Question: I keep hearing about the gut-brain connection and my son struggles with comprehension. What do you recommend to support his gut and increase his ability to learn?
Dr. Olejak: Dear Ability To Learn:
Your question has two parts. Supporting the gut and increasing learning ability. Let’s take them in turn.
Supporting the Gut:
You can think of the gut like a garden. You have cultivated plants, weeds, good bugs and bad bugs. To the extent that the garden is nurtured, the garden will bear fruit. Ignore it and it goes to weeds.
How does one ignore the garden in the gut? By choosing fast or ready-made food. A great nutritionist once wrote, “…the only thing a food manufacturer can do to food is diminish it …” and he was right.
The complex nature of whole foods provides 5 important things to our bodies that no processed food can deliver:
- Vitamins and minerals
- And most importantly … the unknown factors
The fact is we need everything whole foods have to offer. Eating more foods that support your blood type benefits the metabolic processes even further.
If a CDSA (comprehensive diagnostic stool analysis) reveals an imbalance in gut flora or your child has the following signs:
- Burping, hiccuping, or stomach discomfort after eating
- Itchy rectum
- Bad breathe
- Biting nails
Then, Artemisia & Clove along with CytoFlora is the best way to restore balance.
Increasing Learning Ability:
When the gut is supported, natural curiosity is restored and learning is easier. Learning is a function of perception and integration, and not all children learn the same way. The most important thing a parent can do is to discover their child’s perceptual recipe. A perceptual recipe is your child's natural pattern of intelligence that determines how s/he thinks, processes sensory information, learns and communicates.
There are 6 types of perceptual recipes that combine the three main modes of sensory information (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) with the three aspects of the mind (conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious). No child is only influenced by one type of sensory information – we are dominant in one area and typically have to work on developing awareness and control of the other areas.
Example: I am a visually dominant learner with auditory sensitivity. When teachers talk I go to sleep. Show me a video and I’ll grasp the material. I also process best when given the chance for kinesthetic stimuli. Show me a video of woodcarving and I understand it, but hand me wood and some tools and that will generate powerful body-centered learning.
Integration is a matter of bringing all the elements together. The auditory learner needs to be able to ask lots of questions. The visual learner needs pictures. And the kinesthetic learner needs to be given the opportunity to touch and move. Children who are afforded this kind of integrative, multi-sensory learning model do quite well. The ones that don’t frequently get frustrated-- and stop learning fully.
The book How Your Child IS Smart, written by two educators, not only helps parents identify their child's perceptual recipe but also teaches them how to maximize their child's ability to learn well, particularly in school.
 David R. Jacobs, Jr., PhD, and Linda C. Tapsell, PhD, FDAA. Food, Not Nutrients, Is the Fundamental Unit in Nutrition. Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 65, No. 10 Special Article October 2007: 439–450
 The Open Mind by Dawn Markova http://www.amazon.com/Open-Mind-Exploring-Patterns-Intelligence/dp/1573240648/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347302190&sr=1-1&keywords=the+open+mind
 How Your Child Is Smart by Dawn Markova http://www.amazon.com/How-Your-Child-Smart-Life-Changing/dp/0943233380/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347302509&sr=1-1&keywords=how+your+child+is+smart