Our children are in a state of mental health emergency.
Dr. M de Klerk
Even before the pandemic, by the time kids are 18, almost 1 in 2 are diagnosed with any mental health disorder.
Even before the pandemic, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death in our youth ages 10-24 years, only second to unintentional injury, and far above influenza-related deaths. Children 10-14 years old are 13X more likely to die by suicide than influenza & for teens 15-19 that number climbs to 27X.
Even during the pandemic, injury & suicide remained the top 2 causes of death among children & teens, and yes - even higher the pediatric deaths from COVID-19.
In the winter of 2020, ER visits for suicide attempts by children ages 12-17 jumped almost 40% compared with the pre-pandemic winter of 2019.
As we grapple with how this pandemic will end, let’s not forget that the epidemic of childhood anxiety & depression has been raging unchecked.
We might think that only adults are burdened by this pandemic, financially and emotionally, but please do not disregard the effect on our children.
Just because they can not vocalize their fears and worries like we do, we should not simply glance over their distress.
Talk to them, make sure they know that you support them. And love them.....
If they need extra support, natural functional medicine offers wonderfull effective treatments to support them on various levels.
Nutritional deficiencies might contribute or even be the cause of your depression and anxiety.
Dr. M de Klerk
Nutrient deficiencies are a lot more common than you might think.
If you have a digestive tract that does not work properly, your ability to absorb nutrients will be less and you will become deficient quicker.
Being on a restrictive diet of any kind for too long, for example veganism, vegetarianism, keto, or autoimmune protocol, can put you at risk for deficiencies. Having a varied diet from all the food groups is essential.
If you’re taking a nutrient depleting medication like the birth control pill, places you at an increased risk for nutrient deficiencies. Medication that block acid, like PPIs and Tums, as well as those used in diabetics can create nutrient deficiencies that can manifest as anxiety and depression as well.
Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, B6, Inositol, folate, B12, copper, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D have a direct impact on mood and are common deficiencies in people.
Additionally, if you have any issues with protein absorption you will be deficient in the amino acids your body needs to make neurotransmitters.
How to Heal Nutrient Deficiencies
Have Appropriate Lab Testing
The following blood tests will give you indication of what you are deficient in:
• Vitamin D
• And others as needed
Adopt a Whole Foods Diet
On top of optimizing gut health and absorption, you’ll also need to focus on a nutrient dense diet. Eat colorful, fresh foods in abundance.
In my next article I will discuss ways that you can improve your depression and anxiety in the interim while your practitioner works on identifying the root cause.