Tantrums. Stomach aches. Aggression. Hyperactivity. Anxiety. Are these typical childhood phases? or signs of micronutrient deficiencies?

If you are raising a child in America today, chances are good you’ve come across these behaviors more than you care to admit. Neither will you admit your these behaviors are driving you crazy.

You might consider the possibility that your child is suffering from hidden hunger, a condition that affects nearly 50% of American kids. Hidden hunger refers to micronutrient deficiencies, something that occurs quite easily with today’s eating habits. While your child may be well fed, he could well be under-nourished. There’s a big difference between feeding your child and nourishing him.Hidden hunger is a form of under-nutrition that occurs when intake and absorption of vitamins and minerals (such as zinc, iodine, and iron, vitamins A, B and D) are too low to sustain good health and development.

Babies especially are vulnerable to micronutrient deficiency up to age two when they are in a period of intense physical, motor and cognitive growth. Hidden hunger at this stage in life often results in serious consequences for the child’s well-being and development. Undernourished children are also more likely to suffer from illnesses and as a result less likely to perform well in school.

This type of hunger is called “hidden” because it is hunger at a cellular level, and causes no immediately recognizable “hunger pangs.” Your child appears to look physically healthy and well-fed … or perhaps even a little over-fed.

What causes hidden hunger in children?

The blame can be placed squarely on diet. For busy parents, there’s nothing easier than drive-through, fast food convenience, or meals quickly thrown together from packages of processed food.  Giving a child a daily multi-vitamin is much easier and less expensive than preparing fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Supplements are just that … supplements to what should be a nutritious diet.

How micronutrient deficiencies manifest in children

Children’s bodies respond to micronutrient deficiencies either by continuing to grow while using up body stores of the nutrient, or by reducing growth to conserve the concentration of the nutrient. Neither is a good option.

Vitamin C deficiency manifests as frequent colds and infections, easy bruising, slow wound healing and lack of energy. Symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency can include pins and needles, stomach pains, indigestion, poor concentration. Insufficient vitamin B3 can cause diarrhea, irritability, depression, headaches and migraines. Low vitamin A is associated with sinus and respiratory infections, acne, dry hair or skin, itchy and dry eyes.

Some of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in children are iron, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, folic acid, B vitamins and vitamin A. Just in the past decade, the number of children with vitamin D deficiency has increased by more than 200%. That is alarming in many ways.

Micronutrients are “essential” because they are an essential part of a well-functioning body. None of them exist in a vacuum … they are part of synergistic systems of supportive nutrients necessary for the body system to function properly. For example, vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium and calcium are all interdependent, each supporting the others in balanced harmony. When this balance is disrupted by a deficiency in one or the other micronutrient, trouble follows. That’s the importance of nourishing children with well-balanced, nutritious food.

Children with hidden hunger often exhibit behaviors and symptoms that might indicate deficiencies on a cellular level. But, which deficiencies? Not many pediatricians are trained to pinpoint specific nutrient deficiencies, especially if the child seems to be right where he should be on a growth chart. This might be the time you should take matters into your own hands and have your child tested. Results of our Micronutrient Test provide accurate information about 35 micronutrient levels in an easy-to-interpret format. It might provide you with eye-opening information about not only your child’s diet, but your entire family’s.  You will then be empowered to make necessary changes at meal times, giving you and your family a lifetime gift of better health. Goodbye, difficult child.