Is the quality of life of your child compromised when they have nutrient deficiencies? … Here we take a look at the case of Melissa, who after correcting her nutrient imbalances experienced profound turn around. 

MindCheck provides weekly in-depth information on the orthomolecular approach to coping with mood, behavior and psychotic disorders.  This series by Dr. Ray Pataracchia N.D. is endorsed by the  Mindful Network – ‘A Better Future for Children’s Mental Health’.

Mindful Charity Blog: The Case of Melissa

Cathy Ireland, P.H.Ec.,  Ray Pataracchia, N.D., B.Sc.

Melissa has always been a strong minded, independent person.  She was always keenly focused on completing even the simplest of tasks until perfection was attained.  It wasn’t until grade two that she started to journal about not liking herself or her life.  She’d tell us that everyone hated her and that they thought she was ugly.  She was getting into arguments with her friends and… “she didn’t want to live anymore”.  It was concerning for us to hear our own daughter tell you that she wanted to end her life, especially at such a young age.  We brushed aside her threats, mostly because they usually came when she was really upset with us. Melissa’s breakdowns were becoming more and more frequent, to the point where we’d walk on eggshells waiting for the next thing to set her off.  She was complaining of headaches every day and was constipated for 3 to 5 days at a time.  We were taking on a more distant approach, sending her to her room until she calmed down, as a way of protecting each other from what we’d say or do.  This only made Melissa withdraw more.  She really felt like no one loved her or wanted her around and that maybe she should just end her life.  While I didn’t really believe she would act on it, it was deeply concerning to us. We began to reach out to health professionals.  Her doctor was of no help.  “She needs to meditate, relax, to calm down.”  Thanks!  A psychiatrist said we were spending too much time disciplining Melissa and she was being weighed down with an overabundance of negative criticisms while lacking an equal amount of positive reinforcement.  I can’t argue with that, but, trying to remain positive when you’re child has mentally and physically beaten you down was not THE answer we were searching for.  If only they could see a video of one of Melissa’s episodes, they’d see what we were experiencing!

The Mood-Food Connection

I soon started to see a connection between food and her mood.  She was happy when she was eating and then within an hour or so, she’d melt down.  My first thought was that her blood sugars were dropping too fast and she needed to eat more frequently to keep them level.

Nutrient Treatment

Finally, we found compassion and a sense of hope when we contacted Mindful Charity.  They put us in touch with a Naturopathic Doctor who based his practice on the relationship between nutrient deficiencies and mental health.  Dr. Ray can elaborate further on the lab results and their relationship to the brains function.

Melissa’s blood, hair and urine were tested for deficiencies and toxicities.  We learned that her body wasn’t utilizing protein efficiently.  Melissa wasn’t a fan of the taste or texture of meat so what little protein she was eating required amino acid supplements (protein building blocks) to help her produce sufficient brain neurotransmitters (brain communication molecules).  Her blood copper was low so we supplemented copper with a proportionate amount of zinc; both copper and zinc are involved in neurotransmitter production and regulation.  Thyroid indicators suggested low thyroid metabolism and her stored iron levels were low, so we supplemented iron; iron is involved in thyroid hormone production, oxygen carriage and ultimately the production of ATP which is a base fuel for neurons.  To help her stress tolerance we provided a low dose of an adaptogenic herb called Ashwaganda;  adaptogens facilitate the appropriate release of adrenal stress hormones.  I also put her on a low dose multi-mineral-vitamin for global brain nourishment.  She was better off gluten and did well on a low gluten diet with adequate fibre and water intake. Melissa’s Mom reported that “her improvement was like night and day”and within 2 months she was enjoying school, hadn’t been to the office in 5 weeks, had a 90% reduction in outburst behaviour, and was giving herself permission to leave perfectionism at the wayside.

In short, with the recommended supplements and dietary changes, we noticed a huge difference immediately.  We had our happy-go-lucky Melissa back.