Encouraging Good Social Skills and Academic Responsibility: Back-to-School with BIORAY and Dr. Olejak


Question: My daughter has no problem with academics. However, she struggles socially. Is there a connection with gut imbalances and social interactions?

Dr. Olejak: Dear Socially Aware:

We know from new research that a nexus exists between the gut and the brain. [1],[2] The research shows that proteins from gut flora are involved in the regulation of behavior and emotion. Through a process known as molecular mimicry these proteins signal the brain much the same way that neuropeptides do, contributing to sad and anxious feelings, as well as appetite and sleep disturbances.  

Our children get strains of flora in the gastrointestinal tract from the mother. After birth, the first meal, mothers’ milk, continues to enhance and balance babies gut flora. [3] In fact, the Duke University researchers demonstrate that breast milk forms a protective bio-film that eventually forms the gut mucosa.  Infant formula allows unhealthy flora to proliferate “wildly” and does not promote healthy gut flora.

Many problems can be effectively sorted out by supporting the immune system.  Probiotics and prebiotics are essential to a healthy gut [4],[5] and should be consumed regularly as they help maintain balance.

If you suspect that your daughter may feel socially awkward because of gut imbalances, a few things to consider:  

  • Have food sensitivities been ruled out? 
  • Is your child underweight for her age group possibly indicating absorption issues?  
  • Have medications been used often as some medications break down the gut mucosa or lead to imbalances.
  • Does your child have skin irritations, which can be a sign of gut permeability?

If you suspect food sensitivities, a blood test for antibodies is recommended.  
The Comprehensive Diagnostic Stool Analysis (CDSA) is an excellent way to evaluate for unfriendly gut flora.

If gut flora turns out to be the problem one powerful way to support normal gut flora is with Artemisia & Clove followed by CytoFlora.

[1] http://journals.lww.com/co-clinicalnutrition/Abstract/2011/09000/The_new_link_between_gut_brain_axis_and.12.aspx
[2] J. F. CRYAN & S. M. O’MAHONY, The microbiome-gut-brain axis: from bowel to behavior Neurogastroenterol Motil (2011) 23, 187–192
[3] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827094353.htm
[4] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1301/nr.2003.marr.91-99/abstract
[5] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628131358.htm

Question: My child is starting middle school. I am so nervous considering how much more responsibility he has to take on. Does preparing a child for back to school depend on the stage they are in for example- entering elementary, middle school and/or high school?

Dr. Olejak: Nervous About Responsibility,

Your question reminds me of Job 3:25 “What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.” In metaphysical circles there is a concept called the law of attraction. As parents we sometimes make the mistake of viewing our children through the lens of our past instead of seeing them as the blank slate they are. Without realizing it we can project our fears, concerns and worries onto our kids.

In our house we never prepared the kids for the upcoming academic year. My philosophy was that summer is for fun and when it comes time to knuckle down that’s when we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work. That’s not to say we did not set clear expectations for performance and my wife and I wanted results when report cards time came around. No results meant grounded until things turned around. We made a conscious choice not to micromanage. We made it clear what we expected and what the consequences would be if those expectations were not met.

As to prep for the different stages of school – I would give your child all the tools they need and remain involved. Ask questions, be in communication with the teachers, and above all set a regular schedule where you check in with homework and projects.

Elementary school concerns are few. Mainly supporting the child through separation anxiety and learning to be with other kids.

Middle school is a little more complex. More freedom means more choices. This stage is really about complex social behavior and learning executive skills.

High school is about independence and trust. For parents that means hands-off, but awareness from afar.

The one thing you must keep in mind to gain perspective is that your kid is going to make mistakes. They may say inappropriate things that have their peer group ostracize them for a while. They may ignore their school calendar and miss project deadlines and they are going to fail at times. The good news is they are also going to get lots of things right, win prizes and succeed in lots of areas.

And that is called growing up.

For the kids, immune support is essential as all the kids (and germs) gather in one place. For that The Happy Immunity Kit is your best defense.

For parents who witness this education scenario playing out – there is always Loving Energy to support the adrenals and bring you comfort during the anxious moments.

Elementary Prep: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Preparing_School_3/?page=2 [2] Middle School Prep: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/kids-prepare-middle-high-school/ [3] High School Prep: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Preparing_Your_7/?page=2