In today’s podcast episode, I wanted to give you a sneak peek from my interview with Brian Hoyer, NTP, about EMFs. EMFs are a topic that can be incredibly overwhelming, which is why I wanted to bring Brian on to share some realistic tips on what you can do if you’d like to start looking into the impact of EMFs. Brian explains what EMFs are, how they can be impacting your child’s health and what he thinks are important first steps when trying to reduce your EMF exposure.
This podcast episode is just a quick excerpt from Brian’s full interview in the My Child Will Thrive Knowledge Vault. You can sign up to watch Brian’s full masterclass as well as other interviews with speakers just like him here.
We’ve got a short episode today on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast, but it’s a good one! I’m taking you through the importance of the Food, Mood, Sleep & Poop Journal and why I think it’s one of the most powerful and important tools that you can use for your child (and that I used with mine.)
There’s often a lot going on in our lives, particularly as caregivers when we’re trying to maneuver through our child’s health. The Food, Mood, Sleep & Poop Journal is incredibly helpful on this journey because it tracks each and every part of your child’s day, which gives context and insight to your practitioner. We are doing our absolute best with our children, but this helps us understand if we’re missing something on their healing protocol or if we’re noticing slight changes in their temperament based on a snack.
There so much we can gain from the Food, Mood, Sleep & Poop Journal which is why I have it as a FREE tool in the My Child Will Thrive Toolkit. You can access that here.
The Toolkit includes:
- Researched and field tested guides, tracking tools, checklists and cheat sheets allow you to get to the root of what is causing your child's challenges. so that you don't waste time creating them yourself.
- Videos to walk you through some of the more challenging topics you will need to learn to help identify what your child needs.
- Using The My Child Will Thrive Tool Kit gives you a head start so you can focus on what is most important – your child!
I recommend watching the video on YouTube (see below on this page) to see the journal as I walk you through it. I hope you enjoy this episode!
As we all start to get settled into the new year and what our plans are for 2022, it might seem a bit overwhelming on where to start when it comes to our child’s health. There’s a lot of information out there with new ideas and tactics coming out (what seems like) daily. Not to mention the uncertainty that is a constant in all our lives right now! Where do we even start?
That’s why I’m excited to bring to you a new podcast I recorded with my friend, Jessica Sherman, RHN. Jess is an author, speaker, mother, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and board certified in Practical Holistic Nutrition. During this show, Jess takes us through how you can set your family up for success this year in 2022 in a simple, loving way. None of Jess’ tips are overwhelming and we dive into what you really want your vision for your life to be with your child.
The role of the vagus nerve in neurodevelopment and the health of our children couldn’t be more important. If the vagus nerve isn’t functioning optimally there can be a cascade effect on their health and development and there will be a major block to sustained progress in many interventions you may be using. Let’s review together the foundational role of the vagus nerve in our children’s health and development.
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is the tenth (X) cranial nerve and is the longest nerve in the body. It originates in the brainstem and then, like its Latin name implies, it wanders through the body connecting to the organs throughout the entire body. The vagus nerve is a complex bidirectional system which means it is made up of both efferent and afferent nerves that link the brainstem to various organs. Efferent nerves are motor nerves that carry messages from the brain to the muscles and organs. Afferent nerves are sensory nerves that carry messages from sensory receptors back to the brain.
What is the vagus nerve's role in the nervous system?
The vagus nerve plays a role in the part of the peripheral nervous system known as the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is responsible for automatic or involuntary physiological response throughout the body such as heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and digestion. The ANS is made up of three parts: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) and the Enteric Nervous System (ENS).
The understanding of the importance of the vagus nerve continues to evolve. One of its most important functions is its role in the digestive system via the Enteric Nervous System and the body’s ability to appropriately switch between a Sympathetic nervous state (fight or flight) and a Parasympathetic nervous state (rest and digest).
One of the areas of keen study on the vagus nerve is its role in the gut-brain axis. Digestion is a north-to-south process in the body and digestion starts in the brain. For example, if your child is struggling with switching from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state, then they will likely have chronic digestive problems as the digestive cascade will not have been appropriately triggered which will lead to downstream digestive dysfunction.
In addition, the Enteric Nervous System is the nervous system of the digestive system. An example of the role of the vagus nerve to gut function is when the efferent vagus nerves send signals to the Enteric Nervous System which in turn send signals to the muscles of the digestive tract to initiate peristalsis (move the food along the digestive tract). If the vagus nerve is not functioning optimally this can result in several digestive challenges including but not limited to constipation.
As the vagus nerve impacts gut function, it can result in gut dysfunction such as dysbiosis and leaky gut which in turn have been shown to have a significant impact on brain function.
What are the signs and symptoms of vagus nerve dysfunction in children?
- Gastroparesis (in severe cases of vagus nerve impairment)
- Requiring constant digestive supports (enzymes)
- Low heart rate variability (HRV)
- Poor or overactive gag reflex
- Difficulty swallowing
- A child that is having difficulty with toilet training
- Speech delays
- Delays in walking or crawling
What can you do to improve vagal tone in children?
This is a tricky one. Most of the typical suggestions that work would be difficult to implement with children, although the list below includes them as it really depends on the age and development of each child.
This list is not exhaustive and there is always debate over which methods are most effective and can really improve vagal tone and elicit positive neuroplasticity. There is evidence, however, that using a multimodal approach can have positive effects.
- Triggering the gag reflex
- Singing loudly
- Coffee enemas
- Vagal Nerve Stimulation – there are several different tools available these days that use electrical stimulation and/or vibration
- Low level laser
Other things we can do to help stimulate the vagus nerve:
- Infant massage and swaddling
- Probiotics – in particular Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium Longum have been shown to act through the vagus nerve to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
What to do next?
If you want to learn more about the role of the vagus nerve and the gut brain axis, I encourage you to watch the free expert interview replays on The Anxiety Summit 5 with Dr. Navaz Habib, the author of the book Activate Your Vagus Nerve: Unleash Your Body's Natural Ability to Heal and the interview with Dr. Datis Kharazzian, author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working.
I hope this introduction to the importance of the vagus nerve has been helpful. Take the next step and watch the expert interviews by signing up here.
Join me in a conversation with Dr. Marisol, Queen of the Thrones™ as she explains how the type of poop your child has can impact their neurological health.
I’m Tara Hunkin, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPS Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, mother, and founder of My Child Will Thrive. I am passionate about helping parents like you because I have been in your shoes. My Child Will Thrive is the resource I wish I had found years ago.
After 13 years — and counting — researching, applying therapies and techniques, succeeding and learning from mistakes, the journey to recover my daughter from multiple neurodevelopmental disorders (dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder, general learning disability, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder…) has been an eye-opening, soul-searching, sometimes lonely trip.
My learning never ends. Whether formally, through courses and conferences, or informally, by reading, listening and research, I am on a mission to transform what I’ve learned into useful, practical solutions for parents who are where I was at the beginning of my journey — confused, determined, scared and hopeful.
Knowing more about your child’s health and the possible underlying causes is the key to finding the path to recovery. Envisioning your child’s total recovery (whatever that means to you) is, dare I say, a reasonable and necessary part of the process. Knowledge is power, hope is fuel.