Twenty five percent of 13-18 year old children in the US have had an anxiety disorder, serious enough to be diagnosed and require intervention. Anxiety is even more common in kids with Asperger’s syndrome and autism. No steadfast rule places anxiety disorders in the purview of teens – even toddlers can have anxiety serious enough to obstruct socialization, learning, sleep, and development. There are several types of anxiety disorders, from obsessive compulsive disorder to panic disorder.
Many parents, teachers, and even doctors may still cluck at the idea of anxiety in children. How bad can it be, really?
Well, if you haven’t experienced life with a child who has a true anxiety disorder, it’s hard to imagine how debilitating this is. From being unable to participate in normal activities, to being blamed for creating it, anxiety disorders isolate and traumatize children who experience them along with their families.
When my own child exhibited an anxious, avoidant demeanor before he was a year old, it was confounding and frustrating for our whole family. His anxiety was poorly tolerated by most our friends and even his young peers – who fell away one by one – and by family members too. Happy events like birthday parties and holiday gatherings, group picnics at parks or playgrounds, or usually fun spaces like a children’s museum or school zoo field trip became white-knuckle, tension-drenched agonies. His anxiety would escalate to panic and bolting, or even seizures. More than once at family gatherings, he endangered himself: Fearing the host’s large dog at a Thanksgiving celebration (which the family refused to partition) he secretly retreated to their frigid attic, where he remained in his shirt sleeves for nearly an hour before found in tears and confusion. On another occasion I found him in the act of shutting himself into his grandmother’s car trunk. At age four, he had figured out how to use the dashboard controls to open it. He wandered outdoors in frozen weather, tucked himself into basements, or did whatever he needed to do quell anxiety in busy noisy settings. After a couple of close calls, and with little support from family and friends to keep him in sight, we were forced to withdraw. Our world became smaller and smaller, after it was clear that only a few family members and friends were willing to welcome us on terms my son could manage. School environments were rife with anxiety triggers in his case as well, making each year a new challenge.
A top developmental pediatrician suggested an SSRI for him when he was barely three years old. We deferred, not having any idea what the long-term effects may be (that was in 1999, and these are still unstudied). We later tried a slew of psychiatric medications, which either triggered heavy side effects, or produced lackluster progress.
For many youngsters I meet in my nutrition practice, anxiety often persists into school and teen years. I meet the kids who have not succeeded with prescription medications, have not outgrown anxiety experienced in early childhood, or are so young that parents do not wish to medicate them.
Happily, there are nutrition-focused options that may help. Many of these are discussed in detail in Special Needs Kids Go Pharm-Free. It’s important to get professional assessment from a pediatric mental health professional, to discern whether your child is managing anxiety, depression, or both, before trying any nutritional or pharmaceutical intervention. Different neurotransmitter pathways may need emphasis, depending on your child’s presentation. These tips below focus on anxiety. I’ve picked these out of the many pharm-free possibilities because they have been favorite performers in my practice. For nutrition-focused tools with potential to intervene on depression, hyperactivity, focus, attention, and more, see Special Needs Kids Go Pharm Free. As always, consult your health care providers before diving in. Ask questions, seek guidance; do not take this information alone as medical advice for your child. Most of all, if your child is currently using a psychotropic medication, speak to your prescriber before using nutritional supports or making changes to the medicine.
Top pick #1: Inositol Inositol is a naturally occurring molecule that is classified as a sugar-alcohol. Our bodies make a supply of it from glucose; it’s needed for many biochemical pathways and intracellular messaging systems, including those that affect mood. It’s also needed to make phospholipids, which are crucial for normal cell membrane construction – and that is crucial for normal cell function. Cell membranes gate-keep chemical messengers that go in and out; if the membrane structure is rigid or altered, messaging falters, and this can be true for the messengers that create calm chemistry. Using inositol may help cell membranes, and the chemical messenger receptors upon them, work better.
Inositol is in many foods, including bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, and lima beans. We may normally eat about a gram of it each day. A healthy human bowel has ample bacteria in it that produce inositol too. Interestingly, kids on the autism spectrum have been found to not have the same bowel microflora profiles as typical peers. Even more interesting – something I’ve repeatedly witnessed in my practice – treating these bowel infections improved features of autism, in at least one trial. More findings are emerging that bacteria in the gut can indeed drive anxiety or depression. So, changing gut flora can help – more on that below.
Given in multi-gram doses, inositol has performed robustly for anxiety disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder, and has also done well in some trials for depression. For just one example, click here; more links are here. In my opinion, this is a stand-out option for children with anxiety disorders, OCD, and panic disorder. The trick is using the right dose, in the right form, and to move into the therapeutic range gradually. Since high doses are needed, gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea or bloating and gas can occur at first. Avoid these by starting very low (1 gram) and going slowly up (as high as 12 grams/day in split doses, or 18 grams/day for teens at above 120 lbs). Give a high potency probiotic (20 billion CFUs or more) with each inositol dose; give with snack or food. You can also use antifungal herbs concomitantly to help control GI symptoms and keep unwanted yeast in check during inositol usage. Give these herbs away from inositol and probiotic.
Pros: Inositol is easy to use. It dissolves easily in water or juice, and has mild sweet taste. No toxicity or side effects are reported, excepting GI discomfort.
Cons: May trigger GI distress if given too much too fast. Children with poorly controlled yeast or other bowel infections should treat those before using inositol.
Tip: Buy only a pure inositol powder, with no fillers or other nutrients, from a reputable source, not capsules, which are inconvenient for the dosages necessary. Kirkman Labs, Standard Process, and Solaray offer pure inositol without fillers. Be sure your child has a good multivitamin with B group in it, which will help the inositol work better.
Top Pick #2: Homeopathic Aconite A pretty perennial called Buttercup is used to make this famous homeopathic remedy for panic. As is true for most homeopathic remedies, the source substance is dangerous and should not be mistakenly used for home treatments of any sort. Homeopathic Aconite is useful acutely, that is, in situations where a child is blanched and frozen with irrational and grandiose panic, particularly one that includes a fear of death. It isn’t to be used daily unless you are working with an experienced naturopathic doctor or homeopath who has instructed you to use this remedy specifically for your child. But, given a situation that needs quick intervention, it can be quite effective – say for a classroom anxiety that freezes your child in his tracks, or extreme irrational fear about getting on an airplane. It may gently nudge your child out of a wide-eyed, frozen panic. If lactose in the pellets is verboten, obtain a tincture from a professional homeopath; begin here to locate a trained homeopath. A very low potency daily dose may be the trick for your child. Aconite is not the only homeopathic remedy a professional might pick for an anxiety disorder, but it is a standout for acute situations.
Pros: Widely available, inexpensive, easy to administer
Cons: Over-using any homeopathic remedy can exaggerate symptoms you are targeting for treatment. Use only for emergent symptoms; stop once symptoms improve, unless your homeopath instructs otherwise. Consult an experienced provider for more guidance. A helpful book for safe home use of homeopathic remedies is Everybody’s Guide To Homeopathic Medicines.
Tip: Homeopathic remedies must be given away from foods, drinks, tooth-brushing, strong aromas, or any substances in the mouth.
Top Pick #3: GABA promoters GABA is Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, one of the brain’s most prevalent neurotransmitters. Its abundance is second only to glutamate. It has an inhibitory or calming effect; it shuts down the excitatory effects of glutamate. If GABA isn’t doing its job, the flow of exitotoxic chemistry in the brain can escalate to seizures, and in fact, many seizure medications target GABA chemistry. Besides anxiety disorders, low GABA has been noted in Parkinson’s disease, addiction, cognitive impairments, bipolar disorder, depression, and headaches. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is needed to make it, which is why some see improvement in seizures and anxiety with high doses of B6.
We produce GABA in the brain from glutamine, a common amino acid in food. Eating GABA itself as a supplement may or may not work well, since it doesn’t typically cross the blood brain barrier – but in children with leaky gut issues, it can make a nice difference. Chewables are available. Meanwhile, GABA promoting herbs and amino acids may help raise GABA levels and lessen anxiety. Here are some possibilities that have been successful in my practice, to ease anxiety through GABA promoters:
– Your child should use a high quality, high potency multivitamin and mineral supplement that supplies pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and /or pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), as well as magnesium, iron, and the full B vitamin group. Examples are Kirkman Labs Thera Response or Klaire Labs VitaSpectrum.
– Valerian, bacopa, skullcap, ashwaganda, rhodiola, gingko biloba, and passion flower may enhance GABA activity. These may bind the same receptor site as benzodiazapene drugs. Tinctures, capsules, teas, and tablets are widely available. Consult a naturopathic doctor (ND) for correct dosing; I use these in my practice for children as well. It may be well worth the time and trouble to find a provider with naturopathic training, as these herbs can be impressively effective with little to no side effects.
– Some children may be able to tolerate glutamine as a supplement, the precursor amino acid for GABA production. I have not found this to be the case in my practice. Though it is a widely touted tool for GABA promotion (and gut health), children who are challenged in converting glutamine to glutamate to GABA may experience heightened agitation, anxiety, or even seizures with glutamine supplements. Mercury disrupts this conversion, so if you have reason to suspect your child has had mercury exposures, then you may not have success with glutamine. Autoimmunity to the enzyme that converts glutamate to GABA may also make glutamine supplements a nasty misfire, with escalating anxiety.
– The amino acids taurine, alanine, and theanine may either promote GABA or oppose glutamate. Toxicity for these is low, and research on them abounds – for one example, click here. Taurine is typically started at 200mg per dose for children, and up to as high as 600mg or even 1000mg. Theanine is usually given from 50-200mg. Consult a naturopath for dosing instructions for your own child.
- GABA itself is available in chewables, drops, capsules, or even as a topical lotion. I have clients who find rubbing GABA lotion at temples to be an effective soother for anxiety or sleep. You can buy GABA blended with other nutrients, herbs or amino acids, but start with just GABA to see if this may help your child. Though many argue this won’t be absorbed into the brain, individual responses vary, and it can be quite effective to ingest GABA itself.
Pros: Herbs and amino acids can be easily administered to children and safely used, with guidance from an experienced practitioner. Side effects are minimal.
Cons: Psychiatric MDs are not trained in the use of natural tools like supplements, foods, or herbs. Some may make extra effort to study it, but most who are prescribing drugs are likely to be inexperienced here. Ask your prescriber what their training is on this. A good naturopathic doctor (ND) specializing in pediatric or family practice is a good bet to get dosing guidance. Don’t mix these with psychotropic medication, unless your provider instructs you to do so – amino acids and herbs may synergize or negate effects of some medications.
Tip: Use herbs from organic sources with high standards for screening for toxins, including heavy metals. See chapter Chapter 7 of Special Needs Kids Go Pharm-Free for more information on the quality of supplements and herbs. My preferred brands include Standard Process MediHerb and Gaia Professional. I also trust Rebecca’s Apothecary here in Boulder, which sources all their own herbs meticulously and has staff always present to answer questions.
Top pick #4: Carnosine This is probably one of the fastest, easiest, most straightforward options to test for a child, especially if anxiety is combined with explosive behavior or rageful outbursts. Not to be confused with carnitine, the amino acid famous for body building supplements, carnosine is a di-peptide found in protein-rich animal foods like chicken, beef, or egg. It is a strong antioxidant, and may have a protective effect on receptors in the brain that impact excitotoxicity and seizures. It has been clinically reviewed for use in autism, and has shown promise in reducing social anxiety while improving cognition. Carnosine may boost GABA and is also of interest for mitigating seizure activity. Carnosine is a newer amino acid tool than taurine, alanine, or theanine for quelling anxiety, so less research exists on this. A usual starting dose is 250 mg, and up to 1000mg/day. A supportive high potency multivitamin is once again a good idea, especially for zinc and vitamin E. Toxicity is very low; it leaves the body rapidly.
Pros: Easy to give in capsules, which are widely available; or, open capsules to mix with food or fluids. Easy to quickly see a result; usually within a two to three days, a child will show a response once the dose is correct.
Cons: Cost. Liquid carnosine is available for younger children, but more expensive. I prefer to suggest capsules for mixing in to liquids, as a budget measure.
Tip: Give in the morning or after school, rather than at bedtime, to observe effects on anxiety.
Top pick #5: Antifungal therapy How many hundreds of kids have I met with intestinal candidiasis, or other candida infections, that went unnoticed – from within ears and sinuses, to lungs and urinary tract? Reams of websites, books, and even some peer review exist on this conundrum that mainstream pediatric practice has yet to appreciate. Harboring excessive Candida or fungal microbes disrupts behavior, appetite, stooling, mood, focus, and attention. If your child has a history of antibiotic use or had hard to treat thrush as a baby – even if only briefly – consider this possibility. The nearer your child’s antibiotic exposure to birth, the more likely s/he is to harbor Candida to a disruptive degree.
Treating a Candida infection with antifungal herb, medication, or high dose probiotics is another of my most favorite ways to see anxiety drop in a child. It often works. The stronger the antifungal tool, the faster it works. Using a low carb or low sugar diet will work slowly. Probiotics alone can work a little too slowly too. Antifungal medication (if the child’s MD will allow it) or potent antifungal herb tincture for 2-4 weeks at a minimum is a usual measure. I follow this with high potency mixed strain probiotic, to the tune of as much as 60-100 billion CFUs per dose, of mixed strains for Lactobacillus and Bifido species. This direct strategy may trigger die off of harbored yeast, which means a brief period of worsening behavior or anxiety; but it should pass within a week to yield a calmer, happier, and literally rosier child. There are many herbal tinctures that are effective against fungal burdens, and I use these often in my practice. They can be quite potent, so use them with guidance.
Pros: When indicated, this measure works fast (within a week or two), and may also improve many other challenges your child is probably having: Picky appetite, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, gas, acne/rashes, bedwetting, or stool accidents.
Cons: May require a strong prescription like Diflucan from your doctor, if herbs and probiotics don’t do the trick. But, I have witnessed strong herb blends to work better than medication in some cases.
Tip: Though this doesn’t always happen, prepare for initial die-off reaction and some bumpy days. Ease the excretion of dying yeast from the body with Epsom salts baths. If your child uses a probiotic, give this a few hours away from the antifungal herb.
Find more tips and strategies in Special Needs Kids Go Pharm-Free. If your child has autism, find even more specifics on leveraging nutrition, diets, and supplements for autism spectrum disorders in Special Needs Kids Eat Right. If you still feel as if you need help, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment here.
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is there a particular inositol brand you recommend? is Now supplements a good brand? is the treatment followed for only 12 weeks for ocd? Do symptoms worsen again after tht 12 week treatment wear off? is it okay to do less than the recommended amount for ocd, but do it for a longer period of time, do you get the same benefits? thank you so much for all your answers. Another question, how do I look for a provider near me? what name of dr. do I search for?
Inositol powder without other fillers or excipients is a good option, and many brands including NOW are fine. The inositol won’t address root cause of OCD, so yes symptoms may reappear once it is withdrawn. Root causes of OCD – at least from a biological perspective – can include background infection burdens or nutrient deficits. Working with these while using any agent for OCD is a win-win. Inositol can upset stomach at doses that are therapeutic for OCD so work up slowly for best tolerance. Improvement should emerge as dose increases. If you don’t see a result within a few days of being at therapeutic dose, or if the dosing causes too much discomfort, move on to the next option.
My son is 11 years old and has extreme social anxiety and sensory sensitivities. He’s very limited in what he eats and won’t take any supplements. I was thinking to start him on inositol for his anxiety. What dose should I start him on and is it ok to mix it into his yogurt? Thanks!
I couldn’t suggest dosing in this platform, but you might try inositol if you like. Ideally, work with a provider to oversee the dosing. Inositol can trigger gas, bloating or discomfort if used in doses that are too high too fast. Effective dosing can be as high as a tablespoon daily of inositol powder, depending on a person’s weight and history. Meanwhile it’s likely that there are many other nutrition pieces at your disposal to work with so your son can leave this anxiety in the rear view mirror. Consider working with me as a Catalyst client, more info here. Or, sign up for Nutrition Cafe for ongoing support and learning about functional nutrition. Different topics rotating twice/month.
Hi, my son is 11 years old and has extreme social anxiety and sensory issues to the point where he hardly eats anything. I am wondering if taurine would help with his anxiety? You’re good as one of the few things he will eat. Can I mix the taurine into it? Thanks!
Taurine (or inositol, see my reply to your other question) can be relatively safe and is easy to use – but by itself, it isn’t likely to resolve entrenched anxiety – there are likely many moving parts here to resolve. This doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. For specific dosing you do need to work with a person who can assess your son’s total nutrition status and other factors. If his eating is picky for dairy and wheat, you will find that eliminating those proteins completely (and replacing them with equal or better nutrient dense foods) will likely change the picture dramatically. Withdrawing those can be hard because it’s likely there is an addiction chemistry in play from those dietary proteins. See my e book Your Kids Brain On Dairy for an explanation and strategy.
Can you recommend a good liquid carnosine for my 8 year old daughter . Having a hard time finding or trusting a brand.
This site used to sell a liquid version, but I have not seen this in a while. I’d suggest contacting them and asking for it. Some companies are making powders available for mixing with fluids. Other than that you are looking at opening capsules and mixing as well. Supplements are best used with professional guidance, for best results.
Hello, our son has autism and T1 diabetes. He is 10 1/2 years old. I have read that inositol affects blood sugars. His MD recommended that he take 3gm TID for his anxiety, but I am nervous how it would affect his blood sugars. Do you have any insight on this? Thank you!
Inositol can enhance effectiveness of insulin, per some research, so may indirectly affect dose of insulin your son needs. Discuss this with your doctor suggesting the inositol. They should give you concrete guidance and concur with your endocrinologist on its use while using supplemental insulin for Type 1 DM.
Hi — can carnosine be given with theanine? My son is 12 and is on the autism spectrum.
Yes. Some children do however have an antagonistic reaction to theanine, that is, it makes them agitated rather than calm.
Great article, thank you! Do you have any specific recommendations for supplements? In particular, I am having trouble finding a high quality probiotic for my son.
Ideally probiotics are chosen with some evaluation up front first. There are so many different strains, potencies, and quality of products varies widely. Our understanding of what strains do best for which health concerns is growing fast. But to start with a safe first bet, pick something with at least a 25 billion CFU potency per serving, with a mixed strain profile, like Klaire Labs Therbiotic Childrens Chewable. You can order that directly from the manufacturer with provider code 825. I receive a small commission for this if you do – the manufacturer does not sell directly to the public and only allows sales from its website through licensed providers. Otherwise you can search on Amazon, but sellers there are not authorized by the manufacturer. This product needs refrigeration. Probiotics with potencies in the 3-5 billion CFU range are common on supermarket and drug store shelves. Save your money – they’re not worth it even at the low price. Any probiotic may cause mild stomach or GI discomfort for a day or two when first used, but that should subside – if any discomfort persists, it’s the wrong product for the person or the task at hand, and you may need some one on one professional guidance to get it right.
What would be a good dose of inositol (in teaspoons) for a 28 lb 2.5 year old with anxiety?
Hi Allison, inositol would not be my first step in a toddler with anxiety. This can often be linked to gut dysbiosis or other nutrient deficits. Inositol does not fix either of those, and could make your child feel worse if it’s the wrong tool. A work up to assess where the nutrition support opportunities lie in this case would be your next step. I’m happy to help you do that and work remotely with families if need be. You can get on my calendar here.
I want to try Gaba for my 8 year old son with austism for anxiety. I bought the NOW brand because they are chewable but was wondering the dose he should take and the long term effects of taking gaba. Is gaba like melatonin if you take it for so long your body can stop producing it? Please advise
Hi Andrea, GABA is a chief neurotransmitter and I am not aware of evidence that oral usage causes dependence. GABA can interact with medications and can be unsafe if used incorrectly. I would strongly encourage you to work with a professional experienced in using it, rather than just giving it to your son. Too much can cause more anxiety, shortness of breath, skin reactions, nausea or insomnia.
I noticed your post dates back a few years. Since then, could you kindly comment on how your experience been with inocitol? How often and in what cases you are considering it.
Inositol can be a reliable help in cases where I can establish that gut dysbiosis won’t be an interfering factor, and where I have already addressed other necessary nutrition supports (based on history, labs, or clinical features) for neurotransmitter pathways. Since it can trigger stomach upset especially at first, it isn’t usually my first pick, but can be a good adjunct when additional improvement is sought.
hello, the gaia flora wellness link does not show the actual product, can you tell me if they still make it or could you direct me to another one for a 7 yo. thank you!
Thanks for pointing that out! That is a discontinued product, and no longer available from what I can see. Instead there are dozens of herbal tinctures that target fungal burdens. A common one is Biocidin by Biobotanical Research. This is best used with oversight from an experienced practitioner, to make sure it’s indicated and used safely.
My son turned 12 in October. He is definitely showing signs of ocd. The intrusion thoughts and nightly confessionals. He is so unsure of himself right now. I was wondering what would be the best thing for him. I have read a lot about SAM-e. Any suggestions?
Hi Tiffany, SAM-e can be a potent support OR a potent misfire, depending on several factors, including your son’s genetics, his current diet, his growth status, his status for micronutrients like magnesium and B vitamins, his toxic exposures over the years, and his gut micro biome. Your best bet is scheduling an appointment so that some investigating can define the best possible path for him. Nutrition support for these concerns is not like psychiatry, which is basically a Russian Roulette of trying different drugs. In my practice, I use a methodical physical and physiological assessment, based on lab studies, history, growth, and food intake to restore biochemical pathways that emerge as weak for good mood, focus, attention, and behavior. Contact me anytime, we can dive in.
Hello Tiffany and Judy, I’m in the same boat . My 15 year old son started his symptoms around 11 (prepubetic) and has continually gotten worse. Our family is so sad and distraught over this. We’ve had test run to see if there is something wrong and all test are negative. At almost 13 I was treating him with mynocycline for a sinus infection which he had taken before and 3 days into treatment he began what looked like a seizure and was having trouble breathing so my daughter gave him mouth to mouth while we continued to tell him to breathe, breathe!! He listened and breathed as hard and deep as possible and came out of what happened and seemed disoriented but fine. Fine is where I should have left it because when the ambulance came and to make a long story short the doctor’s at the hospital determined after just a few test epilepsy!! Loaded him with keppra 1400 mg a day. I truly believe my son knew it wasn’t epilepsy because the 1st day home he began hiding his medicine when I gave it to him. I made him take it in fear of bringing on a seizure if a dose was missed because the doctor’s put that fear in me before leaving the hospital. I started wondering about a misdiagnosis soon after and Started investigating epilepsy and symptoms, getting advice from other doctor’s. Through researching and advice I began taking him off the keppra and searched for a second opinion neurologist !! When he seen his new neurologist he ran all test for seizure activity and epilepsy and I went into detail the not breathing episode he had and told him he could understand what were saying and all test he preformed concluded he JUST had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic I had given him!!!! My child suffered through taking keppra by the negligence of an uncaring doctor. I truly think taking keppra began a spiralling downward fall of making my son and his situation so devastating. Before the keppra and allergic reaction he was just somewhat anxious but since has tremendously went downward. I feel as though we’ve lost my sweet boy and has been replaced with a stranger. A monster and zombie all in one! He has intruding thoughts, won’t bathe, eat at times, use the bathroom, socialize, awful sexual thoughts, death thoughts, maybe he should have died with the allergic reaction, obsessed with life isn’t any good anymore, won’t do school work, etc… It’s destroying the family! His pediatrician tried putting him on SRRIs that only exaggerated the problem and seems to have given up on trying to help him. He’s had therapy to no avail because he will not communicate with her. I ran across inositol after trying many things in the last two years but inositol doesn’t seem to be working. What am I doing wrong?? I give him 500mg daily with 1,000 mg Vitamin C for asorbtion but it isn’t working. A family or child shouldn’t go through this. No one wants to be around him anymore and he seems to hate himself most of the time. We’re lost… I don’t have the financial means to continue. All the doctor’s around here want to do is dope him up and say he’s crazy and next patient please. Please help me… Before I lose him altogether. Thank you!! PS Tiffany has your situation gotten any better??
I’m so sorry to hear all your family has been through. What you have described here IMO is suspect for an autoimmune and/or infection component. This can be entirely subclinical without fever or usual “infection” symptoms. The fact that it looked enough like a sinus infection start, then was misdiagnosed as seizure disorder, is enough for me to suggest that you talk to curious and investigative immunology specialist. Look for autoimmune markers to brain and nervous system tissue (myelin basic protein, GAD antibody, NMDA receptor antibody and more). Look for viral and bacterial triggers (Lyme, covid, Strep, Epstein Barr…) This puzzle had an obvious pivot at the time of the sinus infection and it can be solved. I would suggest too that you pick up a book called Brain On Fire. Meanwhile, consider my Catalyst package. It is a comprehensive dive into the nutrition support components for scenarios exactly like this. There is no doubt an immune connection here, and nutrition is intricately intertwined with this. This can be solved.
when you talk about “usual starting dose” for what weight were you referring to? my son is 6 and a half and 38 lbs, basically the weight of a toddler , i don’t want to start anything at too high of a dose and our physician will not work with us on supplements. i was looking at trying either Inositol or Carnosine.
Your son’s highest priority nutrition problem is that he is underweight and possibly in growth failure (less than 5th percentile), depending on when his birthday is. That needs correction first, before tinkering with supplements. In itself, being underweight or in growth failure can alter neurotransmitter and endocrine chemistry enough to trigger anxiety or drop other functioning for children. Without restoring growth pattern, supplements alone may not do much good. As you’ve found, physicians don’t work with supplements… because they have no training in how to use them (or in nutrition much at all, for that matter). But I agree with your doctor in deferring this anyway – he should be investigating why your child has a growth impairment first. If you need help with that piece, or with guidance on tools like inositol or carnosine, you can work with me (remotely if necessary by Skype or phone) anytime by scheduling here.
Can you recommend an integrative type cookbook? Any thoughts?
There are several out there Bobbi, as well as a gazillion excellent recipe blog sites. Some of my favorites are Paleo Plan, Balanced Bites, Practical Paleo, Whole Life Nutrition Cook book, and Gluten Free Italian Cooking (for families eating grains). Be sure to check out my own recipe blog too.
Thanks so much for giving such a great overview to a natural approach to such common issues facing parents these days! I read in Parenting Magazine that they are prescribing antidepressants and anti-psychotics for children as young as 18 months and I find this extremely disturbing!
Love this post, Judy. Inositol has been a lifesaver in my family! Eliminating trigger foods has also been very important. So glad there are professionals like you who are helping families find real solutions to this problem!
This is a great list. I’m surprised you didn’t mention DMG. I’ve been treating my 5yr old Aspie son with a formulation called Behavior Balance, which has B-6, B-12, betaine, folic acid and a few other things you’ve mentioned. I noticed a difference immediately–he’s much calmer and less prone to outbursts. Of course, he still has anxiety, but he uses a low-dose Daytrana patch for ADHD, and stimulants tend to make kids anxious. It comes in a liquid which isn’t great-tasting on it’s own, but the flavor seems to disappear into almost anything. I also mix a probiotic powder (I use Ortho Molecular capsules and just sprinkle 1/4 of one into his yogurt)in as well.
One thing I’ve noticed a big difference in is his appetite. He started rejecting a lot of foods for sensory reasons, and since I’ve been giving this to him (about 3 weeks), he’s been eating like a horse. Here’s the link, in case anybody is interested: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=behavior+balance&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=13076131956968263571&sa=X&ei=MDKqTeGaKMSx0QHlqrT5CA&ved=0CCsQ8wIwAg#
This is a fantastic overview (your books are awesome too!) – we’ve had great success with Carnosine (she’s on carnatine for tone issues too, but I give one in the morning, one in the vening). I take GABA, and love it, but it didn’t seem to help my little one. I’m going to look more into the Inositol but I’m a little nervous if it would disrupt the GAPS diet that we’re following.
I have a son who is 11 years. He is v high functioning on the spectrum, had tics and bad ocd symptoms . Do you think You’re encapsulations MethyAssist will good for him as well as Inosolitol powder ? How much will Inosolitol 12 mg be in teaspoon?
Please share your thoughts.
I couldn’t know without individualized work up what is best for your son, but these are safe and non toxic tools to try that don’t interfere with medications. If they are not a fit, you will see some agitation/hyper affect with MethylAssist. With inositol you may have bloating/gas. Effects of either don’t last more than a day or two, if you withdraw. I think you mean 12 grams not milligrams (mg) and this would be roughly 2 teaspoons. Don’t start with a full dose of inositol – work up slowly from about 1/2 teaspoon to avoid the bloating/gas.