Did you know a food can actually cause you to act as if you have ADHD? Many kids and even adults who have been labeled ADHD are actually hypoglycemic. This is how hypoglycemia works:
Your brain needs three things:
It needs oxygen
It needs stimulation
It needs glucose
Glucose is your fuel and it comes from the foods you eat. In the beginning of life, this is where newborns are affected by the moro reflex. Even though we use the word “affected”, it is still a very normal part of development. The moro reflex will actually fire about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours to create a rhythmic sleep/wake cycle. It is triggered by the depletion of glucose in the brain, the location in the body where glucose is used up the fastest, and this depletion will cause the baby to startle and wake up. You’ve actually been counting on this mechanism your entire life. So what you eat truly does play a huge part in how you feel, how much energy you have, and how you are going to be able to concentrate.
When a person is hypoglycemic, that person will have a tendency to really crave carbohydrates and many times children come into our practice with ravenous appetites. They want to eat all the time; they never appear satisfied. So that child has a constant need to put calories inside their body, but when you overload the system, you change what’s going to happen to those carbohydrates and you create a need to produce more insulin to regulate the excess blood sugar. So now there will be an imbalance between the glucose and the insulin and the next thing you see is that child running around and somebody saying, “That child is really hyperactive.” What’s really happening is the child needs to use up what has been put into his system as fast as possible. So it’s really important to understand how food affects us. And the only way we can really know what’s going on inside of us is to do a functional lab.
There is a difference between traditional labs and functional labs. Traditional labs are the ones performed by the medical provider you choose because your insurance card allows you to see this particular individual. You will go in and give a certain amount of complaints. You will hope that they will investigate your complaints. If they perform a lab, it will be a lab for which standards have been changed every single year. Normal levels are being recalculated based on the number of people taking the labs and the average numbers of their tested numbers.
That is not the function of the human body. There are functional levels that our body really needs to perform. So if you come to someone like me, we perform functional labs. And I want to dispel the idea that insurance doesn’t cover these kind of labs. Everything depends on the policy that you have purchased. If your policy accepts certain codes, then yes—you will get coverage. The first thing we like to do is help bring down the stress, so we will provide the codes we use in this office. This will enable you to check with your insurance carrier and learn if those services are actually covered and assist you making an educated decision on your healthcare.
I’m part of a wonderful group called the Institute of Functional Medicine. This is a group of medical doctors who embrace all kinds of practitioners, including chiropractors like myself, who truly focus on the biochemistry of the body. In our labs, we look at the functional levels of glucose, the functional levels of vitamins and minerals in your body, and also what foods are causing your body to have a high inflammatory response. A lot of these areas happen to be what’s going on with that little kid who is eating the wrong things, not getting the right sources into their body, and causing their body to crave more. They have to eat, they have to eat all the time, and then they’re right back into that cycle. There is too much glucose, they have to raise the insulin, and now that child is out of control.
One of the things more noticed in young parents is that there is a fear that their child will suffocate in their sleep and they won’t be able to get there in time. One important part of development is that your baby gets put down on their stomach, back, and both sides. With infants, the cranial vault is malleable so it is important that you don’t only lay a child on their back.
Unfortunately there are some children in the world that have died from SIDS, otherwise known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is important to note that SIDS is not related to sleeping on your belly. Your baby has a reflex that is actually firing inside of them called the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex. This reflex ensures that your baby has an airway. If your child’s neurology is working in the right direction then there is no reason to fear SIDS.
I work in pediatric development so I can tell you if your child is developing as expected. Oftentimes children that are at a real risk are going to show up at pediatric development center with a heart monitor on that shows they are already having difficulty keeping the rhythm of breath. Their parents have already taken them to a medical care provider.
If you are concerned about if your child should sleep on their belly or on their side, let me dispel those fears and we can take a look at what is really going on in their neurology. The asymmetrical tonic neck reflex is when a baby turns their head the arm and leg reflexively go out. This is what ensures an airway. Let’s say that your baby is laying on its belly and some way or another ends up face down in their covers, this is where the moro reflex should take over. The moro reflex turns on the sleep/wake cycle, the balance between CO2 and O2, and your sympathetic nervous system. So if your baby does happen to end up face down in the covers, then there would be a change in the CO2 and the O2, and the baby will startle itself and go right back into that turned position.
Unfortunately there has been a campaign about babies sleeping on their backs that has put a lot of fear into parents. The campaign is making them feel as though the can only let their babies sleep on their backs. In fact, some people get foam rolls and lock their baby into a face up position. In the beginning your baby needs to move as much as possible. When women go in for routine exams during pregnancy the first question your doctor asks is always about your baby’s movement. This movement is actually wiring your baby up. Once your baby gets here, they are fully formed but they are not fully developed. They need to continue to move. If we take away the very essence of what they need to ensure that their brain is going to develop correctly, we could create problems.
In fact over the years what we have seen with this campaign about your baby sleeping on their back is that there is more awareness of tummy time because many of these children are developing very flat heads, and subsequently having to get helmets put on in order to try and change the position of their cranial vault. If your baby’s head is misshapen, cranial work is a very non invasive procedure that does wonders for the cranial vault. We offer that therapy here at our office. We can also educate you on the right positions to put your baby in for sleep time, and work with you to help you understand how the nervous system works so we can actually quiet your fears.
Many parents ask about crawling and if it is important or not. There is a sequence of events that must happen before a child will ever start to use the first movements of opposite arms and legs. If a child is crawling, it means that both sides of their brain are able to communicate with each other. When a baby comes into this world they have a set motor pattern and their primitive reflexes lock the neurology into these particular patterns. The moro reflex and the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex are two important reflexes your baby has at the beginning of their life. Babies must be able to push through these reflexes and on to the next to be able to crawl successfully.
The moro reflex focuses on flexing and extending by being startled by a sudden change in their environment. The asymmetrical tonic neck reflex is the ability for the baby’s arm and leg to go in the direction that a baby is turning their head. That puts a cut down the midline of our body. If the baby doesn’t get to crawling where it is using the opposite arm and leg, then that particular reflex will be stuck. If the reflex gets stuck, then the baby’s eyes won’t be able to cross the midline. A baby’s eyes need to be able to cross the midline to be able to learn how to read or to know how to do anything that involves going from left to right.
If the reflex continues on and isn’t stuck, the child’s neurology is completely changed. So when a child moves through the primitive reflexes we get to see the maturation of development because the child is going into first the commando crawl, where they look like they are slithering on their bellies. In the commando crawl they tend to really pull themselves with their arms. Their legs aren’t really involved, although they are digging their toes into the ground. Digging their toes into the ground is very important because it will help them come upright on their hands and knees so they will be able to take that motor skill stride of left arm, right leg and right arm, left leg.
It is very important that children crawl. It is an extremely important milestone for both sides of the brain hemispheres to be able to communicate with one another. There is function on both sides of a baby’s brain, but they do different things. For example, the need to talk is on the right side of your brain. The work of actually talking is on the left side. If you don’t have the right timing between both hemispheres then that piece of neurology as your maturing is interfered with.
The milestone of crawling is important, so it is not okay to tell parents that it is okay if their child doesn’t crawl. There are typical patterns that you are supposed to see. They are laying down important parts of neurology that they are going to use for their entire lives. It is very important to understand developmental milestones so that you know how to look and see if your child is following the typical neurological pattern. Also check with someone like me who is able to check that your baby is on the right track in their development!
Dr. Laura Hanson, D.C., D.I.C.C.P., NDT, is a board certified chiropractic pediatric diplomat, neuro-developmental therapist, and has completed Master’s coursework in Nutrition. Dr. Hanson is recognized domestically and internationally through her personal teachings to health care professionals, teachers, and parents on the progression of pediatric development. Dr. Hanson has practiced since 1996 in the area of pediatric development and brain based patient management and is recognized as a world expert in teaching and caring for children with developmental delay. She has developed a unique approach to working with children with developmental delay, and extends her services to couples planning a family, and pregnant women.
In this podcast Dr. Hanson discussed fight or flight, what it is, and how it can cause everything from ADD, focus problems, Gi problems, infertility, and more. She also discussed how to tell if chronic stress is affecting you or your child, and what steps you can take to improve your health.
When Dr. Hanson the opportunity to work on somebody, they have the potential to be locked into a stress pattern. Chiropractic work is an incredible tool to break these patterns. You are meant to be in balance. You are supposed to flow in and out of stress. You should have a wavelike flexibility in your neurology but when you have a chronic stress pattern you change the feedback mechanism in your brain. When your brain gets locked in these patterns it literally thinks you are either always fighting or running. A chiropractic adjustment is so powerful to break a pattern.
Dr. Hanson used to believe that people needed chiropractic adjustments all the time. Now knowing more of the neurology behind the chiropractic adjustments I have learned that is not always the case. If you are in a constant aroused state, you probably don’t need constant adjustments. However if you are underaroused, for example with ADD then you might benefit from more chiropractic adjustments.
If you want to know more about stress and its effect on your brain listen to the podcast above and educate yourself on what you could be doing differently!
The sympathetic nervous system is an important part in our health. The sympathetic nervous system allows us to be able to handle threats or things that scare us. Stress is chemical, mechanical, and emotional. Mechanical stress, like lifting weights, has a positive impact because it will help develop blood communication and dump better calcium into the bloodstream rather than pulling it away from our bones. However if you beat your body up every single day at the gym and never give yourself time to recuperate then that is going to lead to an injury.
Stress is also chemical. Let’s say we want to have a cup of coffee, having one cup of coffee made with organic ingredients is fine. However if you need multiple cups of coffee or you are drinking coffee all day and it is the only way you can make it through the day, that’s stressful. Chemical stress is also taking over the counter medications all the time because you think you should always have a way to resolve the common everyday headache. A headaches every single day of your life is letting you know that there is stress going on in your system.
Of course, stress is emotional as well. Maybe you are dealing with finances or relationship problems, or even suffering a loss. There are many forms of emotional stress. The sympathetic nervous system is meant to be in balance. It has its counterpart known as parasympathetic which is what allows us to get better bloodflow to the rest of the body. There is supposed to be a balance between them. When we live in chronic stress we are changing blood flow from the frontal lobe or the executive function to the backbrain because there are only two messages, fight or run. Your body is preparing to run away from that threat so you lose blood flow to the gut. This could be why you have things like food sensitivities, why there is leaky gut, why there is poor absorption of the vitamins and minerals in food, why there is acid reflux. These are indicators that your gastrointestinal system is completely out of balance and it could be related to the stress response.
Here in the office we do a stress response test to see if you are in a chronic state of stress or not. If you are in chronic stress that means it has been going on for a while and now you are actually changing real estate in your brain. The longer it goes on, your brain starts taking more archetacture with it. For example if you were an avid runner and now you find yourself only running one day a week and then you notice you are only doing it twice a month, you are actually losing real estate of the enjoyment you used to feel about running. The stress response is saying that you aren’t using that part of the brain so we are going to take over this part of the brain to keep the stress response going.
If this continues, you have now changed how your brain is interpreting the self. You can get yourself back! It does take the ability to pay attention, you have to practice it in real time, and you have to want it more than you have ever wanted anything. If you are at that point then I encourage you to make a decision to change the real estate in your brain!
Pediatric neurology has an interesting background. There are a group of reflexes that turn on the human nervous system. The wiring for all humans starts with another entity called central pattern generators which precede reflexes. I am here today to explain all of these terms.
A central pattern generator otherwise known as a neural oscillator is like our hardwire. The best way explain it is through an example. If I was to hold up a new little baby that just came into the world, I would put their foot on top of a hard surface and we would actually see them step up. Now newborn babies have never practices walking around but the reflexive motor pattern is already inside of our neurology. The twist is that if I were to move my hands away from the baby, they would fall down because their nervous system doesn’t know how to communicate with gravity yet.
There are many steps that wire our brains. The central pattern generators are the hard wired patterns that are in human physiology that generate a reflex. A reflex means that there is no sensory motor component, in fact the reflexes are what’s going to allow the nervous system to then be able to have a sensory motor component.
Starting around the beginning of conception as the baby comes together it has the first reflex known as the withdrawal reflex. These reflexes are priming the nervous system for what is going to turn on, called the moro reflex at around nine weeks of pregnancy. The withdrawal reflex actually creates a pull away motion from the baby inside of your womb. So any stimulus that comes to the baby, the baby is actually going to move away from. This is really important because it is a priming component to the nervous system. Babies need to know how to pull away from something in order to protect themselves. All reflexes lay something down in the neurology and then they grow up.
You still have your withdrawal reflexes today and they are known as crossed extensor reflexes. For example, if I am cooking and I have a couple of pots on my stovetop, if one of my arms skims across a hot pot, it is going to burn. When I quickly pull my arm away from the burn, that is referred to as crossed extensor reflexes. This reflex is turning on in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. It is important to understand the timing and development of the life that is growing inside you.
Around the ninth week of pregnancy the primitive reflexes start to kick in. The moro reflex is one of the primitive reflexes. It has a lot to do with ADD, ADHD, and anything that can make us struggle with the ability to pay attention. The moro reflex activates three things in the neurology, arousal is one, meaning is the baby waking up? Around two and a half to three hours as a newborn, you need glucose in the brain and glucose is only going to last for about 2 and a half to three hours. The baby will be able to startle itself and be able to wake up for the next feeding. Arousal is actually going to mature up to attention and eventually up to perception. If this reflex does not inhibit in time, this is where we get either an excitability to what we are going to pay attention to or that we are not able to pay attention to with would be an under-aroused state.
It actually turns on two other things in the nervous system, one is the balance between oxygen and carbon monoxide and the other is your sympathetic nervous system. That is your fight or flight response. Our next video will focus on the sympathetic nervous system!