Behavioural problems in children: could they be health related?
Children’s behavioural problems can be a huge challenge for parents. Especially when it seems that everyone else’s little darlings are the perfect model of good behaviour.
But there are many health factors which could contribute to children’s emotional wellbeing and behaviour. The positive? That once addressed, it’s possible to see a huge shift in your child’s disposition.
Food intolerance and allergies
Scientists have demonstrated the clear link between food sensitivities and behaviour. A study in the Netherlands revealed that when children aged 3-7 were given an elimination diet, 62% of them showed a 50% improvement in behaviour.
The biggest culprits? Dairy, gluten and food colouring.
Allergies and intolerance affect children’s behaviour, as they cause inflammation of the brain and digestive system, and can trigger emotional meltdowns, irritability, anxiety and depression.
Many children who are hyperactive, impulsive or inattentive also suffer from food intolerances. Itchy skin or breathing conditions that disrupt sleep can also contribute to low mood or behavioural issues.
If you’re concerned your child may be intolerant or allergic to something in their diet, it’s best to test. Our naturopaths can help diagnose asthma and eczema, and psychologists can diagnose whether hyperactivity or inattion is ADHD.
When kids’ bodies are imbalanced nutritionally, it causes them to exhibit mental and physical symptoms including tiredness, poor appetite or picky eating, stunted growth, irritability, poor co-ordination and conditions like anxiety or depression.
These symptoms are not uncommon among Hong Kong children, where issues of inadequate nutrition have been widely reported.
Factors like poor soil quality and long-haul food importation reduce the quantity of nutrients found in our fresh fruits and vegetables, contributing to this widespread problem.
In addition, modern diets are often loaded with refined sugars and processed chemicals, which actively deplete the body of nutrients which are critical for kids’ health.
Omega 3s, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B complex are key for emotional and physical development, and deficiencies can cause an array of behavioural problems. Learn more about how nutritional imbalances impact behaviour.
If you’d like to check your little one’s nutritional profile, we can help clearly define any deficiencies.
Our immune system defends us against illness. A weakened immunity can cause fatigue and low energy in kids, causing them to be irritable.
One of the main causes of low immunity is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in our gut.
Having insufficient levels of good bacteria in the gut can cause mood problems, as feelgood neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin are made in your digestive system. If the gut microbiome is imbalanced, it can influence neural development, cognition and behaviour. 
Other signs of an imbalanced gut are stomach aches, diarrhoea, constipation, gas and bloating. An unseen effect of poor digestive health is an inability to absorb nutrients from food or supplements, which in turn weakens immune health.
Sugary foods, antibiotics, diet, lack of sleep and stress can all weaken children’s immunity. Our naturopaths can give recommendations to boost your child’s digestive and immune health, as well as test for and correct any nutritional imbalances.
Our gut is our second brain, and intimately linked to our emotional wellbeing. When the good bacteria in our gut is out of balance, it strongly impacts our mood.
An imbalanced gut microbiome can cause symptoms like gas, diarrhoea, constipation, which is often accompanied by pain, nausea and discomfort, impacting children’s behaviour.
Antibiotics, sugar, additives, stress and a poor diet can all kill the friendly bacteria in our gut, resulting in an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria and yeast.
Our gut lining may also be affected by this imbalance and cause conditions like leaky gut which allow toxins, undigested foods and pathogens to enter the body, affecting our brain chemistry, mood and cognitive function.
“Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” also known as GAPS, was termed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a British neurologist. She and many other clinicians have noted that microbial abnormalities, “leaky gut,” and allergies often appear together and are frequently the cause of hyperactivity and inattention in children.
Prescribed drugs, toxins, and heavy metals
We are living in an environment surrounded by synthetic chemicals completely foreign to human physiology. Some 296 pollutants are known or suspected developmental neurotoxins, which can affect kids’ behaviour.
Data has shown that infants born nowadays have measurable amounts of up to 200 of these pollutants. This is worsened by the poor air quality in Hong Kong.
We recommend that every child take a simple test for exposure to toxins (including heavy metals such as lead and mercury) so that if they do have high levels of toxins, they can be treated.
The way our kids behave may also be a cry for help. Bullying, difficulties at school or ruptures in the family may all cause your child to act out.
Our counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists are trained to support children and help them through any emotional issues they may be experiencing.
If you think your child’s behavioural issues could be caused by health issues, we can support you in diagnosing and resolving contributing factors.
Return to your natural state of wellbeing with the help of our naturopaths.
Simply call +852 2523 7121 or complete your request below, and we'll be in touch shortly to confirm your appointment.
科學家已經證明了身體對食物敏感性和行為之間有明顯的關聯。 荷蘭的一項研究顯示，當 3-7 歲的兒童接受食物排除方式來去除過敏原飲食，62% 的兒童行為表現改善了 50%。
Omega 3、鎂、鐵、鈣、鋅和維生素 B 雜是情緒和身體發育的關鍵，缺乏以上營養素有機會導致一系列行為問題。 詳細了解營養失衡如何影響行為。
免疫力低下的主要原因之一是腸道中好菌和壞菌的不平衡。腸道中的有益細菌水平不足可能會導致情緒問題，因為消化系統會產生 GABA 和血清素等讓人感覺良好的神經傳導物質。 如果腸道微生物群失衡，就會影響神經發育、認知和行為。
“腸道與心理綜合症”，也稱為 GAPS，由英國神經學家 Natasha Campbell-McBride 博士命名。 她和許多其他臨床醫生指出，微生物異常、「腸漏症」和過敏經常同時出現，而且是兒童過動和注意力不集中的原因。
我們所處的環境充滿了合成的化學物質。 大約 296 種污染物是已知或疑似的發育神經毒素，會影響兒童的行為。
數據顯示，現今出生的嬰兒體內可檢測到多達 200 種此類污染物。 香港的空氣品質使情況更加惡化。