(Listen To The Full Episode Here.)

In this episode of The Essential Oil Revolution, we focus on the emotional needs of our children and teens. This is such a critical topic for our world.

To get a comprehensive understanding of it, I asked Dr. Elisa Song to return to our show. She joined us previously for an amazing discussion on using essential oils safely in children. I was so pleased that she graciously accepted.

Dr. Song is the go-to expert for holistic kids’ health. She is an internationally acclaimed Stanford-, NYU-, UCSF-trained integrative pediatrician, a brilliant pediatric functional medicine expert, formulator, lecturer, educator, children’s health advocate, and author.

In this interview, Dr. Song highlights an overlooked factor that is contributing to the rising rates of children’s mental health problems, the microbiome. She also provides us with ways that we can intervene and remedy the accelerating and concerning trajectory of the rise of chronic diseases and psychiatric disorders in our youth.

Below is an introduction to the concerning state of our children’s health, a more detailed write-up of the show notes, and additional resources from the episode.

Our Kids Are NOT Alright

According to Dr. Song’s up-coming book, Healthy Kids, Happy Kids (which I was blessed to receive a pre-release copy of):

“The statistics are staggering.”

  • 1 in 5 kids has eczema.
  • 1 in 36 kids have autism.
  • Autoimmunity is increasing in the highest rates among teenagers.
  • 1-10 kids suffer from asthma.
  • 1-10 kids suffer from ADHD, behavioral problems, and anxiety (with the number climbing to 1 in 3 affected by anxiety by 13 to 18 years old).
  • 1 in 3 teenage girls have seriously thought of suicide and over 1 in 8 have followed through with trying it.

In 2005, the New England Journal of Medicine stated that for the first time in history, our children were predicted to have a shorter lifespan than us. This is all due to diet-and lifestyle-related chronic diseases.

– Ref: Healthy Kids, Happy Kids

It’s glaringly evident that what we are currently doing in mainstream medicine to remedy our children’s emotional and physical health conditions isn’t working. In fact, it’s getting worse.

But there is hope.

Dr. Elisa Song is proving this.

Dr. Song earned a master’s degree in public policy from UC Berkeley, is board-certified in pediatrics and holistic medicine, current chair of AM’s pediatric education, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is an esteemed authority in holistic pediatric care with expertise in functional medicine/holistic nutrition, homeopathy & homeopathic detoxification, acupuncture, herbal medicine, essential oils, and flower essences. In her integrative pediatric practice, Whole Family Wellness, Dr. Song has gained experience in successfully treating everything that could impact a child’s health.

Wanting to reach more parents and children than she could in a brick-and-mortar setting, Dr. Song created Healthy Kids, Happy Kids (www.healthykidshappykids.com). Today, it is a celebrated go-to online holistic pediatric resource that is evidence-based, pediatrician-backed, and mom-approved.

Dr. Song also recently published the best-selling book Healthy Kids, Happy Kids: An Integrative Pediatrician’s Guide to Whole Child Resilience. It is available for pre-order and set to be released on May 14, 2024.

Dr. Song’s book is an invaluable guide that highlights how to support the gut microbiome, which holds the key to lifelong wellness and a balanced mind and body. It provides parents and practitioners with holistic, safe, natural, and effective resources to build and enhance physical and emotional wellness in kids and teens.

Below is an overview of what was discussed during the interview, which highlights some of the key points in Dr. Song’s book. If you care about our kids, and our future, you will want to listen to the whole episode.

When you’re done listening, you will also want to pick up her latest book. I think everyone, parents, practitioners, and anyone who shares space with kids and teens, should have a copy.

What is Covered in This Episode About the Gut-Brain Link and the State of Our Children’s Health:

  • The current, concerning statistics of our kid’s state of health (1 min)
  • Dr. Song’s bio (2 min)
  • An overview of Dr. Song’s new book (6 min)
  • How the gut-brain link and microbiome are related to children’s mental health issues (7 min)
    • At birth and in teenage years the massive formation of neural connections in the brain mirrors, and is driven by, the explosion of diversity of the microbiota in the gut.
    • The two-way superhighway between the gut and brain is via the vagus nerve. In fact, there is more information (80%) going from the gut to the brain than vice versa.
  • What are psychobiotics and how they relate to the gut-brain link (9.50 min)
    • Psychobiotics are beneficial bacteria that help us to make various neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine.
    • Without optimal psychobiotics, kids cannot make the raw materials for a balanced mood and optimal brain health.
  • What is the difference between microbiota and the microbiome (11.30 min)
    • The microbiota refers to the bacteria in the body.
    • The microbiome is the ecosystem of all the microbes in and on our body, along with their genetics.
    • Our microbiome communicates with our cellular genetics to influence our physiology.
    • We have more microbes in our body than cells, we are dependent on them for our mind-body to function.
  • Why the microbiome is the hub for better mental health and solving chronic health problems (16 min)
    • What we are eating, how we are living, and what we are thinking is changing the development of our microbiome and impacting kids’ wellness through the gut-brain link.
  • How antibiotics can have a long-term impact on our children’s health due to microbial disruption (17 min)
    • One large 2016 study found that babies who received antibiotics before six months of age had a significant, increased risk of virtually every allergic disease.
  • What is the single, most immediate microbial mischief maker and why (19 min)
    • Antibiotics kill off “bad bugs” and commensal organisms.
    • Another study found that infants who received antibiotics either pre- or post-natal had a 50% higher rate of mental health conditions. The highest risk was in those who were given antibiotics multiple times and at a younger age. (20.30 min)
  • Symptoms that are outside of the gut that are really gut-centric (22 min)
  • Some common, daily microbiome disruptors in our world (23 min)
    • Other medications including pain killers, SSRIs (antidepressants), anti-anxiety meds, birth control, and reflux meds are microbiome disruptors.
    • Food additives in packaged foods can cause leaky gut and microbiome imbalances (dysbiosis).
  • How reading food labels can be a powerful tool to help our kids physical and mental health (26 min)
    • Emulsifiers can cause gut microbiome harm. Examples include mono- and diglycerides, CMC, carrageen, and guar gum.
    • 2/3rds of kids’ diets are mainly ultra-processed foods.
  • The most significant disruptor to our kids’ microbiomes (29.30 min)
    • Psychological stress can change and disrupt one’s microbiome within one hour.
  • The vicious cycle of mental health issues and stress with the gut-brain link (30 min)
  • The important question to ask your doctor to determine if your child needs an antibiotic (32 min)
    • Up to 70% of antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed to children.
    • The number one question to ask your doctor is if the antibiotic is necessary. (34 min)
  • How to restore your child’s microbiome if an antibiotic is needed (36 min)
    • The best time to restore the microbiome is during treatment.
    • If the antibiotic is not immediately needed, do all preventative measures first.
    • Complete the full course of an antibiotic to decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance.
    • Focus on microbiome champions that allow probiotics to flourish, including fiber from a rainbow of plant-foods and fermented foods.
  • Should you take probiotics with antibiotics? (37 min)
    • Start a probiotic at the same time as an antibiotic, but time it away from the antibiotic.
  • Why managing the stress response is the “best medicine” for a healthy gut-brain link and microbiome (41 min)
    • If stress is not managed, health improvements won’t last.
    • The vagus nerve function, as measured by HRV, is linked to microbial diversity, independent of diet.
  • Why we need to do “Vagus Nerve Work” (43 min)
  • Some essential oils for supporting the vagus nerve and a healthy microbiome (47.30 min)
    • Lavender and sandalwood can be applied to acupressure points to help stimulate the vagus nerve. (Heart 7 and Shen Men (in earlobe))
    • Petitgrain, ylang ylang, and bergamot are other oils for improving vagal tone.
  • A deep breathing exercise that is convenient and can engage the vagus nerve (50 min)
  • A DIY hack on how kids can use essential oils in school (52 min)
  • How essential oils support the microbiome and overall health (53 min)
    • Essential oils do not disrupt the microbiome and may even optimize the commensal, helpful, microorganisms.
    • Essential oils are multi-faceted in that they can act on microbes, fungus, and viruses simultaneously.
  • What essential oil eradicated pathogens, enhanced microbiome diversity, and healed leaky gut in an animal study (54 min)
  • How supporting the gut-brain may help with anxiety and other emotional issues (55 min)
    • Excess medications may cause multiple hits on the microbiome.
    • With natural support, medications can be lessened, and the microbiome will get less disrupted.
  • The three other “microbiome magic” ingredients for kids and adults (59 min)
    • Water, sleep, and movement
  • Closing thoughts (1.03 min)

Click here to listen to the full show.

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Links to Learn More About Dr. Song, MD and Her Healthy Kids, Happy Kids Resources and Offerings:

 

Dr. Elisa Song, MD’s Resources:

 

Dr. Elisa Song’s Book:

 

Previous Episode with Dr. Elisa Song, MD:

 

Additional Resources from the Show

 

Common Acupressure Points

 

Dilution Guides for Essential Oils

 

Previous Episodes Mentioned in the Show

 

Links to Learn More About My Offerings and Education on Essential Oils:

Bio of Dr. Elisa Song, MD

Dr. Elisa Song, MD is an internationally acclaimed Stanford-, NYU-, UCSF-trained integrative pediatrician, brilliant pediatric functional medicine expert, formulator, lecturer, educator, children’s health advocate, and author. She earned a master’s degree in public policy from UC Berkeley, is board-certified in pediatrics and holistic medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Song has also been trained in the Defeat Autism Now! biomedical approach to autism and has additional expertise in functional medicine/holistic nutrition, homeopathy & homeopathic detoxification, acupuncture, herbal medicine, essential oils, and flower essences.

Dr. Song is an esteemed authority in holistic pediatric care. She has not only provided integrative care to children with some of the most complex medical issues, but she also provides training in her various specialties to healthcare professionals. She is the current chair of A4M’s pediatric education and has lectured around the world at leading integrative and functional medicine conferences and premier parenting events. These include the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), The Forum for Integrative Medicine, Integrative Medicine for Mental Health, Fx Medicine Australia, BioCeuticals Australia, Center for Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy, Academy for Pain Research, Center for Advanced Acupuncture Pediatrics, and Holistic Pediatric Association. She has also been featured in hundreds of top podcasts, online health summits, and print and online media outlets. These include the Wellness Mama podcast, BloomTV, Forbes, Healthline, MindBodyGreen, National Geographic, PopSugar, Parents, Motherly, Parade, Verywell Health, and New York Post.

Dr. Song started her integrative pediatric practice, Whole Family Wellness, in 2005. It was a labor of love with a mission to offer the best holistic pediatric care possible. Throughout her years in practice, she has gained experience in successfully treating everything that could impact a child’s health. As a result, Dr. Song has effectively mitigated frequent colds, ear infections, asthma, eczema, autism, ADHD, PANS/PANDAS, anxiety, depression, and autoimmune illnesses.

Wanting to reach more parents and children than she could in a brick-and-mortar setting, Dr. Song created Healthy Kids, Happy Kids (www.healthykidshappykids.com). Today, it is a celebrated go-to online holistic pediatric resource that is evidence-based, pediatrician-backed, and mom-approved.

Dr. Song also recently published the best-selling book Healthy Kids, Happy Kids: An Integrative Pediatrician’s Guide to Whole Child Resilience. It is available for pre-order and set to be released on May 14, 2024. This book is an invaluable guide that highlights how to support the gut microbiome, which holds the key to lifelong wellness and a balanced mind and body. Healthy Kids, Happy Kids also provides parents and health providers with holistic, safe, natural, and effective resources to build a practical plan for enhancing physical and emotional wellness in kids and teens, from the inside out.

Through her various outreaches, Dr. Song has worked with 1000s of kids to get to the root causes of their health concerns. Simultaneously, she has empowered their parents and practitioners to understand how to help children thrive in body, mind, and spirit. Her gentle, fierce, smart, and fun approach has eased the worries of many concerned parents and shone light on the innate healing power within both kids and adults alike. As importantly, she walks her talk. She is the loving mom of 2 thriving children, Kenzi and Bodi, and wife to her husband, Peter. Every day, Dr. Song continues to live up to her mission to teach the world how children deserve to be happy, healthy, and flourish. Not only is she addressing complex problems, but she is also providing solutions to them. Dr. Song is making our world a safer, healthier, and happier place for our children and all the adults who love them. Find her at www.healthykidshappykids.com.

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Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)

This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.

Thanks Pixabay and Canva.