Healing leaky gut is one of the most requested tasks in my pediatric nutrition practice. Many parents are surprised to hear me say that it is possible to repair leaky gut in children of all ages.
But what really works? There is a lot of buzz about dietary approaches, probiotics, and supplements, and less good research on leaky gut than we’d like, especially when it comes to infants, toddlers, kids, or teens. However, after twenty years in my clinical pediatric nutrition practice, I can tell you what nutrition supports I’ve seen consistently work, and what strategies often fail.
First, let’s get on the same page about what leaky gut is, and isn’t. It doesn’t mean there are actual ulcers or holes in your child’s intestine that are “leaking”. But it can mean that the intestinal wall has lost some integrity – and has become too permissive about the size of molecules that it lets pass into your bloodstream.
Another way you might hear leaky gut described is “intestinal permeability” or “hyper-permeability” – again, expressing a condition in which the intestine’s normally very selective, tight process for digesting and absorbing food has become, well, loose and sketchy!
Practitioners – myself included – might scrutinize zonulin, stool microbe studies (microbiology culture or PCR DNA methods), inflammatory markers like calprotectin, or immune markers like immunoglobulin A in a stool sample to gauge gut environment. Some doctors may order a lactulose-mannose test in which patients drink a concentrated solution made of those sugars. How these two sugars, which are different sizes, are excreted in urine can give a measure of how permeable the gut is. For more on intestinal permeability tests and their pros and cons, click here. Food allergy and non-IgE food reactions may also be measured, which requires a blood test.
Key To Restoring Leaky Gut Is….
Key to restoring a healthy gut is repairing “tight junctions” – these are the microscopic, traffic-cop structures of your gut. They form a tight seal between cells in the intestinal wall. When these junctions are injured, they break down – and larger-than-ideal molecules cross from the intestine into the bloodstream, triggering all sorts of reactions to stuff that your bloodstream and distant tissues were never meant to see in the first place. These might be anything from polypeptides (over-size fragments of food protein molecules that can masquerade as false hormones, false neurotransmitters, or invading antigens) to toxins, getting access your body from your gut, when they’re not supposed to. This permeability scenario is a catch-22, in that it can easily perpetuate itself, as more injury persists in the gut.
The intestine is our largest immune system interface with the world outside the body – so leaky gut can also wreak immune havoc, from autoimmune problems to frequent infections and illnesses.
What injures the gut? Lotsa stuff – and, making this harder is that leaky gut symptoms are often diffuse and insidious. They can evolve gradually, or with an abrupt onset that never quite resolves. Leaky gut can trigger symptoms in the GI tract of course, but also far from the gut, like headaches or joint aches, stiffness, pain, fatigue, or frequent colds and infections.
Here Are Usual Suspects for Triggering Leaky Gut
- antibiotic use
- intestinal Candida or other fungal species infections
- undiagnosed food allergy or food sensitivity
- intestinal flu or virus
- food poisoning
- non celiac gluten sensitivity
- poorly tolerated routine vaccinations
- chronic stress
- traumatic brain injury or concussion
- C section birth (baby misses exposure to helpful vaginal flora)
- mom treated with antibiotics in pregnancy or at delivery for any reason
- mastitis (mom needs antibiotics while breastfeeding)
- radiation therapy
- being underweight especially if you’re a baby, child, or teen
Most kids have had at least one of the items on this list. But that last one is key. In itself, underweight can cause intestinal permeability especially in children. You can address all the other triggers, but if your child is underweight – that is, more than fifteen percentile points off his or her expected pattern – your child’s gut can remain “leaky”. There simply isn’t enough raw material and energy on board for that tissue to repair itself, while your child is also trying to grow.
Here’s the rub: Generally, nobody scrutinizes your child’s growth pattern that closely (I will be honest and tell you that I even see gastroenterology work ups overlook this level of detail – and I routinely read my patients’ reports from their GI specialists nationwide). Without defining your child’s actual expected growth pattern – that is, where your child should be today given parental stature, pregnancy history, birth/delivery history, and growth history since birth – then you don’t know if your child is underweight or undernourished. You can learn more about that here.
I meet many children who are underweight. Sometimes it’s caused by families placing kids on diets that are too restrictive. Or some families have become so traumatized by frightening reactions to foods that they just don’t know how or what to feed their children – so, they don’t. Sometimes it’s caused by a well meaning practitioner who didn’t monitor growth and food intake, because they’re focused on lab tests and supplements instead, gave no guidance on what to actually eat, and encouraged a restrictive diet without effective replacements for foods taken out. I have also seen underweight caused by reflux medicines, which can diminish appetite and digestion when used for more than a few weeks or months. When it comes to picky eating, this too will drive growth status down in kids, injuring the gut too via underweight and poor diet.
The flip side of this coin is assessing what your child eats – how much and what – and the only way to discover if your child eats enough non-triggering, nourishing food is to assess a food diary (part of every new patient intake I do), and then align it with the growth assessment. The food your child eats is the lumber that will be used to do the gut repair – so it has to be the right stuff, in the right amount. Supplements (including glutamine, which is a helpful amino acid but not an energy source), herbs, and probiotics don’t provide this raw building material. I meet a lot of kids who have been given a lot of supplements, lab tests, antifungals, special diets, and measures to repair leaky gut. But they’re still struggling – because this essential growth and feeding part gets lost in the shuffle. But put the right feeding plan with the right supplemental supports, and boom – now you’re talking!
Here’s What Works to Repair Leaky Gut In Kids
- Balance gut microbe environment with herbal or prescription agents to directly address fungal burden, Clostridia burden (even commensal strains can be problematic if they far outnumber other helpful strains), Strep or Klebsiella, parasites, protozoans, and whatever comes up on testing. Combine this with probiotic supplementation that matches your child’s stool studies. My preferred tools for assessing this are GI MAP and Doctors Data Stool Microbiology.
- Customize the special diet to your child. Skip dogmatic, one-size-fits-all approaches.
- Give enough protein! Kids may need anywhere from 1 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight per day depending on degree of growth impairment.
- Give the right protein; assess first which proteins are triggering with lab studies. Replace trigger proteins with equal or better value non-trigger protein sources, and keep them varied.
- Use free amino acids. Supplementing with amino acid mixes that give all 8 essential amino acids (and not just glutamine) has been a big bonus in my practice for kids who need deep gut repair. Formulas and powders are available. These give the gut direct access to building blocks for new tissue growth and repair. I use anywhere from 5 to 15 or even 30 grams daily of this protein source, depending on a child’s needs or status. Caveat: These won’t work well without an adequate total diet around them to support energy needs.
- Give enough total food including “clean” (non sugary) carbohydrates, which are crucial for growth in children (carbs preserve protein for structure and function, and keep it from being burned for energy) and ample healthy fats and oils. Kids can need 4-6x more calories per pound than adults, depending on age and growth status. Don’t feed them like little adults – give energy-dense, nutrient-rich food.
- Mastic gum, licorice root, zinc carnosine, glutathione, mineral-rich foods or products like Restore are just a tiny sliver of the thousands of products that can aid gut tissue repair. Work with a knowledgeable provider who has used these in children before. Using these tools is a routine part of my practice.
- Correct sleep pattern so your child can sleep deeply and wake rested. Sleep is when our organs are busy with repair and clean up. Hint: Children who are underfed tend to sleep poorly and wake more often.
- Minimize stress in your child’s world. Don’t discuss “leaky gut” with younger kids and don’t frame food or their bodies as problematic. Use positive language and emphasize the power to heal, which we all have.
- Give it time (like, months), be chill, and remember that your child’s body is a miraculous thing with its own innate drive to grow, repair, and heal.
And Now For The Leaky Gut Fails…
- Using rigid diet strategies for growing kids can be too restricting to support growth, gain, and gut repair. Yeast free diet, GAPS, ketogenic diet, AIP, SCD, Paleo, or Body Ecology all have merits (and devotees!), and I use components of all of them in my practice. But in themselves, none of these were created for use in children (except ketogenic diets for seizure control) and can fail when children are already struggling to gain or grow. If you’re not seeing good growth, gain, and progress in behavior or food reactions with one of these strategies within 2- 4 weeks, or if initial improvements lapse quickly, then it probably isn’t right for your child. Customize to your kid instead!
- Needing your child to like any of this, including taking supplements, having blood draws, or accepting different foods. You’re the adult. They’re not going to make it easy for you – that’s a given. Hint: Picky appetites can improve with addressing these three steps – don’t assume your child “won’t eat that”.
- Staying on reflux medicines for months at a time. These will work against your gut healing efforts by keeping pH in the stomach too weak to initiate good protein digestion. They will also cause your child to feel less hungry over time, to eat less, and to become more picky – thus leaving your child underfed and unreplenished for the task of gut repair. Learn more about the downside of reflux medicines here.
- Using glutamine, vitamins, minerals, or lots of supplements before you situate the right feeding strategy for your child. Feeding strategy means knowing what foods to use, how much and which sources of protein, fats, and carbs, and for how long, to support your child’s expected weight and height.
- Being aggressive with fermented foods, probiotics, or too much Saccharomyces boulardii. These can backfire if used for too long or at too high a dosage, and may even start to create their own dysbiosis or discomfort.
- Leaving fungal, parasite, SIBO or SIFO, or other dysbiosis untreated or under-treated. This can interrupt appetite, digestion, and stooling and keep tight junctions from sealing up.
- Giving up after 2-4 weeks. This is a restore and repair effort that may take months, depending on how long your child’s gut has been in the weeds.
Want help? This is a lot! Let me sort the best options for your child. Contact me today to set up a time to work with me remotely or in person. Or, peruse my options for books and on-line-course support.
When my baby is 2 and half months old, he some how catched viral infection, and for that wrong treatment was given by doctor who hiven him antibiotics through IV, for almost a week and after that orally, after which he developed cow milk protein allergy, and for that he again given antibiotics treating him for Bacillary disentry, and number of probiotics have also been given,
Presently he is 16 months old, wt- 9.7kg ht. 82cm. He is still on neocate, when we start solids (rice, banana, carrot puree) he become constipated, and pass very hard pellet like stools every second day, sometimes stool may contains mucus, probiotics reacts as it is also given in high doses.
Please guide us Judy, how we can restore his gut flora back, how he can have normal digestion, absorption and excretion,
Can we give the supplement restore which you have suggested in your article..
I really need your guidance
Your care team needs to treat the gut dysbiosis. This may be predominantly fungal, or both fungal and bacterial. Probiotics alone are not going to be effective. I have only one or two cases which did resolve on probiotics alone, but these used prescription strength Visbiome (900 billion CFU per dose) and this must be given to such a young child with medical supervision. Your little one may feel better if treated with medication for intestinal Candidiasis. To assess the status of the gut microbiome for beneficial flora as well as pathogens, fungal strains, viruses and more, use a GI MAP with Zonulin.
Hello, I’m so glad I found this sight. Can you suggest any supplement for a kids that are nice years old. There are so many out there with prebiotic, probiotic and butyrate supplements that I’m not sure which ones work.
At any age, it’s impossible to make a recommendation for a supplement for a child I haven’t assessed. What works varies from kid to kid, for various conditions, and various goals. If you’re looking for an overall, safe and generally well tolerated probiotic for a school age child who likes chewables, check out my Kids Gut Health Superstars by logging in to my online dispensary here. Those are my top picks!
Thank you for this insightful article! My almost 5 year old son has daily bouts of diarrhea and tummy issues. We tried switching off of dairy and it still wasn’t helping. We ended up doing a food sensitivity test that used hair samples, just to see if it was something else (test did state it was not intended for children, but I did it anyway) and dairy, gluten, soy, corn, garlic, tomato, cashews, pork and salmon all came back as “highly reactive” for a sensitivity. We cut all those foods out (doing lots of eggs, fruits and veggies, homemade items, etc) and are going on week 3- he hasn’t had a single loose stool since. I’ve also noticed a huge increase in his appetite, which I’m taking as a great sign that his tummy is feeling much better.
We don’t plan on this being a forever diet, but I’m not quite sure how to go about the reintroduction… my plan is to try one and wait 3 days, then try another, repeat. I’d love any help there.
Good for you for looking for answers for your son. You’re right to test which foods can come back in, one at a time. I love hearing that his appetite improved immediately. This is a good sign your’e on the right track and that he can feel good and thrive.
Great write up, thank you! After several bouts of severe vomiting and several food reactions, my 17 month old had an IgG done and almost everything came back high. The only low food were all meats, seafood, apples, strawberries, mushrooms, and candida. Her ND wants us both to do an 8 week elimination of all foods with high sensitivity (she’s still nursing), along with supplements. I’m worried that cutting so many food options will lead to weight loss or stagnation, especially after reading how important you say clean carb sources are. She’s fallen from 40th percentile to 5th for weight from 6mo to 15 mo visits. No antibiotics, no vaxs, vaginal birth, EBF. We eat 95% organic. She’s such a happy baby and is hitting all developmental milestones. Are we on the right track or going down the wrong road?
Sorry to say, 17 months is too young for a reliable test result on IgG food antibody testing. The immune system is too immature, and these can report as false positives at this age. And, your little one was breastfeeding – which means that there is no way to know whose immunoglobulin is whose. This is in my opinion a meaningless test result in this case. I would not support the elimination strategy you describe, especially with the precipitous weight loss you mention. I’d suggest a stool study to get more info, and move toward a low FODMAPs diet for starters for most comfortably digested foods. If a food showed very high on this test, and shows obvious distress when eaten, then consider a temporary avoidance. Otherwise, let your daughter eat what is comfortable.
You are a real-life angel! Very informative article. My five year old daughter has autism, she had words and then regressed soon after vaccines. We know she has leaky gut and have been seeing gains with anti-fungal meds and glutathione; but pretty certain it’s the diet (try to be gf/cf as much as possible, ONLY things she’ll eat: bacon, chix thighs, nuggets, fries, blueberries, mandarins, green grapes, potato chips, and waffles).
She won’t try smoothies, or other foods, the few times we’ve added ‘the good stuff’ to her plate she just avoids altogether and we usually just give in to her staple foods be we tell ourselves “she’s gotta eat something”. Do you think a child that’s hungry enough will eventually eat the food that’s offered to them? Are we giving up too soon?
Peace and blessings
If your daughter has responded well to reduced gluten and casein, and if she has indeed had leaky gut features, then your issue may be that she continues to get some opioid peptides from the occasional wheat or dairy. These are potently addictive and can hang up progress for expanding into other foods even if only eaten very occasionally. Read here for more info. Meanwhile make sure she is replenished for zinc and iron, and does not have a stomach microbe called Helicobacter pylori – this can engender picky eating too.
My daughter had a GI Map and she still has high Helicobacter Pylori. She is not a picky eater though, eats lots of good foods. How can you get rid of this without antibiotics, and is this the cause of the leaky gut? Her secretions were also high as well as her Zonulin. These were both higher on the second test, even after we got rid of the E-coli that was found on the first test.
Antibiotic treatment for Helicobacter pylori – aka “triple therapy” – involves using two antibiotics with a reflux medicine. It’s common for this to not work terribly well. Antibiotic resistance is one factor, making relapse more likely. Eventually this can engender leaky gut because once the stomach is buffered enough to allow Helicobacter pylori to get established, this means digestion is reduced also, and that other unsupportive microbes can settle in to the small intestine (where they aren’t supposed to be). These can add to the toxic, inflammatory burden and gradually injure gut tissue. In my practice I generally don’t like seeing a persistent H pylori finding. It means the stomach isn’t acid enough to kill it (which it should); it also isn’t acid enough to trigger good digestion, and from there dysbiosis can ensue. For kids who swallow capsules I often use a product called Pyloricil, which you can find in my FullScript platform here. For kids who can’t, the individual components of Pyloricil can be had in powders or liquids (mastic, zinc carnosine, berberine).
My daughter is 11 and suffers from constipation and episodes of loose stools. Also frequent tummy pain.
She now has acid reflux as well as asthma and allergies. Eczema in the past too. Drs just push topical steroids, allergy and reflux meds but I’m weary of her being on them long term. Unfortunately doesn’t look like you have any openings in the foreseeable future. Any suggestions how I can help her in the meantime? Especially for the reflux and tummy issues?
Sounds like a long road and it’s time for answers! I hope to have more DIY resources up for parents before long, but in the meantime, you might tap an appointment with a naturopathic doctor (ND). They are trained in using non-prescription tools like foods, supplements, herbs, and homeopathics. Check this site to find one in your area.
Great article! You now have me questioning the treatment plan my sons naturopathic doctor has him on, though. He’s been coughing up discolored mucous for a while and so far the previous protocols he’s been on haven’t worked, so he ran the GI-Map test and it showed he has elevated numbers for a few bacteria’s (Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus spp.) and zonulin marker was high. He said he has a leaky gut and is trying to rid his body of the bacterial infection, so he put him on a supplement called Biocidin, Amy Meyers Gut Revive, NAC, MegaSpore Biotic and a good kids multivitamin. He also has him on a whole foods diet. NO grains, or sugars. He eats a lot of avocados, raw nuts (e.g. he loves cashews and almonds), low glycemic fruits and clean, grass-fed meats. Now you have me wondering though if he’s getting enough calories. Would you normally put an 8 year old boy on this diet given the information I provided?
Short answer: Probably not. But, the key is how is your son doing? Is he feeling good, gaining, growing, playing, sleeping, generally well?
I only use an elimination diet when I have proof – via lab tests or history of very compelling symptoms after eating a food – that a food really has to go. And I don’t tell families to start using lots of foods that may be triggering (especially nuts), without establishing first, that the foods are indeed not triggering.
Here’s what I’d question in the protocol you’ve got: Lots of nuts – these are high oxalate foods, and in a leaky gut situation (zonulin was 180 or higher?), then that may not be a win. This may be more irritation to an already leaky gut. Also, it’s possible to create reactions to nuts when you start using them daily, in the context of a leaky gut scenario. I have seen this happen with GAPS diet users a number of times. A clue that this isn’t working would be irritable stools persisting, belly aches, allergic shiners, or cranky behavior.
Next, grains can be perfectly ok for many kids. While I most often remove gluten and wheat for various reasons, other grains – especially sprouted grains – can be big helpers to restore diversity in the biome. Top picks there would be gluten free oats or buckwheat. A handful of children I work with have severe conditions like ulcerative colitis, eosinophilic esophagitis, and Crohns disease. Those are cases where we are looking at removing all grains, and usually, only for a period to allow recovery. And though zero sugar is of course what we should all be doing, in my opinion, it’s not reasonable to expect this of children. I have seen it create anxiety that is damaging in itself to a child’s psyche. Sugary treats and occasions happen, and kids should not be worrying about it, period. As long as they generally eat whole healthy foods most the time, and as long as these don’t cause pain or other intolerable consequences, then these are fine.
Lastly high Staph aureus and high Strep species are on nearly every GI MAP I run. Biocidin would’t be my first choice for this finding, and I may not address it at all, depending on what else the report showed. Those two microbes alone generally do not drive zonulin up in my experience, so I’d be looking past that to see what other inflammatory triggers may be afoot. And – yes, I’d keep the healthy starches and carbs on board.
Hi Judy – Thank you for your reply.
Zonulin was 180.2
Staphylococcus aureus 1.71e3 (High ↑)
Streptococcus spp. 1.94e3 (High ↑)
Nothing else was alarming. There’s room for improvement on his gut bacteria, but according to the naturopathic doctor we are now using, “it’s not that bad considering he just got off of being on antibiotics”. For the first time in his life, he was antibiotics trying to get rid of this since nothing natural has worked. Still no luck, so now we’re trying to rebalance his gut in addition to ridding his body of this infection.
He coughs up discolored mucous every morning, which clearly is not normal. We have tried every natural treatment under the sun. This is our third naturopathic doctor we’ve seen trying to get rid of this, still with no luck.
We generally eat a very clean diet. Mostly organic, lots of fresh fruits and veggies. He’s never had any sodas or fast food. Minimal sugar. He’s never had any vaccines. He’s been acting normal. No visible signs (other than the mucous) that anything is going on internally. I will say though that since being on this current protocol, the mucous has went way down and isn’t as dark in color. I notice the color change/darken when he eats starchy/sugary foods.
Have you had much experience in dealing with cases like this?
This is a great read. My now 22month old has had digestive issues since birth, I have used many functional doctors, homeopaths etc. The biggest issue for us is his behaviour, constant whinging, not sleeping, erratic, hates affection, being touched, changed etc. He is ahead of milestones for his age which is great but i suspect his digestion is way off he has gut dysbiosis including klebsiella. e coli, enterobacter etc and low levels of bifido. Goat colostrum helped initially but no longer helping. He eats soaked oats for breakfast, green apple, lamb,salmon. broccoli and zuccini. Anything else I add in will hurt him or make him fussier and sleep less. Do you have advice or availability?
Before looking at his gut profile, look at his growth pattern. Features you describe for behavior, sleep, whining, and erratic demeanor can stem from a marginal total diet in a toddler. His growth pattern will tell this tale, as mentioned in the post. If you haven’t already, do take a look at this post to get a feel for whether or not your child simply needs more to eat, in order to function better. If he is growing like gang busters, check his iron status – in detail, beyond just a heel stick for hemoglobin. If it’s weak, not only will his immune system sputter, his brain will too, as this nutrient is critical for focus, learning, sleep, and attention. Learn more about that here. Lastly, if colostrum seemed helpful at first, this implies some dysbiosis or background infection may indeed be in play. If you’ve followed the usual shot schedule, this may be the culprit, as these potent immune stimulants are given so fast and furiously to babies or toddlers that some can’t keep up and disintegrate into lower functioning. Discuss pausing further routine shots with your doctor until you get it sorted out, in order to avoid adding even more inflammatory challenge to this conundrum.
Hello, Our 3yr is in the process of being diagnosed with Abdominal Migraines (Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome). I’m only just in the beginning stages of research but I keep seeing “thin mucosal lining” pop up. He was hospitalized and on Tylenol and Motrin for 3 days straight when he was just 6 weeks old. I do feel this is a direct result of his care at that time. What would you suggest be the first thing I do/explore?
Supplements? Dietary? Scratching my head here. Also in the process of finding an FM here in VA
Lots to unpack here.
What triggered the hospital stay at 6 weeks?
Why pain killers and fever reducers?
Was there a high fever?
Did this follow a “well baby” visit at four weeks? If so this is suspect for poor tolerance of hepatitis B shot, which is routinely given at that first check after birth, at age 4-6 weeks. If poorly tolerated, this dose can trigger slow emergence of rolling fever, malaise, vomiting, copious mucousy stool (as the protective mucus layer of the intestine responds in trying to shed a perceived pathogen), excessive crying, and other symptoms.
This outcome may relate to genetics for methylation. Babies are not screened for methylation status. In order to do no harm, the US shot schedule for babies and kids assumes that everyone has robust genetics for methylation, or at least, that it doesn’t matter. But not everyone has this status. Mutations in methylation genes are common. About a quarter to a third of people carry them, to varying degrees. Methylation is a crucial biochemical step in detoxification, histamine and allergy responses, mitochondrial function, and much more. A baby with mutations along methylation genes is more likely to poorly tolerate shots.
Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome officially has no cause, but may be related to doses of shots your baby is getting. You can get your baby’s methylation status checked with this routine lab test which your doctor can order.
Also consider antibiotic exposures, either those your baby needed directly or any you received while pregnant or at delivery. These can shift the baby’s gut biome away from protective and beneficial strains. Without these, babies will have more difficulty with digestion and absorption, especially in the first weeks.
Getting your baby’s microbiome back on track is likely going to be a help here, and that may require some footwork on identifying its status. See my reply to Dr Ena Gupta here for details.
Meanwhile medications like tylenol will deplete detoxification even more – see this post on safer alternatives you can consider in case you need them in the future.
Im wondering in the case of EBF babies who have food sensitivities, if actually the issue is in the mothers gut, and she is the one leaking. Is this possible? Because no matter which food I cut out my baby keeps struggling.
Hi Marina! Yes mom’s microbiome will influence what baby receives. If mom or dad has experienced adverse effects from vaccinations themselves, from glyphosate, pesticides, or other toxins, this will influence nutrigenomics that can in turn affect the baby.
Hi there! My 2.5 year old has alopecia totalis, triggered by what I think was a combo of 12 month vaccines, COVID, and being on antibiotics all within 2 months (yikes). We’ve been seeing a FM, have done lots of studies, have taken out corn, dairy, nuts, gluten and soy. She eats LOTS of food, sweet potatoes, eggs, chicken, rice, bacon, steak, broccoli, coconut yogurt (everything organic) etc but it’s still so hard for her to put on weight and I feel it may be impeding her gut healing and hair growth. Do you have any other suggestions for foods? She takes a good amount of supplements like glutathione, collagen, multivitamins, omegas, iron. No probiotics as of yet
Hi Andrea, your little girl needs more starches and carbohydrates in her diet. This will help her put weight on. She needs to switch her macros around! High fat, high protein, low carb diets can stunt growth and slow gain in toddlers. The only starches you mention here are rice, sweet potato, and broccoli. This is a common mistake in the functional medicine community – see here for more detail. Give at least half of her food daily as a hefty starch, like congee, butternut, pumpkin, lentil dahl or lentil pasta, any well tolerated grain, buckwheat pancakes, fruit, or baked treats made with honey. These will help feed a functional supportive microbiome for her also. Browse my recipes here – all are GF and soy free, most are CF, nut free and sugar free too.
I try to make a lot of these healthy foods for my kids (ages 6 and 10) and they either don’t like or won’t try them. Any tips? Thank you!
Keep calm and carry on…. It’s typical for kids to reject a new food 15-20 times when it is first presented. This is more common in younger kids versus kids who are older (say age 10), but it can still take a few exposures before something new might click. Be sure to leave your need for them to accept or like a new food out of the mix – go poker faced. If your kids are extremely picky and fond of most starchy or dairy food, take a look at this blog for more info.
What an excellent article.
My 4 year old daughter has been getting viral induced asthma (24-48 hours of asthma every time she gets a cold which is typically every month or two) for the last 1.5 years. We have been treating it with over the counter albuterol. Prior to the first time this happened she had worms which we treated with Combantrin (after trying a natural treatment which didn’t work) and I’m wondering if this treatment has somehow caused the asthmatic reaction she now has to viruses. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions? No vaccinations.
On a separate note, I’m interested in your carb comment in the article. I tend not to give the kids too many simple carbs. I’m not particularly strict about it and they eat plenty of pasta, etc, when we are out but at home I tend to opt for buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, etc. Do you think they should be having simple carbs more often?
Thanks so much.
I have never heard of an asthmatic reaction to a medication for parasites, and I imagine you’ve asked your doc the same question! I would suggest more investigating into other causes for background inflammation with food antibody testing and stool studies. As for carbs, the sources you use sound great. Congee, potato, tigernut flour, and starchy vegetables like green beans or butternut also give helpful starch calories and prebiotic fiber. As long as your kids’ growth patterns are on track then all good.
Could letting my 3 year old try homemade sauerkraut a few too many times (like letting her have her own serving along side myself) cause sudden gut dysbiosis? She never had any food related symptoms ever in her life and then about one month after trying sauerkraut with me a few times, she’s adventurous eater, she gets almost like a histamine reaction to many foods now and the first one it happened with was sauerkraut. She got a red rash on her chin and now with many foods (I cannot yet find a reliable pattern) she continues to get this red facial rash. It’s not food allergies we just did a skin test panel. I have to get get to a GI, but I can’t help feel like I caused this bc o let her try to kraut too fast and too many times.
I don’t want to believe she is “broken” and needs an extreme diet to fix and i don’t wanna hastily choose the allopathic route. I need a perspective on this bc that is how it all started. Innocently eating a few tablespoons of kraut with mommy spread out over a few weeks time 🙁
You’ve hit the nail on the head – yes, fermented foods are histamine promoters and it sounds like she is having too much sauerkraut. Not to worry. Simply top the ‘kraut for a few weeks – no need to explain or mention this to your daughter at all – let her own body break down and clear the excess histamine. Helpful supplements are D-Hist Junior chewables and histamine degrading probiotics like Allergy Research Group Lactobacillus (3 strain blend).
Is there a probiotic you recommend that is in a form children can chew or mix in their drink? Not a pill.
Yes! Young kids can use high potency powders or chewables – like this one. If you prefer not to buy from amazon you can set up your own access to my supplement dispensary here and browse for any product. Once there you can also click on my Gut Health Superstars protocol products and dosing details for children.
Hi there. I have a 10 year old daughter that has been suffering from leaky gut. Her pediatrician had run blood work and told us that is what she has since she has so many food allergies and sensitivities. He had recommended restore so we did this for 3 months or so and she was on a restrictive diet to help restore her gut. She then was referred to a GI doctor that I feel did nothing for us. She just had my daughter do a gluten challenge for a month and said that her labs came back normal. My daughter does have the gene for celiac disease, her pediatrician said that she is at the 6th so border line of celiac which he says she to be on a gluten free diet. My daughter was fine after the months after the treatment, but now she is starting to feel sick again, has joint pain and headaches. She is a picky eater to begin with and she is so thin. She does see a dietician but my daughter doesn’t gain any weight. I am worried because I feel like she still may have her leaky gut and the GI doctor did nothing for us. I did request for a second opinion and want to go with another GI doctor and I also have been doing a lot research. I want my daughter to thrive again. I hope you can give me some advice. Thank You
I wonder what labs the GI doctor ran? If they were reported as normal, there are a couple of caveats. One, if it was a celiac screening, this can be normal even when a gluten sensitivity is active enough to cause growth lapses and many other problems (joint pain, intermittent stomach aches, mixed irritable stools, anemia, headaches, mood and anxiety concerns – see this blog post for more information on gluten sensitivity). Two, if your doctor included a gluten sensitivity test (celiac panels often don’t), and the result fell above 10, this is suspect. Your doctor can correctly call this “normal” but in my clinical experience, the lab reference range is too permissive. It allows for a value up to 20 or 25 to be read as “normal”. Get a copy of the lab studies and obtain a second opinion. Lab values can look normal but symptoms can still persist, and if life is better changing diet in spite of a normal lab value, then change diet. Your dietitian should account for the lack of progress for growth or gain too. Ask for specific recipes and amounts of food that can help your daughter feel good, grow, and gain while fitting in to her diet restrictions. Meanwhile, Restore is a liquid mineral suspension supplement that can be helpful, but all by itself it isn’t likely to reverse leaky gut, especially in an underweight child.
I too have a 10 year old with similar symptoms. I’m a FNP I practice holistically I also have education from Nutrional Alliance. I’m saying all of this for you to know that I know a lot and am still struggling. I tried to get the 6 month package no dates to meet are available for 3 years (not sure this is correct) I could not even get a 60 minute initial meeting. I’m desperate to help my daughter actually daughters as it’s hot them both and been going on for 6 months but one just gets hives the other is in pain. Their symptoms were relieved by brainchild products but for only 2 months and now symptoms are back with a vengeance. I’ve tried restore amino acids L-glutamine etc. maybe I’m not giving each product enough time ??? I badly need a plan my children feel so left out at birthday parties and just everyday life. Food is Satan to me and to them it’s so sad.
Hi Rebecca, I’m no longer booking new clients and this is why the calendar is blocked out for so long – I’m sorry I can’t help your daughters in one on one sessions just now, but I hope you will stay tuned for new offerings and services when they become available by following me on FB here and IG here. From what you mention there is clearly immune overstimulation and dysregulation so using the tools you’ve got on hand, focus on calming inflammation and detoxifying. If you’re not familiar with non-drug tools to reduce inflammation click here (it will prompt you to sign up for FullScript to access my allergy helpers protocol).
Hi Judy, my daughter (almost 11m) has been having regular diarhea (at least once a month for the last 3 months for around a week each). She goes to daycare so we assume it’s viral most of the time. The last two times we give her 250mg Saccharomyces boulardii for 5 days and seems to help. Reading your note above on being too aggressive with it, i got a bit worried. Do you mind elaborating what is considered too much?
Hmm even if this is viral, what you describe sounds to me like excessive excursions into a disrupted stool pattern. It at least indicates a struggling gut microbiome. Contrary to current mythology, infants and toddlers don’t have diarrhea and sickness every few weeks, unless something is awry. In other words, this is common, but not normal (I part company with most pediatricians on this). You’re on the right track with S boulardii, but I don’t advise using it more than 2-3 weeks. Once done with it, follow it with an infant probiotic like Seeking Health ProBiotia Infant Powder or Klaire Labs Infant Therbiotic and use that longer term, eg six months.
My baby is one year old and we just got out stool results: high zonulin and sIgA values with E. coli overgrowth and other malnutrition parameters. The baby has atopic dermatitis which is actually almost always a reaction to something she eats – she has both food allergies (diary, peanuts, peas, nectarine) and food sensitivies (cow meat). Unfortunately we have not therefore inteoduced a lot of things to eat for her. Right now she is eating only a couple of selected vegetables and fruits and meat and I am worried that she will be undernourished. Is there a way you can help?
You need clinical oversight, guidance and deeper assessment for nutrition. Who ran the stool study, are they a support you can reach out to? Is this a provider versed in working with infants and toddlers on nutrition and gut health supports? If not, reach out for one who is. Meanwhile, SIgA may change with status for breastfeeding; I’m not certain we have good reference ranges yet for this age group for zonulin, so if this is a GI MAP stool study, the remaining details on it would direct intervention. Keep in mind that rashes with food are not necessarily only about the food, but may also be about interaction between biome members (microbes) and foods they are eating in the gut. You’ll need a well rounded plan to identify which foods really need omission, which ones are keepers, clarity on maintaining growth pattern, and measures to balance that biome while reducing inflammation. I no longer work with clients individually, but have created support for families in my Nutrition Cafe. Once you are a member you can view all the archived zoom chat sessions as well as join them when we are live. These are live group chats with me in a HIPAA secure format, with ongoing secure chat included so families can continue the conversation between sessions. We’ve already had a few sessions on this age group and concerns for food reactions and gut biome, have a look – you will have to join to see the sessions, this is a monthly subscription.
My son never had mucousy poop. But after antibiotics course, he had bad mucousy poop for 15 days and dr said it seems like colitis. We gave him probiotics and he improved. This happened in July , now in September he was doing pretty well with no mucousy poops, I introduced him to mandarins and he loved it! Had a few and next time he pooped it was acidic and jelly like mucous! I’m so stressed and concerned as what to do…
Circle back with your pediatrician. There may be lingering fungal species after antibiotics (which encourage fungal species) or there may have been a shift in gut biome for unsupportive bacteria species. Probiotics are helpful but often not enough to right the course. In that case your doctor might prescribe an antifungal drug called Nystatin to put things back together. If you’re vaccinating too, all bets are off – I have observed the shot schedule to trigger mucus, eczema and many other problems that linger for months or even years.
My daughter is 10 years old. She has chronic constipation itchy skin with no rash and doesn’t seem to be growing. What protein supplement do you recommend to help with growth?
Hi Sherry, this scenario is suspect for intestinal Candida burden, which will create itchy skin with little to no rash, large hard stool, and weak appetite. A protein supplement might be great but by itself it isn’t likely to solve the problems mentioned here. This needs a nutrition troubleshoot with a food diary, growth assessment, and medical history for me to fix – my calendar is open here, or join my Nutrition Cafe any time for twice/month live zoom chat for Q/A with me. We have rotating topics on the regular, and sessions are archived if you can’t join live. All that said, if you really only can manage a protein powder for now, I’d suggest using a bone broth collagen option like this one – it is least likely to be allergenic, and can mix with anything for a power shake.
Hi Judy, your approach is so thorough, so often I find the whole picture is missed a d wack-a-mole is the process. My daughter is 3, suffered many ear infections /me with mastitis antibiotic use when born-1.5yo finally resulting in tubes. She now is a picky eater only eating beef Jerskey and hot dogs Asher meat then Macncheese and crackery things and some fruit, yogurt tubes and carrots. AND CRAVES SWEETS ALL DAY LONG. She has wax build up in her ears, her dad has a yeast allergy. What tests can I get her, what type of dr can I reach out to?
I have openings in the calendar now Cassie, feel free to pop in and schedule from here. This sounds like entrenched intestinal Candidiasis at first glance.
Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge! My son has been fighting eczema for most of his life and we think we’re finally turning a page with repairing his gut. He is 19 months old. Do you have a recommendation for collagen peptides? We are incorporating bone broth into his diet where we can but was curious what else we can be adding to help his gut and his skin heal. (His itch/scratch cycle is so vicious.)
Making sure gut biome is shaping up is important. Helpful foods are flax meal, lentils (dahl or pasta), blueberries, kiwi, chia seed (like this pudding recipe here), tiger nut flour (try these cookies), asparagus, cauliflower or broccoli, gluten free oats – all can help set up terrain for helpful microbes to take root. Bone broth collagen peptides are a good idea too, and I like the Vital Proteins line for one. Congee is also a hydrating and nourishing food to keep in rotation too.
We are a family from the uk and interested in working with you to try and help our 5year old son who has multiple allergies.
We would be very grateful if you could let us know if this will be possible and if not perhaps you would be happy to recommend someone else
Hello Jenny, I apologize for the prolonged delay in getting back to your question. Please stay tuned for upcoming options on working with me, by signing up for my newsletter here, and following along on FB here. New options coming soon!
Hi Judy, my 14 yr old son is being treated for candida. He has done an OAT test that revealed low serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine. He’s already taken paragard, probiotics and is now on several liver cleansing herbals. He’s always been shy. He has always had some manageable anxiety around school and new social situations He has just started high school. We moved into a new school zone and is no longer around any of his friends. He has suffered more panic and anxiety with stomach aches than he has ever experienced before. Do you feel the low serotonin and neurotransmitters could be contributing to more severe anxiety? Is been about 3 months since we started the candida protocol.
Oh my goodness, these are challenging transitions for any 14 year old even in the best of circumstances. I’m assuming you are referring to this Para-Gard product for his antifungal treatment. If you have not seen clear shifts in symptoms then he may need a rotation of a different antifungal or may need other facets of gut dysbiosis or nutrition features supported, in order to further improve. Meanwhile yes – low serotonin and other neurotransmitters will align with anxiety, and support would be useful here most likely, but without details, food diary, growth history and more, I couldn’t say if simply dosing something like 5-htp to the test will work (it often doesn’t, especially for children / teens). He has considerable circumstantial triggers for anxiety in a new school without usual friends or routines, so even with some nutritional or other biochemical support, a strategy to build in and schedule fun breaks, space for relaxation and joy, or talk therapy might be next steps too.
I am reading your page for hours now, thanks so much for this very enlightening website. I tried to book an appointment (from turkey) with no luck.
My now 24 months old son has leaky gut, I think.. And allergic to almost everything. (Not an ige mediated allergy, doesn’t come up on blood tests anyway) He has gut issues since his 2 month vaccination. I stopped vaccinating him after that but too little too late I guess. Mucusy stool when younger, now mostly vinegar like smelly stool, colic like crying when younger, excessive vomiting (ended after I started a very restrictive diet at month 5, with no animal product, nothing red, no nuts etc.) growth problems, (still 10 kg and 83 cm at 24 month) mild itching, and non stop diaper rash (still there and gets a bit better or worse depending on what he eats)
These are/were the symptoms. He reacts to everything. Is this even possible? I am losing my mind here and the gi docs are not helpful at all other than doing an endoscopy and finding out his duodenum is inflamated and his alpha 1 antitrypsyn levels are so high that he has protein losing entheropathy. They have no treatment suggestions at all.
Celiac tests came back negative and I believe rice and flour are the only things he doesn’t react to. So it’s not that. When he eats milk/animal products or beans, oranges, nuts, or even broccoli, he is mostly fine during the day and happy but at night he has very bad reflux and beggs for anti acid syrup. If he eats rice and pasta only, he is fine. I don’t know what to do. I read everything I can found online and suspect that he might have some eosinophilic disorder in his gut, or some kinda mast cell activation disorder. But when I mention this to his gi or allergist, they just laugh at me. Please help. Please.
First off Beyza, I apologize this comment slipped my notice until now. I hope that your team has found some solutions for your boy. For advanced inflammation in the gut such as was seen for your son, this is when strong medications are not a bad thing. The fire has to be put out before restorative tools can do their job, and drugs like ketotifen, cromolyn sulfate, or even steroids can help in the short term to calm things down. And if he has protein losing enteropathy, the cause should be found – this can come transiently as a result of vaccinations, or from a viral exposure or infection, or from protracted underweight and failure to thrive. Beans, oranges, nuts and broccoli are challenging foods for a developing gut to digest in the context of inflammation or dysbiosis. Your son may need an elemental formula to progress. If you have still not found help, you can book in to my calendar as a Catalyst client – for cases of this nature, this is the best way for me to help.
Hi, I first want to say thank you. What you do, the information you share is needed and appreciated. I’m doing some research because I noticed that my 13 month old is displaying some behavior that could actually be a clue to an underlying issue. He was full term born via csection for breech position. I didn’t have any medical diagnoses or problems during pregnancy. I ate as I usually would. No vaccinations while I was pregnant and he hasn’t had any since birth. He was breastfed and formula fed. First with the hospitals formula enfamil ready to feed because my milk didn’t come in and he cried for food. then I switched to HIPP Dutch formula. He had some stomach discomfort which seem to regulate after two weeks of me exclusively breastfeeding. I then gave him mainly bottles in the day and breast at night. He stopped taking the breast milk at about 6 months. I also began to introduce baby cereal earths best organic rice, then oatmeal and multigrain. Then added squash, apples, pear and banana baby food. Then he began to eat fruit, yogurt, avocado. He stoped wanting to eat and cried for bottles only. he refuses most food. Pasta, rice and beans are the only foods he wants. He also used to sit and touch and eat his food but doesn’t anymore. I am the only one he makes much eye contact with and that has decreased. He doesn’t like much interaction with others. He went from the baby that smiled all the time with anyone to not smiling and little to no eye contact. I feel like he is a bit attached to a cartoon because he is cranky when I refuse to turn on the tv. Oh also when he was around 2 months he had what looked like bad eczema/ dry skin. It cleared with being consistent with oil followed by baby eczema cream and I feel our issue may be rooted in food/ gut health. So far I’ve read stuff pointing to food sensitivity and autism. I want to be empowered and take action instead of fearful, guilty, and hopeless. What approach do you suggest I start with? Thank you so much.
I would be sure to tell your pediatrician all these details and ask for referral to GI doctor. You don’t mention if your baby’s growth pattern has changed, but I suspect it may have, given what you are describing. Your baby sounds uncomfortable and the source of this should be identified with appropriate work up, so you aren’t guessing and worrying. If you have a good naturopathic doctor in your area (ND), this may be a good resource too. Otherwise stay tuned on my website and Facebook page for updates on resources I will be creating for parents to use on their own.
Great article and great comments afterwards. My question is, our two year old reacts to all protein. (Gut reactions) We want to do a igg test but he is breastfeeding. Does that mean we can’t get reliable results? Thanks
While breastfeeding or no, before 18-24 months of age, a child is IMO too young for reliable IgG food antibody testing.
Hoping you have experience with newborns! In the hospital, my baby cried non stop so they said he might need more than the colustrum I could get out (he never latched so I pumped and a minimal amount came out). So we supplemented with a dairy based formula in addition to my colustrum. My milk came in and we gave both breastmilk and formula just to keep him full….so we thought. He cried and cried and I thought it was hunger. Anyhow, he developed blood in his poop and a horrible diaper diaper rash. The dr’s said it was likely a milk intolerance and to give him formula while I cleared out my system with an elimination diet. He was on several different formulas with no change in his “colic”. We tried all the HA formulas while I eliminated dairy (never ate it to begin with), wheat, gluten, soy, eggs and nuts. We reintroduced my breastmilk two weeks later and he seemed almost worse with the same continued blood in his stools. So the drs advised against using my breastmilk. We then switched to a corn free formula (Alimentrum Ready to Feed) and his colic was not as bad. He still has blood in his stools and is still fussy. He is 3 months old and not gaining weight, 3rd percentile, and was a smaller baby (I was diagnosed with IUGR). At 3 months, I am noticing he seems a little delayed and is showing signs of autism by not making eye contact and never smiling. I am worried he has leaky gut from all the different formulas and I’m worried the current formula is still creating an inflammatory response. I do not know what to feed him and our GI drs seem to think he will outgrow the “colic”. How do you think we can heal his stomach? Is there a type of formula that you would recommend? I am trying to bring back my milk supply as now I feel like breastmilk is better than any synthetic substitute. I am at a loss of what to do or where to go to help him, but I am also worried that my bm may inflame his sensitive stomach and exacerbate the issues. Please advise!
This is a tough start for both of you! The missing piece here is biome. Did you get vaccinated while pregnant (flu and DTaP shots are the norm now for pregnant women), or need antibiotics at delivery or while pregnant? Any history of repeat infections for you (UTIs, yeast infections, frequent colds), prior to this pregnancy? Have you needed antibiotics since your baby was born, or has he? Are you vaccinating him per usual schedule? All of these will wreak havoc with gut biome and immune function at this tender age, and in and of themselves, can cause these symptoms (your doctors will disagree, of course – if they felt differently they would advise a more cautious approach with shots and antibiotics). Once the gut biome is disrupted then you will see problems like milk protein intolerance, blood in stools, poor growth and gain, and so forth. You do need the right feeding strategy, and you need to identify the path to settle his gut. I can’t give you an off the cuff formula recommendation here, deeper history is needed. Contact my assistant at 720-727-7105 to be placed on our calendar. BTW: We are not born with fully developed intestinal function; babies arrive with permeable gut and blood brain barriers. These develop with sound feeding and gut/immune interface evolution. Your baby can get there, but you need some troubleshooting to sort this out.
Would leaky gut have any correlation to not having a significant growth spurt. My daughter has been tested for celiac but test came back negative.
Yes it can – but a complete nutrition screening is in order if she is not growing well. Celiac screening, by the way, often does not check for gluten sensitivity. These are two different issues. Check this blog piece on gluten sensitivity versus celiac diagnosis for details.
Hello, do you know when you’ll be taking new patients? I am really interested in seeking your help in treating my daughter’s eczema and gut dysbiosis. She had very mild eczema with just discoloration but it is now progressing to further parts of her arms and has been red and ichy. I recently decided to take measures in removing gluten and common inflammatory foods. We started on a probiotic specific in treating eczema and skin issues but no luck, we now are onto a different probiotic and diet changes to prevent the spread of her eczema elsewhere. For the most part, my daughter is super healthy, rarely sick with colds/fever, and not vaccinated. I am now wondering if her eczema could be a fungal dysbiosis issue if the probiotics don’t help. I will also add that we had IgE tests taken for all the common food allergies and the only thing that came up was a moderate allergy to egg whites (exactly 0.7) would the egg white allergy be enough to cause all this inflammation and trigger this eczema response? (Through your posts, I am now learning that not all food allergies are found through IgE testing–so I’m willing to look into further testing with some guidance).
Hi Sam, I am hoping to expand availability in the coming months.
Have you seen any progress since last year? My son’s situation is very similar to yours and we’re not having any progress and our providers look at us like we’re nuts not understanding why the creams aren’t working.
My 7 month old is currently breastfed and has pretty bad eczema or maybe a skin fungal infection. (Drs automatically deferred to eczema and prescribed steroids and cephalexin – which made it all worse). He is pretty itchy and as we introduce solids every single thing flares it, esp around the mouth, so we can’t give him solids. All formulas cause the eczema to worsen, holle/goat milk/ pure amino /nature’s only pea protein. Probiotics seems to make it worse. I’ve eliminated everything from my diet and only eating organic chicken and vegetables at the moment but it only minorly helps. I may have a gut fungal infection myself as I have rashes that won’t subside after birth. I’m wondering if you’re able to help this type of situation? Anything/everything you can offer would be extremely appreciated! Thank you!
Hi Linda, yes this is a usual situation for my practice. Resolving the gut-immune interface and giving it a re-set is key. If you are following the usual shot schedule, this is a confounder too, and may trigger eczema outbreaks. Calming everything down is the goal. You’re likely on to something with the fungal piece, and I typically asses this with stool studies to sort how to proceed.
Hi, not sure if I should look into my 3 year old’s gut microbiome as he is a healthy active little boy but I often wonder if something is going on in his gut. He will sometimes have a milk when he wakes and then over an hour later not want any breakfast. He has some cavities that need fixing (we have not been good parents regarding dental hygiene I will admit) but the dentist said he was born with chalky teeth which can form in the womb. He had a couple of antibiotics when younger but couldn’t really remember if just 2 or 3 times over the 3 years. He has a good temperament (can lose it like any 3 year old can though). He has a huge belly but think this is normal but his poos are always on the softer side and goes daily. Not sure if it would help if I look into anything now about his gut or all just natural for a 3 year old!
Dental health depends on nutrition and immune function. If he was born with “chalky teeth” then that brings into question what his nutrition status was while he was in utero, and of course what yours was while pregnant. Not much attention is paid to this in our health care system today. Pregnant women are checked for things like iron or told to supplement folic acid, but not much more is monitored for nutrition in pregnancy. Regarding your son’s distended belly, it can signal a few things: He may have retained stool in his colon, and/or a lot of fungal or bacterial dysbiosis; and/or a poor diet for protein. All of these can be sorted out with professional nutrition assessment.
It was great reading this article, it has a lot of useful practical information that I can relate to. Our son is 8 years old, at 3 years old he was diagnosed a mild intellectual disability then, with a genetic related syndrome. He has extreme ADHD behaviour. He has always had a poop thats takes him like 30min to come out, its quite large and rough. His doctor keeps insisting that he does not chew his food well (Partly I can agree because he is always on the run). But for sure this is an indication of a leaky gut.
Three days ago I introduced him to an over the counter probiotic for kids and a ‘Nourish the liver & Remove toxins’ from BIORAY kids herbal drops, with the intention of healing his gut and removing toxins from his system. He has become very aggressive and angry and I am just wondering if this is going to work?
BioRay makes great products, but leaving parents to tinker with them on their own – I’m not a fan. Your son probably has some serious dysbiosis and weakened digestion if he is making large hard ball stools. BioRay products don’t correct dysbiosis but their ingredients can ease stooling somewhat with herbs that do things like relax or tonify colon muscle or increase digestive juices in the stomach or upper small intestine. For dysbiosis you may find you need direct eradication of certain microbes. This can require prescription drugs, or may be helped with antimicrobial herbs. If your son is showing worsening behavior that does not go away in a day or two, then this is not the formula for him.
I feel like crying after reading this because I think I finally found the answer to my son’s issues. At two he was diagnosed with ASD. Prior to that he was normally developing and met all of his milestones until he started having chronic ottis media. He was on a variety of antibiotics for numerous infections until bi lateral tubes were placed. I truly feel that all of the antibiotics, poor response to vaccinations, and anesthesia from the tubes did a number on him neurologically. He has constipation and our GI recommends Miralax daily! We limit gluten, as he did not test positive for a gluten allergy. We give him all – star nutrition probiotics and smarty pants multi vitamin with DHA-omega 3. We try hard to fill his tummy with a healthy diet, but after reading this I don’t feel like we are doing enough. Do you have any diet suggestions for a constipated/ASD three year old boy?
Gluten can be an issue even if an allergy test is negative, because allergy testing doesn’t show all the possible issues with gluten. Unfortunately your pediatrician and GI doc don’t subscribe to a more discerning view of this piece. If you would like suggestions, start with this book. It will give lots more pearls, details, and action steps!
What free amino acid mixes do you recommend? We dont eat dairy and the gluten, and my sons eczema is better but not completely gone….Wish you were taking new patients! Such a great article.
Remember your son needs both protein and lots of healthy nourishing total calories from fats and carbohydrates to heal up his gut. If I am needing a free amino acid support I often choose Thorne brand. Collagen peptides are also a good choice.
Hi Judy, thanks for this article. Which amino complex from the Thorne brand do you use please?
This one https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/amino-complex-lemon available in lemon or berry flavors.
Great article. I live in Toronto Canada and was wondering if you could recommend any pediatricians/GPs who are knowledgeable and well versed about leaky gut.
Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Sarah, I don’t know of resources like that in your area, but you might check into this resource for more functional-focused providers
Hi Judy! I’m reaching out from north of Boston, MA. I just listened to a 30 minute web video about leaky gut and digestive issues, etc. My son is 7 now and although he was born at 38 weeks, he had intrauterine growth restriction and was born at 4lbs 10oz. Through his life, he has been sick a lot, with a low-normal immune system. He has been on a LOT of antibiotics—they skip the amoxicillin for his ears now and skip straight to cefdinir…he has had tubes in his ears 3 times and had his tonsils out. He had low muscle tone and some other issues that resolved. He had some mild excema as a baby and has seasonal allergies. He was always underweight but between age 4 and 5 he gained 11 lbs and it seems the scale has just gone up from there. He’s short—15th percentile—but his weight is in the 75th(+) percentile making his BMI in the 98th percentile. He is always “hungry” and has very restless sleep. Over the last year or so, he started having BM accidents, without really knowing it. Mostly staining and smearing. We discovered in September, after an X-ray, that it was the result of “prolonged constipation.” He never complained of pain. He did a 3 day regimen on ex-lax and began a daily dose of Miralax (one capful a day). He seemed to become even more bloated and puffy and I don’t think it did any thing positive for his temperament. This “clean out” worked for a while. He even started staying dry at night, which has also been an ongoing issue. But within 8 weeks he started having BM accidents again and wetting at night. Eventually I opted to take him off the Miralax because it wasn’t helping and I didn’t like his temperament. We saw a GI doctor in February. She put him on a daily dose of exlax. His temperament isn’t any better. He still wets at night and has occasional BM accidents. She did the sitzmarker test and he seems to be passing most of the bowel though there is still bowel in the xray. We have a telehealth appointment on Wednesday. I want him off the exlax. He is a great eater…eats lots of fruits and veggies, drinks water, eats proteins. He was on iron supplements until age 4 but that has resolved. I just keep seeing the scale go up and his belly is bloated. I’m looking for a cause…he’s very active…but weight is hereditary too—his dad is 100 lbs overweight and though I’m fine now, I’m a lifetime weight watchers member! And we do NOT have height on our side. I’m frustrated. I don’t want to put him on a “diet.” Could it be leaky gut? Can we give him supplements to help his microbiome? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!
This is a mouthful! Your son likely has fungal dysbiosis, for starters. This has to be addressed pronto. It causes constipation, stool accidents, relentless food cravings, fast weight gain, and bedwetting. If he isn’t getting taller, then protein is inadequate either in his diet, for what’s absorbed, or both. Constipation is a sign of poor protein digestion. You also describe a disconnect on sensation for stooling. This implies exorphin peptides from his diet, which numb awareness of when to poop. For more answers, pick up this e book for a plan you can start with, or book a spot to work with me here.
Thank you so much! I will look into this! And if I don’t get answers I will book with you! I appreciate the response!
Hello my child is experiencing limited range of motion in wrists. Pending Rheumatology consult possible Juvenil Arthritis. Do you treat leaky gut for that condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis, being an autoimmune condition, can be ameliorated with nutrition investigation and support. This may include assessing and balancing gut microbiome, diet, foods that trigger inflammation, and more.
Hi Judy, Is it possible to stop tree nut allergies by correcting gut health? Our 11 year old son has battled airborne allergies for years. In addition – sinus, respiratory, ear infections and croupe. Now he has developed a severe Anaphylactic nut allergy. We’ve sensed his gut health was the issue for quite some time. What are your thoughts? I would appreciate any advice or feed back you can share. Thank you.
I have seen IgE allergies, as well as eczema, asthma, and inhaled allergen status, improve with nutrition intervention that includes gut health measures, corrections to diet that reduce inflammatory load from foods (including IgG reactive foods, not just IgE), and support with non-Rx anti-inflammatory or histamine reducers. All work and coordinating which ones to use when and how is what I do with families in my practice. If you’d like this type of help you can access my calendar from my website and schedule a spot to get started.
I so appreciate you sharing this information and actions steps to move forward. Thank you!if you have time, I’d be grateful for your perspective or starting point/next steps for us…
I came to this article because my daughter, 21 months, has been struggling with what seems to be swollen adenoids that worsen at night and obstruct her breathing. This has progressed over 8 months, I’d say. Given adenoids are an important first line of defense in the immune and lymphatic systems, I’m extremely hesitant to opt for removal.
Some back story. During my pregnancy with her I ate a lot vegetarian diet, very much focused on whole plant foods. The house we were renting and had her very quick home birth, had mold unfortunately, and lived there until she was 6 months old. She nor I have received any vaccinations or antibiotics during or after pregnancy. I did develop mastistis mediated by colloidal silver in the first weeks due to over supply. We breastfeed and started her on a primarily plant based diet when it came to beginning solids in baby led weaning fashion.
Fast forward to sometime after her 1st birthday, she’d have random wakings crying and upset, that in later weeks I would notice it was due to obstructed breathing.
I started taking her to a chiropractor and functional medicine doctor mainly for help with teething and sleep, who said her cranial sutures are jammed and left palate is lower than her right.
As her breathing issues worsened, she suggested a blood serum test for IgE and IgG, and comprehensive stool test (candida, parasites, mycotoxins, etc). She has a list of IgG sensitivities, no detected IgE allergies so we’ve eliminated those foods.
Some days I think she is improving, but other days, something triggers her as she really struggles.
It was suggested she may have leaky gut and a different practitioner who does muscle testing provided us with homeopathic remedies, a probiotic, and glutamine to see if we can make improvements while we wait for the results of her stool test.
Having eaten primarily plant based for 15 years, I have no idea how to approach nutrition for her in this delicate stage or what our next steps are. She is wakeful most nights and by early morning struggling with obstruction that improves as the day goes on.
Any suggestions? I’m feeling lost and helpless as mother and want her to be set up for optimal health.
If you have the time for pointers, I’d be ever so grateful.
Lots of moving parts to all this history, and I can’t address them for you here. Long short, if your daughter is waking at night, and not feeling great, then what is being done isn’t working for her indeed! She likely needs a different diet, and may do better with more animal protein, a finding I encounter often when I get to assess growth pattern and food intakes. There are many possibilities, based on what you’ve shared: She may have a growth impairment and calorie deficit and is hungry (even if she may not express this, this can be true); she may have poor iron status and/or weak ferritin status, secondary to diet low for iron, protein, and total calories (this makes sleep more difficult); or maybe she is using supplements that don’t work for her. Glutamine is one of my least favorite tools for children with leaky gut issues. If your child has lapsed at all off her expected growth pattern, you can give her all the glutamine you want but it won’t fix the problem. Underweight in children in itself will cause leaky gut and this is only repaired by making sure she is eating enough food daily, with the right foods for her needs, to replenish. For sure, lots of strong protein, fats and carbs are critical for kids to grow on. One other thought would be to assess if she has apnea (this can be done at home now with sleep study tools) and discover if supportive oxygen during sleep might be a game changer for her.
Hi Judy, great article. I have a 6 month old who was born with a twist in her bowel needing surgery on day 1. She had 15cm taken out and stitched back together. She recovered really well and is now to great but her bowel motions are not super consistent and never a solid poop. Would say watery diarrhoea but definitely goes all through the nappy every time. Weber. Pretty whole foods diet with Minsk dairy and gluten. She’s a good eater. But I just want to try and preempt any gut issues and what I can I help restore it.
15 cm isn’t a terribly long section of intestine to lose, and this should hopefully not be interfering with stooling at this point. If we were to work together I would request certain stool tests to assess what is driving the bus in there for her: Is there an overgrowth of a bacteria that is causing the liquid stool? Are her digestive enzymes working? Is there a yeast overgrowth? These are not usually assessed by mainstream GI physicians, and if they are, the criteria for what is healthy tends to be too weak and not very discerning. You will need functional stool studies that are more discerning to find out. I am no longer taking new families into my practice, but stay tuned with me on Facebook for updates, where I plan to be posting some click-to-learn materials for parents in this situation.
Hi Judy! My 3yo started having these weird episodes this summer. They are very gradual, starts with tongue pain/soreness on the sides of tongue, then days later tongue starts to swell and then days later airways including tonsils get really swollen. The first time it happened we ended in the PICU because he didn’t have any airway space to breathe. He was treated with antihistamines and steroids. Episode lasted about 10 days. Long story short he had another episode a month after that. Then 5 months like nothing happened he was doing great and now again he is having another episode but now it has been a month of mild tongue pain. Allergists said all tests came back negative and just have him on flonase and zyrtec 24/7. I definitely don’t know the triggers if it’s food, environmental allergies or what is could be. My pediatrician says to just treat it as an environmental allergy. I’m on my wits end and I’m not even sure what to ask for or what it could be? Thank you
Hi Veronica, you should have food allergens screened for both IgE and IgG antibody reactions. Your allergist will do the IgE reactions, and this hopefully was comprehensive, at least 25 foods. IgG food reactions require a different test that most allergists don’t do and many doctors don’t “believe” in, despite ample clinical practice and data that support its role in ruling out reactions to foods. Although swelling is not a usual IgG reaction, your allergist can also check for histamine, mast cell release, or other lab tests to look for inflammation and to differentiate it. I’d suggest being persistent and asking for more explanation – get a copy of all labs from your allergist and get a second opinion.
My son has very bad eczema. We’ve done allergy testing and nothing came up. He’s on dairy free right now and I’m trying to do gluten-free the best I can. His eczema is still all over the place and I don’t want to put the harsh chemical lotion on him. But how do I know if he has a food sensitivity other than doing an elimination diet?
Allergy testing only looks at ONE type of reaction – IgE – that the immune system may have to foods. There are other tests, but most allergists do not use them, as they don’t “believe” in them, despite ample clinical precedent and data showing that non-IgE reactions can also trigger problems like eczema. Do an ELISA IgG test to multiple foods. I like using the Great Plains Lab for this test because I like that they quantify the IgG result rather than just show you if it’s “low”, “moderate” or “high” for each food (which is what Genova Diagnostics’ test does). Labs like Alletess and Biotek also offer this test, but also do not give as much detail as the Great Plains Lab does in the result.
Thanks for allthe geat info.
I would like to ask; If I cannot give any kinda of protein, including veggies, how can I heal my 2 year old son’s leaky gut and growth problems? Thanks in advance.
Short answer is you can’t heal a gut with no protein. And, you can’t heal a gut without food energy sources that are not protein – you need fuel (carbs, some fats) as well as protein, which is more like the lumber part of the construction project. If your child truly can’t manage any in tact food proteins at all: (1) use elemental formula like Neocate, Elecare or anything that uses free amino acids as a protein source, to let inflammation in the gut simmer down, and.. (2) begin gut and digestive repair measures ASAP. Assess for dysbiosis, mucoid stool, mucus, inflammation, and digestive capacity with a functional stool study. From there a path can be built to restore digestion so you child can grow.
Could leaky gut cause eye problems? My daughter was diagnosed with leaky gut at 2 and half. We followed the directions of the naturopathic physician by presumably healing her gut and slowly reintroducing the foods she had sensitivity to. Around the same time we noticed her eyesight wasn’t good. Turns out it was really bad myopia and gets worse each year (she’s 7 now). She has sufficient vitamin intake through her daily vitamins, but if her body isn’t absorbing it correctly is it possible her eye health is or has been been effected?
Leaky gut can mean that uptake of all sorts of nutrients is disrupted, and this can include nutrients that any tissue depends on, including eye tissue.It would be prudent to have her serum retinol checked with your pediatrician. This is vitamin A. Even if she takes some in a multivitamin, many factors can deplete vitamin A and her own levels may be low. Note that it can take a while to deplete this; if her result is in the lab range, but toward the bottom of the lab range, she may need more. Also, she needs a strong intake of certain fats and fatty acids for her eyes to work optimally. Of course, check with your eye doctor too.
My son is 2 years and 6 months old and vegetarian. I think, he has developmental delays due to leaky gut. We conducted his IgG food sensitivities test and he came sensitive to many plant based protein food items such as lentils and beans and also dairy. Other behaviors include teeth grinding and hyperactivity(which reduced to 90% after we stopped milk). He was exposed to gluten early on, I am suspecting that could have lead to leaky gut, I have no way of confirming this as he didn’t come sensitive to gluten in his IgG test . I have started to given him probiotics and fish oil. I also try to give him ghee often if not everyday. Beside food sensitivities I also think he may have yeast overgrowth.
As your article mentions taking care of dysbiosis is important. What supplements do you suggest I give him to help heal leaky guy and over come dysbiosis?
Hi Dr Patel, I will be honest here – and I am aware this may make many people unhappy – but, I do not often see vegetarianism work well for toddlers. My first task would be full nutrition assessment to see if this is a workable diet for your son. Second – if legumes are inflammatory already, then you have another reason to use animal source proteins instead, for the time being. Third, his gut biome needs assessment, so you can tell if you are up against yeast, or something else. I can’t suggest supplements in this forum – I have no idea if they would be appropriate, without a full nutrition assessment and a complete picture first of what might be awry. Lastly, depending on when the food sensitivity panel was done and if your son was also receiving breast milk at that time, those results may not be reliable.
Thank you for reply. We realized that my son would need animal protein and therefore we started giving him eggs 2 times a week. We have introduced chicken as well. He was on breast milk for first 9 months and formula for next 4 months. Then while milk after he turned 14 months. The sensitivity test was recently done at 27 months and he was not on breast milk. We started seeing delay around the age of 16-17 months. We have had him tested for vitamin A and D both were normal. His folate and B12 were higher than normal. Do you suggest, Considering b12 and folonic acid shots? Also, how Do I test his gut microbiome, do you have your patient take any Particular test? Please advise and provide some direction as I have limited resources around where I live.
Thank you for all the valuable information you shared.
My baby is 7 moths old, everything was fine when he was 2and half months old but after that he somehow catched viral infection and long term antibiotic treatment disturbed his gut microbiota, he is on neocate, and he can tolerate fruits and vegetable purees, he is not able to tolerate cereal and pulses… Plz help how can i introduce solids to him so that he can have a normal diet.
Restoring his gut microbiome is the way to go. This is a challenge after that essential progression of supportive gut microbes has been altered at such an early age. But, now is the time to dive in, and the benefits may pay dividends for years to come.
If possible, obtain a GI MAP with zonulin and calprotectin added on, to get a snapshot of the diversity in his biome right now (here’s an example of a sample report). This includes beneficial biome profile, viruses, protozoans, fungal strains and more. It also includes digestive markers. Already, research is building on the expected levels of inflammatory markers like zonulin and calprotectin in infants. Once you have this information captured, you can proceed with best strategies to introduce more foods. Grains and pulses are likely to be last. Before these, the gut may do well with the types of carbohydrates allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and starches that are lower FODMAPs. A helpful chart listing these foods can be found here.
Probiotics will likely be helpful also. With so many product options out there, and no data on your son’s biome, it’s not possible to make a recommendation. But, generally, very simple lower potency blends without extra pre-biotics are usually easiest to tolerate to start. Here is an example. Once this is tolerated, you might advance to a product that includes Lactobacillus (which can backfire at first for a baby on Neocate and no dairy foods, as this diet lacks lactose, the sugar needed by Lactobacillus to thrive). If you want to advance right away to a product that provides both Lactobacillus and Bifido strains, consider this one – though it may be too much to fast to start.
Dear Judy, because of antibiotics baby is diagnosed with CMPA and Food allergy, should the baby get vaccinated with such issues
I am trying to clean out my daughters gut. She is on a smoothie, stew, soup diet with no gluten or Lactose for 30 days. Then she will need to be red meat free, dairy free, egg free, grain free with the exception of rice, spice free with the exception of salt and olive oil, nut free and fruits and veggies need to be low on histamines. I assume we should give her probiotics? Not sure what she is going to be able to eat 🙁
The think her gut is out of balance and why medication is not working.
Ok… how do you know this is the correct diet to do the job? Was it based on lab studies, her growth pattern, her clinical signs.. or what? This sounds a bit like a modified GAPS and low histamine diet. Rather than use a dogmatic approach, I like to individualize this to each child’s findings in an assessment. Histamines can be reduced with certain food measures but also with specific supplements including probiotics that do this task in particular. Correcting any gut dysbiosis will help too. This needs to be based on lab studies in my opinion. If there are any growth impairments, this will delay gut tissue repair too, so you need to be sure the diet is fully adequate so it can work for her. Let me know if you need help, set up an appointment anytime.
My five year old son has had pubescent smelling body odor from his armpits since he was about 3 and an abnormal odor on his scalp. He complains often of tummy pain and has very mild excema in the winter. He had surgery at 6 months on his kidney and was put on antibiotics following (there were a number of pre-surgical tests and Catheters done also)
His pediatrician ordered bloodwork to check his endocrine system and everything came back normal. We’ve noticed a strong correlation to dairy. When we cut out all dairy (cow and goat) his symptoms improved and went away about 90%. Does this sound like a leaky gut issue? Dysbiosis? Or simply an unusual presentation of an allergy?
Hmmm – Why did your doctor check endocrine function? Is he not growing typically? Is he unusually fatigued, or unusually hyper? Insulin, growth hormone, and thyroid function – which are all endocrine functions – would not likely change, or change too much, with symptoms you are describing. The odor is a dysbiosis feature, and the fact that it has been there a good while and is coming from scalp and underarms indicates it is systemic. There are other lab work ups that would be more informative besides endocrine studies in this case. Stool and urine studies to assess gut biome in detail would be helpful, like this one and this one. These are not tests your pediatrician likely knows about or uses. If you’d like help getting those done, set up an appointment and we can dive in, remotely or in person. Meanwhile your pediatrician can check if your son’s immune system is fighting a yeast infection by checking Candida albicans IgG and IgM. This requires a blood draw. Treating those findings may help the odor and skin issues. He can also check for IgE to casein, whey, milk or other foods for you. It isn’t usual for an allergy to present with odor in my experience.
Hi, my son smells like a fish after eating fish. He has this smell only after eating fish. Usually the smell lingers for a day, only on his scalp and mouth. Is this leaky guts problem? Is it thrimethylaminuria? Or metabolic syndrome?
Have your pediatrician assist in ruling out trimethylaminuria, metabolic syndrome, or other potential causes. If all good, then it’s reasonable to look at nutrition, gut or digestive issues.
My 7 year old son has had sleep studies that have diagnosed him with sleep apnea. He has also been diagnosed with allergic rinitis. He has had blood work for allergies and they are inconclusive. He has seen many ENTs, Allergist, even Orthodontists. I recently made the connection with Allergies, sleep apnea and a leaky I gut. He will be tested for food sensitivities this week and depending on the results, I’d like to hear your opinion on what to do moving forward.
Good for you for investigating Vanessa! If you’d like my opinion and instructions on next steps, make an appointment to work with me, start here.
My 7 year old son has had sleep studies that have diagnosed him with sleep apnea. He has also been diagnosed with allergic rinitis. He has had blood work for allergies and they are inconclusive. He has seen many ENTs, Allergist, even Orthodontists. I recently made the connection with Allergies, sleep apnea and a leaky gut. He will be tested for food sensitivities this week and depending on the results, I’d like to hear your opinion on what to do moving forward.
Have you had any experience with Alopecia in chicldren? If so what can help?
How can you tell the difference between food sensitivities and reactions to foods from a leaky gut?
Hi Cristina, food sensitivities are a reaction to a food from leaky gut – one of many types of reactions. I sort these based on different lab studies, signs, symptoms, and history.
Hi! Do you see patients virtually? I’m in Texas and my 10 year old just got diagnosed with leaky gut. He still wear 7 year old clothes, his symptoms are getting worse everyday and I don’t have support from his pediatrician
Roberta, once I have documentation I need I can support you by phone or virtual interface (Zoom Chat, Google Hangout for example). If you’d like to get started you can schedule a spot on my calendar here. It will auto-reply to you with instructions.
just wondering your thoughts on “restore” for the gut.
We do use Restore here at Flatiron Functional Medicine and in my practice (Nutrition Care For Children) – it can be useful, though best started in very low doses to avoid Herxheimer reactions.
Wondering if you do consults. My 8 ye old has been dealing with EBV and gut issues for 2 yrs now. Jan this year started the worse where she had flair ups and unble to walk on her left foot or use her left hand. She was a competitive gymnast and was getting sick after every meet. We now believe it’s her gut effectingbthe immune system and nervous system. Medical specialist have no clue. She has gotten some relief from a clean diet and supplements. We would really like a consult to see if we are in the right track and what supplements we should add or take away.
Hi Mindy, yes I do consults and these can be remote or in-person. For details, fees and options visit the “Work With Judy” section of my site.
I just found out my 4 year old has leaky gut and her neurologist want to give her a binder. This makes me nervous. We had lab work done for food allergies, but she has none. Are binders safe and would you recommend it? How may I contact you directly for a second opinion? I am in Houston, TX. Thank you
First question: Why is your neurologist diagnosing and treating leaky gut? You should be working with a functional pediatrician or pediatric nutrition specialist on this, not a neurologist, unless this person happens to have additional training in child nutrition, growth, feeding, and GI care. Next question that I would have for you is, exactly what screening was done for food reactions? There are many besides “allergy”, and you might find there is lots of room there to help your child where a binder may do nothing. Binders can be safely used, but based on what you’ve said so far, there is no rationale to give one to your child. For a second opinion, schedule an appointment and we can get started investigating if this is the best next step.
Do you work with kids with nut allergies?
My two-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Alopecia Areata. We were denied any kind of further testing needed by her dermatologist and pediatrician. We were prescribed oral and topical steroids. I am wondering if leaky gut could be a culprit? We also just found out there is mold in our home. She also has a history of eczema, rashes, hives, coughs, etc. I am wondering if a functional medicine approach could even be of any help to her. Very new to this!
Autoimmune conditions often have features that can relate to foods, gut, nutrition, background infections – including mold. It’s a good start to get on top of the mold situation. A functional medicine approach can identify which factors have an impact and how to leverage all tools at your disposal, rather than simply suppressing symptoms with steroids, which are not great for long term use in any case. If you’d like help with how to support your daughter in this context, you can schedule a spot on my calendar here.
My son is 2 y/o and is showing signs of autism. For example, lack of eye contact, non verbal, tantrums, stimming (back and forth rocking while sitting and moving body in circles), always holding something, lack in receptive language, always chewing things and repetitive behaviour.
I recently tried the gaps diet for 3 weeks and though it has made an improvement in pointing as a form of communication also more motivation in self feed – his stools are still very loose and wet.
What do you think is going on n my son’s body?
These are indeed typical features of autism. A developmental pediatrician or neurologist can make a diagnosis and refer for different therapies, like speech/language, OT, PT, or medication.
Nutrition must come first. This is critical for brain development at this young age – but physicians are not required to study nutrition, and thus often overlook this kind of work up. Ask for screenings to assess what nutrition components can be supported. Children with autism have many differences for nutrition deficits compared to typically developing peers. For details on how to assess nutrition deficits that are treatable and that improve outcomes for kids with autism, I’ll refer you to this book and this e book. The earlier your child’s gut/brain interface is balanced and supported, the sooner he can emerge with more of his own personality and joy.
Thank you for the information! My baby was having a bowel movement everyday until receiving shots at 6 months, since has been chronically constipated ( 7 months old now) breasted, just starting to nibble solid food but not consuming much. Searching for answers, where do I start?
Same answer as I shared for Ena Gupta’s question above: “Your care team needs to treat the gut dysbiosis. This may be predominantly fungal, or both fungal and bacterial. Probiotics alone are not going to be effective. I have only one or two cases which did resolve on probiotics alone, but these used prescription strength Visbiome (900 billion CFU per dose) and this must be given to such a young child with medical supervision. Your little one may feel better if treated with medication for intestinal Candidiasis. To assess the status of the gut microbiome for beneficial flora as well as pathogens, fungal strains, viruses and more, use a GI MAP with Zonulin”
This is excellent! My question is this, can a child be over weight and have leaky gut. My 7 yr old used to self regulate eating. Once medications were used at age 5, for migraines, she started gaining weight. She doesn’t seem to self regulate. Could be anxiety, sensory issues also. Thank you
Yes, leaky gut can happen regardless of weight status.
Which book would cover more on this topic? My 5 year old is dealing with food allergies and leaky gut.
Jessica, the books up on my site are all available to peruse on Amazon – have a look. My Special Needs Kids Eat Right book will have the most detail on gut repair. Meanwhile stay tuned for new resources that we will be rolling out this spring.
Hi there. I am in NZ. How do I go about getting the stool testing, GI map etc done for my 8yr daughter.
She suffers terrible all over eczema, irritable and bad anxiety, not eating,upset stomachs and alot of sinus/hayfever. We have gone back on a gf,df and limited sugar diet, and will start Chinese herbs too. I really believe she has a leaky gut issue. Very interested in the test. Doctors here just blow it off and push for steroid creams
Hi Chloe, you would have to work with a provider who uses this test. I’m not taking new families on going forward, so you might contact the lab directly and inquire if they have clinicians in your region using their test. As always I will mention that if your are following the usual vaccination schedule keep in mind that vaccines are potent stimulants for the immune system and may be related to eczema. You might pause or delay or space these out going forward. You might also find that combining anti-microbial topical (like grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil such as in Citricidal, or black cumin seed oil) with steroid may give some immediate relief. These are ok to apply as long as skin is not weeping/open/bleeding. Lastly a favorite topical product of mine is called Sting Stop, this can also be quite soothing and stop itching.