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Mineral Balancing for Kids: Is it Right For Your Child?

Conventional medicine only looks for evidence of disease. But if you want to go deeper to truly help your child thrive and prevent disease, learn more about mineral balancing for kids.

Learn more about mineral balancing for kids.

 

Has your child ever had a mysterious symptom or illness pop up out of nowhere? That’s exactly what happened to my oldest son in 2023.

Everything was fine. Then all of a sudden, he started getting sick every two-to-three weeks. It would start with a headache and fatigue, then progress to a fever for a few days. The first few times I assumed he had caught a little virus.

But as he continued to get sick throughout the summer while the rest of the family was fine, I knew there was something going on.

We went to the pediatrician, who ran a few tests. Nothing. Then we moved on to a pediatric infectious disease specialist. He ran a myriad of tests – checking everything from cancer to bacterial infections spread from animals (since we raise chickens and lambs).

Then we got the all too familiar words,

“Everything looks good. If you’re still having problems, talk to your pediatrician.”

In other words, he thought my son was fine because he couldn’t find any out of range blood levels or evidence of disease (the only thing that conventional medicine treats). As a Nutritional Therapist that specializes in kid’s health, I knew that was not true.

Why do kids have low minerals?

Can Kids Have Low Minerals?

How did I know? Because I know my child. And I know the power of mineral balancing for kids.

You see, a few years earlier I had run a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) on my son and found that all four of his macro-minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium) were depleted. This is called a Four Lows state. In other words, total burnout.

But life was super busy. Even though I knew how serious it was, I didn’t do as much as I should have (funny how that works when it’s your own child versus a client).

We worked on replenishing a bit. Life went on, as it does. He seemed OK. Until he wasn’t.

So, when the doctor said there was no disease or infection (and even practically laughed in my face when I showed him my son’s hair test because clearly that was a joke), I knew exactly what to do.

I ran a new HTMA and got my son started on a mineral balancing program immediately.

Mineral balancing for kids

The Root Cause of Illness in Kids

I knew exactly what was “wrong” with my son. It was a two-fold issue, as it is with pretty much every client I work with.

It was a combination of mineral imbalance/depletion and nervous system dysregulation.

This is the root cause of just about every symptom/condition I see in my clients.

I noticed that my son got sick every time there was a stressful event.

  • Band audition…sick the next day.
  • Soccer tryouts…sick the next day.
  • Marching band camp…sick the next day.
  • Youth group event…sick the next day.

You get the idea.

How Stress Affects Minerals in Kids

But why? What’s the connection between minerals and stress?

There is actually a really big connection.

Stress, or any triggering of the nervous system, utilizes a lot of cellular energy. It also uses some of the most significant minerals in the body, such as magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

So, if a child’s nervous system is dysregulated, he or she will be using a lot of cellular energy. This depletes key minerals and creates an imbalance. This, in turn, causes physical symptoms, including full blown illness such as fevers.

The same can happen with physcial stressors such as lack of sleep, high or low blood sugar, excessive exercise, and spinal misalignment.

Mineral balancing for kids.

What Does Mineral Imbalance Look Like in Kids?

But a mineral imbalance in kids is not limited to acute illness. It can contribute many to symptoms, conditions, and disorders such as:

  • ADHD
  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Dandruff
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Constipation
  • Food sensitivities
  • Picky eating
  • Acne
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Histamine intolerance

The list could go on. This is why it’s so critical to use mineral balancing to support growing kids!

Mineral balancing for kids.

Why Do Kids Need Minerals?

Now, you may be wondering why kids would have low or imbalanced minerals to begin with. You’d expect it in a stressed out forty-year-old mom. But kids should be strong, healthy, and well-nourished, right?

Unfortunately, we live in a world with a lot of lifeless food (meaning, void of many vitamins and minerals). This includes the typical “kid food” that is overly processed and heavily marketed towards both parents and children for convenience.

Also, children are born to depleted mothers. If Mom doesn’t have mineral reserves, there is not much passed on to the child. So, kids are depleted from day one.

There are also more toxins in the environment than ever before. This puts a high stress load on the body and requires more energy and minerals for detoxification.

Finally, we live in a unique culture where kids spend much less time outside while also putting high levels of demand and stress on them, from activities around the clock to more and more schoolwork. This equates to low minerals, low resiliency, and a dysregulated nervous system.

Minerals are literally your body’s sparkplugs. Without them, a child will not feel his or her best.

Mineral Balancing for Kids

I know so many parents have had an experience similar to ours. You know your child is struggling. Yet, doctors are no help. They run a few tests and tell you, “Everything is fine,” when it’s clearly not.

This is why I love mineral balancing for kids! It actually helps your child! No brushing symptoms under the rug. No telling you that it’s “normal.” Instead, you get actual data and an understanding of what’s going on with your child at a cellular level. More importantly, you get a plan of action to help your child feel better.

Mineral balancing utilizes HTMA, a non-invasive test, to assess a child’s mineral and heavy metal status. Both the individual minerals and the mineral ratios give invaluable information about how the systems of the body are functioning at a cellular level.

This can show disease trends before any actual disease is present. Which makes it one of the best preventative tools available. In other words, mineral balancing helps get your child’s health back on track at a young age to prevent more serious problems in the future.

When minerals are at ideal levels and in balance with each other, the body can function optimally. This provides adequate cellular energy and also helps remove toxins and pathogens. Balanced minerals are a critical key to good health.

Mineral balancing for kids

Mineral Balancing for Teens

I work with many younger children. The great thing about starting mineral balancing at a young age is that the process is much faster.

However, I also work with many teens. This is a critical age for balanced minerals as hormones are added to the mix. What is required for healthy hormone production? Minerals!

Teenagers have added factors to consider:

  • Energy required for rapid growth.
  • Higher stress levels that come with a heavier workload and life changes such as learning to drive, getting a job, and making decisions about life after high school.
  • Hormone production and detoxification.
  • Circadian rhythm changes.

The most common mineral imbalance I see when working with teens is copper, especially in girls. This can have far-reaching effects from ADHD to OCD to eating disorders to mood swings to chocolate cravings! These are just a few of the symptoms.

As an adult struggling with copper imbalance and now going through it with my own daughter, I wish I had known about this many years ago. I could have not only helped myself sooner. But I could have given my daughter a better start instead of passing on this imbalance.

Is Mineral Balancing Right for Your Family?

This post contains a small glimpse of the benefits of mineral balancing for kids. You could write an entire book on the topic (and many already exist!).

Hopefully by now you are starting to wonder if mineral balancing using HTMA is right for your family.

My honest opinion is that mineral balancing is important for all kids! Whether you are just starting your health journey or you have been on it for many years, HTMA will give you the insight and guidance you’ve been looking for.

Do Kids Need Supplements?

When most people hear about mineral balancing, they envision a mountain of supplements. But that is not the path to true health!

Mineral balancing for kids involves dietary strategies, lifestyle adjustments, targeted nutrition, and nervous system regulation. Yes, a few targeted supplements are typically included in the program based on a child’s bio-individual needs. But supplements are secondary, not the primary focus.

Instead, the focus is simple, doable steps that become habits and eventually a lifestyle. For example, going outside during sunrise to expose your eyes to the sun is a simple habit with profound benefits.

I always tell my clients that diet and lifestyle are the foundation, the lead. Supplements only play a supporting role. And generic multi-vitamins are never the solution.

Mineral balancing for kids.

Does Mineral Balancing Work for Kids?

It’s been almost a year since my son started having recurring fevers. The best the doctors could give us was a diagnosis of recurring fevers since they couldn’t find anything else. But with the help of a mineral balancing program and nervous system regulation, he has now been fever-free for about four months.

We shifted his diet to be more in line with a fast oxidizer. We also added in key minerals that his body was lacking, such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Digestive support was also key in helping him absorb his nutrients.

Yes, my son still gets sick sometimes as all kids do. But he is not getting sick due to a mineral imbalance and total burnout. In fact, there have been illnesses that have hit multiple family members, while my son stayed healthy!

But the benefits of mineral balancing don’t end there. He has better posture, his confidence has grown tremendously, and his energy has improved.

In addition, it’s been a while now since he has complained about digestive upset, which used to be frequent.

My son’s reflux is gone. He can think more clearly. And one of the biggest impacts has been his mood and anxiety. My son used to have angry outbursts almost daily due to anxiety. Now he is happy and even-tempered most of the time. If he does have a rough day, he recognizes it and can tell that he is more stressed and tired than usual. His own body and nervous system awareness is amazing at twelve years old.

His sleep has improved as well. When he was getting sick frequently, he struggled to sleep. This turned into a vicious cycle of anxiety about not sleeping. He’s back to his usual deep sleep.

It’s such a blessing to see my son thriving instead of fighting to get through each day. Mineral balancing was a huge part of his healing journey and will continue to be going forward.

Mineral balancing for kids.

How Long Does Mineral Balancing Take?

When it comes to your child’s health, you want to see progress immediately! However, every child’s body is unique. You can’t predict in what order or how quickly any child’s body will start the healing and balancing process.

Most kids see at least some improvement within a few weeks. But deeper healing can take months to years.

This is why it’s important to have the mindset that health is a journey, not a destination. It’s an ongoing process.

The journey begins with the initial HTMA. This gives great insight into where the child’s minerals are and where to begin mineral balancing.

Depending on the degree of depletion or imbalance, it is recommended to run an HTMA retest every 4-6 months. This is when the deeper work really happens. We can see how minerals are moving, how systems of the body are shifting, and whether or not heavy metals are being eliminated.

An HTMA retest is so important because minerals and metals move! That’s the whole point of mineral balancing. The goal is to not be stagnant. So, a mineral balancing protocol needs adjustment as the body shifts. Since my son was in such a depleted state, we have been retesting his minerals every three months to keep making adjustments and to monitor progress.

How Do You Get Started with Mineral Balancing for Kids?

Now that you understand more about mineral balancing for kids, you may be wondering how to get started or what your next step should be.

I have several options to fit your needs, your time, and your budget.

First, continue to learn more about minerals and foundational health. Some posts that may be helpful include:

Second, help your kids learn more about nutrition and caring for their bodies through my course Nutritional Navigation.

Finally, get started on a mineral balancing program for kids! I offer one-on-one nutritional therapy plus HTMA. You can learn more about my programs HERE. If you are considering testing more than one child, make sure to get on the waitlist for my HTMA Family Plan HERE!

Book a clarity call!

Mineral balancing for kids using Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis is one of the best modalities to help your child heal at a deeper level and truly thrive.

Mineral Balancing for Kids.

Nervous System Regulation for kids!

Nervous System Regulation for Kids

About twenty seconds after getting home from a visit to the orthodontist, my son was criticizing his sister. Before I even had my shoes off he was starting a fight.

I sighed. Here we go again. I had to admit it was impressive speed this time.

As I paused for a moment to collect myself before joining the situation, it dawned on me.

It’s not one of his food reactions. It’s not his blood sugar. He’s not even actually mad at his sister. In fact, it has nothing to do with her. It’s his nervous system!

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Signs of a Dysregulated Nervous System in Children

How did I kow my son’s nervous system was dysregulated? I’ve been studying the nervous system for a while now. And there are some key signs of nervous system dysregulation to watch for. These include:

  • angry outbursts
  • hiding
  • mood swings
  • coping behaviors like OCD, escaping reality in books and video games
  • mysterious pain or repeated illness
  • sensitivity to lights, sounds, touch, or crowds
  • constant fatigue
  • insomnia
  • stomach pain or upset
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • food cravings or appetite changes
  • difficulty focusing or completing tasks
  • frequent urination
  • hormone imbalance
  • anxiety or panic
  • constant slouching
  • withdrawl from normal activities

Any of these can happen periodically with no cause for concern. But if you start noticing any of these happening regularly or in relation to certain events, situations, or environments, it could be nervous system dysregulation.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System?

Nervous system regulation in kids refers to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

Some functions of the body happen by choice. Like deciding to get up and walk or playing the piano. But some functions happen without you even thinking about them. Nervous system regulation focuses on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – the automatic body functions, such as breathing, heart beat, body temperature, sweating, and digestion – the stuff happening all the time to keep you alive without needing to think about it. Can you imagine trying to tell your heart to beat all day long?!

The ANS is sort of like a ladder. You want to spend most of your time on the middle rung, where you feel safe – not too high, not too low. This is called the parasympathetic state. Some refer to it as the rest and digest state or social engagement state where you feel calm and relaxed yet fully alive and energetic…and all of those automatic functions run smoothly.

When you encounter something your body perceives as stressful or overwhelming, your body initially goes into the stress resposne (up) and then either stays there or goes down the ladder to handle the situation.

Going up means you enter a fight or flight state (also called a sympathetic state). This is a HIGH energy state. It should be short-lived, so you can get back to the middle of the ladder and feel calm.

Going down can mean you are really scared, and instead of fighting or running, you simply freeze. You don’t know what to do, so you do nothing. This can also be referred to as trauma or overwhelm. It is the opposite of the high energy state. The bottom of the ladder is a place of exhaustion, a very LOW energy state.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Why Children Have a Dysregulated Nervous System

Each of these positions on the ladder is essential for survival. They keep a child’s body safe. But sometimes the ANS gets stuck at the top or the bottom of the ladder and struggles to get back to the middle – the calm state. Sometimes a child’s body completely skips the middle and goes from the bottom to the top and back again. A child’s body is not sure what to do. Whether they are stuck at the top or the bottom, this is when a child feels the symptoms of dysregulation. 

Why does this happen? An event or experience is the trigger for nervous system dysregulation. But it is an individual’s response to that experience that determines whether or not it will cause dysregulation.

For example, Jill and Tina are building a tower of blocks together. Lisa walks over and knocks the tower down for no reason. Jill laughs and thinks it’s funny. She’s ready to start the tower again. However, Tina feels sad and angry. She shouts at Lisa and then runs away crying.

Two kids in the same situation with very different responses. Jill remained in the middle of the ladder – the social engagement state. While Tina went into the fight or flight stress response. It wasn’t the event that caused the dysregulation. It was how the event was experienced by each child’s body and nervous system.

We are all created uniquely and have had different experiences in life. So what will cause nervous system dysregulation for each child is unique.

Practical Ways to Help Kids Regulate Their Nervous System

What’s important is not so much what triggered the dysregulation but how it is handled. Let’s look at two endings to this story.

Scenario 1: Tina runs away and finds her mom. As she stands there crying her mother says, “You don’t need to cry about that! It’s just some blocks. Go back over there and play.” And her mother goes back to talking with other moms.

Scenario 2: Tina runs away and finds her mom. As she stands there crying her mother pulls her close and holds her tight. She lets her cry as long as she needs. Then when Tina starts to settle down she asks her what happened. After listening to the full story her mother validates her feelings, “That made you feel sad to see your hard work undone. Sometimes I feel sad like that too.” Then they walk back to the blocks together and her mother sits and plays with her until she feels comfortable on her own.

In the first scenario Tina is left by herself with big emotions and feels shame about them. She might go into the freeze state and just sit by herself, alone and tired. She might also go back into the fight or flight response and try to get even with Lisa. Either way her body is learning not to feel sadness. It’s not safe and it will not allow her to be close to her mother.

In the second scenario Tina learns that she can express big emotions safely and her mother will help her come back to the middle of the ladder.

The key component here is safety. Feeling safe is the most important part of nervous system regulation for a child. And adults need to help young children experience that safety.

When my four-year-old is upset I never tell him, “That’s enough crying.” Instead I hold him and let him cry until he has fully experienced and expressed that emotion while feeling safe. Then we can talk about it and shift back to the calm state together. If you’ve ever experienced this with your child it’s a beautiful thing.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

How Nervous System Dysregulation Can Cause Picky Eating in Kids

As you can probably gather by now, nervous system dysregulation is at the heart of many behaviors and symptoms. Picky, or selective, eating is no exception.

While picky eating seems like a personality issue or defiance, there is much more to it.

Kids are not born picky. There could be a physical reason a child can’t eat well, such as tongue tie or oral sensory processing disorder. You can learn more about this in my Mouth Assessment Guide.

But if the mechanics are working well, there is usually something that triggers the nervous system to create the symptom of picky eating.

When my youngest daughter was born she struggled with breastfeeding. She reacted to so many foods (that I was eating) that eating meant pain. She began to fear eating. And it created a downward spiral into the freeze/trauma state. She and I were both very dysregulated.

It took many years to get her to not fear food. She is a good eater now; however, she still goes into the overwhelm state very easily. If anything is hard she shuts down and says, “I can’t!” Which is true. In the overwhelm state the logical/reasoning part of the brain stops functioning.

So the next time your child refuses food, don’t get angry. That will perpetuate the dysregulation. Instead, try to figure out how your child’s nervous system is responding.

  • Are the lights too bright?
  • Is there too much noise?
  • Are there too many textures?
  • Are there too many new foods?
  • Is everything mixed together?
  • It may simply be too much food on the plate!

Eating can be a very overwhelming experience for a child. Help make it a safe space and watch the picky eating subside.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Somatic Experiences for Kids

The most effective way to help a child become regulated is by allowing him or her to experience safetey and containment. This is done through somatic experience exercises.

I recently heard a doctor say, “You have to feel in order to heal.” This is such a profound statement. A child can not talk their way to safety or think their way to safety. They have to actually feel safety in the body. This is accomplished through somatic experiences.

What makes a child feel safe? A common experience is receiving a hug. This may come from a trusted adult. But sometimes even that does not feel safe, depending on the relationship and the degree of dysregulation. And that’s OK.

A child can give himself or herself a hug in order to allow the body to feel a sense of safety and support.

Another option is to support the heart. Simply place the child’s hands over his or her heart to feel loved and supported.

There are many simple somatic exercises that kids can do on their own. Try this Superhero exercise with your kids!

 Helping Kids With Parts Work

Another nervous system regulation concept is parts work. Some refer to it as Internal Family Systems.

A child may feel conflicting emotions in certain circumstances. For example, Max sees the neighbors playing baseball. Part of him wants to go join them. But part of him is too scared and wants to stay home where it feels safe.

These opposing parts can be confusing. Which one is right? Which do I choose?

Each part has a purpose. Helping your child understand his or her parts can be helpful for decision-making and for avoiding coping behaviors.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Self-Regulation Strategies for Kids

Nervous system regulation is so important for kids. It’s also important for the caregivers to be regulated. Parenting or caring from a place of dsyregulation will impact the child’s nervous system. So what are some simple strategies for self-regulation in kids?

There are quite a few! These include:

  • Tapping (EFT) (learn how HERE)
  • Spinal flush (learn how HERE)
  • Somatic exercises (like THIS and THIS)
  • Parts work
  • Deep breathing
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Rhythmic movement
  • Gargling water
  • Going barefoot outside or wearing barefoot shoes
  • Humming
  • Jumping on a trampoline or rebounder
  • Receiving long hugs
  • Weighted blanket
  • Sensory swing
  • Wrap up in a warm blanket
  • Listening to music

Allow your child to decide what nervous system regulation tool or practice sounds best to him or her.

How to Help Your Child with Nervous System Regulation

As an adult you can be the silent observer. You can help figure out what triggers your child’s nervous system and sends it into the fight/flight or freeze state.

While we were at the orthodontist my son told me his stomach hurt because he was so nervous. Of course he was able to hold it together while we were there and for the car ride home where he was contained. But as soon as he walked into the house, into a familiar environment, his stress response kicked in.

He went into the high energy fight state and needed to take action instead of feeling the uncomfortable nerves any longer. Unfortunately his big sister was the first person he saw. So she took the brunt of his dysregulation. This happens often. And it’s not fair to her.

I am working on teaching my son how to recognize his own dysregulation and what he can do about it. He is eleven, so he is old enough to start recognizing things himeself. In the mean time I help facilitate his nervous system regulation.

I remove him from the situation. Then we talk through what he feels would be most helpful in the moment. One of his favorite practices is to get cozy in bed with a weighted blanket. This allows him to feel safe and supported while his body comes down from the stress response.

It is often followed by the freeze response, meaning he has very little energy. He is learning how to come out of the freeze response as well. It’s a learning process, and he is gradually becoming more and more aware of his own reactions to triggers and events. This anger actually comes out whenever he has been around other people and then comes back home. So teaching him how to stay regulated while in social settings will help prevent the stress response afterwards.

Kids will not be perfect at nervous system regulation. But starting at a young age will give them the tools to continue learning as they grow.

A great place to begin teaching your child about nervous system regulation is the Nutritional Navigation eCourse! There are seven modules dedicated to the nervous system. It’s that important! Learn more HERE.

Do you see signs of nervous system dysregulation in your kids? Did you learn something new or have any lightbulbs go off? Share in the comments!