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3 year old chewing on things = deficiency?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My three year old has a high need to chew on things. She is still nursing (not as much as she would like, but I also have a 1 yo and experience a lot of agitation). She chewed bites out of the entire length of the cord to her mini DVD player and it really scared me. At first I freaked out about the fact that she could have been shocked, but then I thought about the lead, PVC, phalates, etc. that she probably ingested. I have been giving her a cloth carrot or Sophie giraffe to chew on while she watches something, but I guess I am really wondering if all this chewing could be because of some sort of deficiency. I know chewing on clothes could be a zinc deficiency, and she does that sometimes. We eat a mostly TF, organic diet and she usually eats pretty well. Any thoughts? Should I get her lead levels tested because of the cord incident?
post #2 of 7
Chewing was a long-standing symptom in my DD (toys early on, shoes, like that, later on just her fingers/nails), took me years to recognize it though, and it was zinc for us. I hear it can be iron in some kids, and if I were to supplement iron, I'd want to have blood results first (iron and ferritin).

My kids got their mineral deficiencies from me, so unless this is quite a new thing, you may want to look at your health history and see if there are subtle signs there. Once I started looking, I saw a lot of things that I'd just not recognized before.

I don't know what's in power cords. I think, for a one-time exposure, blood levels would go down too quickly for you to see in a blood lead test now. I think blood tests are better at showing long-term, ongoing exposures. And I don't know if other toxic metals are in power cords instead/in addition.
post #3 of 7
It's been both iron and zinc here. I wouldn't worry about one time exposure to the cords in terms of lead and PVC but I would worry that she chewed on a cord at all. Can you get all cords out of her access somehow? I'd be really concerned about this because I had a student who had chewed a cord at two years old and been shocked and so I know this stuff happens and the outcomes can be severe. I know you know that...just encouraging you to get all cords out of her reach. I'd put up baby gates if I had too (kidco makes tall ones), rearrange furniture, buy organizer type strips or whatever.

You can increase her zinc intake with a supplement. I prefer optizinc for bioavailability and lack of interference with iron levels. You can get it in capsule form and just dump the contents on some applesauce or similar. That's what I did/do.

I would have a ferritin check given the chewing behavior. If she's low contact me. Ferrous Bisglycinate/ferrochel is what you want for that but I'd also want to give you some specifics on dosing.

Bacterial overgrowths and yeast can result in chewing behavior as well. And some kids just do that. But the kid I thought "just did that" did respond to zinc. His twin has clear spikes of that behavior with iron, zinc, or bacterial stuff.
post #4 of 7
OP, if you do supplement with something--or even decide it's likely nutritional--take a look at the cell salts thread as well. I've been able to cut the amount of supplemental zinc I give my kids in half by using cell salts. They're sort of homeopathic but meant to use on-your-own and I was surprised at just how noticeable the effect was for us.
post #5 of 7
For us, chewing/mouthing has been associated with

Sensory Integration Disorder - need to stuff mouth full of food, wanting foods that you have to chew a lot, wanting to keep food in mouth and not swallow it. Sensory Integration Disorder is also associated with being either over or under reactive to touch. Although it is a valid diagnosis, I believe it is not a root cause but only a symptom of an underlying problem. B12 helps a LOT.

Mineral Deficiency - Minerals are used up during detoxification as what would result from a chronic infection (yeast, bacteria, parasite). I really like MinerAll supplement but there are lots of good ones. Some people like to keep iron and copper out of their mineral supplement, but I don't know very much about this.

Parasites - We saw increased mouthing with parasite flareups. Can be worse just before full moon. DD responded really well to black walnut.
post #6 of 7
I would recommend a lead test, because chewing on things can be a sign of high lead levels as well - I think a hair test would be better at showing exposure over time than a blood test.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the excellent replies. I will look into these things. We have a great doctor (MD in Russia, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, herbs, etc.) who uses pendulum dowsing as a diagnostic tool. I need to see what all he checked. We were trying to figure out why it was taking her forever to fall asleep and seeing what her food sensitivities were. She has been chewing various things while watching TV for quite a while now, but it wasn't until the cord incident that I really started to wonder what was going on.
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