I really don’t think all kids need enzymes. Little ones are typically loaded with them. And if you give them enough fruits and vegetables, they’ll be getting them naturally from their food.
It’s as we age that our enzyme supply gets depleted. Which is one of the five reasons we should all take digestive enzymes.
There are a few exceptions for some children, however. Many kids can actually benefit from taking enzymes.
When To Give Your Child Digestive Enzymes
Since many auto-immune disorders are also related to an unhealthy gut and inflammation, kids that have been labeled with ADHD, autism, celiac disease, diabetes, depression or who have food allergies – will most likely benefit from an extra dose of enzymes.
In fact, some research even suggests that digestive enzymes could replace a gluten-free diet.
Dr. Devin Houston, the first researcher to develop specialized enzymes for autism, explains in an article from foodsmatter.com, that some people wonder if enzymes are effective enough to replace a gluten-free, casein (in dairy) free diet.
“After much feedback from parents on the use of these products, the answer now is: “Definitely” for some, and “quite possibly” for many others.
He also goes on to say,
“We believe that these enzyme products can produce as good, or even better results, than the GFCF diet.
If your child struggles with obesity, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, heartburn, cramping, hyperactivity, restlessness, sleep problems, ulcers, headaches, seasonal allergies, eczema, acne, chronic fatigue, etc. – he could probably use some added enzymes. But in this case, I strongly encourage you to get a food allergy test, or try an elimination diet.
Then start eliminating the allergens and supplement with digestive enzymes as well as probiotics.
I’ve researched, read and have written plenty of articles preaching the importance of food allergy testing. Especially when your child shows signs of intolerance.
Eczema, or other skin rashes, are a great example of when it’s appropriate to investigate food sensitivities.
Food Allergies and Digestive Enzymes
My son, Milo, has had eczema from almost day one. Some days it would flare up worse than others. He was also a bit of a “colicky” baby as people might label it. But really it was mostly from the allergens affecting him. The little guy is only going to be three come July, but in his few years on this Earth, he’s also dealt with diarrhea, puking spontaneously – especially after eating eggs – coughing attacks at night as well as asthma and wheeziness.
So finally, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to listen to my own advice and get him tested for food allergies.
I took him to a functional medicine doctor who took an x-ray of his stomach to determine whether there was any sign of inflammation in his gut (I don’t love the idea of x-rays and radiation – but I guess it’s a very small amount – and well worth knowing).
As you will notice from the x-ray on the left – inflammation is very evident.
The doctor told us the dark spot toward the top left where his stomach is, was from that same day, and that all the black spots toward the lower right were from an accumulation from weeks up to months.
We went back a week later to get his blood drawn. The vial was a pretty intimidating size, but Milo was a champ and didn’t make one little peep. He surely surprised the staff!
His blood sample was sent to one of the best food allergy testing labs out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida called Immunolabs. The particular test he had was called Immuno Bloodprint 88, which checked how his antibodies in his blood serum reacted to just 88 different foods.
When the Immuno Bloodprint came back about a week later, we found out Milo had 11 IgG food sensitivity reactions.
He was sensitive to things like eggs, peanuts, wheat and cows milk – some of the most common offenders.
The +1, +2, +3 and +4 is the way they score and evaluate the increasing levels of antibodies in his blood that attack these foods.
Now, for almost two weeks we’ve been trying our best to avoid foods with these antigens in order to help repair his gut and avoid future health issues. Especially auto-immune diseases like ADHD and autism. Not to mention all the painful, unhealthy and annoying symptoms associated with an unhealthy gut.
In addition to avoiding these foods, Milo takes probiotics to help put good bacteria back into his gut. He loves the orange cream chewables by Solaray.
He also takes Barlean’s Total Omega, which has 3-6-9 essential fatty acids to help keep his skin clear and lessen his risk for EFA deficiency. An EFA Deficiency can also pose a problem to his immune system and brain health. Plus, often times eczema or even more serious auto-immune disorders can be related to a GLA or omega 3 fatty acid deficiency.
I also make sure to offer him plenty of whole foods – fruits and veggies. Since they contain natural enzymes.
I recently tried giving him the Kids Dynamic Greens Fruit Punch drink, which combines vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes. He liked it alright, but it might be better mixed in some organic juice or a smoothie – instead of water.
Now Foods makes a chewable non-GMO, vegan digestive enzyme for adults and kids called ChewyZymes. They are berry flavored and taste like candy – so you’ll most likely have great luck getting your child to take one at mealtimes. Milo loves them!
Since Milo has sensitivities to foods, these enzymes help him breakdown foods and allow for him to get better absorption of nutrients.
The best thing you can do for your child is to start eliminating any allergens ASAP. That’s my goal with Milo, too. Because his health is way more important to me, than any toxic food that only tastes good for the 30 seconds he’s chewing it.
And thankfully digestive enzymes are here to help pick up the slack – especially when we can’t be perfect 100% of the time.
- You can find an assortment of digestive enzymes from Natural Healthy Concepts.
Read More Articles Referencing the Importance of Enzymes:
The Enzyme Story from The Baseline of Health Foundation.
Why Your Dog Eats Poop