It’s important to know how to reduce inflammation if your child has a neurodevelopmental disorder, mood disorder, autoimmune disorder or other chronic health condition.
Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting against harmful pathogens and toxins and protecting itself. An acute inflammatory response occurs when the body has an injury or infection and immediately is trying to heal itself.
When toxic insults to the body are continual and the body is unable to calm itself down between insults, then the inflammatory response becomes chronic and long-term, eventually leading to a disease, disorder or condition. In a constant inflammatory state, the immune system produces chemicals called cytokines, which is a group of proteins created by the immune system to regulate immune and inflammatory responses.
Over time these inflammatory chemicals begin to damage the immune system.
Chronic Inflammatory Conditions and Disorders
Today, there is a high rate of conditions and disorders affecting children due to the toxic environment of heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, endocrine disruptors, processed foods and so on. Many of these conditions and disorders have reached epidemic proportions such as:
- Cradle cap
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Chronic illness
- Chronic sinusitis
- Food intolerances and sensitivities
- Autoimmune disorders
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Hormonal imbalances
Some inflammatory symptoms common in children are:
- Inability to focus and concentrate
- Cognitive and language delays
- Behavioral issues
- Sleep disturbances
- Self-stimulatory behaviors
- Anal itching
Therefore, reducing inflammation is paramount to healing the immune system in order to recover children from their condition or disorder.
Where’s the Inflammation?
Inflammation is going to occur in the body wherever there are autoantibodies because the body’s immune system is attacking itself. For example, children with autism have autoantibodies found in the brain and the digestive tract which are two sources of inflammation.
Neuroinflammation such as seizures and digestive inflammation such as malabsorption and Leaky Gut Syndrome lead to chronic inflammation and immune dysregulation in children with chronic health conditions. Another important issue for these children is the inability to reduce high inflammatory levels because of the complex situation and severity of the impairments.
An overall approach of many avenues may help decrease the inflammatory conditions your child may have.
The Many Ways to Reduce Inflammation
Change the Diet
At a minimum, we recommend that you eliminate the following from your diet:
- Gluten (wheat, barley, rye and non-gluten-free oats)
- Casein (dairy)
- Refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Genetically modified foods (GMOs)
- Chemical additives
- Artificial colors
- Natural flavors
- Artificial flavors
- Vegetable oils
Eliminating these ingredients from your child’s diet will help to lower inflammation. If your child’s symptoms persist, you may find that you need to go a step further and implement a special diet.
Non-organic foods typically contain much higher of levels of inflammatory, nerve-damaging and endocrine-disrupting pesticides. Non-organic foods, especially corn, soy, canola and sugar that doesn’t come from sugar cane are much more likely to be genetically modified as well as contain significantly higher levels of dangerous pesticides. By law, organic foods are not allowed to be genetically modified.
Supplement with Antioxidants
The very nature of an antioxidant means that it can reduce inflammation. Common antioxidants are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Green tea extract (EGCG)
- Broccoli seed extract (sulforaphane)
In addition to supplementing with antioxidants, it’s important to have your child eat fresh, colorful produce. “Eating the rainbow” of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs can ensure that your child gets the highest possible amounts of antioxidants.
Supplement with Vitamin D3
Low vitamin D is common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, mood disorders and autoimmune conditions. While vitamin D is not itself an antioxidant, it improves the function of the immune system and thus can have a side benefit of lowering inflammation.
Use Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic remedies an help alleviate inflammatory symptoms and are also a better choice than antibiotics, which kill good bacteria that protects the body from other microbes that help absorb nutrients and regulate inflammation.
Take Probiotics and Prebiotics
Eating fiber-rich food loaded with inulin provides food for probiotic bacteria and yeast, which can heal the microbiome. Examples of high-inulin-containing foods (prebiotics) are:
- Ground chicory root
- Dandelion root
Most good probiotics are refrigerated; examples of them are:
- Gut Pro
- Dr. Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
- Garden of Life
- Klaire Labs
Eat Fermented Products
Fermented foods can keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong which in turn will keep the immune system strong. Examples of fermented foods are:
- Kefir, if dairy is tolerated
- Home-made yogurt, if dairy is tolerated
- Fermented vegetables, such as:
- Kim chi
- Umeboshi plums
- Miso soup, if soy is tolerated
Avoid C-Sections and Antibiotics
Children born via c-section are much more likely to have autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma because they do not come in contact with the mother’s vaginal flora that initiate the inoculation and immune-system-building process. In addition, antibiotics destroy natural colonization of good bacteria and fungi in the body. Instead, use natural alternatives to antibiotics.
Eliminate Allergies and Sensitivities
Allergies and sensitivities to foods and environmental triggers are typically early signs of an inflammatory condition in the making. Most children who developed neurodevelopmental disorders, mood disorders or autoimmune conditions typically started off as babies with signs of allergies and sensitivities such as:
- One or two red cheeks after eating
- Red or hot ears after eating
- Chronic runny nose or cough
- Chronic mouth breathing
- Recurrent ear infections
- Chronic or recurrent sinus infections
- Chronic or recurrent strep infections
- Frequent diaper rashes in babies, especially red rings around the anus or redness of the vaginal area
- Cradle cap or excessive scaling and dandruff on the scalp
- Cavities and excessive tartar, or bad breath despite proper dental hygiene
- Frequent day-time accidents in an already potty-trained child
- Nighttime bedwetting well into the grade school years
- Nocturia, frequent waking to go to the bathroom
- Dark circles or bags surrounding the eyes, “droopy” eyes (“allergic shiners”)
- Colic, excessive crying or irritability in babies
- Frequent temper tantrums (multiple times a day)
- Frequent crying, sadness, anger (multiple times a day)
- Esophageal reflux, babies who chronically spit up or regurgitate after eating
- White coating on the tongue
- Chronic thrush infections
- Unusual fingernail or toenail formation
- Frequent loose stools, diarrhea
- Undigested food found routinely in stools
- Constipation, infrequent stooling, (only going once every few days, or straining with a bowel movement)
- Excessive gas, flatulence
- Chronically discolored stools: white, yellow, or black.
- Floating stools, or dry stools (“rabbit pellets”)
- “Tummy aches”
- Distended “pot belly”
There are several ways to eliminate allergies and sensitivities:
- Do an elimination diet
- Implement a gut-healing diet
- Do an allergy-elimination protocol, such as:
- Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET)
- Bio-energetic Sensitivity and Enzyme Therapy (BioSET)
- Low-Dose Allergen (LDA) Therapy
Heavy metals, viruses, bacteria and other contributing pathogens destroy enzymes that are needed to break down foods. When these enzymes are deficient, allergies and sensitivities are more likely to occur, as is inflammation.
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC, a precursor to glutathione)
- Alpha lipoic acid
- R-lipoic acid
- Homeopathic remedies
- Herbal remedies
- Activated charcoal
- Clay baths
Clean up the Gastrointestinal Tract
Overgrowth of microbial infestation from pathogenic yeast, parasites, bacteria and viruses can create inflammation. By healing the gut, your child’s immune system can improve, thus lowering inflammation.
Increase Good Fats
The wrong kinds of fats increase inflammation, so have your child avoid:
- Vegetable oils
- Trans fats
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Instead, add in good quality fats such as:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Wild salmon
- Organic chicken
- Organic turkey
- Grass-fed ghee
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Grass-fed beef
- Essential fatty acids from:
- Cod liver oil
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Evening primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Walnut oil
Reduce Glutamates and Increase GABA
High glutamates in the diet cause excitotoxic reactions in the brain that can kill brain neurons and cause inflammation in the brain. Read Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock MD to learn more.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that stimulates brain cells and can cause:
- Lack of speech (when the ratio of glutamate is higher than GABA in the brain)
- Inability to sleep
- Self-stimulatory behaviors
- Obsessive and repetitive behaviors
We recommend implementing a low-glutamate diet to counter the above-listed symptoms. Work with your healthcare practitioner to determine if PharmaGABA and picamilon, two types of GABA supplements that cross the blood brain barrier to lower glutamate levels and reduce inflammation, are right for your child.
Increase Electrolytes and Trace Minerals
Without electrolytes, a person can have a seizure because of low sodium and/or potassium levels. Trace minerals come from the rocks in the earth which are mineralizing and alkalizing. They are very important for:
- Mineralizing the body
- Increasing bone mass
- Making the electrical connections in the body work
- Regulating the kidneys which reduces fear and anxiety
- Supporting the adrenal and thyroid glands
- Contributing to enzymatic reactions
- Alkalizing pH
- Reducing inflammation
Hormonal imbalances can lead to inflammation in the body. High estrogen levels can contribute to cancer; high testosterone can increase seizures and male symptoms of autism.
High cortisol levels can lead to adrenal fatigue which is an on-going problem for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, mood disorders and/or autoimmune conditions. These children can have high anxiety, extreme fears and limited coping abilities. Keep in mind that when one hormone is out of balance, the rest of the hormones are typically not working efficiently.
Use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
HBOT is oxygen under pressure, which can have many beneficial effects, such as:
- Healing wounds
- Calming down the nervous system
- Reducing yeast overgrowth, parasites, and microbial infestations, due to the effectiveness of oxygen pressure getting into the tissue to destroy pathogens
- Revitalizing the idling neurons in the brain to increase cognitive abilities
- Improving speech
- Improving muscle tone
- Improving respiratory issues
- Improving eye contact
- Decreasing hyperactivity
- Decreasing self-stimulatory behaviors
- Reducing long chain fatty acids that contributes to inflammation
Only with the hard chamber can an ATA (One atmosphere absolute) of 1.5 and above be achieved, which is more effective for healing. At least 40 to 60 sessions are necessary to obtain the significant benefits.
Consider Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Low-dose naltrexone is an opiate blocker and anti-inflammatory that comes in a transdermal cream at a very low dose (TD-LDN). Many families of children with autism and other neuroimmune and autoimmune disorders have found LDN to be very effective in improving behaviors, digestion, and sleep and decreasing pain. LDN has very little side effects and no known toxicity.
LDN reduces inflammation by correcting the imbalance between TH1 and TH2. When the immune system shifts into a TH2 state, it is a more inflammatory immune zone with little oxygen and lots of bacteria, viruses and microbes.
Shifting the immune system from TH2 to TH1 is much more difficult but a very effective way of changing the environment of the immune system so there are more T-cells to fight infection, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
LDN may be an effective way for some children with neuroimmune and autoimmune disorders to reduce inflammation and improve their immune systems.
Test for Phosphalipase 2 (PLA 2)
Phosphalipase 2 is a urine test that is an inflammatory/immune marker; PLA 2 is elevated in a wide range of inflammatory disorders. It is one of the key biochemical factors produced in the inflammation response.
Elevated PLA 2 maybe caused by:
- Allergies, especially those to house dust and cats
- Venoms from snakes, spiders and bees
- Candida albicans
- Certain species of Clostridia
CPD choline is a supplement that has been found to reduce PLA 2 if the levels are found to be high. Many children with autism take CPD choline to reduce inflammation. Inflammation plays a key role in many diseases, disorders and conditions, and PLA 2 is another way of reducing inflammation. For more information, visit the Great Plains Laboratory site for information about the PLA 2 test.
Still Looking for Answers?
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