By: Pejman Katiraei, DO (Dr. K)
Why do you think Ronny, a sweet 6-year-old boy has poor immunity? He gets sick all the time and has a constant runny nose. He gets dark circles often and wakes up crabby in the mornings. It takes him 30-45 minutes to finish a meal. When he was a baby, he had a hard time nursing and was a “colicky” baby who had to be bounced and rocked all the time. He was late to crawl and walk. He tires easily and prefers to play quietly. He becomes really moody in the afternoons, especially if he is tired. He also gets upset easily if he has not eaten for a few hours. He happens to have all kinds of sensory sensitivities and hates tags, gets overwhelmed in crowded spaces, and the teachers are worried that he has ADHD. His diet is pretty limited, and is mostly carbs, dairy, some ground chicken and turkey, but unfortunately very little vegetables. He has always had irregular stools, with some gas and bloating.
What do you think is the root cause of Ronny’s poor immunity?
- Leaky gut with intestinal inflammation?
- Microbiome imbalance with excess Candida?
- Long standing gluten and dairy sensitivity?
- Birth trauma?
- Metabolic error with multi-organ impact?
You likely thought the root cause of his immune issues was a leaky gut with gluten and dairy sensitivities. You may have even considered an imbalance in the gut bacteria with overgrowth of Candida.
While all of these are certainly important factors that play a huge role in Ronny’s health, what if I told you that NONE of them are the primary/root cause that started Ronny’s health problems? Until you understand and address the root cause of why YOUR child is suffering, treating the gut, food issues, and even Candida will be difficult and may only provide TEMPORARY results.
This may sound unusual to you. It may even be shocking, but that is because most other doctors you have spoken to or worked with believe that the gut is supreme and should always be treated first. You see, the gut healing protocols used by many doctors are all based on a powerful model of medicine called Functional Medicine. As incredible as Functional Medicine is, it is important to realize that it was originally created to address ADULT health problems. For adults, it is very true that most conditions originate from the gut. And while the gut plays a fundamental role in the health of your child, what you MUST know is that your kid’s gut issues may have originated from an even deeper layer of imbalance, an imbalance that was there from the moment your child was born!
Your child (like Ronny) may have a subtle, yet significant, problem with her ability to produce energy, and this energy production error if often the root cause of all other imbalances and problems, including the ones in the gut. Energy is life, and when energy is low, the vitality and life within every system of the body is reduced!
Your child may have had difficulty nursing as a baby for the same reason why he now struggles to eat and is a very picky eater. She may have food intolerances, digestive issues and remarkable disturbances in the microbiome BECAUSE she has NEVER had the capacity or ability to chew or eat well.
Digestion starts with one’s ability to chew! When you cannot chew, you cannot digest!
There is a reason why your child is a very picky eater and takes 30-45 minutes to finish a simple meal, and this is because her eating mechanism is broken. For your son, eating is a monumental task, an unpleasant struggle! He eats to survive, not to enjoy!
She only eats mac and cheese, pasta and chicken nuggets because these are all soft foods that can be easily swallowed without much chewing. He can’t eat vegetables or chunks of steak because they are too hard to chew, and the textures feel awful inside his mouth. Would you expect your child to have a normal gastrointestinal tract if all she has ever been able to eat are soft textured foods (bread and cheese), with no vegetables, and the foods that she does eat only get ½ digested because she can’t chew?
Do you know why your child may have a broken eating mechanism? It is because she is simply too weak to chew or eat! Like strenuous physical activity, eating is also exhausting for her. Have you ever thought about what is involved in eating? You have to bite the food, and then move the food around in the mouth many times and continue chewing it for some time before you swallow it.
Now think about this for a moment. What are the things in the mouth that help us chew? Muscles of course! What is the tongue? A muscle! Chewing cannot happen without muscles, and the muscles of the mouth (like all muscles of the body) cannot function optimally if there is not enough energy!!! Too little energy production = too little muscle energy. Too little muscle energy = too little energy to chew effectively. The most amazing part of this is that through simple supplementation, with a product like NeuroNeeds, you can increase energy production AND increase your child’s eating strength and ability.
I have treated 9-month-olds who were struggling to nurse and eat, and within two weeks of starting supplementation and treatment these young children suddenly started eating well. These same babies that could not crawl suddenly started crawling! Your kid (just like Ronny) may just be the grown-up version of these little babies. We presume things just change, but that is just what we see on the outside. If you look deep inside, you find that things are exactly as they were from the very beginning.
As a physician who has been working with children like Ronny for over a decade, I have learned to first improve energy production before aggressive diet changes or gut protocols first! Why? Quick and dramatic changes of any kind are simply too much for kids who lack energy. This is why your kid may have decompensated and lost it when you tried to change their diet.
There is an easier way. There is a BETTER way! And this better way demands that we start by treating your kid’s first and primary root imbalance – the metabolic/energy imbalance. When you treat the primary root cause, you don’t just support your child’s ability to chew and eat. Consider that this low energy state is impacting every part of your child’s body. Imagine a time when you had the flu. Imagine how it felt to be so run down and tired. If your child has a subtle metabolic disorder, which they probably do, every moment of every day they experience something similar to a mild case of the flu. Even if they act hyperactive, underneath that hyperactivity is a child who feels drained and wiped out.
When your child has more energy, they just feel better and smile more often. You will see them do things they never did before. When your child has more energy, chewing and eating become easier because the muscles of mastication (muscles of chewing and eating) now have the energy to finally work as they should! Once you have treated the energy issues, working with an occupational therapist (OT) can produce even more amazing results, as you child now has the energy to do the hard work to learn from the OT how to chew and eat properly for the first time.
When your kid has an easier time eating and can actually start enjoying food, he starts eating a wider variety of foods. He may now be willing to eat vegetables, and these magical prebiotics will now feed the good bacteria and help them flourish. You know what happens when the good bacteria start growing in large amounts? They start sending healing signals to the gut immune system. These good bacteria also start healing your kid’s “leaky gut.” The balanced immune system and healing leaky gut help reduce the food sensitivities and allergy symptoms, and even help optimize the immune response to fight off future infections.
The reasons to improve energy production before you do anything else goes well beyond even what is mentioned above. Have you ever considered what else, beyond chewing, is required for proper digestion to occur? What happens to the food once your kid swallows it? Does it magically dissolve and digest and absorb on its own? NO! Of course not!
So, what are some of the key components to digestion? Well, there is stomach acid which is basically the second part of digestion. Then your kid’s body mixes in some bile which helps break up the fat, and then you get all of these amazing pancreatic juices (pancreatic enzymes) to help further digest the food. Without enough acid, bile and digestive enzymes all kinds of strange digestive problems can arise (SIBO being one example). It turns out that stomach acid production/secretion, bile secretion and pancreatic enzyme production are all very energy demanding tasks. These processes become sluggish when there is not enough energy!
Think about it! When you have an energy issue, that energy production error creates the perfect set up for a messed-up gut. You have a kid that:
- Struggled to breast feed (so limited breast milk early on)
- Never could chew food effectively, so she has been swallowing whole pieces of food from day one
- Long-term poor diet of carbs and fat, with little fiber
- Long-standing poor digestive capacity with little bile, acid and pancreatic enzyme production…
- Do I need to go on?
This perfect storm of digestive troubles are why almost all children who are like Ronny have food sensitivities and gut problems. Is this your kid? How can you heal your child’s gut when every mechanism and step involved in processing the foods she eats is sluggish or broken? While you can supplement with acid, digestive enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, etc., etc., etc., wouldn’t it be so much easier and wiser to first help your kid’s natural mechanisms to work better? And NeuroNeeds is the perfect supplement to do just this; to get everything working better.
Obsessing about treating the gut without addressing a metabolic disorder is like stressing out about changing the tires on your car, when your engine is barely working and is about to fail. The tires are important, but perhaps you need to first focus on the engine and get energy production where it needs to be.
You see, when you can view the body as a whole and treat it wholistically, suddenly a lot of things start making a whole lot more sense. Most importantly, when you can understand the whole picture of why your son or daughter is struggling, you are able to save time, quicken their healing, and make your job and life a whole lot easier.
Try NeuroNeeds for yourself and see how it can support your child’s entire system and allow them to function at a level never possible before. See how their eating and digestion change as total production improves.
Pejman Katiraei, DO (Dr. K)
Please note that Dr. Pejman Katiraei and his practice does NOT receive any money or any other financial incentives from NeuroNeeds®.
The Content within this article and NeuroNews Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Blog.