Straight Talk About…
Childhood Sleep Patterns,
Allergies, and ADD/ADHD
What a great conversation we got started from the last post! So, jumping right back in to that discussion…
If you are over 50, think back. What were the most common illnesses?
Most communities only heard of mumps, measles, and a very few diabetics. Some adults certainly had asthma, but very few newborns were diagnosed with that. They were still worried about polio in those days. People talked about formaldehyde babies from the 40’s & cousins in another state with chicken pox. Another illness of concern was TB. And yes, some hay-fever or lighter allergens.
You just didn’t hear too much about rampant chemical sensitivities in the general population, severe allergies or ADD; or ADHD; or Sleep Apnea; or Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.
So why is there such a drastic escalation in these diseases today? That is really the point of this post. Getting down to the WHY the escalation in modern times. Here are some clues:
The body uses a certain type of substance to help eliminate allergens. The body uses a certain raw material to make sleep hormones. It uses a certain component to manufacture balanced brain chemicals.
In all three of these bodily processes, the substance is essential fatty acid (EFA). Specifically, Omega 3 types of EFA‘s.
You see, back in the late 1950’s, a trend arose to promote “research studies” showing the harmful effects of fat in the diet. Much effort and money was behind the studies, the media coverage, the educational dissemination of the latest discoveries, and the marketing of better “healthier” and more convenient foods to the consumer.
And we had the advent of… FAT FREE!
What resulted was the indiscriminate removal of good fats while introducing more shelf-stable, less expensive man-made fats. It was all about shelf life and cost of goods sold. Marketing folks. Marketing and manufacturing money was behind the move to fat-free. Not health.
And here’s an interesting statistic: we are 65% fatter as a nation than before we went “FAT FREE.”
News flash: fat-free is not working.
Yet, the majority of the public is still not informed or addressing their EFA requirements. Not coincidentally, we now have mounting numbers of children exhibiting signs of severe EFA deficiency. What are those signs?
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
PMS. PMDD. Infertility.
You can see the generational effect plainly if you look at the progression of diseases through the generations from 1930 to present:
My parent’s generation: beginning of the fat free craze; higher instances of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s than any previous generation. There were many more reports of focus and memory problems and worsening allergies with age. Epidemic levels of sleep disorders and pharmaceutical use to compensate.
My generation: beginning of terrible PMS, PMDD, multiple miscarriages, early or peri-menopause, earlier onset of heart disease than any generation before, more diabetes, and more obesity.
People in my children’s generation: all the above, plus rampant infertility, dyslexia, and learning difficulties, reading problems, beginning of hyperactivity and increase in autism.
Children in the next generation: asthma in infants, allergies at birth, increased rates of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes already occurring in children, severe ADD/ADHD problems in schools, juvenile behavior problems and delinquency at earlier ages, and more.
In one study of 53 boys with ADHD compared to 43 boys without ADHD, the boys with ADHD were found to have significantly lower levels of EPA, DHA, total omega-3 EFA’s. A second study of children with ADHD also reported reduced plasma concentrations of EFA’s.
In still yet another study of boys with behavior, learning, and health problems, it was found that boys with lower omega 3 EFA levels had more behavior problems, more temper tantrums, and more sleep problems. *References below.
It should also be pointed out that all of those symptoms, not coincidentally, are also commonly observed in autism. Selah.
Folks, essential fats are just that… ESSENTIAL.
The connection is very clear. Essential fatty acids play primary roles in the body in the transport or nutrients and oxygen, the manufacture of good hormones and brain chemicals, as well as strong roles in the elimination of toxins from the body.
In May of last year, the EJCN+ reported on even newer studies. In these studies, the change of ADHD behavior in children (9–12) was studied following 10 weeks of treatment with EFA’s. The children were evaluated on six variables: cooperation, mood, concentration, homework preparation, fatigue, and sleep quality.
It was noted that re-introduction of these essential fatty acids was associated with significant improvement in quality of life, ability to concentrate, sleep quality and even iron (hemoglobin) levels.
Look at the proof. Don’t go another year believing that fat-free and low-fat are healthy. Fats aren’t the whole story, but they are a solid start to a turn-around. Nourish the minds, brains, and bodies of your little ones with healthy fats!
We’ll post some more helpful information on good fats as the days go on. We also have an excellent .mp3 audio recording of a training session on fats.
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Get smart. Get started. And, yes, get good fats!
References for study data:
L.J. Stevens, S.S. Zentall, J.L. Deck et al., Essential fatty acid metabolism in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1995 62:00-00.
L.J. Stevens, S.S. Zentall, M.L. Abate, T. Kuczek, and J.R. Burgess, Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Boys with Behavior, Learning, and Health Problems, Physiology and Behavior 1996, 59:915-920.
+ European Journal of Clinical Nutrition S Yehuda, S Rabinovitz-Shenkar and R L Carasso (18 May 2011)
Michelle Pearson is a dynamic wellness coach, speaker, author, and the Founder & President of Picture of Health Inc. (http://thepictureofhealth.com). On a personal health journey for the past 19+ years, Michelle’s mission is to educate, activate, challenge and equip others to live a full, satisfying life through the use of state-of-the-art educational resources to produce significant and lasting health breakthroughs.
Did you learn anything? Leave me your comments and questions below!