Common symptoms in children - the environmental approach

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Very often I do not have a clue about which symptoms are caused by what factors. I just apply the general environmental approach to the problem and it usually sorts itself out.

See The general approach to maintaining and restoring good health

The general physical approach (I would not presume to advise on psychological aspects) is:

Exclude serious pathology

If these basic essentials do not bring about results, it is probably wise to consult a doctor to exclude serious pathology, do urine testing for infection (multistix - see Urine MULTISTIX analysis interpretation) and maybe do blood tests for anaemia and thyroid function (insist on a Free T4, Free T3 and TSH).

Common associations

Colic in babies: dairy allergy - see Colicky babies.


Catarrhal children: dairy allergy.

Constipation: dairy allergy, dehydration, lack of probiotics, lack of exercise. See Constipation

Behaviour problems and poor scholastic performance: - diets high insugar, refinced carbohydrate and fruit juices - see Hyperactivity - on the go all the time, no peace!.

Recurrent viral infections: allergy and nutritional deficiencies. See Viral infections - avoid them and treat them aggressively

Failure to thrive: wheat allergy and/or coeliac disease. Any food allergy or nutritional deficiency.

Headaches, "abdominal migraine", "growing pains", "grumbling appendix": think food allergy.

Fatigue: I would treat fatigue in children exactly the same as in adults. See "Fatigue" section to the left toolbar

Look for nutritional deficiencies

Hair analysis is not a very good test of nutritional status, but it is at least painless! It gives some idea of overall micronutrient status and is reasonably accurate for manganese, copper, selenium and chromium. If zinc is low then that is probably correct, but severe zinc deficiency slows hair growth and gives misleading results. Toxic minerals (eg. lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and aluminium) may or may not show up. Hair analysis does not exclude heavy metal poisoning. If in doubt, do a urine challenge test ie measure levels of heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminium in order of likelihood) before and after a zinc and selenium dose. These minerals displace bivalent and trivalent heavy metals which then show up in urine.

For other problems, see the appropriate section.

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