How Common Food Sensitivities Can Contribute to Behavioral Problems in Children
Almost all of the children we work with at Brain Balance Achievement Centers who are struggling with learning, behavior and social problems also suffer from food sensitivities. If the brain is out of balance, the digestive system dysfunctions and the immune system gets out of balance. This imbalance ultimately leads to these food sensitivities.
That seemingly innocent glass of organic milk in your refrigerator may have been part of the culprit leading to your child’s meltdown this morning before school. But how can a food like dairy cause this to happen? And are there other foods which can contribute to this phenomenon?
Common Food Intolerances
According to many researchers and nutrition experts, the top common food intolerances include:
- Gluten - Protein in Wheat, Rye, Oats and Barley
- Sugar (Particularly if your child has candida, a yeast overgrowth which can effect behavior, common in children with neurobehavioral disorders like ADHD and Autism.)
- Foods High in Salicylate
- Food Dyes, Preservatives, Pesticides, GMO’s (Genetically Modified Foods)
The link between diet and behavior is an interesting one, especially when food sensitivities are involved. If a child is intolerant to a particular food, an IgG reaction occurs. This reaction stems from the immune system and causes the body to produce inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines can inflame the gut, brain or respiratory tract and ultimately affect how your child feels physically and emotionally.
Food Intolerances vs Food Allergies
A food allergy causes an immediate reaction which signals the body to produce histamine. In some cases, this IgE reaction requires prompt medical attention. A food intolerance, on the other hand, results in a delayed IgG reaction that, unlike a food allergy where symptoms occur rapidly, can take one to three days to occur. Therefore, if you are not closely monitoring your child’s food intake or working with a professional, you may not be able to relate the reaction that is occurring to the particular food that is causing this inflammatory response.
Food Intolerances and Behavior
Behavior challenges can result when a child reacts to a food to which he or she is intolerant. If your child has a glass of milk and the body begins to product cytokines, the resulting inflammation in the brain can lead to meltdowns, irritability, anxiety, depression, brain fog and more. If your child already has compromised digestion, a food sensitivity is likely the result of leaky gut syndrome and can lead to further exacerbation of the issues. A leaky gut can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to poor absorption, which can further contribute to learning or behavioral struggles as well as cause additional food sensitivities.
If you suspect your child has a food intolerance, you should seek out the advice of a professional. It also helps to keep a food diary for at least seven days and log all foods consumed along with the resulting symptoms and behavior. Sometimes there is a clear pattern, but sometimes testing is required to confirm which foods are the true offenders. Removing an offending food from a child’s diet can make a huge difference in your child’s emotional and physical state.
Nutrition and The Brain Balance Program®
A healthy lifestyle that includes a properly functioning immune system, as well as identifying and balancing nutritional deficiencies, plays an integral role in supporting brain development and function. Nearly every child we see with learning and developmental issues has some biochemical imbalances, as well as dietary issues like food sensitivities and vitamin, mineral, and amino acid deficiencies. That’s why The Brain Balance Program includes a bio-nutritional component in addition to our customized academic and sensory motor objectives. We will help determine if your child has sensitivities and nutritional deficiencies, then recommend a clear and simple plan to nutritionally support improved brain function. Contact us today to learn more!
Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.