Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Understanding the process of digestion is necessary before understanding what goes wrong in children with chronic disorders such as autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma. Digestion starts in the mouth. Each bite of food that enters the mouth mixes with saliva and is swallowed. A process of muscle contraction called peristalsis moves the partially digested food into the stomach, small intestines and colon, where enzymes and other juices work it further.    Enzymes, which are proteins responsible for many essential biochemical reactions, are vitally important for proper digestion. Enzymes act as catalysts, breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into simple forms that the body can absorb, burn for energy, or use to build or repair itself. As the body absorbs nutrients, toxins and other waste products finish the journey, exiting through the rectum as fecal matter.    How Long Does Digestion Take? This very complex process could take hours to days, depending upon many factors. Ideally food should not tarry too long in…

What's for Breakfast?

What’s for Breakfast?

What's for Breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! We’ve all heard that maxim. Manage Glucose Levels What is a “good” breakfast, and why is it so important, especially for kids with neurodevelopmental disorders and mood disorders? It’s all about glucose levels. Fasting for 10-12 hours between dinner and awakening in the morning triggers hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and acidosis. The Body Ecology Diet’s fourth principle is that too much acid encourages yeast overgrowth, viruses, parasites, and other unhealthy cells to thrive.  Prepare Children for Learning Research now proves the importance of a good breakfast to prepare children for learning. One British study explored the performance of 19 children, aged six to seven years over a four-week period. The children ate meals offering similar calories but different glycemic loads. (Glycemic load is how much a given food causes blood sugar to rise sharply.) Two to three hours afterwards, those who ate a low-glycemic breakfast performed significantly better on the tests…

Stimulants Are Depressing

Stimulants Are Depressing

Stimulants Are Depressing

The increasing use of stimulant medication is well documented in the press and medical literature, but what is not known is that stimulants are depressing. While doctors originally prescribed stimulants primarily for patients with AD(H)D, the market has now grown to include anyone who is unmotivated, inattentive, impulsive or underachieving. Children with Down syndrome or with any diagnosis on the autism spectrum are candidates for stimulants. The array of drugs in the stimulant family includes Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate ER and Ritalin. How Stimulants Work Stimulants are milder versions of the street drug “speed.” Experts believe that stimulants modulate the activity of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. People are better able to concentrate and organize when their dopamine levels go up. Individuals with hyperactivity benefit because the drugs increase activity in the area of the brain responsible for focus. What Goes Up Must Come Down Many children who speed up brain waves with a pill at breakfast experience a crash when…

9 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Home

9 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Home

9 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Home

Good health starts in a healthy home, but toxins in the everyday products you use in your home can negatively impact your health and well-being. Some can mess with your hormones and others can have triggering reactions on your nervous system, which is especially important if you have kids with ADHD, autism, asthma or allergies. If you feel confused about the simple, practical things you can do, don’t worry. Here are some easy ways to decrease these invisible hazards. Here’s a list of nine items you want to rethink using, and how to shop smarter. Scrubbing Tile Cleaner  Put some baking soda in a grated cheese container (the kind you find at pizza parlors) and sprinkle it on bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers before scrubbing. For tough stains, make a paste of baking soda and a little water. Smear it on the spot, let it sit for half an hour, and sponge off. Laundry Bleach  Instead of bleach, try adding…

Lyme Disease in Children

Lyme Disease in Children

Lyme Disease in Children

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP This article addresses the symptoms, causes, testing and standard and alternative treatments of Lyme disease in children. If your child has sudden and continued uncharacteristic behaviors, outbursts and mood swings, you may want to suspect Lyme disease. If your child has a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, OCD, ODD, Sensory Processing Disorder or mood disorders, you may also want to rule out Lyme. Many of these disorders have symptoms that are co-morbid with Lyme disease. Just because you live in an area that’s not “Lyme central” (Connecticut and the northeast United States), don’t think that Lyme disease isn’t possible. People, pets and ticks travel and carry the disease with them. The disease can also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders. Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease in Children Following are common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease in children: Fatigue Sleeping problems Headaches Nausea Abdominal pain Impaired concentration Poor short-term memory…

Tonsils Removal or Regeneration

Tonsils Removal or Regeneration

Tonsils Removal or Regeneration

Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND walks us through her thought process on the subject of tonsils removal. A study from 2015 showed that tonsils removal (adenotonsillectomy) resulted in a significant decrease in the severity of ADHD symptoms such as oppositional behavior, cognitive disorders, inattention and hyperactivity. This shocking turn-around for a reportedly chronic brain condition has been attributed to better sleep. Improving sleep patterns is fast becoming an accepted tool for resolving attention issues, though the percentage of those improving after tonsillectomies was much higher than with other sleep enhancement strategies. What Are the Tonsils? The “tonsils” are a group of lymphatic tissues found at the back of the throat. Most people think of the palatine tonsils, those two only-visible-when-swollen lumps, as being “the tonsils.” However, five tissues including the adenoids, comprise “the tonsils.” In this article I call the palatine tonsils, “the tonsils” and refer to the whole system as the “tonsil tissues.” The tonsils, as components of the lymph…

The Best Dyspraxia Program Ever

The Best Dyspraxia Program Ever

The Best Dyspraxia Program Ever

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Children with developmental delays demonstrate varying degrees of difficulty with motor planning. This disorder is called dyspraxia, a technical term derived from the Latin roots “dys” meaning “poor” and “praxis” meaning “coordination.” Apraxia is a more serious version of this disability, with severely limited motor planning. Dyspraxia can affect gross, fine and oral motor skills. Activities such as riding a bicycle, running, and eating with utensils require skilled motor planning. When dyspraxia affects the ability to coordinate sounds to make words, the result is impaired speech and language. Dyspraxia, Speech and Language How does an individual find the right words, sequence them into sentences, and converse? Since conversations can take many directions, mental flexibility and the ability to prioritize ideas are essential. If grandma asks Christopher what he likes about school, he could choose recess, or his new truck. Children with language motor planning issues often answer questions tangentially, with scripts, or by echoing. Fluid…

The Importance of Soil Microbes

The Importance of Soil Microbes

The Importance of Soil Microbes

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP Kids who live and work on farms have far less allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. Researchers theorize that this is due to exposure to a wider variety of soil microbes, both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. In today’s too-clean environment, our kids lack access to these microbes that can both train the immune system how to fight and give it the tools it needs to fight. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for the normal development and function of the immune system. An unhealthy gut is a common cause of autoimmune disorders, of which I include autism and ADHD. An unhealthy gut typically means that there is some form of gut dysbiosis, which means that the bad (pathogenic) guys outweigh the good (probiotic) guys. Common causes of gut dysbiosis include antibiotics, GMO foods, low stomach acid, steroids, birth control pills, birth via C-section, lack of breastfeeding and passage from mother to…

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Children diagnosed with developmental delays have a high rate of digestive pathology. Studies suggest between 58% and 93% of children with gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms, and slightly less than half of those without noticeable symptoms, have low digestive enzymes. While special diets, supplemental nutrients, good bacteria replacement and yeast treatment are all needed to heal these children’s guts, adding digestive enzymes may be necessary for the complete restoration of digestive function. What Are Enzymes? Enzymes are special proteins that catalyze essential biochemical reactions. There are two main types of enzymes: metabolic and digestive. Metabolic enzymes facilitate activity in the immune, endocrine and other systems. Our focus is on digestive enzymes, which are necessary to break down food. Where Do Enzymes Come from? Fresh, raw food is a natural source of enzymes. The gut lining in healthy digestive tracts also produces enzymes. Efficient digestion requires enzymes from both sources. The guts of picky eaters, damaged by the…

Immune System and Nervous System

Immune System and Nervous System

Immune System and Nervous System

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND During the summer, life has gotten better for most parents of a child on the autistic spectrum or with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) who live east of the Rockies. Approximately 60% of these children experience improvements in behavior and function. When fall starts, some of these same youngsters will lose ground again, but to a lesser degree. Parents blame teachers and schools for this downturn when the real culprit may be in their own backyards. Pollen, mold and grass activate the immune system sending signals to the nervous system that alter perception and behavior. Many people are surprised to find the immune system and nervous system are linked. When Dr. Doris Rapp first documented behavior and learning problems associated with allergy exposure, doctors criticized her observations for lacking scientific basis. Now over 20 years later, researchers have discovered the chemical pathways that explain this phenomenon. During an allergic reaction, the immune system reacts aggressively to…