Dr. John Azzarelli, CNC RPH walked us through the life of a child and pointed out different events or substances (beginning in utero!) that could attribute to ADHD. He explained how a healthy digestion creates a strong healthy barrier to the outside world, ultimately protecting our brain function. John said that if our digestive system functions optimally, we are unlikely to encounter issues of hyperactivity, inability to focus and depression. This goes beyond eating good quality food. We need to protect the intestinal tract from toxins and avoid products that would damage the beneficial flora within.
John gave some examples of what to look out for, what to avoid and potential pitfalls.
Use a live probiotic* daily.
Avoid antibiotics, especially in labor. – they kill off all the good bacteria in mom & baby’s digestive tract
Avoid childbirth by surgery. Essential cultures are transferred to baby in the birth canal
Use a live probiotic for yourself (and baby if pregnancy conditions were not optimal).
Avoid antacid medication such as Nexium & Zantac. These medications kill all the acid in a baby’s tummy and acids are our first line of defense. FYI: The rate of reflux is much higher for babies if their moms had unresolved digestive issues, candida or were medicated during pregnancy and labor.
Become aware of symptoms of allergies and other health concerns. Ensure that there is a healthy digestion & immune system.
John shared lots of great info concerning symptoms, solutions and natural supplements. I will cover them briefly here:
Food allergies most common in focus issues are casein & gluten (dairy & wheat). He generally recommends that people remove those allergens from the diet at first sign of behavioral issues. Fructose can also be an allergen. He told of a child he treated that had severe facial tics. Through blood work, they discovered a fructose intolerance. Fruit was removed from this child’s diet and the facial tics are no more.
Dr. John says that 85% of people are vitamin D deficient. He recommends we all get tested and dose accordingly. The normal range is 20-100, but ideal numbers are at least 50-60.
When purchasing Vitamin D, D3 is the way to go.
Symptoms of potential thyroid issues: cold hands and feet & very red tip of tongue.
John explained the connection between optimal thyroid function and focus. Adding naturally occurring iodine to the diet (sea salt or sea vegetables) is always beneficial.
Noticing obsessive behavior or anxiety? Most likely the Adrenal Glands are overproducing DHEA. Experiencing nightmares? Most likely there is a high level of dopamine & low levels of serotonin. John would venture that this child is highly creative. Amino acids can help balance this brain chemistry. Add animal proteins to the diet to do that naturally.
Severe allergies have you reaching for Claritin or Sudafed? Reach for Quercetin instead. Quercetin is a bioflavinoid, very beneficial in fighting allergies. Nettle root is anti-inflammatory and Boswellia also has similar benefits to anti-histamine medications.
Trying to conceive? Use Iodine, Raspberry Leaf supplement, Probiotics & DHEA
Dr. John's message: Herbs & supplements can give us many benefits of medications without the harmful side effects.
Other great supplements for Brain Health:
Sam-e – really great for depression, but don’t use with other meds unless you speak with a professional. Also, if the patients seems to be slightly manic or bi-polar, avoid this supplement.
Phosphatidyl choline - this generally comes in a softgel. Nature's Plus does make a vegicap.
DMAE - check with a professional if this is right for you
NAC - N-Acetyl-Cysteine- detoxes the liver, etc, especially from heavy metals such as mercury.
The inside scoop on probiotics: The digestive tract is one of the most complex eco systems. At any given time, we have some 160 types of bacteria in our gut. The individualized bacteria composition found in each body play a vital role in keeping us healthy. Reinforcing the numbers of the beneficial bacteria becomes an essential daily health objective. Taking a probiotic supplement daily is the best way to ensure that objective.
• Dr. John says “not just any probiotic. It’s essential to use a LIVE probiotic. How to know if it’s live? Purchase probiotics that are delivered in a cooler and kept refrigerated at all times." John recommended the Natren line. Apple Drugs carries “Vital Plex” probiotics, that are also delivered by cooler. When ordering, be sure to specify the refrigerated one.
You can find Dr. John in his store Nature's Apothecary, 1601 Kings Highway. 718-375-7877
To good health and a clear mind
Part II of Focus: Brain Gym with Mari Miyoshi
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