Healing Adrenal Fatigue in Kids
You probably read that headline and thought it was a typo, right? Unfortunately it is a horrible reality that our kids are dealing with these days. One of the saddest parts about helping others heal is seeing how much kids suffer these days with health issues. Many are born already with adrenal issues- mostly because if we are dealing with any form of adrenal fatigue while pregnant, our kids can be predisposed to adrenal issues themselves. (Source)
Need a bit more info on what adrenal fatigue (or more accurately, adrenal dysfunction) actually is? Read all about it here.
How to Test for Adrenal Fatigue in Kids
Since the 90s, mineral balancing science has shown that even toddlers can deal with adrenal dysfunction (source). Think about that: more than 20 years ago it was well known in the HTMA world that kids are suffering so much. It took this long for more and more people to wake up. We’re at the point that we have to start reversing illnesses, when we had so much time to prevent these issues.
But this information has never been mainstream nor accepted by the medical field unfortunately. When it comes to health, doctors seem to be taught that people are either fully healthy or extremely ill; there is no in-between, and no levels of illness (for example, there are several stages of adrenal dysfunction, so even if a few dozen people were dealing with “Adrenal fatigue” their symptoms could vary greatly).
The best way to test adrenal function is the hair tissue mineral analysis. You can read all about that here, but I will give a quick run down on why this is so helpful. HTMA gives us a huge view on overall health: it can show us adrenal strength, how the body handles stress, and it can give us a view on how well digestion is (which is key for assimilating many nutrients). The minerals that are most important for adrenal health are sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Knowing these mineral levels as well as the ratios between them can tell us if kids are dealing with overactive or sluggish adrenals. This is crucial for picking the best treatment plan.
Symptoms that are closely associated to adrenal issues that are common in kids: food allergies/intolerance, fatigue, sleeping issues, reflux as an infant, picky eating habits, constipation, anxiety, skin issues, and more. Any chronic symptom that your child deals with is worth looking into further with HTMA, especially as this test can be used just as much for preventing future issues as it is used for healing current ones.
Treating Adrenal Fatigue in Kids
Even in adults, there is never *just* adrenal fatigue. The root cause of any illness is going to include nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. Knowing this, we need to focus on a few key points depending on ones test results, symptoms, and history. These key points are gut health, liver health, lymph health, and diet/lifestyle.
Gut and Liver Healing
Healing the gut is often one of the first steps to take for better health. I include the liver in this as well as a healthy liver plays a big role in the absorption of many nutrients (like fats, protein, and fat soluble vitamins like A and D). I have a full post here on healing the gut for kids that you can check out.
The basics include healing the gut lining (with foods like bone broth, collagen or gelatin powders, and aloe vera), replenishing good gut bacteria (with fermented foods or probiotics like Garden of life and Renew Life), helping stomach acid production (like with Switchel or my Cranberry Lemon-Limeade, recipes in the full post linked above), and healing the liver (which most of the above help with liver healing, but I see kids do particularly well with the BioRay Kids’ line products, which you can read more about here. These BioRay products all have different main purposes, but they generally offer liver, adrenal, and gut support).
The lymph system plays a huge role in our overall health. There is a big link between the gut and the lymph- in fact, when we are dealing with leaky gut, the food particles and toxins that leak through the gut lining end up in the lymph system, which starts to make it sluggish. Chronic, underlying infections are common with a sluggish lymph: this includes Epstein-Barr virus, parasites, yeast, etc. The lymph system doesn’t have its own pump, so we have to do it ourselves. Luckily, kids tend to love the main lymph mover: jumping on a trampoline! Rebounding one of the easiest and most effective ways to stimulate the lymph system.
Exercise in general helps to move the lymph. Dry skin brushing can be good for older kids that understand it. Even castor oil packs or rubbing castor oil over the liver area can help with moving the lymph a bit. Read more about the lymph here.
This is perhaps ones of the hardest things to adjust for kids, especially if you have been making the switch over from a Standard American Diet. But it is absolutely one of the most important changes. The SAD is full of dead foods with no nutritional value: processed foods, genetically modified foods, massive amounts of sugar, artificial flavors and sweeteners, food dye, high fructose corn syrup, etc. All of these things have links with illnesses like obesity, cancer, diabetes, ADD/ADHD, and more. Eliminating these “foods” can make a HUGE difference in a short period of time for some kids.
Switching to a nutrient dense, whole foods diet is the ideal for sure, but I know how rough this can be. Schools still tend to over terrible food choices and I have even heard of teachers that use candy and other sweets in the classroom to keep kids’ attention (or for certain activities like math). This is where the phrase “Do your best!” comes into play. We all cannot be 100% perfect, and we cannot control everything. Do your best to control what you can in cases like this. Learn how to pick your battles when it comes to this topic.
One of the best approaches for this issue is to slowly start incorporating nutrient dense foods into your child’s diet. This can be anything from pumpkin seeds (which are *amazing* in this coconut oil chocolate recipe!), fat bombs (snacks that can act almost like desserts, but they pack a punch of healthy fats which are essential for children’s health and development- don’t believe the BS about fat and cholesterol being bad! They are extra essential for children’s health.), collagen powder, herbal infusions, cod liver oil, and desiccated beef liver. You can read my full breakdown on these foods here, as well as the typical smoothie I make for my own child.
For a full breakdown on what I consider to be the Ideal Diet, my ebook on this issue can be found here.
When it comes to kids and their health, I am a HUGE advocate for changing the current way that we live. Between the terrible diets, stress (both for kids and parents alike), technology and how too much screen time messes with us, environmental toxins, and just the fact that these nutrient deficiencies have been effecting each generation in a worse way as time goes on, thing just need to change. We really need to focus on preventing illness instead of just waiting for a diagnosis, and this is even more imperative now since our current generation of kids have shorter life spans than us. As we heal and change, so do our kids. And they deserve a better future!