Bobby was seven years old when he came to see me. He had chronic strep throat; 12 times in the last two years, with one incident taking three courses of antibiotics to clear up. In addition, he had moderate irritability, tantrums, low muscle tone, fatigue, and some food allergies. His parents wanted a healthier child with a vitamin regimen to keep him off of antibiotics in the future.
Although I don’t see chronic strep throat that often, the treatment is similar to chronic ear infections, colds, and runny noses. In all of these cases the problem is clearly a poorly functioning immune system. The key is to find any nutritional deficiencies, detoxification or digestive issues that are contributing to the problem, fix those, and at the same time build up a strong defense to prevent further infections.
When I looked at Bobby’s diet it was like most children’s- low protein and high carbohydrate, especially not enough protein for breakfast. He was consuming Eggo chocolate chip waffles every morning for breakfast with a mid-morning snack of either pretzels or a cereal bar. Although Bobby was getting some protein with lunch and dinner, which is better than most kids I see, his vegetable intake consisted of romaine lettuce and baby corn.
I asked Bobby’s parents to change his breakfast and snacks to include more protein to help with blood sugar balance, muscle tone, energy and immune system health. Since he was allergic to nuts we couldn’t use nuts or nut butters which make good snacks for kids. I asked his mother to give Bobby eggs or a protein drink or switch to whole grain soy flax waffles which have protein, healthy fat and fiber to balance out the carbohydrates for breakfast. For snacks we switched to soy chips or fruit and cheese or turkey slices rolled up with mustard. At the end of this chapter I include lunch and snack examples for children to give you some idea how to get away from the junky snacks sold at school which are full of sugar and hydrogenated oils.
Bobby started on supplements to boost his immune system: a children’s multi-vitamin and mineral complex, garlic, mixed carotenoids, EPA/DHA, and vitamin C. We also did a hair mineral/toxic metal screening and an IgG food sensitivity test. I suspected that since Bobby already had some known food allergies, he might have some sensitivities as well that could be degrading his immune system. The parents opted to start with just the toxic metal/mineral screening.
The test revealed high copper/low zinc, low sodium and potassium, and elevated aluminum. We then added zinc to Bobby’s supplement list to bring his levels up. Zinc is an important mineral for immune health but should not be given in high doses for an extended period of time. Picky eating is often a sign of zinc deficiency. There is documented evidence that some forms of anorexia nervosa can actually be caused by zinc deficiencies. I recommend giving children zinc in a liquid form. When you give a deficient child the liquid zinc it should taste just like water initially. As it begins to build back up in the body, there is a metallic taste. If the liquid drops are taken in water a zinc deficient child usually will not taste them in the beginning. When the child later refuses to drink the water with zinc because of bad taste, you know the levels are back to normal and the drops are no longer needed. I also gave Bobby’s parents a list of foods high in potassium and recommended a weekly Epsom salt bath, which aids in detoxification and improves sodium levels.
Bobby has not had strep throat since our first visit over seven months ago. He did get one cold. His mother added echinacea, astragalus, and carrot juice to the vitamin C and garlic that he was already taking and the cold passed quickly. Bobby is now eating a more varied diet including a variety of vegetables sautéed with garlic and olive oil. He also has more stamina and energy.
Bobby’s Makeover: Before
Problem: Poorly functioning immune system, chronic strep throat. Bobby had strep throat 12 times in a two-year period and he was becoming resistant to the standard antibiotic treatments. His mother was looking for an alternative to build his immune system and make him stronger.
Diet: Bobby’s diet was low protein and high carbohydrate. He consumed a fair amount of sugar and artificial dyes and colors. He ate few vegetables and an occasional fruit.
Supplements: Bobby was taking a high sugar children’s chewable multi vitamin.
Exercise: Energy was an issue for Bobby so he didn’t run around as much as other children his age.
Stress Mgt. & Self-Care: Stress did not seem to be a major factor but there was the recent death of a grandparent that might have been the trigger for Bobby’s initial strep throat episode.
Bobby’s Makeover: After
Problem: Poorly functioning immune system, chronic strep throat. Bobby had no more strep throat episodes. He felt much better and had more energy for sports. He had one cold in the year that I followed him and his family.
Diet: Bobby’s diet was much improved. He began eating vegetables with garlic and olive oil regularly. He started the morning with either a protein drink or eggs and had protein throughout the day. He reduced his sugar intake from junky foods and began eating fruit every day.
Supplements: Initially Bobby was on a lot of vitamins to build his immune system back up and make him stronger. He now is on a good all natural multivitamin and vitamin C and takes garlic, astragalus and zinc as needed to boost his immune system.
Exercise: Energy is no longer an issue for Bobby who is involved in several organized sport activities.
Stress Mgt. & Self-Care: Bobby’s parents discussed the loss of his grandparent with him and relieved his fears, assuring him that they were going to be around for a long while.