Digestive Health For Optimal Children’s Health

The gut is considered in traditional Naturopathic philosophy, as the seat of all health. It’s not surprising then, that managing the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a key step in managing almost all other body systems. The gut is a complex system and any dysfunction in the gut can have a profound influence over other body systems. As a result of this complexity, managing digestive disorders isn’t always simple and there are often many contributing factors that lead to, and are a consequence of, GIT dysfunction.

To truly restore gut health, a treatment plan will ideally address each and every one of these six functional layers, which form an interrelated web. As such, imbalances in any one layer can lead to imbalances in the others.

Children’s Health – Diet

Food is consumed to not only provide the body with the energy and nutrients it requires; it also has a strong influence on digestive health. For example, a diet high in refined carbohydrates may result in a dysbiotic GIT.

Children who make food choices that are low in nutrient content, high calories, excessive processing or food intolerances and allergies can have poor gut health.

Digestive Enzymes to support Healthy Kids Digestion

Most food that is consumed contains nutrient complexes that are too large for your child’s cells to utilise. In a healthy system, digestive organs secrete acids and enzymes that break down these nutrients to make them small enough for the cells to use. When digestive secretions are reduced, nutrient absorption is also compromised, betaine hydrochloride and pepsin may need to be prescribed.

Friendly Bacteria to support Optimal Kids health

What comes first – the chicken or the egg? When it comes to gut function, is it inflammation at the barrier that’s deteriorating the friendly bacteria living in the gut or are bad bacteria and pathogens driving the loss of mucosal integrity? Both may be at play, highlighting the necessity of also addressing the friendly bacteria level. Probiotics are the ideal way to develop a healthy levels of friendly bacteria and restore digestive balance.

The Gut Wall Barrier and Kids Health

There are three main lines of defence in preventing bacteria from penetrating the gut barrier. Firstly, secretory immunoglobulin A (secretory IgA); secretory IgA in the GIT binds to bacteria, and therefore keeps those bacteria in the digestive tract where they can do less damage.

The second line of defence is the mucus. This is a physical barrier between the gut lumen and the cells that make up the gut wall which prevents bacterial adherence to the cells. Nutrients, such as glutamine, increase levels of secretory IgA and improve mucosal health.

The third line of defence against bacteria in the GIT is epithelial cells. These cells have selective permeability designed to exclude detrimental particles and absorb beneficial items, such as nutrients from food.

In a sub-optimal digestive tract, and when inflammation occurs, the tight junctions between these epithelial cells can become opened which can lead to intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut), allowing foreign particles to penetrate the gut barrier. Many nutrients can support the health of these junctions, including glutamine and zinc. Aloe vera and Boswellia improves the integrity of the gut epithelial lining due to the healing, anti-inflammatory action.

Immune for Children’s Health

With 70% of the immune system being in the gut, the digestive and immune systems are very closely related. Immune balance is influenced by the gut microbiome and, in turn, gut microbiome is influenced by immune balance. Immune function ought to be considered in treating gut health, as immune driven inflammation in the gut can lead to gut barrier dysfunction. There are two main approaches in treating this ‘see-saw’. The immune system can be treated with a patient specific immune protocol, and the gut microbiome can be brought back in line with the use of good quality probiotics.

Evidence based strain-specific probiotic strains, at the correct researched dose, exert specific actions to either regulate or stimulate the immune system. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus paracasei modulate immune reactions by interacting with dendritic cells within the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), stimulates the production of regulatory T cells and increases the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Enteric Nervous System

The commonly held belief that the gut is the body’s ‘second brain’ may have been originally referring to the enteric nervous system (ENS) and its role in digestive health. The ENS regulates the behaviour of the GIT, including motility and gastrointestinal secretions. Managing a patient’s stress and nervous system can have an impact on gastrointestinal symptoms. This is particularly apparent in patients with medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for example.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Support your child’s health

With digestion as the seat of health, treatment that focuses on restoring barrier and bacteria function will result in resolution of the majority of your patients’ digestive complaints and many systemic issues.

However, it is essential to take a holistic approach, addressing the specific factors affecting each individual, including poor diet, weakened digestion (enzymes) and imbalances in the immune and enteric nervous systems. Just as the gut is central within our body, and its health is central to our continued wellness, these treatment recommendations may well become central to your practice.

Naturopathy Can Help With the Following Childhood Conditions

Fiona provides tailored health plans based on a multitude of factors relevant to your child’s symptomology (how they are feeling), pathology (how their body is responding), plus dietary and lifestyle factors.

  • ✅ Digestive complaints – constipation, diarrhoea, loose stools, pain or bloating
  • ✅ Allergies and allergic conditions – such as asthma, eczema or hayfever
  • ✅ Poor Immunity – recurring colds or ear infections
  • ✅ Skin Conditions – rashes, eczema, acne, pimples or allergic reactions
  • ✅ Moods – anxiety, depression or mood swings
  • ✅ Food Intolerances – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Food Allergies – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Growth and development issues – fussy eaters or nutritional malabsorption
  • ✅ Behavioural challenges – ADHD or others
  • ✅ Energy – poor energy or chronic fatigue
  • ✅ Picky Eaters – fussy eaters
  • ✅ Sleep – trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

What happens in a children’s nutritionist consultation

During your consultation, Fiona will seek information about your pregnancy, birth and post birth experiences. This will provide an integrated view to give a full picture of the foundations of your child’s health status. You can expect to leave your consultation with a thorough understanding of the potential contributing factors of the presenting symptoms. Fiona will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates possible herbal/nutritional medicine, dietary/lifestyle recommendations, recipes and handouts. Plus an overview of the consultation so you feel empowered to care for your child’s wellbeing with Fiona’s guidance. At The Children’s Naturopath, Fiona Stock an expert in childhood health, she understands children’s needs and considers working with kids and teens to be an absolute joy. She finds that children typically respond to naturopathic treatment very well – bouncing back to good health in no time.  And she treasures the opportunity she has to teach kids about their bodies and engage them in their health journey, setting them up with strong foundations and knowledge for life.

Meet Children’s Nutritionist – Fiona Stock

Fiona is skilled at getting to the heart of childhood health challenges – helping to initiate lasting change.

Fiona Stock is a respected Paediatric Naturopath & Children’s Nutritionist with a career spanning over 23 years. Armed with an abundance of experience and a true desire to transform your child’s health, she’ll listen closely to understand the underlying causes of their troubling condition. Fiona gets to the heart of your child’s presenting symptoms by deciphering what their body is trying to tell you. She will suggest simple and specific changes as well as herbal or nutritional medicine where required to nurture and restore your child, so they can enjoy the good health they deserve. Deeply compassionate and highly skilled, either of the Naturopathic Consultation Options with Fiona is a wonderful investment in your child’s health. If you’ve tried everything and are yet to find solutions to your child’s health challenges – this could well be the path to take.

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  • ✅Poor Immunity
  • ✅Poor Focus & Concentration
  • ✅ Behavioural Problems
  • ✅ ADHD
  • ✅ Depression
  • ✅ Anxiety
  • ✅ Food Allergies
  • ✅ Food Intolerances
  • ✅ Constipation
  • ✅ Diarrhoea
  • ✅ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • ✅ Tummy Pain
  • ✅ Eczema
  • ✅ Asthma
  • ✅ Obesity
  • ✅ Auto-Immune Disease
  • ✅ Recurring Infections
  • ✅ Fussy Eaters
  • ✅ Sleep Issues
  • ✅ Plus many more…

Online Learning | Children’s Health | Children’s Nutritionist

Would you like a consultation with me at a fraction of the cost? My online learning classes are jam packed with more advice than I provide in a face-to-face appointment. It’s evidence-based naturopathic wisdom coupled with the latest scientific research on kids health I’ve successfully shared with clients over my 20+ year career.

I’ve also included cheatsheets, checklists, nourishing recipes and 25 page book of class notes.

You will learn:

  • ✅ Understand the cause if common childhood conditions (eczema, poor immunity, food allergies, food intolerances, poor focus & concentration, ADHD, behavioural problems).
  • ✅. Supporting immune function to help support allergic conditions.
  • ✅. Support optimal brain function.
  • ✅. Healthy Eating Plan – including portion size for each age-group.
  • ✅. Natural medicine recommendations,
  • ✅. Plus much more…

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