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Kids Health – It’s all in their gut!

Article by Julie Hatch PNP, LAc

Have you heard that the gut is the body’s 2nd brain? Well it’s true! The gut has a big influence
not only on the overall health of the body, but also on the brain. That means that mood,
behavior, and learning are all influenced by the gut and the food our kids eat. And why is this?
The gut has three main functions: 1 – it produces large amounts of serotonin and other
neurotransmitters which affect brain development and function, mood, behavior, attention, and
learning; 2- it is host to a large percentage of the body’s immune system; 3 – it filters out the bad
stuff (toxins, heavy metals, harmful microbes) and allows the good stuff (nutrients, vitamins,
minerals) to pass into the bloodstream to be carried to the rest of the body, including the brain.
The foods we eat determine whether the gut is healthy and functioning optimally, or if the gut is
compromised and not able to carry out those 3 important functions.

Foods that harm the gut are called CRAP foods, an acronym for:

C​ – Chemically treated foods and/or carbonated drinks
R​ – Refined sugars
A​ – Artificial colorings and flavorings
P​ – Processed foods.

And what do kids like to eat? All of that! If your child has trouble in school, behavioral issues,
ADD or ADHD, recurrent colds or infections, eczema, allergies, headaches, asthma, stomach
aches, constipation – these may be linked to the foods they eat which affects their gut flora and
leads to ‘leaky gut’.

When leaky gut occurs, toxins and harmful microbes are able to enter the
bloodstream and into the brain, immune responses are suppressed, and neurotransmitters are
low. While it may be difficult to get kids to eat less junky and more healthy, the impact on their
developing brains and bodies is huge. If getting your child to eat their veggies is too much of a
challenge, try cutting out one source of sugar – that in itself will make a difference.
So before you hand your child a soda, or that highly processed sugary snack, or that fast food
burger or chicken nugget, think about their 2nd brain and its influence on their main brain.

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure
and prevent disease with Nutrition”. – Thomas Edison 1908

If you have concerns about your child’s behavioral or physical health and would like to discuss
them, please feel free to contact me.

Julie Hatch PNP, LAc