Anastasia Hoffman PP Presentation Strategies to Grow A Healthy

Strategies to Grow A Healthy
Anastasia Banicki-Hoffman, MD
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Integrative Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, PLLC
▪ The brain is the most cholesterol rich organ in the body
▪ 60% of the brain weight is FAT
▪ The optimum cholesterol level appears to be between 160 and 200 mg/dL blood
▪ Cholesterol levels below 160 mg/dL is associated with increased mortality and
increased risk of psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders, infectious
diseases, and cancer
▪ Low cholesterol decreases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain
Risks from low total cholesterol
▪ Increased rate of school suspension
▪ Increased violent behavior and aggression
▪ Increased anxiety
▪ Increased suicide
▪ Increased depression and bipolar disorder
▪ Increased cancer
▪ Increased chronic fatigue syndrome
▪ Increased stroke rate
▪ Increased infection susceptibility such as gastrointestinal infections
What is your child’s cholesterol level?
▪ Know your child’s cholesterol level
▪ Cholesterol is the precursor of all of our hormones (steroid hormones, estrogens,
testosterone, cortisol, and aldosterone)
▪ Cholesterol is needed for fat digestion and vitamin absorption
▪ Foods rich in cholesterol are egg yolks, liver, shrimp
Essential Fats
▪ All cell membranes in the body contain fat
▪ Fat is especially important to the brain
▪ Fat makes up 60% of our brain with 25% being DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the
most abundant fat in the brain
▪ Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body and must be taken in through
▪ Two specific omega 3’s are important to brain health: EPA & DHA
▪ Neurotransmitters – Every aspect of neurotransmission involves adequate
functioning of omega 3’s
Symptoms of Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency
▪ Dry, scaly (chicken) skin patches – looks like permanent goose bumps and is
often seen behind the arms – called keratosis pilaris
▪ Dry hair with straw-like texture
▪ Excessive earwax buildup or visible earwax
▪ Excessive thirst
▪ No sense of thirst
▪ Toe walking – can be essential fatty acid deficiency or yeast overgrowth
▪ Eating butter or margarine by itself
Essential Fatty Acids
▪ Where Do I get this from?
▪ Food – fish, nuts & seeds, beef, lamb,
egg yolk, butter/ghee, flax seeds,
hemp seeds, walnuts & algae based
▪ Fish oil/cod liver oil supplements –
liquid or gel caps – not gummies
▪ Avoid processed foods
▪ What are the side effects of fish oil?
▪ Too much fish oil can cause loose
stool or tummy ache
▪ Avoid if you have a fish allergy
▪ Theoretically, it can act as a blood
thinner (above 3000mg) – stop 1-2
weeks prior to any elective surgery
▪ Hyperactivity in children with a
carnitine or taurine deficiency
How to Read Fish Oil Labels
▪ Don’t look at the how much fish oil
the front of the bottle claims
▪ Look at the label on the back of the
▪ Look at the serving size
▪ Look at DHA & EPA
▪ Look at Total Omega 3
▪ Involved in more than 300 enzyme and hormone pathways
▪ Zinc is needed to make dopamine & serotonin, the neurotransmitters involved
in focus and mood
▪ Many medications prevent zinc uptake (especially acid reflux medications)
▪ Those at greatest risk of zinc deficiency are vegetarians because of a lack of red
meat and poultry intake
▪ Strongly associated with picky eating
Duties of Zinc
▪ Aiding in the manufacture of DNA and proteins
▪ Assisting the immune system as it fights off viruses and bacteria
▪ Helping wounds heal
▪ Regulating neurotransmission in the brain
▪ Making it possible to taste and smell
▪ Aiding in the synthesis of all enzymes required to digest fats, carbohydrates and
Physical Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
▪ Poor growth
▪ Acne on the back, face, shoulders
▪ Dry skin
▪ Photophobia or poor twilight vision
▪ Angular stomatitis
▪ Enlarged tonsils in a child
▪ Impaired wound healing
▪ Cracks and splitting of skin on fingertips, fingernails that are weak
▪ White spots or pitting on fingernails
▪ Poor immune function
▪ Zinc is also critical for smell and taste
Physical Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Angular stomatitis
Meuhreke’s lines
How does low zinc affect your brain?
▪ Decreased appetite and meat
▪ Decreased taste and smell
▪ Insomnia and poor sleep habits
▪ Depression
▪ Attention difficulties
▪ Bloating and Gastrointestinal
▪ Poor essential fatty acid metabolism
How does low zinc affect your brain?
▪ In ADHD: Zinc is a cofactor for dopamine synthesis which affects mood &
▪ Low zinc depresses both melatonin and serotonin production which affect
information processing & behavior in ADHD
▪ Low zinc contributes to poor cognitive function
Nutrient Dense Foods
▪ Pumpkin seeds
▪ Nuts
▪ Legumes
▪ Ginger
▪ Oats
▪ Magnesium is a mineral used by the body in more than 300 processes
▪ One of the first minerals to disappear from food when processed and one of the
first minerals to leave the body when there is stress
▪ Has been used for a long time for sore muscles (ie Epsom salt = magnesium
▪ The “anti-stress” mineral
▪ Helps regulate blood sugar levels & blood pressure
▪ Helps keep bones strong
▪ Needed for normal muscle and nerve function
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
▪ Depression – magnesium has well documented antidepressant effects
▪ Anxiety, nervousness, irritability
▪ Emotional reactivity
▪ Insomnia – improving magnesium status is associated with better quality sleep; it mimics the action
of melatonin
▪ Constipation
▪ Migraine headaches
▪ ADHD (magnesium is needed to make dopamine)
▪ Is usually low in hyperactive children
▪ Difficulty with memory and concentration
▪ Tics, muscle jerks and spasms
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
▪ In ADHD: Magnesium deficiency is linked to poor function of neurotransmitters
that control emotion, social reactions, hyperactivity and attention.
▪ In anxiety: Magnesium regulates the HPA axis which controls physical and
physiological reactions to stress
▪ In anxiety: Magnesium deficiency can induce anxiety and emotional hyperreactivity
Causes of magnesium depletion
▪ Stress
▪ Caffeine
▪ Soft drinks
▪ Alcohol
▪ Medications
▪ Processed foods
Nutrient Dense Foods
▪ Magnesium
▪ Sweet potato
▪ Winter squash
▪ Broccoli
▪ Leafy greens
▪ Seaweed
▪ Nettles - Weeds? If you can't beat them, eat them!
▪ Whole grains
▪ Nuts
▪ Legumes
Vitamin B12
▪ A family of compounds manufactured by bacteria, fungi & other organisms
▪ It has roles in forming red blood cells
▪ B12 works in conjunction with B6 and folic acid to manufacture serotonin and
▪ Vitamin B12 normal blood level range is between 200-1100 pg/mL
▪ I recommend supplementation to anyone with a level under 600 pg/mL
▪ Levels below 450 pg/mL are associated with neuropsychiatric problems
Vitamin B12
▪ Low B12 is associated with
▪ Fatigue
▪ Panic disorders
▪ Anxiety
▪ Depression
▪ Paranoia & hallucinations
▪ Memory loss
▪ Confusion
▪ Outbursts of temper
▪ Behavioral changes
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
▪ Irritability
▪ Diminished sense of touch/pain
▪ Personality change
▪ Clumsiness
▪ Depression
▪ Weakness
▪ Poor memory
▪ Tremors
▪ Hallucinations
▪ GI problems
▪ Violent behavior
▪ Anxiety
Nutrient Dense Foods
▪ B12 Rich Foods
▪ Liver
▪ Eggs
▪ Fish
▪ Lamb
▪ Beef
Vitamin D
▪ Is a pro hormone and NOT a vitamin (it is a hormone precursor)
▪ It comes from two very different sources: food and sunlight
▪ Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D
▪ Vitamin D is very much involved in brain function
▪ Ample amounts of vitamin D are necessary for optimal mental health
▪ Know your level – blood test
▪ An optimal vitamin D level is between 50 and 80 ng/mL
Vitamin D
▪ Low vitamin D levels are linked to :
▪ Anxiety
▪ May improve symptoms of depression
▪ Psoriasis
▪ Muscle pain and weakness
▪ Elevated blood pressure
▪ Some forms of cancer & autoimmune disease
▪ Seizures
Vitamin D
▪ Supplementation is based on blood levels
▪ Supplements usually come in 1000 I.U. (International Units)
▪ Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin – so supplements must be taken either with
fatty food or fish oil for absorption

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