Happy Monday! I hope you are all enjoying this month’s topic of chiropractic, nutrition and children. After this week, I will diverging more from the chiropractic portion and moving more towards the nutrition aspect.
I am returning this week, from a chiropractic research conference, where I had a poster and presentation this year (see the bottom for pictures). I will tell you, there is a huge need for more research for cranial care, but one thing is certain that there is more and more research happening for its use in pregnancy, post partum and children.
It seems more and more children are having more and more digestion issues. Why is this?
Well, of course this isn’t an “easy” answer or a quick fix, as it can be multiple different factors. This is a “blog” so as you know this is my professional opinion, I believe that the increase in digestion issues is caused by three main factors.
1. The increase in vaccinations. Food proteins are added among other things, which causes abnormal immune responses, which can then lead to food allergies, and gut imbalances. Wonder why no peanuts are allowed in schools anymore, that’s because so many are allergic to so many foods because of this increase.
2. The sources of our food. Genetically modified foods we cannot digest, sprayed with herbicides and pesticides that break down our intestinal wall, and allow bugs and proteins to seep through. Our soil is nutrient deficient, so most are nutrient and mineral deficient. Non organic GMO foods can cause problems in children and adults as well, and dairy (cow’s milk) has often too much casein that children cannot properly digest. A decrease in infants breastfeeding, and an increase in children being fed soy based formulas is also a huge cause of digestive disruption in children.
3. Nervous system dysfunction and Sympathetic overload. This is mainly structural problems caused from birth.
For the sake of this blog, we will mainly focus on the structural causes of digestive issues.
1 What’s big in this category is the involvement in the nervous system. As previously mentioned before in last week’s blog is birth is traumatic on the head and nervous system. Because it is traumatic on the head and nervous system, what can usually happen and cause digestion problems in infants and children is compression on a nerve called the vagus nerve (shown in green).
The vagus nerve starts its origin within the head, and exits through the base of the skull.
What does the vagus nerve do??
It is one of the 12 cranial nerves we have that exit the skull. The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that emanate from the brain. It transmits information to or from the surface of the brain to tissues and organs elsewhere in the body. This nerve has many functions, but the 4 main functions are:
- Sensory: From the throat, heart, lungs, and abdomen.
- Special sensory: Provides taste sensation behind the tongue.
- Motor: Provides movement functions for the muscles in the neck responsible for swallowing and speech.
- Parasympathetic: Responsible for the digestive tract, respiration, and heart rate functioning.
The parasympathetic side, which the vagus nerve is heavily involved in, decreases alertness, blood pressure, and heart rate, and helps with calmness, relaxation, and digestion. As a result, the vagus nerve also helps with defecation, urination, and sexual arousal.
Other vagus nerve effects include:
- Communication between the brain and the gut: The vagus nerve delivers information from the gut to the brain.
- Relaxation with deep breathing: The vagus nerve communicates with the diaphragm. With deep breaths, a person feels more relaxed.
- Decreasing inflammation: The vagus nerve sends an anti-inflammatory signal to other parts of the body.
- Lowering the heart rate and blood pressure: If the vagus nerve is overactive, it can lead to the heart being unable to pump enough blood around the body. In some cases, excessive vagus nerve activity can cause loss of consciousness and organ damage.
- Fear management: The vagus nerve sends information from the gut to the brain, which is linked to dealing with stress, anxiety and fear – hence the saying, “gut feeling.” These signals help a person to recover from stressful and scary situations.
Because we are focusing on digestion, some big points here. Vagal dysfunction whether increased or decreased CAN and does can digestion problems.
- Difficulty swallowing is one, which when you are dealing with a child or an infant swallowing it can have huge problems. Also can lead to problems with the tongue and palate which can change the way the palate grows and develops.
- Delayed gastric emptying- nausea, heart burn, stomach pains, spasms in the stomach, weight loss
- B12 deficiency. The vagus nerve stimulates parietal cells in the stomach to secrete acid and intrinsic factor. This factor is needed to absorb vitamin B12.
- irritable bowel syndrome. Dys-regulation of the nervous system plays a role in the development of IBS.
How to normalize the nerve function?
-There are many ways to stimulate the vagus nerve, however the BEST and only way in children I have found (and adults), is taking the compression of the nerve away at its source. THE HEAD. Craniopathy chiropractic care. Taking direct pressure can cause symptoms to improve almost instantly in children.
2. Structural causes can also stem from dysfunction within the palate, which can further cause digestion problems. Birth trauma can cause changes in the palate, or dysfinction in the tongue. And of course genetic problems such as tongue and lip tie can cause digestion difficulties and speech and developmental problems for some if severe. These dysfunctions also made breastfeeding difficult and for some infants impossible. Get them checked for cranial care before stopping breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is huge for much development.
I hope this was all beneficial to you this week, and for those with children, know children or expecting children, please keep my care in mind. There are not many individuals that do what I do, and the need is BIG. Having proper digestion is key to actually absorbing nutrients which help children and adults alike. If that child is nutrient deficient it can cause big problems later on.