For kids with chronic health is­sues, switch­ing to an all- or­ganic, non- GMO diet is cru­cial to well­ness.

Sick has be­come the new nor­mal for chil­dren. But the au­thors of a new book say that it’s pos­si­ble to change that trend and dra­mat­i­cally im­prove kids’ health

Better Nutrition - - CONTENT - /// BY MELISSA DIANE SMITH


My son has di­ges­tive is­sues, mul­ti­ple food and en­vi­ron­men­tal al­ler­gies, chronic si­nus con­ges­tion, and be­hav­ioral prob­lems. He was re­cently di­ag­nosed with at­ten­tion deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der. Is it nor­mal to have so many health prob­lems at just 10 years old, and is there anything that can be done to ad­dress these dif­fer­ent con­di­tions?

— Bar­bara M., Bridge­port, Conn.


Un­for­tu­nately, hav­ing sick kids is in­cred­i­bly com­mon to­day. Close to one out of two chil­dren now has a chronic dis­ease— defi ned as a dis­ease that lasts more than three months and isn’t con­sid­ered cur­able by con­ven­tional doc­tors. Di­ges­tive prob­lems, food al­ler­gies, asthma, autism spec­trum dis­or­der, and at­ten­tion defi cit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der ( ADHD) are all on the rise. Ac­cord­ing to the Al­lergy Kids Foun­da­tion, one in three Amer­i­can chil­dren has ADHD, al­ler­gies, autism, or asthma.

Pe­di­a­tri­cian Michelle Perro, MD, and med­i­cal an­thro­pol­o­gist Vin­canne Adams, PhD, au­thors of What’s Mak­ing Our Chil­dren Sick?, be­lieve that many of these is­sues can be blamed on an en­vi­ron­ment that has been made toxic by agro­chem­i­cal in­dus­tri­al­ized food pro­duc­tion. Kids are ex­posed to pes­ti­cides and other for­eign chem­i­cal sub­stances both in­ter­nally, through what they eat and drink, and ex­ter­nally, by ex­po­sure to pes­ti­cides and other sub­stances sprayed at schools, parks, and day­care cen­ters. And we’re only be­gin­ning to un­der­stand some of the harm­ful eff ects of these toxic chem­i­cals.

Prob­lems with Pes­ti­cides

Take, for ex­am­ple, glyphosate, which is the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in the her­bi­cide Roundup. Its use in the U. S. agri­cul­tural sec­tor rose 300- fold from 1974 to 2014. It is also used lib­er­ally in landscaping and along road­ways.

Glyphosate is a patented an­tibi­otic. Be­cause it kills bac­te­ria, it is be­lieved to con­trib­ute to the devel­op­ment of dys­bio­sis, or im­bal­ances in the gut mi­cro­biome, the col­lec­tion of micro­organ­isms that live in our in­testines. Re­search shows that a healthy mi­cro­biome plays a vi­tal role in di­ges­tive health and im­mu­nity. Im­bal­ances in the gut mi­cro­biome are linked to a wide range of di­ges­tive dis­or­ders, as well as con­di­tions, such as

autism, al­ler­gies, asthma, celiac dis­ease, and ADHD.

Glyphosate is also a me­tal chela­tor: It binds min­er­als such as zinc and mag­ne­sium, mak­ing them less avail­able. Perro be­lieves that the sat­u­ra­tion of me­tal- chelat­ing glyphosate in our food is re­spon­si­ble for the min­eral defi cien­cies seen com­monly in chil­dren. Glyphosate in our foods and en­vi­ron­ment is also of great con­cern be­cause the weed killer has been de­clared a prob­a­ble hu­man car­cino­gen by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

An­other chem­i­cal hid­den in food is Bacil­lus thuringien­sis ( Bt), found in in­sec­ti­cide- pro­duc­ing, ge­net­i­cally mod­ifi ed foods. Bt breaks open pores and

cre­ates small holes in the in­sects’ guts, and re­searchers the­o­rize that it may also be pro­mot­ing in­testi­nal per­me­abil­ity, or leaky gut, in hu­mans.

Perro says that ap­prox­i­mately 95 per­cent of the chil­dren she sees with chronic health is­sues have ev­i­dence of dys­bio­sis and leaky gut, con­di­tions that have been im­pli­cated in ev­ery­thing from al­ler­gies to autism to men­tal health dis­or­ders. To com­bat these tox­ins, she em­ploys a va­ri­ety of diff er­ent nu­tri­tional strate­gies to heal the gut and re­store a healthy mi­cro­biome.

The Heal­ing Power of an Or­ganic Diet

While treat­ments diff er de­pend­ing on the specifi cs of each child’s con­di­tion, Perro says that the place to start in nearly all cases is a 100 per­cent or­ganic diet. By law, foods la­beled with the USDA Or­ganic seal can’t use ge­net­i­cally mod­ifi ed or­gan­isms ( GMOs) or syn­thetic chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides ( such as glyphosate), both of which have been linked to a range of health is­sues in in­de­pen­dent stud­ies con­ducted on an­i­mals. “A cor­ner­stone of any treat­ment for food- fo­cused medicine is elim­i­nat­ing foods that don’t sup­port gut health; this al­ways means get­ting rid of foods doused in glyphosate, other pes­ti­cides, and those made of Bt,” Perro and Adams write in their book.

Although many par­ents scoff at the idea of go­ing to­tally or­ganic, Perro rec­om­mends stick­ing with or­gan­ic­sonly food for at least four weeks. Eat­ing or­ganic light­ens the toxic load for all mem­bers of the fam­ily, and typ­i­cally helps re­store the body’s in­nate abil­ity to heal it­self.

In ad­di­tion to benefi tting sick kids, go­ing or­ganic can off er health benefi ts for all mem­bers of the fam­ily— some quite dra­mat­i­cally. Do you have a ques­tion for the nu­tri­tion­ist? We would love to hear from you. Please email your ques­tions to bnask­thenu­tri­tion­[email protected] gmail. com.

Melissa Diane Smith is an in­ter­na­tion­ally known jour­nal­ist and holis­tic nu­tri­tion­ist who has more than 20 years of clin­i­cal nu­tri­tion ex­pe­ri­ence and spe­cial­izes in us­ing food as medicine. She is the cut­ting- edge au­thor of Go­ing Against GMOs, Go­ing...

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