A Revealing Look at The Orthomolecular Approach to Children’s Health

or If Only I Knew Then What I Know Now…

Book Review

The basic premise of this book is simple:  supplying our bodies with the appropriate foods and nutrients can resolve illness, restore health and balance, and maintain vibrant good energy.  This school of thought is referred to as “Orthomolecular Medicine” – a phrase coined by Linus Pauling in 1968 and defined as “the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances which are natural to the body.”

Written in the late 70’s, the information in Feed Your Kids Right offers useful, practical, nutritional solutions for a myriad of common childhood imbalances and nervous system disorders.  This is information that you will rarely, if ever, hear from today’s pediatricians.  A gold mine of information, this book offers very easy to understand guidance that can and will change your life for the better if you give his suggestions a try – children and adults alike.

Dr. Smith’s first chapter describes his “five levels of health” which are referenced and expanded upon throughout the rest of the book.   It becomes obvious as the book progresses how important the beginning stages of life are.  Do you recognize yourself in any of the following?

A Level I infant usually grows into adulthood free of illness.  He came from a stress-free, comfortable, full-term pregnancy and easy delivery.  Laughs and smiles more than cries; Hair and nails are glossy, not brittle; Bowel movements are normal with no bad smell, rarely constipated, rare loose stools; Cuts teeth easily; Handles new situations well; Permanent teeth are free of cavities; Even tempered.

At Level II, there are moments of allergy, discontent, moodiness, sickness throughout childhood and into adulthood; Needs rocking and a favorite stuffed toy at bedtime; Separation anxiety appears around seven or eight months.

Level III is where Dr. Lendon begins to describe my childhood with amazing accuracy:

Level III, “the mother had a stressful pregnancy.”  My mother had a difficult pregnancy (twins), and could only eat a tablespoon of food at any one time in those last few months.  “The baby may have been premature, was slow to breathe, had to go into the incubator…”  I had to stay in an incubator for a while after birth.   My brother and I were put on cow’s milk early on; and evidently we cried a lot as infants – also listed as Level III characteristics.   Level III children are described as touchy, “as if the world is too close.”  Yep.  I also developed asthma and frequent ear and throat infections, and, as a result, was overprotected by my parents.  Level III children are described as terribly shy, having persistent allergies.  Yes again.  It all sounds so familiar.

Level IV and V children are progressively more out of balance and may require medical intervention and/or hospitalization.  All this is just the beginning!

There is so much more amazing info in this book that I decided to site sections  that ring true for me, and that I feel are the most valuable.

In regard to the musculoskeletal system, Dr. Lendon writes:

“The bones, muscles and circulatory system form an infrastructure that is constantly in use.  When these systems get in trouble they have painful ways of letting us know.  Joints ache, muscles cramp, “tired” blood leaves us feeling punk.  Yet – assuming things haven’t gone too far – all of these systems respond marvelously to the preventive approach of good nutrition and stress reduction.”

“Avoid being sedentary.  Get the kind of exercise that uses these systems in a healthy way.  It will help keep the muscles in tone, the bones properly calcified, and the bloodstream unobstructed and elastic.”

“Bones are composed of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and a few trace elements and are held together with connective tissue that depends on vitamin C.”

“Bone pain and muscle aches are signals that some element is in insufficient supply.  A person thus afflicted would be served better by a sound diet and supplements of bone meal or dolomite and the B complex vitamins than he would by aspirin, which just treats the symptoms.”

What a concept!   We can actually nourish and heal the musculoskeletal system by providing a healthful diet, trace minerals, and vitamins C and B complex.  That means we need to ingest these nutrients in the optimal amounts every single day.

Concerning the digestive system and metabolism:

“The digestive tube is no alchemist or magician; it cannot make human energy, human protein, or human bone if the raw materials are not put into it in the first place.”

“It is nonsense to believe we are supposed to get sick.  Our bodies give us clues all the time that some biochemical pathway is being improperly nourished.”

“. . . if a baby comes from a mother who has had a stressful or poorly nourished pregnancy, he will be likely to suffer milk allergy or other problems.”

To summarize, we can nourish ourselves by consuming whole, vital foods and supplements on a daily basis.  We can avoid becoming ill and have the ability to create health for future generations by learning how to nourish ourselves in the present.

Dr. Lendon on the Nervous System, Limbic System and Neocortex:

“Understanding the roles played by the limbic system and the neocortex gives us some insight into human behavior.  By keeping the neocortex well nourished we can keep the behavioral balance on the side of rational response to incoming stimuli.  All this gives hope for the treatment of nervous disorders.”

“…if the child is anemic or does not eat properly, the brain will be unable to function optimally.  If the body is under stress, the blood glucose will fall.  If the person consumes sugar, he may produce too much insulin, and the blood sugar will fall, depriving the brain of its energy source.”

“Enzymes require vitamin C and the B complex vitamins and some minerals plus a constant energy supply for the production of the brain chemicals that permit nerve functions.  The neocortex is the part most vulnerable to these deprivations.  When it goes, the next layer to take over is the limbic system – the devil in all of us.  Depending on genetic influences, learned patterns of response, age, previous insults, and the environment, a particular person will react in his own particular way.  Some get tired, some develop headaches, migraines, epilepsy, asthma, stomach-aches, incontinence, dizziness, tics, twitches, hives, arthritis, depression and a host of psychosomatic disorders that can be explained by the failure of the neocortex to run smoothly.”

“If the Prevention Diet and Stress Formula are not allowing [the child] to laugh and smile more than he cries and frowns, then a food-allergy elimination series should be attempted.  Usually the food that is craved is the offender; if he loves milk and must have it every day, it is probably the milk that makes him feel out of sorts and unable to cope with stress.”

Speaking as someone who had an unrecognized intolerance to dairy for most of my life (more than 50 years!), I can tell you that continued consumption of said allergen definitely contributes to emotional dysfunction, such as feelings of helplessness and a state of mind that is always on edge.  Continual intake of a food allergen combined with a lack of nutrients = a recipe for disaster, or at least a pretty miserable life.

On Orthomolecular Medicine:

“…orthomolecular doctors practice on the theory that if all the cells of the body are nourished properly, the body should be able to withstand a rather hostile environment – that is, stress and all its subdivisions, including infections, injuries, emotional traumata, and (up to a point) nutritional deprivations.”

 Dr. Smith on “anti-nutrients”:

“It is, however, useless to attempt to try specific supplements when a brief review of the patient’s eating habits reveals that he is consuming large quantities of anti-nutrients.  What’s an anti-nutrient?  It is a substance that, when consumed, in and of itself increases the body’s need for more nutrients.  Examples: refined sugar, excessive carbohydrates, artificial additives.  Many times the  mere elimination of the anti-nutrients will be all the help the body needs to raise it from one level to the next higher level (assuming that the anti-nutrients are replaced by wholesome food).”

Other foods that often act as anti-nutrients in the body are dairy, eggs, wheat and damaged oils.  Eliminating these damaging foods can improve health dramatically, while continued consumption often leads to a life-long downward spiral, frequent illness, inflammation, chronic disease, emotional unrest and unpleasant aging.

It’s time to get on board the Health Train!  Healing is possible at any age, although the earlier we begin to nourish our families and ourselves, the better.  Whole, organic foods in the proper balance, supplementing with the appropriate fluids and nutrients every day, getting exercise and rest, and leading a life as free of stress as possible all lead to good health through all stages of growth and maturity.  If you started out life at Level III or higher, you will have to be more vigilant in your efforts to maintain vibrant health, but it can be done.

Did I mention I purchased this as a used book on Amazon for $.01?  Just checked, and there are other copies available at the same price.  Add the $3.99 shipping, and you just paid $4.00 for an amazing book!

Wishing you good health and continued awareness.   You can create health for yourself!


About Sarah Wadleigh

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Organic Gardener and Nutritional Consultant for people and companion animals. I live in Madrid, New Mexico with my wonderful husband, two little dogs and a big cat. My practice revolves around helping people create health through whole-food nutrition, nutritive herbs, lifestyle and self-awareness. With more than 20 years of experience as an animal nutritional counselor, I offer consultations to improve the health and well-being of our four-legged friends, as well as their humans. We can work together via Skype, in person,or over the phone. Let's create health for ourselves and our animal companions! Contact: sarah@summersunherbals.com
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4 Responses to A Revealing Look at The Orthomolecular Approach to Children’s Health

  1. Jane Anderson says:

    Great post Sarah, thank you! This book sounds like a good find– and proof how important it is to start our kids out on a healthy path of eating. Thanks for the post!

  2. Miriam Holley says:

    Sarah….Thanks so much for this post….I have friends having new babies…and will pass this on….very important…xxoo m

    • Great! It’s a very enlightening read. Now I’m starting another book by Lendon Smith called “Feed Yourself Right.” Love his writing style – so easy to understand!

      Thanks, Miriam.

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