the body. Our children need true nourishment to thrive in a happy and healthy body.
Many children are not being nourished with the right types of foods or supplements. Children need a rainbow-colored diet of organic fruits and vegetables each day to ensure they are getting essential vitamins and minerals. Even with an optimal diet, children might not be absorbing the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals. A variety of issues can be hindering vitamin and mineral absorption in the body. The standard American diet is typically nutrient deficient. Today, vitamins are needed just for wellness. Supplementing the diet with vitamins and minerals is important on the road to recovery for children. Vitamin deficiencies play a huge role in mental health issues. Although the body needs to improve vitamin deficiencies; yeast, bacteria, and gut issues need to be cleared before vitamins will be absorbed. It’s important to understand that the body may not be ready to absorb the vitamins and minerals.
When a child has high inflammation in the body, they will not absorb vitamins and minerals optimally. Inflammation in the body can be linked to mental health disturbances because the body isn’t working properly or absorbing nutrients properly. Vitamins and minerals will be depleted in the body quickly if the body has high levels of Glyphosate, heavy metals, pesticides, parasites, Lyme, co-infections to Lyme, bacteria’s or virus’s. Children who have more severe mental health symptoms typically have a variety of issues hindering vitamin and mineral absorption. Mental health issues can be autoimmune in nature so, autoimmunity will hinder vitamin and mineral absorption. We need to consider autoimmune issues that could be going on in a child’s body that is hindering vitamin and mineral absorption.
Parents who have a hyperactive child will often tell me that a primary care practitioner suggested behavior rating scales to find a diagnosis and medications but never talked about the child’s diet. It seems to be rare for a primary care practitioner to implement vitamin and mineral protocols for children. Its unfortunate for the health of our children that vitamins and minerals get ignored so greatly in most main stream medical practices. Pharmaceuticals get all the attention for financial implications but that’s not the most nourishing route for our children. Pharmaceuticals are typically given to children with mental health concerns before the diet is dissected and before the child is evaluated for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Unfortunately, I have noticed that parents will get medications for their children because its covered under their health insurance. Many families don’t pay any money for psychiatric medications so it’s a cheaper route than buying vitamins and minerals. This is an unfortunate reality for many children that deserve better care. Many families also choose not to pay for vitamins because it’s not seen as a priority. The high costs for being healthy is a harsh reality. Vitamins for children should be a higher priority than a psychiatric medication but family economics plays a big role in this decision.
Many children on psychiatric medications for mental health have a side effect of not wanting to eat. Children who eat less on medication will in turn get less nutrients. This is a vicious cycle that is not nourishing to children. Children don’t always take the time to make a healthy meal a priority if they don’t feel hungry. Children naturally want to eat junk food, like most adults, and they need to be taught to make healthy eating a priority. Children can be strengthened and empowered when they are taught about how vitamins can help their brain, body, moods and behaviors. Getting the right number of vitamins should be a daily conversation with a child. Every meal and every vitamin intake should be a teaching moment for children to learn about the power of nutrician. I know countless amounts of children that are taking psychiatric medications and they are not taking daily vitamins. How are they nurturing there suffering immune systems? I’m saddened that parents can take the time to give a child a, typically unneeded, medication but can’t take the time to give their child a vitamin.
I often wonder, what is the disconnect in society to helping our children have a stronger immune system and nourishing their bodies? It makes no sense why nourishment through supplements gets frowned upon by so many main stream medical providers. Nourishing the body is essential for preventative care and optimal mental health. Children don’t need to suffer unnecessarily from mental health issues, but they continue to suffer when proper vitamin and mineral intake isn’t addressed. Parents who want to help their children are up against a belief system in main stream medicine. According to Dr.Andrew Saul Ph.D., the tunnel medical vision for disease care isn’t working. What I respect the most about Dr. Andrew Saul’s opinions is the questions he poses for individuals and society to think about. He asked, “What part of vitamin healing bothers people?” I love this question because it seems very perplexing why the healing power of natural vitamins and minerals would be ignored. People have unique opinions about vitamins and too many people push them aside without really looking at the scientific data supporting their important usages.
Its flabbergasting how many parents will find psychiatric services for there child without giving them proper vitamins and minerals. A proper diet is pushed aside and not usually considered before a family seeks mental health services for a child. I have heard many parents say, “Vitamins don’t really help my child that much.” Those parents may not have given their child a fair trial run on vitamins, the child may have a poor diet, the body isn’t absorbing the supplements, or they may have been using ineffective vitamins. I have also heard many parents say, “My child’s doctor said that my child doesn’t need vitamins because we eat healthy. They said my child is fine as long as we eat a balanced diet” I have heard main stream medical doctors say, “children don’t really need vitamins, packaged protein shakes are fine and junk food in moderation is not causing your child physical and mental harm.” Those statements are not true for most children. We all need vitamin supplements because of the vitamin deficient modern American diet. Processed protein shakes can be harmful and loaded with artificial sweeteners, chemicals or sugar. Junk food always harms our body and can throw some children’s bodies for a loop rapidly. Junk food is not nourishing to the body and isn’t good for your child even in moderation. Sugar sensitive children can’t usually tolerate the amount of sugar that can be in just one donut or one cupcake. A very small amount of sugar, food dyes and artificial sweeteners can have a big negative affect on many children in physical, behavioral and emotional capacities.
Many children are not getting the proper number of vitamins and minerals in their diet because our food is depleted of essential vitamins and minerals. Soils are depleted of essential vitamins and minerals. Our foods are sprayed with heavy amounts of pesticides. The pesticide glyphosate pulls out essential vitamins and minerals from the body. If a child is suffering from a mental health issue they are suffering from metabolic deficiencies. Vitamins are part of the solution but not a stand-alone solution. An entire wellness program is essential. We should not brush off vitamins if they weren’t used with an entire wellness program. Your child critically needs an entire wellness program to be well and vitamins are a part of that wellness program. I find that many parents don’t understand what a “true” healthy diet is for there child. I find that many children with mental health symptoms are not eating a healthy diet even when their parents report they eat healthy foods. Eating healthy foods occasionally isn’t going to be a therapeutic diet the body needs for recovery and healing.
It appears vitamins are the solution and not a problem that they are often made out to be in main stream medicine. A great question posed by Dr. Abram Hoffer M.D. was, “Drugs can make a well person sick, why would they make a sick person well?” It seems logical that we should only be using methods to heal our children that are nourishing to their bodies and not harmful. Everything that goes into your child’s body should be nourishing. As a rule of thumb, we should be asking ourselves, “Does this method, food or medication nourish my child’s body?” If its not nourishing, a new solution needs to be found. Dr. David Brownstein M.D. stated, “We were taught in medical school how to treat symptoms, but we were not taught about health.” The very bottom and basic line is that, food is not as nutritious as it used to be. All children with mental health struggles need to be taking supplements and need a proper diet for their bodies to recover.
Improving mental health symptoms can be done by strengthening the immune system. The first order of business for strengthening the immune system is through increasing vitamin and mineral intake while also improving the child’s gut. Because the gut is considered the second brain, it controls the immune system. Our immune and digestive systems go hand in hand. According to Dr. Derrick Desilva M.D., the body needs balance and homeostasis to be healthy. Many children have unbalanced diets and an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut. The gut microbiome needs to be in homeostasis. It is well documented that mega doses of essential vitamins lower psychiatric illness. Many minerals and fats the body needs cannot be produced by our bodies. Studies show that vitamins are safer than pharmaceutical drugs. The death rates are very high for people who take pharmaceutical drugs as prescribed. Vitamins have not been linked to high death rates like pharmaceuticals. Vitamins are the safer choice. Vitamins are a prevention measure and a symptom reduction tool for childhood mental health disorders.
Many children with mental health symptoms have vitamin D deficiencies. This can simply be corrected with outside play, daily liquid vitamin D or daily multivitamins. Studies have been completed on children who have repeated upper respiratory infections. It has been found in research studies that children who get hospitalized with upper respiratory infections have low vitamin D levels. Respiratory infections and vitamin D deficiencies have been linked together. A high number of children with Autism tend to have a history of getting upper respiratory infections. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked in studies to many mental health disorders. Other vitamin deficiencies are also linked to mental health issues especially depression or mood swings.
In general, children who are getting naturopathic treatment for Autism or related neurological disorders could start treatment with a serious of blood tests. The blood tests can be for genetic markers, candida overgrowth, heavy medals, neurotransmitter deficiencies and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Dr. Jared Skowren, ND reported that children do not inherit Autism but, individuals have a pre-disposition for the disorder. He reported that 50% of the population has a mutation of the MTHFR gene. With this mutation, folic acid cannot be turned into the methylated form (folate) and cannot help the brain. He reported 90% of kids with Autism have this mutation and issue with folic acid in the body. Kids who are not getting the proper amounts of folic acid will have high anxiety and take part in some stimming behaviors. A stimming behavior is a repetitive movement like spinning around, rocking back and forth or spinning wheels on a toy car. A child with stimming behaviors can be helped with folate. Folate is a better ingredient than folic acid being listed on the vitamin supplement according to Dr Skowren. We can help our children get this nutrient by implementing folate in their daily vitamin regiment.
According to Dr. Skowren, children on the Autism spectrum who are getting the appropriate levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and Zink through multivitamins will have improved language. Vitamin C is a great vitamin to take many times throughout the day. It has been stated by many great physicians that “you need Zinc to think”. Children with neurological based disorders are often low on the zinc vitamin. According to Dr. Anju Usamn, M.D., children on the Autism spectrum are typically low in Zink and high in copper. I have heard many doctors say, “When you have met one child with Autism, you have met one child with Autism.” Not all children with Autism are the same and in fact, they are vastly different. One child may have vitamin deficiencies and an abundance of one vitamin. Another child may have a totally distinct set of vitamin deficiencies. Commonalities have been found with vitamins deficiencies and Autism but, each child will have unique needs. Dr. Stephanie Seneff Ph.D. has reported that children with Autism are often low in Manganese. There is no one size fits all approach to helping our children get healthy.
Many children with neurological based disorders have mitochondrial dysfunction in the cells that prohibit cellular energy. According to Dr. Skowren, children that have mitochondrial issues in the cells will need B vitamins with folate. Children need B1, B2 and B3 vitamins to remedy the mitochondria dysfunctions in the cells. Children on the spectrum are also generally low on magnesium which is needed for energy. Magnesium energizes the cells in the body giving energy to the mitochondria within the cells. Cells need energy in the body for proper detoxification.
It’s important to understand that not all vitamin supplements or brands on the market are healthy for children. Many grocery store brand multivitamins have unhealthy food additives and coloring. Sugar is also high in many children’s chewable vitamins. Many parents tell me their child taking a chewable vitamin from the grocery store. A chewable vitamin is fine as long as its a healthy and helpful brand. All natural, whole food, and organic vitamins are better for child because they are more likely to absorb the vitamins. A child cannot be happy, motivated, physically active, detoxed, or a great learner without the proper vitamin intake. Its important to consult with a naturopathic doctor or holistic based practitioner for the proper guidance on finding the healthiest vitamin and mineral brands.
If a child is sick enough for medication management, they are sick enough for a vitamin. Implementing a consistent multi-vitamin, mineral and nutrition plan will help your child on the road to strengthening and balancing. Correcting deficiencies and increasing nourishment in a child’s body is a great step towards helping that child behaviorally, physically and emotionally. Parents need to understand that the body is made to heal. Our children’s bodies can heal and be reversed of mental health symptoms. When we give the body the nutrients it needs, it will complete the healing job. A child with neurological based symptoms has a body that needs healing. Healing and nurturing the body is the path to recovery from mental health issues. Supporting and nurturing a child must include the mind, body, spirit and healing foods.
Author: Dr. Elizabeth Ward, Ph.D., LCPC