Starting point: where to start and how to take precautions when taking nutritional supplements
There are many ways to determine which nutritional supplements are right for your child.
Laboratory tests are an indispensable tool for making an accurate diagnosis. They are covered in separate articles on specific nutritional supplements.
Another important way to determine which substance may be suitable is to look for symptoms and conditions that interfere with the normal functioning of the brain of your child’s entire body.
For all symptoms, there are suitable supplements. Symptoms include:
- Behavior features
- Developmental delays
- Physical manifestations
- Health problems of internal organs
- Exposure to Drugs and Toxic Substances
Below we will describe in detail the process of our reasoning in the selection of dietary supplements, when we provide assistance to real children.
The recommendations obtained from the book cannot substitute for real medical care from a specialist. The best situation is communicating with a doctor who is fluent in functional medicine and can draw up an individual treatment plan for your child, including the necessary nutritional supplements, their optimal dosage and order of administration.
However, we understand that depending on the place where you live, you may not have access to such medical services. Even if you know a good doctor, he may have a long line of patients, or he may not be available due to frequent visits.
We wrote this book in the hope of helping you.
- Start using nutritional supplements safe for the baby
- Do it with an understanding of what is behind your actions.
Safety comes first: do no harm
In order not to cause harm to your health, when you cannot consult an experienced doctor and / or laboratory tests that are not available to you, it is especially important to exercise maximum caution in the dosage of nutritional supplements.
If a small amount is beneficial, a larger dose will not necessarily be just as beneficial, and even a larger amount may even be harmful.
Note! The dosages that we describe are NOT the average recommended amounts of dietary supplements that are suitable for people outside the medication, without problem genetics, lack of nutrients, poor digestion, metabolic problems, overloading the body with toxins, etc.
On the contrary the doses that we describe are the maximum above which you should NOT rise with self-treatment (!)
When it comes to increasing the dose, tests become absolutely necessary (!) For some nutritional supplements, we make a more strict reservation - about the categorical need for a doctor's consultation.
We’re not in a hurry: we introduce the supplement a little and slowly increase the dose
For any dietary supplement, you need to use the following rules:
- Add to diet only one new supplement at a time and wait 3 to 7 days in order to track possible side effects.
- Start with low dosages and increase them gradually. Generally speaking, we recommend taking a quarter of the target dose as a reference point and increasing it by an additional 25% every 3-7 days until you reach the maximum tolerated dose.
Depending on how severe your child’s nutritional deficiencies are and how many failures they have in biochemical processes, using any single supplement may not have any effect.
Some children do not feel better until the issue of food shortages and metabolic deficiencies is resolved in a complex. This is another example of why it is best to consult an experienced doctor. He is able to correctly interpret the test data and prescribe a complex of additives that will effectively help a particular child.
The signs and symptoms listed by us in the tables may not be present in your child. The same applies to side effects: they can occur in an unusual and unfamiliar form of medicine.
If it seems to your child that the nutritional supplement is getting worse, reduce the dose to see if there is a positive trend. If the problem persists, stop taking the supplement.
Dosage Warning: unless otherwise indicated, by all dosages indicated in the articles in the book, the total daily dose is meant.
If the same remedy can help with various symptoms, do not go beyond the total daily dose. For example, if your child has hyperactivity, you might be advised to take 200 mg of magnesium per day. If your baby has constipation, you can also use 200 mg of magnesium per day. If both of these symptoms are observed, then do not use more than 200 mg of magnesium in one day:doses cannot be summarized!
Natural, synthetic and artificial forms
The effectiveness of a nutritional supplement can be influenced by many factors:
- An adequate form of supplement that is properly absorbed in the digestive tract
- Optimally delivered to tissues and absorbed by cells
- And purposefully used by them for a specific function,
- The interaction of food additives with each other, with food, medicinal herbs, medications and toxins is also important.
Nutritional supplements exist in different forms, which can be assimilated in different ways:
Natural forms Are naturally occurring additives that:
- Can be extracted from food sources,
- Together with the main active substance they contain additional natural substances,
- Contain relatively small amounts of active ingredients,
- They have a lower concentration and require a relatively large volume of additives in order to deliver the required amount of active substance to the body,
- May cause various allergic reactions depending on the specific source of the supplement.
Synthetic forms are created in the laboratory and have the following characteristics:
- They contain active substances that are identical in form to natural,
- Usually not as expensive as natural supplements,
- They have a high concentration and require a smaller amount of the actual additive in order to saturate the body with the required substance,
- Often used when therapeutic or high doses are needed.
Artificial additives - these are substances not found in nature:
- They are not the forms that are best used by the body,
- May have less effectiveness than other types of additives (and sometimes cause harm).
Simple and complex substances
Unlike vitamins and amino acids, minerals may be present as complex compoundsfor example, calcium carbonate, magnesium citrate, zinc picolinate and others.
The amount of mineral in a compound can vary.: Thus, zinc citrate contains 35% of this mineral, so 100 mg of zinc citrate will provide 35 mg of this mineral.
However, forms with a maximum content of minerals are not necessarily readily digestible or as accessible as possible.. On this issue we stop detailed in separate articles for each substancewhere we list the best forms for oral administration in the form of food additives.
Features of assimilation of nutrients
The level of assimilation of nutrients in the body fluctuates to maintain homeostasis and prevent toxic effects.
The presence of a nutrient in the body is regulated by its absorption, metabolism and excretion.
The intensity of assimilation often increaseswhen there is a great need for a substance. This occurs if the following prerequisites are present (1 or 2 at the same time):
- Low tissue levels: the body lacks a certain substance to successfully perform all its functions. This can be called the "gold reserve" of the mineral.
- Functional impairment: even if the “gold reserve” is in excellent condition, a certain function can still suffer due to the fact that there is an antagonist substance, a metabolic disorder, or the cells lack enzymes.
The intensity of assimilation will decrease, when its optimal level in the tissues is reached, and / or the body can perform the necessary functions with an existing supply.
Besides, the absorption of a substance varies depending on the volume of its intake:
- When small doses are taken, digestibility increases,
- When single, large doses are taken, digestibility worsens.
That's why the full daily dose should be divided by 2 or 3to give the body the opportunity to fully absorb what it requires.
Excess substances (and toxins) are evacuated from the body with respiration, urine, feces and sweat. This “steam valve” helps to avoid the accumulation of excess substances in the body.
The balance of substances in the body is called homeostasis. The difference in assimilation allows ordinary people to take nutritional supplements in various volumes without harm to health.
However, there are people who can experience a toxic effect - due to an imbalance in the way nutrients are received, absorbed, stored, used for metabolism and excreted.
Also note that different types of nutrients, herbs and medicines can interact in different ways.. This interaction can enhance or weaken the therapeutic effect, and affect the absorption of each substance. We will give more detailed information about this. in a separate article.
How to make it easier for your child to take nutritional supplements
Even the best remedy will not be of any use if the child refuses to drink it. Children do not drink supplements just because they are healthy. Therefore, it is important that the additive either tastes good or is hidden in food or drink.
Some tips on how to give supplements to children:
- If the child cannot swallow the pills, open the capsules, crush the tablets and mix the resulting powder with food or liquid,
- Peanut butter and chocolate syrup help mask fish oil well.
- Some powders do not dissolve in water; children may refuse to drink water with particles visible in it. Use opaque drinkers to mask the powder,
- Do not heat food with food additives mixed in it. However, you can add an additive to already warmed food when served to the table,
- For vitamins with a pronounced taste, you can use the following strategy: mix the powder into juice and freeze the liquid in the freezer, giving the resulting icicle to the child for resorption,
- Some substances (zinc, glutathione, vitamin D) are absorbed through the skin. Sometimes it makes sense to go to the pharmacy to get you an ointment from food capsules.
If a child can swallow pills, everything becomes much easier, although without a couple of tips you can not do:
- Capsules lighter than water due to the fact that there is a little air inside. It’s best to swallow a capsule like this: put it in your mouth, draw some water from a glass into your mouth and tilt your head forward. Thanks to this, the capsule will be on top of the water and closer to the throat, it will be much easier to swallow.
- Pills heavier than water. They need to be swallowed like this: put a tablet and a little water in your mouth and throw your head back.
Translated from The ADHD and Autism Nutritional Supplement Handbook. Dana Godbout Laake, R.D.H., M.S., L.D.N., Pamela J. Compart, M.D.
Other chapters in this book: