Why is Optimum Metabolism So Important in Children?
Metabolism is the process by which the body converts the food and beverages consumed into energy. During this complex process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy the body needs to function.
Several metabolic defects have been associated with children with cognitive and behavioral issues at a rate higher than that found in the general population.
The 3 metabolic impairments associated with these children are methylation, transulfuration (a metabolic pathway) and mitochondrial function (the creation of energy within cells).
Methylation is the transfer of four atoms - one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms – from one substance to another.
When non-optimal methylation occurs, it has a significant negative impact on many biochemical reactions in the body that regulate the activity of the cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and detoxification systems.
Poor metabolism can result in the accumulation of abnormal (and usually toxic) substances in the body. (1)
At the Core of Metabolism is the Mitochondria in each Cell
Mitochondria are specialized structures unique to the cells of animals and plants. They serve as batteries, powering various functions of the cell and the organism as a whole.
Mitochondria, an integral part of diverse cellular functions, are susceptible to damage which leads to non-optimum metabolism.
Because mitochondria are concentrated at neuronal synapses (site of transmission of electric nerve impulses between two nerve cells (neurons), mitochondrial dysfunction can directly affect neurological function.
Recent studies have increasingly implicated mitochondrial dysfunction in children with cognitive and behavioral issues. (1, 2)
Today, unknowingly, children are exposed to many toxins in their food and environment and the damage done to the mitochondria could explain particular behavior and health issues.
For example, tests of baby food sold in the US revealed that 95 percent contain one or more toxic chemicals, including lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. As children grow, they continue to be exposed to chemical preservatives and additives in the food they eat, and chemicals in their environment.
Children are more susceptible to exposure to toxins than adults because the toxins potentially have a bigger impact on the pathways in their smaller bodies, and their bodies are actively developing.
A paper from 2017 describes how mitochondrial dysfunction is the root cause of many diseases that are bewildering in their variety and complexity. They include rare genetic disorders in children. (3)
Children must have optimum metabolism to correctly support the many biochemical reactions in their body that regulate the activity of the cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and detoxification systems.
Cellular metabolism plays a more dynamic role in the cells that previously thought. Nearly all of a cell’s genes are influenced by changes to nutrition they have access to.
There is now scientific evidence for the use of metabolism-based protocols to provide tailored nutrition to improve the health of children. (1)
1. Autism + Metabolism. Stephen G. Kahler, MD
2. Metabolic Dysfunction Underlying Autism Spectrum Disorder and Potential Treatment Approaches. Ning Cheng, Jong M Rho and Susan A. Masino.
3. Mitochondrial dysfunction is the root cause of many diseases (January 26, 2017)” University of Helsinki.