What Else Makes a Child Hyper?

Posted on October 27, 2011. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Allergies, Chiropractic, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Sugar hides in all shapes & forms of food

~by Dr. Gregory Steiner

Just this last weekend I attended a course in clinical nutrition that explored the links between food and mental and emotional function. Nutritional status is linked to moods good or bad, attention focused or scattered, aggression, and of course overall energy.

In our clinics (both Allen and Dallas) we have treated children and adults with attention disorders, as well as for nutritionally-linked affective problems, e.g. depression. One of the first avenues of inquiry we look at is allergy or hypersensitivity, and while a person may be only too well aware of seasonal pollen allergies, he or she – or the parent – usually overlooks underlying food intolerance, and there may be several or even many.

Each of us has by virtue of our constitution has levels of tolerance for many factors; some people tolerate pain better than others, some fatigue, some people do better in heat, and others in cold. In a similar manner, some people have a touchier digestive system and others a very touchy respiratory system. Here is where environment really comes into play.

Perhaps you have a child or spouse with a pollen allergy, and every September you can’t sleep because your family member sniffles and coughs the night away. Poor you! However, what no one can figure out is why the presumed allergy is worse on some days than others, regardless of the pollen count. What we have found is that the poor person keeping you awake may have an underlying food intolerance that only compounds the problem. Let’s use sugar, for example. Did you know that if you take in refined sugar your immune system can be weakened within a short time of ingesting it? So, the next logical question is to ask about the condition of the immune system of a person who consumes sugar every day. Thought it took years for me to realize the answer, many years ago while in college I got quite a few colds, and finally I realized that there was a pattern to the illness: if I had a diet of cookies, Doritos and soda, I’d be sick a week later. Often though only a low-grade sore throat and some sniffles, after I started paying attention I saw a pattern that was all-too obvious.

Let’s put some pieces together.

Many allergy sufferers seem to go between allergy, illness, and allergy and back to illness. In many cases the problem is simple: they do have an allergy that causes them misery, but they also have a diet that weakens their immune system, which means they are often carrying a low-grade infection for weeks and months, on top of the allergy. In other words, their systems are just overwhelmed, and they often suffer for months or even years.

How difficult is the solution? Let me tell it this way. I will always recall the very fit and very tired mom of a two-year old who hadn’t slept for both years of her young life due to an endless supply of green mucus running out her young nose. I will also recall the conversation with the mom, which went something like this:

“Mom, do you feed your daughter much sugar, because this is what it looks like is happening.”

“Oh no, doctor! We try to eat healthy in my house.”

“Well, I said, “what does she eat for breakfast?”

Mom replied: “She has a Pop Tart or two, then some orange juice, and …..”

I stopped her right there, because Mom needed some real education as to what sugar is actually in.

Mom did stop the Pop Tarts, and within 3 visits using some additional care, the young child’s nose cleared up, and to this date Mom and daughter are sleeping…..and the daughter can concentrate much better.

Allergies, illness and sugar often run together, and with kids, if blood sugar is either too high or low, they will become hyper or even aggressive and mean. There are ways to test for excess sugar and food intolerances, but a simple plan that can help both attention, (not to mention dental bills) is to eliminate or greatly reduce sugars intake, though if a food comes in a box, bag or can, it probably has sugars in it. Not an easy task, but it certainly can lead to better health in the family, as well as better performance in school.

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