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Treating Depression in Children and Youth

Part 1: The Role of Zinc

According to the Centers for Addiction and Mental Health, in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem in any given year. 70% of mental health problems have their onset in childhood and adolescence.

It is therefore imperative that childhood mental health problems be treated safely and effectively, not only to address current suffering but to prevent long-term mental illness as well as untimely deaths.

In 2012, suicide accounted for 17% of deaths among children aged 10-14, 28% among teens aged 15-19 and 25% among young adults aged 20-24.

Conventional treatment of depression focuses on antidepressant medications. These can have serious side effects and in some cases even increase suicidal behavior. They also don’t address the underlying reasons for depression. Nonetheless, one in ten Canadians is taking antidepressant medication, including children.

Non drug based approaches can be far safer and more effective and tend to address the root causes of depression. There are many possible causes of depression in children and youth, including inherited predispositions, nutritional factors, exposure to toxins and infectious agent and emotionally traumatic events. Most commonly, depression is a multifactorial condition. This article is the first of a series and will focus on the role of nutrition, especially the role of zinc.

Malnutrition in children

Children often suffer from undiagnosed malnutrition. With the many processed foods in their diets most children’s nutritional status is poorer than those of adults, although they require increased nutrients for growth and development.

I have cringed numrous times watching some of my daughter’s classmates walking to school clutching a fistful of gummi worms for breakfast, or eating bags of fruit loops or a dry Mr. Noodles for lunch.

I fought with the administration of every school she attended to stop the selling of pizza lunches served with donuts and chocolate milk as fundraisers, and the continuous bombardment of the children with sugary treats brought almost daily by well-meaning parents and teachers.

These foods offer mostly high fat, high sugar, empty calories devoid of minerals and vitamin, not exactly brain fuel. I believe that diet contributes to the fact that one in six children is now being diagnosed with some sort of developmental disorder.

Hair mineral analysis and zinc levels

One simple way to assess nutritional status is with a hair mineral analysis, a simple and inexpensive test available through most naturopathic doctors.

I have literally run hundreds of these tests over the last 25 years and have rarely seen one come back with a normal zinc level, a testament to modern food production methods.

Children tend to be especially low in zinc, a crucial trace mineral that is involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions in the human body. The highest concentrations of zinc are found in the brain.  

Zinc levels can affect the function of the blood-brain-barrier. As the name implies, this barrier controls what can enter or exit the brain, including how much aluminum is allowed to enter the brain. Aluminum is highly neurotoxic and has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, autism and OCD symptoms among others. [1]

Zinc also plays a role in neurological signaling pathways and other important brain functions. Approximately 10% of the total zinc in the brain exists in the synaptic vesicles, little bubbles full of neurotransmitters at the ends of neurons. In fact, zinc may act as a neurotransmitter. [2]

Zinc and neurological disorders

Zinc deficiency in certain regions of the brain such as the hippocampus, has been linked to an increased risk of neurological diseases, including epilepsy, as well as depression, ADHD, learning disabilities and olfactory dysfunction. [3]

Would it not stand to reason that medical doctors, pediatricians and psychiatrists should investigate zinc levels in cases of mental health concerns?

Sadly, this is not the case as they are not trained in nutrition and most just don’t have time to peruse journals on molecular biology or neurotoxicology and instead are being indoctrinated by pharmaceutical reps advocating Prozac and other SSRIs, best-selling drugs.

A real no-brainer, with the entire population being deficient in zinc and other important nutrients, pun intended.

Zinc and immune system function

Zinc is also an extremely important mineral for normal immune system function and has many roles in controlling inflammation. Certain acute infections, including streptococcal and Lyme disease infections, may trigger the sudden onset of anxiety, depression and OCD symptoms in children and probably adults. Low zinc levels can make it harder to fight off such infections.

Chronic, low-grade infections have been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome and auto-immune conditions, both of which can manifest as depression. [4]

Zinc also has powerful effects on the hormonal system, including testosterone production. Low testosterone levels are linked to depression and low confidence in adult males, which appears to be far more common than previously thought.

Zinc, hormones and depression

I think all male teens with depression should be evaluated for testosterone and zinc levels. I have seen plenty of lethargic young men perk right up with some basic supplementation of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc.

Teens in particular are fond of junk food as well as the liberal use of alcohol and other intoxicants which further stresses nutrient requirements. Pubertal nutrient status is important for all aspects of normal growth and development. [4]

Considering that 70% of mental health issues start in childhood I think it should be routine to evaluate all children and youth for zinc and other nutritional deficiencies.

This evaluation could constitute a major break-through in preventative medicine and be a great benefit to society due to reduction of costs, suffering, disability and premature death, not to mention increased happiness and productivity for all.

This really is a human rights issue and I am sure we will see these ideas realized in the future.

Meanwhile, look to dedicated naturopathic physicians to investigate and treat the many causes of depression now. Your child is worth it.

Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, www.drzimmermann.org


[1] The Toxicology of Aluminum in the Brain: A Review. Yokel, R.A. Neurotoxicology, 2000 Oct; 21(5):813-28


[2] Zinc Homeostasis and Function of Zinc in the Brain, A. Takeda, Biometals, 2001 Sep-Dec; 14(3-4):343-51


[3] Lower Serum Zinc and Higher CRP Strongly Predict Prenatal Depression and Physio-somatic Symptoms, Which All Together Predict Postnatal Depressive Symptoms.

Roomruangwong CKanchanatawan BSirivichayakul S et al, Molecular Neurobiology, 2016 Feb 5. [Epub ahead of print]


[4] Lower serum zinc in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): relationships to immune dysfunctions and relevance for the oxidative stress status in CFS.

Maes M1Mihaylova IDe Ruyter M., Journal of Affective Disorders. 2006 Feb;90(2-3):141-7. Epub 2005 Dec 9


[5] Nutrition and Pubertal Development. Ashraf Soliman et al, Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014, Nov; 18(suppl 1):S39-S47


Other interesting links:





Bird Remedies in Homeopathy

Birds have more to offer us than beauty, song and inspiration; they can offer help for illness as well. Remarkably, homeopathic remedies made from a simple feather can have great healing powers. This case study demonstrates some of the interesting aspects of bird remedies.
A 48-year-old female consulted me in November of 2008 regarding vasospastic angina lasting for two years. The symptom picture was one of classic angina, but there was no blockage of the arteries. The patient was rather annoyed by the angina: "I have no time for this. I resent having to pay attention to my body. I've got things to do. I'm still mad at the doctors who diagnosed it."
I asked her how her heart felt about this.

13 Tips for Preventing Autism in Your Child

Autism Spectrum Disorders are now estimated to affect one in 45 children in the US. Additionally one in six children is now being diagnosed with a developmental disorder. 

Increasingly, research and clinical practice shows that these conditions are related and largely environmentally and medically caused and preventable. Genetic and epigenetic factor seem to play a role by increasing susceptibility to medical and environmental toxins. Autism and related disorders constitute a heavy burden on families and society at large and there is an urgent need for the prevention of these crippling disorders.

Here are some autism facts from the US; Canadian date are estimated to be similar:

- Autism prevalence is growing by 17% a year.

- More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined

Tuberculinum - a common Remedy for Children

Tuberculinum is one of our main constitutional homeopathic remedies for children, especially those with weak constitutions who suffer from frequent infections and allergies as well as children with a range of developmental and behavioural disorders. 

A proportion of these children may be born with mental handicaps from mild learning difficulties to severe mental retardation and some of these children show many symptoms of chromosomal disorders, yet genetic testing will come back be normal.

Homeopathy and Epigenetics

Nearly 200 years ago, the founder of Homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann found out that effects of certain diseases like Scabies, Gonorrhea, Tuberculosis and Syphilis could be present even after the acute infection was treated.

He also noticed that these effects could be passed on to future generations without the actual infection being acquired. This trans-generational effect manifested in the form of ‘disease predispositions’. He called these effects ‘Miasms’. The effect in the same generation was called an ‘acquired miasm’ and the effect that was present in future generations was called an ‘inherited miasm’.

The idea of miasms has remained one of the most controversial propositions of Hahnemann, however, a new branch in genetics is throwing light on a possible mechanism to explain this theory.

Homeopathy for Ear Aches

It’s 2 am. Little Jamie is tugging at your arm. “My ear hurts, mommy”. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just give her a homeopathic remedy, have her go back to sleep and keep dreaming? With a little training in the basics of homeopathy for acute problems and a few homeopathic remedies you can easily become Dr. Mom or Dad for most common ailments, including children’s ear infections.

Here are a few handy remedies for earaches:



To be taken at the first signs of a cold, cough or an earache after exposure to cold, dry wind. A common remedy needed in windy Victoria! This is the one most often needed if your child comes to you in the middle of the night with an acute onset of symptoms, including fever.


A rival to aconite, the child presents suddenly with a hot, flushed face and fever. The earache may be worse on the right side. Pay attention to the time of day, 3 pm or 3 am is a common time of onset or aggravation for belladonna. I have seen children go from literally screaming in pain to playing relaxed in the office in a matter of minutes with this remedy.


Also known as ‘the bear’ this remedy is needed when the child is irritable and symptoms are worse from any movement. There may be a bursting headaches and increased thirst.

Ferrum phos: 

Give this if you don’t have very strong or clear symptoms, i.e. when there is only a slight fever. Useful in the early stages of many infections.


Helpful for ‘ripe’ colds, with thick, creamy discharges. Great for earaches when the child is mild, clingy and not very thirsty. Tends to feel better in fresh air.

Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, Victoria, BC


Treating Children's Colds and Flus Naturally

With damp and windy March in full swing runny noses and coughs are still cropping up everywhere. As soon as your toddler is finished with an earache, the baby gets a cold and you get worn out from lack of sleep and come down with sinusitis. Oh, the joys of mucus!
Fortunately, we are blessed with fairly robust immune systems, which are working full-time fighting all those nasty bugs. Here are a few simple things you can do to help your defense mechanism do an even better job:

Natural Help for Acne - especially for Teens

Who would not like to have a vibrant, clear complexion and beautiful, smooth skin all over?

One of the most common and least favorite skin problems is acne vulgaris, or common acne. The oil pores of the skin can become plugged up and infected or inflamed, causing those unsightly zits. The process seems to be stimulated by increased hormone levels.

Maybe you had great skin until you hit puberty and then – wham! Your face or even chest and back are suddenly erupting in pimples, bumps and lumps, just as you were starting to become self-conscious.

Now, let me tell you right now – acne may look like an external problem, but it is not. It has next to nothing to do with your moisturizer or whether you pick those pesky pimples and everything with your nutrition, your liver and bowel function.

Are you concerned about your baby's development?

Most babies develop normally into little bundles of joy. However, here are a few symtoms that may point to possible developmental issues which could be addressed with early intervention, including homeopathy, craniosacral therapy and others.

1) Baby resists being handled or does not cuddle, may arch it's back, pull away, cry or become irritable with handling or being held.

2) Baby avoids eye contact and avoids intently watching the faces of parents and familiar other (in 2 months or older babies.)

3) Baby does not expressively communicate with face and body using facial and body movements.

Post-Partum Blues

Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience but sometimes our bodies don't quite return to the pre-pregnancy state that easily. I have seen many Moms over the years who developed not only post-partum blues but many others odd health issues during or after their pregnancies. Take the case of Samantha, a 37-year-old mother of a two-year-old boy.

"As soon as I got pregnant with Tyler I started having gas and digestive problems. I thought, okay, it's the pregnancy, but strangely, it never went away after I had him. The gas is terrible. I also have a much shorter fuse since then, like PMS, only I have it constantly." She also complained that her memory was not the same.

I can relate to that, I used to joke that my memory was delivered with the placenta when I had my daughter.

Spacey, Clingy and Distracted - two ADHD Cases

Looking for a place to grow your money? Consider investing in ADHD meds! Now that I have your attention, sales of stimulants to treat ADHD in the US alone have more than doubled to $9 billion in 2012 from $4 billion in 2007 according to the health care information company IMS Health. [1]. About 70% of these youngsters are given stimulant medications such as Ritalin, Adderal, Concerta and Vyvanse. Attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD), the most common behavioural disorder in children, is being diagnosed in epidemic proportions.

Figures released by the Centres of Disease Control in the United States show that approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age or 6.4 million, have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available [2].

Natural Cures for Hangovers in Homeopathy

With the holiday season in full swing, some of you may fall prey to overindulgences of various kinds, be that eating, drinking, partying or spending too much.
Although I have yet to discover a natural remedy for the credit card blues, there are a few useful tips and tricks to prevent and treat hangovers and upset digestive systems caused by excess consumption.

Natural Treatment of Asthma in Children

Q: I have an eight-year-old son who has suffered from severe asthma since infancy. He is on puffers and other medication but barely controls his condition and we are concerned about the long-term side effects. Is there anything naturopathic medicine can do for him?

A: Asthma is reported to affect three percent of the population, but is most common in children under ten. The triggers for asthma may include allergic reactions to foods or inhalants, exertion, colds and emotional factors.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) linked to Autism?

In the May 2008 issue of the journal Autism, Schultz et al reported an association between autism and acetaminophen (paracetamol, Tylenol) given to children for fever, pain, and other adverse reactions to the MMR vaccine. Children given acetaminophen after the MMR vaccine were significantly more likely to become autistic than children given ibuprofen.

The MMR vaccine has long been suspected of provoking autism, especially by parents who report that their seemingly normal child regressed after receiving the vaccine. Could it be, however, that it is not the vaccine, or at least not solely it, but acetaminophen, given for any subsequent fever or pain?

CEASE Therapy Overview - How it helps Children with Autism

CEASE Therapy was developed by the Dutch medical doctor and homeopath Tinus Smits because he was looking for a way to help children with autism. CEASE stands for Complete Elimination of Autism Spectrum Expression and Dr. Smits helped well over 300 children with autism prior to his death in 2010.

While his method was originally designed for children with autism, Dr. Smits and those that he trained have seen success treating a number of conditions, including other neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD, behavioural disorders, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and cancer.

Bacteria important for Immune System Function

As some of you may know only too well, I spend an awful lot of time monkeying around in the dark, asking probing questions about - bowel movements! That and the subconscious mind, well we all need our hobbies. But I'm not the only one slaving away in the heart of darkness, no, we all have billions of little helpers right there in our large intestines doing the deed and carving out a pleasant life for themselves.

Microbial organisms vs human cells: 100 to 1

In fact, we harbour about 100 times as many microbial organisms in the remote recesses of our colon than we contain cells in our bodies. And as if that was not unsettling enough, we are home sweet home to between 500-10,000 different species of these delectable organisms. Fascinatingly, it seems as if our bodies are not only tolerating these little buggers but actually need them to develop and maintain our immune system.

Cannabis may affect your Offspring

Over the past few years, I have seen several children who were affected by their parents' cannabis use before conception or during the pregnancy. What most people don't know is that cannabis can leave energetic or epigenetic imprints in parents which can be passed along to the child and may cause various health issues. The good news is that this can be corrected.
If a child has a combination of developmental concerns as well as chronic sinus or bladder and reproductive system issues he or she may have been affected by parental cannabis use and may benefit greatly from a few doses of homeopathic cannabis.  
Homeopathy is based on the principle of like cures like, so a substance that can create certain symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick one.
Cannabis-related developmental issues can include autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorders and learning disabilities. Some children only show chronic sinus problems or snuffles or chronic urinary tract or vaginal infections. 
Cannabis children can be spacey, highly imaginative and intuitive. They can also suffer from intense fears or have serious nightmares. Homeopathic treatment with Cannabis may help them be more present, clear up their sinuses and allergies and may help with any fears or bad dreams.
Other recreational drugs and even alcohol and tobacco can also leave imprints which can be cleared with homeopathic treatment. If you are planning a pregnancy, consider having your system cleared of suspected toxic imprints before conception.
Many substances can leave energetic or epigenetic imprints in our bodies, including prescription drugs, contraceptive pills, pesticides etc, but they can potentially be cleared with homeopathic preparations made from those substances. 
Please pass this information along to your friends and families! It may help to prevent and treat some serious neurological issues, including autism. 


CEASE Therapy - New Hope for Autism Spectrum Disorders

This article was requested by 'Naturopathic Doctor News and Review' and published in their print edition in September 2013

In April I received a call from the mother of one of my little autistic patients: "Owen's eye contact has gone from one second to several minutes at times! I’m actually almost a bit uncomfortable with the intensity of his gaze now." Not only that, but he learned to use the word ‘no’ and was trying to say other words, all major improvements after only eight weeks of treatment with CEASE Therapy, a new integrated treatment method for autism based on homeopathy.

Owen, an adorable three-and-a-half-year-old boy, was born healthy and strong but started to show changes in his health after intensive IV and oral antibiotic therapy at only nine weeks old. Signs of regression were noted by about 16 months, preceded by intensive dental treatments with conscious sedation and more antibiotics. He began toe-walking, started banging his head on the floor when angry and lost the eight to

ten words he already had one by one until he couldn’t even say ‘uh-oh’ anymore. A sadly familiar story for many parents of children diagnosed with autism.

The dramatic Increase of Autism

US health authorities announced in March of 2013 that autism is even more common than previously thought, with 1 in 88 children and 1 in 55 boys now being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder compared to 1 in 1000 only 20 years ago. Autism rates are increasing by 17% a year and nobody seems to know why.

According to the statistics only ten percent of individuals diagnosed with autism are ever expected to work and the average lifetime cost of a person with autism to society is estimated at around $3.5 million. North America is facing an increasingly serious epidemic of autism with no cure in sight.

Conventional treatments for autism include behavioural therapy which is definitely helpful but expensive, time-consuming and not curative. In naturopathic circles biomedical therapies, especially the DAN protocol, have become popular and are clearly helping many children, but these protocols can also be costly and difficult to follow and are therefor out of reach for many parents. In addition they do not address the deeper causes of autism. A number of medications are also being tried with temporary success, including antifungals and antivirals.

Owen had already been on a gluten, casein and soy-free diet from 24 months old which helped him to sleep through the night and reduced hyperactive behaviour. He had been given numerous supplements as well as courses of Fluconazole, Nystatin and Valacyclovir which helped temporarily. The family had recently switched to the GAPS diet which somewhat improved his sleep, eye contact and behaviour.

He has also had intensive ABA therapy for the past five months. "The eye contact is something we've been targeting with ABA since November of 2012 for 12 hours a week", the mother reported. "He was expected to look for at least "1-Mississippi" each time we called his name. His success rate with this was about 30% until about the beginning of April when it suddenly jumped to 80%, for several seconds at a time, where it has remained. Recently he has been turning almost every time we call and on several occasions has sustained eye contact for over a minute."

This dramatic change was noted after only two weeks on Polyantibioticum, a homeopathic remedy made from several antibiotics. He has steadily improved since then, in fact, as of the latest update in May, he now makes eye contact 100% of the time and he has also started to play with toys for the first time over the past week.


I first learned about Polyantibioticum by reading 'Autism - Beyond Despair', Dr. Tinus Smit's book on his system of CEASE Therapy. Dr. Smits was a Dutch homeopath and medical doctor who practiced homeopathy for over 30 years and treated more than 300 autistic children. He passed away in 2011. CEASE stands for 'Complete Elimiation of Autism Spectrum Expression'. At first I thought that was an overly bold title, but after two years of experience with this method I am convinced that it is by far the best option to treat children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Not only does it offer effective treatment for these conditions, it helps to identify the causative factors, a radical discovery.

Dr. Smits observed that children who developed physical problems after vaccinations or antibiotics often improved mentally and emotionally if they were treated with isotherapy, homeopathic remedies made from the offending substances. Over time he applied this discovery to children with many different problems, including autism. Responses to the correct remedies are dramatically obvious, often creating an aggravation followed by improvement. Dr. Smits found that about 70% of autistic children had been affected by vaccines, the rest by medications, plastic softeners and other toxins. He felt that these stressors were cumulative and could also include vaccinations, medications, illnessess and traumas the parents had before conception.


Flashback to July 26, 2011. The phone rang at 8 am. I picked up the receiver and was greeted by bloodcurdling screams. Suddenly I was wide awake. "Hi, it's Sue, Adam's mother. We gave him his first dose of Pediacel 30CH yesterday and he woke up at 6 am screaming like this. He is unconsolable. What should we do?"

"I'm sorry, Sue, I'm afraid he'll have to scream it out."

I had just read Dr. Smits's book, and having practiced mostly classical homeopathy for 20 years, I figured I should just go right ahead and try it on the next innocent victim, yes, little Adam, 22-months old. Oh, the perils of ignorance. I had read that children can have dramatic detox reactions from the remedies but I didn't really learn how to manage these properly until I took my CEASE certification training in June of 2012. Words to the wise: Take the training! I lost several cases due to improper case management, which is not the way to grow a new, important therapy.

Fortunately, Adam's mother was already familiar with homeopathy as well as very forgiving. He screamed for a total of five hours straight but a week later I received an update via email: "In the last week, we have noticed that he has been more active mentally. He is using hand signals. We had taught hand signals before but he wasn't using them at all until just this past week. He is starting to make more sounds, like "beh" and he hasn't done that for the last several months. He is screeching less."

Vaccination and autism

Adam's family had delayed vaccinating him until he was over a year old, but then the doctor decided to catch up and gave him everything all at once. After that he stopped babbling and became withdrawn. He was never diagnosed as autistic, but rather as suffering from a language disorder, and qualified for speech therapy. Adam recovered beautifully within about six months between CEASE Therapy to clear any vaccine damage and speech therapy. By December his speech therapist discharged him and the family was told that he was probably just a late talker.

CEASE Therapy not only helps children with autism, but virtually all children diagnosed with neurodevelopmental or behavioural disorders. I have used it successfully on children with PDD-NOS, ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorders, language disorders, learning disabilities, anxiety and aggression. All of these conditions are on the rise with as many as one in five children diagnosed now. From the beginning of my career I have had a strong interest in pediatrics and particularly developmental and behavioural disorders. Classical homeopathy helped many of my little charges, but not all. With CEASE Therapy my toolbox quadrupled, at least. There is logic and order to the system, it is effective, affordable and addresses the root causes of these disorders. In addition, parents who feel their child has been harmed by vaccines or medications feel validated and are offered hope.

Dr. Smits thought that most children with autism could be completely cured and that the main factor limiting this was a lack of knowledge of the causative agents. Most children with autism have complex histories and it takes time to identify and clear all the layers. Although initial changes can often be seen within days of starting CEASE it may require years of ongoing care for complete recovery as the following case illustrates.


James is a cheerful, 7-year-old boy who has been under my care since December of 2011. Similarly to Owen and Adam, he developed normally until about age two, when language and behavioural issues were first noted. He started headbutting doors, hit and bit himself and others and became obsessed with vents and exit signs on buildings. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 4. Presenting concerns included non-compliance issues at school, lack of social interaction with peers, hyperactivity, aggression and language delays, as well as eczema.

James was born in a foreign country and received the Hep-B vaccine when he was only three days old and the TB vaccine (BCG) at 13 days old. The family moved to Canada when James was one and he was given some extra vaccines to catch up to the schedule. I started him on the MMR with minor improvements, followed by a Pentacel clearing. His interventionist commented that he seemed much calmer. During the next visit the father reported that James was suddenly telling big, wild stories, lies even. We looked at each other for a moment and then the penny dropped: He was developing his imagination! He had never told stories like that before. He even started to write short stories rather than just one or two sentences.

All along his eczema would flare up slightly with each remedy but became severe when we started the BCG clearing last June. At that point the family disappeared for about six months. I contacted them in January to check in on James and learned that his eczema had much improved after some cortisone cream. But the behaviour issues had relapsed and he was more difficult to manage again.

The cortisone cream had set him back. We restarted the BCG clearing, more gradually this time, and he is continuing to improve. This case illustrates the importance of patient education, as well as the need to keep in touch. James may need another two years of ongoing support with CEASE.

CEASE Therapy not only uses isotherapy but also classical homeopathy to treat miasmatic and constitutional layers, as well as certain supplements such as fish oil, zinc and ascorbyl palmitate, a fat-soluble form of vitamin C, to support the detoxification and healing process.

Saccharum officinalis

Another superbly helpful tool Dr. Smits discovered was the use of Saccharum officinalis, homeopathic cane sugar, for the treatment of the many digestive problems as well as picky eating most autistic children suffer from. Carson, a four-year-old autistic boy who has been under my care since last June, is a great example. He was diagnosed as autistic at 21/2 years old. The mother reported that he regressed following the MMR shot at 16 months: "I will never forget being out on our country road, calling him and witnessing him totally not responding to his name, he always would before. I gasped for air, he was - different. It was heartbreaking."

Presenting concerns included toe-walking 95% of the time, stimming, being spaced out and staring. He had his own language, was unable to dress himself, not toilet trained and had major digestive issues with undigested food and foul-smelling diarrhea 50% of the time.

Carson's medical history was complex with exposure to too many medications, interventions, vaccines and toxins to list here. I started him on a clearing remedy twice a week as well as Saccharum 6D 2 pellets once a day. The mother wrote: "I keep a journal of my son's day to day progress and overall health. Since taking Saccharum I have noted the following changes: He now has solid stools, more frequent and more normal bowel movements (helps both constipation and diarrhea), less odour and better colour of stools, and fewer adverse reactions to food. Saccharum has continually and consistently worked for my son."


To all my dear colleagues: Please run, don't walk, to buy a copy of Dr. Smit's book. Read it, be inspired, take the training and help all those thousands of families affected by this crippling, life-long disorder. Dr. Smit's son, Yannick Smits, is continuing his work through an international organization to train and certify CEASE therapists around the world. Autism is affecting the whole world as more than one million doses ofvaccines are adminstered daily around the globe and as the use of allopathic medications and environmental pollutants is ever increasing. Here is a link to the website http://www.cease-therapy.com/.

Homeopathy, through CEASE Therapy, not only has the potential to help these children, but more importantly, to identify the causative factors of these conditions and ultimately to create a safer world for all of us.

References: Autism, Beyond Despair - CEASE Therapy, by Dr. Tinus Smits, 2010. Emryss Publishers. www.tinussmits.com.




Natural Approaches to Bedwetting

Bedwetting - also medically known as enuresis - is a common condition affecting more than 500,000 Canadian children age five and over. It can be an embarrassing and difficult problem for a child. His or her self-esteem may suffer and sleepovers may be impossible. School performance can be affected. 

Over the years I have treated dozens of children with enuresis successfully with homeopathy and occasionally through diet changes.

Many years ago I saw a 9-year-old boy with chronic bedwetting. He came to the office accompanied with both parents. Throughout the visit he sat alone in front of my examination table, did not interact at all and did not play with any toys. He looked exhausted and had large shiners under his eyes. The parents reported that he loved milk and drank several glasses a day.

Natural Treatments for Acute Bladder Infections

Which woman has not had the uncomfortable experience of a bladder infection, also known as cystitis: Pain and burning in the bladder and urethra, frequent and urgent urination with burning pain and even cramping of the bladder, although only a few drops may be passed and perhaps even blood in your urine. Most bladder infections are believed to be caused by E.coli infections of the urinary tract from the bowel, however, the woman’s immune system seems to play an important role in the susceptibility to this common infection.

E.coli and bladder infections

E.coli may enter the urethra during intercourse, which is why urinating and washing carefully before and after intercourse can help to reduce the tendency to develop a bladder infection. The man should also carefully wash before sexual intercourse.

Fever is a Friend

I get questions about fever in children several times a week. With flu season in high swing many children are sick and parents are taught to fear fever as if it were a disease and to make it go away as soon as possible. 

But suppressing fever, either by using drugs or by chilling is a dangerous practice. Fever is the the body's coping mechanism for dealing with infections and toxins and if a fever is suppressed during an infection the patient actually becomes more vulnerable to the germ that is causing the illness. 

Here are some interesting facts about fever:

1) All non-Westernised cultures support fevers as part of their care of a sick person and Europeans did the same until very recently. I remember being wrapped up warmly during a fever and being fed hot liquids. 

2) The idea that fever is harmful started being promoted 150 years ago, because fever-suppressing drugs were invented and produced commercially. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Q: I suffer from chronic abdominal pain with loose stools and lots of gas. My MD has diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome. Is there anything naturopathic medicine can do for me?

A: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an extremely uncomfortable chronic condition of the large intestine that afflicts both men and women. It is the most common digestive illness in North America, affecting approximately 15% of the population.

IBS may prevent vital nutrients from being properly absorbed and used by the body. Many digestive disorders can mimic IBS so it is important to have a complete evaluation by your medical or naturopathic doctor to determine if you truly have IBS. Other disorders such as disorders such as malabsorption disorders, lactose intolerance, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer may produce similar symptoms.

Mushroom Derived Compound improves Immune System Function in the Elderly

Immune system function can decline as a result of aging, which is one of the main reasons older people are more prone to developing infections, including colds and flus as well as more serious conditions such as cancer. In fact, about 77% of cancers are diagnosed in people over age 55. New studies show that compounds from medicinal mushrooms can stimulate T-cell as well as Natural Killer cell function and other immune system parameters.

Medicinal mushrooms have a long history of being used to increase vitality and longevity in many Asian countries including China and Japan. In recent decades scientific research has discovered certain active ingredients from those mushrooms which appear to have powerful immune system strengthening properties.

Your Hormones and PMS

You wake up groggy after a restless, sweaty night, stumble into the bathroom todiscover a huge zit erupting on your chin, your bra pinches because your boobs suddenly morphed into a double D, your husband has turned into a hairy monster from an alien civilization and you're going to give your kids up for adoption just as soon as you murder your boss and your mother-in-law!

No, PMS does not stand for Permanent Marital Satisfaction or even Positive Mothering Strategies, far from it! If anything, men and children will give it to you.

"Premenstrual Syndrome" (PMS) is the name given to the cyclic occurrence ofdistressing symptoms experienced by women in their reproductive years. The symptoms appear one to two weeks prior to menses, and usually diminish either a couple of days before menstruation or as soon as the flow begins.

Prevent and treat colds and flus with homeopathy

With the winter season in full swing runny noses and coughs are cropping up everywhere. Seniors in particular are more vulnerable to contracting influenza and developping potentially more serious effects from it due to age-related immune system weaknesses.

Even the flu shot is not a sure bet and occasionally may lead to flu symptoms or other complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system usually triggered by an acute infectious process.

It causes ascending paralysis beginning with weakness in the legs and later involvement of the arms, face and respiratory system.

Homeopathy for Babies

Homeopathy is very safe to use in babies, even newborns, and they respond exceptionally well to them. I have a lot of experience in treating babies for common complaints such as colics, colds, chronic nasal congestion, digestive issues, ear infections failure to thrive and many others.

The physical and emotional state of the mother during pregnancy can have many effects on the child, as can the birth process itself.

The Secret Life of the Unborn Child

Many years ago I read the book 'The Secret Life of the Unborn Child', by Dr. Thomas Verny, MD, now professor at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. The book became a bestseller and was translated into 27 languages. Using hypnosis, Dr. Verny regressed patients back to early traumatic experiences, often birth or even times during the pregnancy. Much to his surprise, patients were able to vividly recall details of their births, including who was present, what people wore and said, their surroundings etc.

He also discovered that essentially everything the mother experiences during pregnancy can potentially affect the child through hormones transferred through the umbilical cord. These hormones in turn can affect the development of the unborn child's nervous, immune and other systems.

In homeopathy, this idea has been utilized clinically for two hundred years.

The Mother's State during Pregnancy

I pay close attention to pre-and perinatal factors, as well as any events in the life of the baby. Homeopathic remedies are often given based on this information. There are remedies for frights and shocks the mother may have experienced, for grief, abuse, feelings of neglect, being unwanted and many more. Some of the case histories on my website deal with such situations, including 'Tics in the Wind' and 'Hold'em up'.

Additionally, illnesses, medications, vaccines, traumas and other toxic factors either parent experienced before the conception of the child may provide helpful clues to homeopathic treatment.

Early Detection of Developmental Issues

It is also great to bring a baby for regular check-ups as any developmental issues may be discovered early. First-time parents in particular often have no or limited experiences with infants and children and may miss important clues which an experienced practitioner may discover.

You can read more about some of those possible early clues in my article: Are you concerned about your baby's development?

Natural Treatment of Sinus Infections

Q: I suffer from recurring sinus infections. They are usually treated with antibiotics, but just as soon as one infection clears up I seem to contract another. Is there anything naturopathic medicine has to offer?

A: There are several factors that may predispose you to these recurring infections. The most common predisposing factor is viral upper respiratory infections, i.e. the common cold. Perhaps your immune system has been weakened and needs to be rebuilt if you have frequent colds.

Antioxidants and Aging

We all age, but are we aging well? As the body ages, damage to cells and tissues occurs faster than repair and regeneration. When we are young growth and regeneration happens at a much faster rate than breakdown.

By about age 30 they are in a state of balance, but after that – guess what, damage starts to exceed repair. Naturopathic doctor Anke Zimmerman has taken additional training in anti-aging medicine and is pleased to share her knowledge

Only 35% of aging is genetic

Virtually all chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and changes in brain function are simply the result of aging, which means that by controlling the rate at which we age we can prevent or at least minimize the hazards of those chronic diseases.

Both the breakdown as well as the regeneration of cells can be affected by a number of life-style factors. Only about 35% of aging is genetic, the other 65% are under our control. Your body creates about 300 billion new cells every single day, so by preventing damage and providing the environment needed to optimize the health of new cells we can slow down and even partially reverse the aging process.

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

From heart health to better brain function, from reducing the risk of various cancers to improving mood, is there nothing omega-3 fatty acids can’t do? Naturopathic doctors are well trained in the use of nurtitional supplements, including omega-3-fatty acids.

Esssential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are ‘essential’ fatty acids, which means that the body needs them but can not manufacture them, but has to get them from the diet. They are critically important to the health of your entire body and play crucial roles in cell membrane function as well as in inflammation and hormone balance. Omega-6 are the other essential fatty acids. The ratio between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats is very important, with the majority of the population having an excess of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats in their diets.

Mood Swings, Anxiety and Depression

Question: Why do I get mood swings, feel anxious or experience depression?

Answer: There are a many different reasons for mood swings, anxiety and depression, therefor every sufferer requires an individualized approach to evaluation and treatment. Treatment protocols depend on the patient’s unique case history and the causes for their present condition. Causes for anxiety and depression can include external factors such as difficulties in relationships and various emotional traumas, including sudden shocks and frights, the loss of a loved one, stress at work or home, parenting issues and many others.

Natural Treatment of Depression (Part 1)

Depression appears to be epidemic in North America

  • About 20 million people are being affected every year
  • One in eight individuals will develop depression in their lifetime
  • Depression is twice as common in women as men       

Prozac and SSRIs

  • SSRIs account for more than half of antidepressant prescriptions
  • currently written in the US and Canada
  • Annual sales of Prozac alone are over one billion dollars.
  • Other SSRIs include Wellbutrin, Effexor (vanlafexine), Serzone (nefazodone), Remeron
  • (mirtazapine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine) and Luvox (fluvoxamine).

Treating chronic, recurring bladder infections naturally

Many women suffer from chronic, low grade or frequently recurring bladder infections, sometimes diagnosed as interstitial cystitis. This is a very distressing condition which can seriously interfere with a woman's quality of life and can put quite a strain on intimate relationships as intercourse often aggravates the condition.      
Symptoms of chronic bladder infections
There may be all the usual symptoms of cystitis, including urgency, frequent urination, pain and burning during or after urination. Sometimes the first or only symptom is an unusual odour to the urine. The condition may flare up with intercourse, getting chilled, loss of sleep or stress. Urine tests and bacterial cultures may or may not come back positive for infections. The usual conventional treatment is low-dose, long-term antibiotic therapy. 

Post-Partum Depression

Q:  I had a baby two months ago and still feel very tired and low in spirits. I hvae mood swigs and feel irritable. Sometimes I feel as if I don't care abuot my husband or baby. Is there life after chidbirth? 
A: You may be experienceing postpartum depression. Estrogen and progesterone levels suddenly drop after chidlbirth, which may lead to depression, apathy, sudden mood swings, bouts of irritability, anger, and often a complete loss of libido, all of which can put a lot of strain on a marriage and make motherhood difficult. See your medical doctor and your naturopath for a through assessment, including bloodwork. Make sure you are not overworking yourself and are getting enough sleep.
Thyroid function may also be altered following childbirth, as the thyroid is overworking throughout the pregnancy and may underfunction (hypothyroid) after the baby is born.

Natural Help for Fibrocystic Breast Disease

FBD, better known as fibrocystic breast disease, is characterized by lumpiness and often discomfort in one or both breasts. This common condition, affecting between 30-60% of women between the ages of 30 and 50, is benign, meaning it is not cancerous or malignant.

However, it does increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer and it can also make a breast cancer lump more difficult to find with both breast examination and mammography. As a naturopathic doctor I think this condition should be taken quite seriously as it is a result of abnormal hormonal and cell metabolism besides being plain uncomfortable. FBD is usually more painful before the menstrual cycle.

Learning about Candida/Yeast Infections

If you are itching to get rid of yet another yeast infection, take heart. Help is only a trip to the health food store or grocery store away. But before you run out and try any home treatment, please make sure it is really yeast which is causing your problems, as certain other infections such as vaginal strep, chlamydia and gonorrhea may have similar symptoms. Get examined and have a swab done.

What are the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection?

The most common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection is itching in the vaginal and/or vulvar area. This can include the clitoris and the perineum (the area between the vagina and the rectum). In some women the entire pubic region may be itchy. There may be redness and swelling of the vulvar area. Additionally there may be a vaginal discharge, which is usually whitish and can have a cottage cheese like appearance. However, you may have a yeast infection even without a noticeable discharge. If the infection is severe there may be burning and pain, especially with intercourse.

Natural Treatment for Candida/Yeast Infections

In a previous article I discussed the causes of yeast infections. Now we will learn about treating those nasty itchy nuisances. Again, the most common symptoms are itching in the vaginal and/or vulvar area, swelling and soreness of the parts and possibly a whitish discharge. Also, remember to get a proper diagnosis before treating yourself.

You will want to treat both the local symptoms as well as the systemic yeast overgrowth.

Homeopathy and Cancer

What can Homeopathy offer to Cancer Patients?

Cancer is a difficult and multifactorial condition and it is clear that there is no one definitive treatment or cure for it at this time. In addition, conventional treatment, although often effective in eraticating the disease, can have unfortunate side effects.

Homeopathy is a therapy which is being seriously studied for the treatment as well as co-treatment of cancer, the treatment of side effects of chemotherpy and radiation, post-surgical pain relief and reduction of side effects, and the prevention of a recurrence of cancer.

A Mystical Surgery

I was lying on the examination table, naked from the waist up.

“I can’t feel anything”, he shrugged.

“Push up a bit higher. Now, push down towards the chest wall,” I instructed my doctor as he was fishing around in my left arm pit.

“Oh there, yes, hmm. Well, I’m not worried about it.”

How many times had I heard those words over the past three years from Dr. F, beginning with a greenish-brown discharge from my left nipple in November of 2007.

Of Happyness and Heart Attacks

Everyone knows that too much cholesterol and high blood pressure can kill you. Well, here's something you probably didn't know: loneliness, anger, and hostility can kill you too. Especially if you're a man.

A recent study investigating the association between anger and hostility and coronary heart disease was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study found that anger and hostility were associated with increased cardiovascular problems in healthy people. People who already had heart disease and were experiencing anger and hostility had increasingly poor prognoses.

And here's the kicker: the harmful effects of anger and hostility were greater in men than women.

Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, Victoria, BC. Naturopathic and Homeopathic Care for Children with Developmental and Behavioural Disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Aggression and Anxiety. For more information please call 250-590-5828.

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