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Can milk make kids hyper/aggressive?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi, for a couple of years?? we've been dealing with ds2, now age 3, getting really wacked out, throwing things, sort of glazed-over, hitting us or his brother, breaking stuff, etc. But only *some*times. He is always fine when we are outdoors, and almost always fine in the mornings. It's definitely worse when he's tired, but almost exclusively seems to happen when we're at our own house (this is the second house or maybe 3rd since this started happening).

He's always been an **extremely** active, curious boy. He is very coordinated, muscular, healthy, happy, affectionate, sweet, funny, etc. He can also concentrate for long periods of time on Legos, clay, etc.

For a while I was blaming his lack of naps, then I thought it was b/c our house was too messy, blah blah blah. I thought he needed more structure. Then I thought he actually needed more stimulation, like risk-taking activities, climbing, etc. But I am exhausted trying to create this ideal environment for him!!

We tried giving up dairy 2 weeks ago, and everything improved a lot. Of course, I was also really on the ball with having lots of activities, had come to a really peaceful place in my parenting, etc. etc. We reintroduced goat milk, and did not notice anything. . . but then we put the cow's milk in (mostly raw) and he's been a psycho again. Gave his brother a huge golf-ball size welt on his head from a garlic press, broke a ruler, throwing the cat, throwing tinker toys, hitting me with a broom, blah blah blah. But my husband doesn't want to believe it's dairy. . . looking for other opinions? I've never heard of milk making someone hyper!?

Also, when we gave up dairy we left in butter (and we eat a LOT of butter) and he still seemed calm. Explanations??

Anyone, anyone? I'm going to lose my mind!

Thank you!!
oh, and p.s. we've given up gluten in the past and never seen a change. . .
post #2 of 28
Could be dairy. But those symptoms are classic low magnesium symptoms (as is not napping!). The deal with dairy is that it is high in calcium - so it can make low magnesium symptoms worse (calcium competes with magnesium lots of places in the body).

So one possible explanation is that when you backed off of dairy, and lowered his calcium intake a lot, he got more magnesium from his food and was less deficient, which helped him be calmer and less aggressive. My son has low magnesium as well, and when we added dairy back in, we had to increase his magnesium supps a lot (almost double) to balance out the dairy intake.

One way to test this is to put him on extra mag while he's eating dairy (since it sounds like you're back on dairy now) and see what happens.

Some ways to do this: 1) Epsom salts baths - 2c in a warm bath for 20 minutes every night, 2) find a powder supp he'll tolerate (I used the mag glycinate powder from kirkman labs, others here use natural calm), 3) if he'll swallow small capsules or you can teach him, that is by far the easiest way - you can repackage the mag into smaller capsules to make it easy. I dip the capsules in maple syrup, and my DS swallows them happily. Stay away from magnesium oxide, it doesn't absorb well. Citrate, glycinate, malate, all good.

It's best if you can split the mag into several small doses (3-4x a day), and at least an hour away from milk intake before and after, ideally (doesn't always work, I know!). FWIW, I give my 2.5 yo DS about 250mg of mag a day, split into 4 doses. You'll know if you've given too much, it causes diarrhea.

If you can keep his dairy consumption low-moderate for a few days, you'd likely see faster results if this is the issue.

Note that sometimes mag needs things along with it, so if you don't see fast improvement, consider adding b6 and a trace mineral supp as well. But given that you see improvement when you drop dairy, I'd guess he just needs more mag.
post #3 of 28
Very interesting info mamafish! I think we have on/off low mag levels here too. Seems hard to keep the mag levels in check.
post #4 of 28
I have somehow turned into the resident forum magnesium pusher . However, it seems to make a big difference for a lot of kids, including my own - and it's such a simple thing to try!
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
What causes low magnesium in the first place? Sorry, I'm a traditional foods person, but OTOH I do not retain the information too well. Would that mean he isn't getting a balanced diet (which I'm sure he isn't)?

We did start kids' vitamins about 6 weeks ago. . . is that still not enough?

I sure would be glad if you were right!! I think I'll start w/the epsom salts. I would love an excuse to get him in the bathtub every night anyway.

Thank you!
post #6 of 28
Another explanation is the proteins in the milk itself. Butter has some, but pretty low levels, and some people tolerate that just fine when they can't tolerate actual milk. Given that you're seeing a difference between goat's milk and cow's milk (was the volume of goat milk comparable to the cow's milk?), an intolerance seems possible. Just how sensitive people are to foods they are intolerant of varies--some don't see any reaction to small amounts, while others are very sensitive to even tiny trace amounts, and sometimes it's different intensities of reaction for different foods (us, maybe not you).

That said, different people need different amounts of different nutrients (could I use different any more in that sentence??). DH and DD need more than DS and I do and even supplementing for quite a while, I'm still seeing a difference. There's a book, The Calcium Lie, that discusses health problems that are associated with imbalances between calcium and mag and all the other minerals that need to work with calcium. I don't buy the premise of people actually getting too much calcium (as a widespread thing), but the (vast) lack of other minerals that work with calcium, causing an interesting cluster of health issues, fits with DH's family (and not mine).
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammatus View Post
What causes low magnesium in the first place? Sorry, I'm a traditional foods person, but OTOH I do not retain the information too well. Would that mean he isn't getting a balanced diet (which I'm sure he isn't)?

We did start kids' vitamins about 6 weeks ago. . . is that still not enough?

I sure would be glad if you were right!! I think I'll start w/the epsom salts. I would love an excuse to get him in the bathtub every night anyway.

Thank you!
I think in an ideal world, he'd get enough mag from his diet. But a lot of the foods that traditionally provided us with magnesium are not as mag rich any more (poorer soils, etc). Something like 70% of kids are mag deficient - mine is one of them, and he was almost EBF and I was on a good nutritious diet. Some kids just need more mag than others as well.

Pretty much no chance the kids' vitamin has enough mag - and if it's also got calcium, that pretty much cancels out the mag. Try it separately, and lots of it, for a few days, and the baths, and see what happens. If that doesn't get you anywhere, then Tanya's likely got the next answer to look at - but the mag is worth a try before you pull milk again...
post #8 of 28
I'm adding my .02 cents. Were doing a dairy trial, today was the first day I let her try straight milk, well, more or less, it was a cup of natural hot cocoa. Within half an hour the little demon child came out and its been ugly ever since. She's ripped apart the house and has been aggressive and made me seriously consider putting her back on the Risperdal we finished weaning off of 5 days ago (she was on it for severe aggression which we found the cause of and are treating). I ended up giving her clonidine to chill her out and now I'm waiting for her to take a nap so I can start repairing the damage she's caused in here. I've been paying close attention to her and the more dairy she has been consuming over the past few days has correlated to more negative behavior so no more dairy for a couple of days and then see if maybe she can tolerate dairy in baked goods without behavior issues as that would open up a ton of GF food options for us if she can but if not we've been doing DF for 9 years so no biggie but at this point I can clearly see the connection between dairy intake and behavior.
post #9 of 28
Satori, FWIW, in a book I'm currently reading, the author (a doc) mentions Risperdal as a drug that can contribute to magnesium deficiency. So *maybe* part of the reason she's reacting severely to the milk is because it would cause a drop in already low blood magnesium levels (I see this in my son, about an hour after he consumes dairy, if we didn't get enough mag into him that morning first!). So if you want to try some dairy (in baked goods or whatever), you might consider trying some mag supps, or Epsom salts baths as well? Couldn't hurt, and *might* help.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamafish9 View Post
Satori, FWIW, in a book I'm currently reading, the author (a doc) mentions Risperdal as a drug that can contribute to magnesium deficiency. So *maybe* part of the reason she's reacting severely to the milk is because it would cause a drop in already low blood magnesium levels (I see this in my son, about an hour after he consumes dairy, if we didn't get enough mag into him that morning first!). So if you want to try some dairy (in baked goods or whatever), you might consider trying some mag supps, or Epsom salts baths as well? Couldn't hurt, and *might* help.
We have to get her vits into her 1st thing in the morning or else the demon child comes out really fast (we in I get up and we go straight into the kitchen and take them and then she goes and watches cartoons for an hour quietly while they absorb). She gets about 500mg mag in the morning but it also has 500mg calcium (400mg of the mag is in the calcium supp) with it. How much mag should a 9 yr old 65lb kid be getting? Were only about a month into having her on vitamins and we know she has serious deficiency issues but we've already seen a HUGE HUGE improvement to the point we've weaned her off 1mg of Risperdal (slow wean over 3 weeks) and clonidine and the psych want's to discuss a very slow wean off the mood stabilizer this summer if she remains stable. He's aware of what she's getting and says these levels are safe and he's not worried but I will increase if we need to. I'd like to avoid the baths if possible, I had to ban them for dd, she just can't control herself and floods and I mean floods the bathroom with splashing. I can be standing right there yelling no less and she won't stop splashing/flooding. I end up dragging her out of the tub and trying to keep my head from exploding
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
We have to get her vits into her 1st thing in the morning or else the demon child comes out really fast (we in I get up and we go straight into the kitchen and take them and then she goes and watches cartoons for an hour quietly while they absorb). She gets about 500mg mag in the morning but it also has 500mg calcium (400mg of the mag is in the calcium supp) with it. How much mag should a 9 yr old 65lb kid be getting? Were only about a month into having her on vitamins and we know she has serious deficiency issues but we've already seen a HUGE HUGE improvement to the point we've weaned her off 1mg of Risperdal (slow wean over 3 weeks) and clonidine and the psych want's to discuss a very slow wean off the mood stabilizer this summer if she remains stable. He's aware of what she's getting and says these levels are safe and he's not worried but I will increase if we need to. I'd like to avoid the baths if possible, I had to ban them for dd, she just can't control herself and floods and I mean floods the bathroom with splashing. I can be standing right there yelling no less and she won't stop splashing/flooding. I end up dragging her out of the tub and trying to keep my head from exploding
Satori - I think you're dealing with a similar severe deficiency to us (where it really does matter how fast they get their supps in the morning!!). My son is 2.5yo, 28lbs. He gets about 250mg of mag, spread out into 4 doses through the day. AND, NO calcium supps. For very low mag kids, calcium supps are bad, IMO - you need mag to get the calcium properly into your bones, otherwise it just sits in soft tissues and causes problems with mag absorption = vicious cycle. What we did was focus first on addressing his really low mag. Then we were able to add dairy back in, which is a better source of calcium for him (he has immediate low mag reactions to any calcium supps).

I'd guess your 500mg of mag is probably enough for your daughter, although I'd feel fine doubling that if she can handle it (you'll know if it is too much, she'll get diarrhea). But, I'd work to improve the absorption - give it separate from calcium (at least an hour either side, ideally). Spread it out into 3-4 doses during the day if you can (or at least two, one morning, one evening - it helps with sleep too!). Make sure it's a good form (oxide isn't well absorbed, citrate/glycinate/malate are all good). It took 2-4 weeks for us to really dig out of the big deficiency (and we still see symptoms occasionally), but good things started to happen within a few days.

And the bath issues, FWIW, are often mag related as well (any sensory and impulse control type stuff often is). Another mama here who just started with mag went from bathtime wars to bathtime cute in just a week or two.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamafish9 View Post
Satori - I think you're dealing with a similar severe deficiency to us (where it really does matter how fast they get their supps in the morning!!). My son is 2.5yo, 28lbs. He gets about 250mg of mag, spread out into 4 doses through the day. AND, NO calcium supps. For very low mag kids, calcium supps are bad, IMO - you need mag to get the calcium properly into your bones, otherwise it just sits in soft tissues and causes problems with mag absorption = vicious cycle. What we did was focus first on addressing his really low mag. Then we were able to add dairy back in, which is a better source of calcium for him (he has immediate low mag reactions to any calcium supps).

I'd guess your 500mg of mag is probably enough for your daughter, although I'd feel fine doubling that if she can handle it (you'll know if it is too much, she'll get diarrhea). But, I'd work to improve the absorption - give it separate from calcium (at least an hour either side, ideally). Spread it out into 3-4 doses during the day if you can (or at least two, one morning, one evening - it helps with sleep too!). Make sure it's a good form (oxide isn't well absorbed, citrate/glycinate/malate are all good). It took 2-4 weeks for us to really dig out of the big deficiency (and we still see symptoms occasionally), but good things started to happen within a few days.

And the bath issues, FWIW, are often mag related as well (any sensory and impulse control type stuff often is). Another mama here who just started with mag went from bathtime wars to bathtime cute in just a week or two.
How are you getting the mag into him? I'm using a liquid cal/mag citrate so the 2 are bound. She will NOT swallow pills, I'm also giving her Twinlabs Woman's Daily Ultra (which has another 200mg of mag I think) but I open the caps and mix it into a small amount of lemonaid which masks the flavor and I break up the dose, 1/2 morning and 1/2 bedtime. Depending on how hyper she is at bed time I may give her more of the cal/mag supp since it helps calm her and helps her sleep, psych says its the mag doing it. I'm also going to add extra zinc when I can get to the store to buy some chewables I saw last time I was there.

I have the same malabsorption issues dd has so were both doing the vitamins and its made a huge difference. This month the utilities aren't getting paid so I can order them (I ordered a 3-4 months supply for me when I had the money and we burned though it in 2 since dd ended up on it too). I get them through vitacost for cheap but man its adding up! Were having to choose between powerful psych meds that are not totally effective with lots of side effects or vitamins which work way better, something is seriously wrong with health care, they will spend several hundred a month on meds but not $40 on vitamins? Anyway, I'm placing my order on the 1st so any mag rec's?
post #13 of 28
That totally sucks. I agree the system is messed when they'd rather have her on Risperdal than vitamins.

I got my little guy swallowing capsules, believe it or not. I repackage the mag in smaller capsules, dip them in maple syrup, and down they go. It's been a lifesaver, before that it was a total pain to get a lot of mag in him.

You could try something like this, http://www.iherb.com/Allergy-Researc...6-ml/3446?at=0 - it's a liquid mag that you can either mix in juice or apply to the skin (mag chloride is well absorbed through skin). It can sting the skin for some people, so you could mix it with lotion/coconut oil if you find that happens.

Or you can do products like this (or natural calm, very similar). Several flavor choices, you can see which one might work best for her.

Long term, I'd work on getting her to swallow capsules - way cheaper for getting in large doses. You may find it easier to get her swallowing capsules once her mag isn't so low (it creates sensory and texture issues, as well as aggression issues, that may ease off so you can get her swallowing capsules...).

ETA: here's one from vitacost that looks good - it's good forms of mag, and 1 tablespoon has 500mg, so you could split that into at least two doses in the day away from any calcium intake, and be pretty good! And it looks less expensive per dose than a lot of the other liquid forms.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamafish9 View Post
That totally sucks. I agree the system is messed when they'd rather have her on Risperdal than vitamins.

I got my little guy swallowing capsules, believe it or not. I repackage the mag in smaller capsules, dip them in maple syrup, and down they go. It's been a lifesaver, before that it was a total pain to get a lot of mag in him.

You could try something like this, http://www.iherb.com/Allergy-Researc...6-ml/3446?at=0 - it's a liquid mag that you can either mix in juice or apply to the skin (mag chloride is well absorbed through skin). It can sting the skin for some people, so you could mix it with lotion/coconut oil if you find that happens.

Or you can do products like this (or natural calm, very similar). Several flavor choices, you can see which one might work best for her.

Long term, I'd work on getting her to swallow capsules - way cheaper for getting in large doses. You may find it easier to get her swallowing capsules once her mag isn't so low (it creates sensory and texture issues, as well as aggression issues, that may ease off so you can get her swallowing capsules...).

ETA: here's one from vitacost that looks good - it's good forms of mag, and 1 tablespoon has 500mg, so you could split that into at least two doses in the day away from any calcium intake, and be pretty good! And it looks less expensive per dose than a lot of the other liquid forms.

How to you repack the capsules? She's stubborn, she even chews her claritian and those pills are tiny, she says they make her feel like she's choking.

Lifetime is the the brand from the cal/mag supp were using, I actually went looking for a straight mag from them based on this thread and couldn't find it so I figured they didn't make it. Its worth trying as is the Magnesium-Serene, both look safe for her.
post #15 of 28
I only do 360mg of Mg, but no calcium for my DS (also 9yo and 65 lbs.) but he swallows pills without a problem. I could go up with him probably, but I haven't yet, since he seems to be doing well with that level. But this weekend, I ran out, and I notice a huge difference in him. I give him one with breakfast and one when he gets home from school (4pmish) and one at bedtime. Could you open up capsules and put the powder into smoothies?
post #16 of 28
I've given my kids nasty-tasting powders by hiding them between layers of applesauce on a spoon. Bottom layer of applesauce (adding cinnamon hides the smell if that's also an issue, though with most vit/mins it's not), then powder, then a top layer. For the things that don't come as powders, or if there's a big price difference between liquid and capsule.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright, I can't get him into the epsom salt baths with any regularity, so I'm off to get some supplements. I hope they work! I also feel a lot better in general - I always like to tackle the psychological (mine) along with the biological, so I called up a facilitator for The Work of Byron Katie and had a 1-hr. consult on the phone about ds's "destructiveness" last Saturday. I am so much calmer, myself!

http://www.thework.com/facilitators.asp

Satori, I highly recommend that for you, too - might keep your head from exploding!

Thanks again for the info, everyone.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
I'm adding my .02 cents. Were doing a dairy trial, today was the first day I let her try straight milk, well, more or less, it was a cup of natural hot cocoa. Within half an hour the little demon child came out and its been ugly ever since. She's ripped apart the house and has been aggressive and made me seriously consider putting her back on the Risperdal we finished weaning off of 5 days ago (she was on it for severe aggression which we found the cause of and are treating). I ended up giving her clonidine to chill her out and now I'm waiting for her to take a nap so I can start repairing the damage she's caused in here. I've been paying close attention to her and the more dairy she has been consuming over the past few days has correlated to more negative behavior so no more dairy for a couple of days and then see if maybe she can tolerate dairy in baked goods without behavior issues as that would open up a ton of GF food options for us if she can but if not we've been doing DF for 9 years so no biggie but at this point I can clearly see the connection between dairy intake and behavior.
We are having the same problem with my 6 year old DS. If he has milk he is very deffient and agressive. This is not his normal personality. When he does not have milk he is fine.
post #19 of 28
How long do you have to have milk out of their diet to notice a difference?
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post
How long do you have to have milk out of their diet to notice a difference?
2 days for some folks, 6 weeks for most. Hidden dairy:
http://www.kellymom.com/store/handou...dden-dairy.pdf


Pat
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