Alison was two ½ years old when she first came to see me. She was normal at birth, but after having her first round of immunizations at two months of age, she developed chronic diarrhea with blood and mucus in the stool. When I first met Alison, she was hyperactive with poor attention span, and was suspected of being somewhere on the autistic spectrum although she had good eye contact and no problems speaking. Her parents wanted help with the diet and digestive issues foremost. Recently Alison had been to a pediatric gastroenterologist who did several tests and found no problems. She also went to an allergy specialist at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City who stated in his letter to the referring doctor, “allergy does not contribute to Alison’s problems,” after doing the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) using serum IgE for egg, milk, tuna, tomato, apple, cheddar cheese, mold, wheat, casein, peanut, walnut, and dust mites.
During my first visit with Alison and her parents, it was clear that she (and they) were in distress. She couldn’t sit still, had large allergy shiners under her eyes, and her color was poor, a symptom which usually reflects a malfunctioning immune system. Her parents confirmed this by telling me Alison had chronic congestion, sore throats, cough, and a drippy nose.
My approach was first to work on Alison’s diet. We removed the sweets and preservatives and added protein with each meal and snack to help stabilize blood sugar, thereby reducing her hyperactivity and irritability. The next step was to heal the digestive tract by using the 4R principle – first, remove foods she was sensitive to as well as any germs, bad bacteria or toxic metals using anti-fungal herbs and natural heavy metal chelators. Next re-introduce the digestive system with good bacteria and digestive enzymes. Then replace the diet with healthy non-processed foods, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Lastly, repair the gut lining with glutamine*, DGL*, aloe leaf*, MSM*, slippery elm* and marshmallow root.*
The next steps were improving Alison’s immune system, helping with her sensory issues, and facilitating her liver detoxification. Normally I like to handle digestive problems first before moving on. In this case the immune system was functioning so poorly, I needed to make some recommendations to keep her from getting sick and on antibiotics in the future.
The family decided to test the following: stool using the specialized laboratory mentioned earlier, IgG food sensitivities , hair mineral/toxic metals, and urine organic acids to find inborn errors in metabolism and assess her detoxification pathways.
Alison’s IgG food sensitivity test revealed that she was “very” sensitive to nine foods. The most significant were eggs, milk products, and sugar. Her stool test revealed undigested food and mucus, no beneficial bacteria and possibly bad bacteria. The hair test showed low calcium and magnesium levels (the relaxing or quieting minerals), high sodium and potassium (which may indicate high adrenal and cortisol levels – the stress indicators), low zinc and elevated aluminum, which both have to do with attention, focus, and memory problems. Last, the urine test revealed yeast metabolites and other nutritional deficiencies.
You may be wondering why there was a discrepancy with the tests that were done by Alison’s doctors. This is best answered by looking at the differences between traditional and alternative medicine. Using an IgE antibody to test for immediate response food allergies is the standard test done by doctors and allergists. Many naturopaths and nutritionists will also check for food sensitivities, a delayed response, through other antibodies as well, as explained before. The hair test, although widely used by the police force for drug and forensic testing, is not generally accepted in the traditional medical community. Many in natural medicine feel it is one of the best overall markers of nutritional status because unlike blood, which reveals just a day at a time, the hair reflects the last six months of your life. Some of the stool and urine tests may be more acceptable by conventional doctors, but there may be differences in the labs used and the extensiveness of the test which may yield different results.
Over the next year and a half I worked closely with Alison’s parents focusing on her diet, removing the foods she was sensitive to, adding protein and essential fats, and rotating various nutrients in and out to help heal her gut, build her immune system, and improve the underlying toxicity problems. The result is a child with normal bowel function, improved immune system, better concentration and focus, and somewhat improved hyperactivity. We are continuing to work on this and her remaining sensory issues, and I am optimistic about Alison’s chances of enrolling in a mainstream kindergarten program when the time comes.
Alison’s Makeover: Before
Problem: ADHD, loose stools, sensory issues, food sensitivities Alison had chronic diarrhea since two months of age. She was hyperactive with a short attention span. She had large allergy shiners under her eyes and looked like a “typical allergy kid.” She also had poor color and was constantly sick.
Diet: Alison’s diet had too much sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as artificial colors and preservatives. She did not have protein for breakfast or for lunch and consumed too much dairy.
Supplements: The prescribed children’s multi with fluoride was being used.
Exercise: Alison was very active and was getting occupational therapy.
Stress Mgt. & Self-Care: The parents were doing behavior management therapy with Alison, but it didn’t seem to be helping.
Alison’s Makeover: After
Problem: ADHD, loose stools, sensory issues, food sensitivities Once we identified the food sensitivities and removed those foods from Alison’s diet her diarrhea subsided. We built up her immune system by cutting out sugar and refined foods and used a variety of supplements to give her the nutrients that she was deficient in.
Diet: Removed cow’s milk, egg, and sugar from Alison’s diet. We gave her small frequent meals with some protein in each to help keep her blood sugar and moods stable.
Supplements: We used a variety of nutrients to help with Alison’s digestive function. Most of these were rotated and used on a short term basis. To help with Alison’s focus and attention problems I recommended a product that was designed to help with cognitive and neurotransmitter function.
Exercise: Alison continued to participate in a lot of activities in pre-school and in her occupational therapy sessions. Her parents also did other sensory exercises with her throughout the day.
Stress Mgt. & Self-Care: We used the Bach flower rescue remedy when Alison was having a tantrum and could not stop herself or when she could not wind down enough to go to sleep. I also recommended Epsom salt baths at night and a calcium magnesium supplement to help her fall asleep easier.