A Pediatrician’s Guide to COVID-19 and Building Resilient Children with Dr. Elisa Song

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Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Elisa Song

In this episode, I am speaking with Elisa Song, MD – who is the founder of Whole Family Wellness, one of the first and most highly regarded holistic pediatric practices in the US, and the creator of Healthy Kids, Happy Kids a website dedicated to empowering parents to take charge of their family’s health naturally.

In this podcast, Dr. Song and I discuss: 

  • Has COVID brought a “new normal”? What it can mean to your family
  • The biggest risk-factors linked with COVID infection
  • What science really tells us about the flu vaccine
  • The most important message for parents whose child has a chronic illness
  • The role screen time and emotional stress plays in a child’s well-being
  • The top tips to building strong, resilient, and healthy children
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Transcript

Ari Whitten: Hey there, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. With me now is Dr. Elisa Song, who is a Stanford NYU and UCSF-trained holistic pediatrician. She’s the founder of Whole Family Wellness and integrative pediatric practice in Belmont, California, one of the first and most highly regarded holistic pediatric practices in the country. She is also the creator of Healthy Kids Happy Kids which is dedicated to empowering parents to take charge of their kids’ health naturally.

She is also a lecturer for the Center for Education and Development in Clinical Homeopathy, Academy for Pain Research, the Institute for Functional Medicine and the Holistic Pediatric Association among others. I’m very excited to do this podcast. I’ve been a fan of her work for a long time and I’m excited to do a podcast devoted to kid’s health and parenting. Welcome to the show, Dr. Song. Such a pleasure to have you.

Dr. Elisa Song: Thank you, Ari. It was a while and coming, but I’m really glad [laughs] that we made this work today.

Ari Whitten: Yes, I had to chase after you a little bit.

Dr. Elisa Song: You know life these days, right? [laughs]

The “new normal”

Ari Whitten: Yes. Before we get into general kid’s health stuff and parent stuff, I would love to just get your thoughts on anything COVID-related and just maybe we can ground the discussion in the current state of affairs of what’s going on with kids in this “new normal” of the COVID world. Do you have any general thoughts on what’s going on right now with kids?

Dr. Elisa Song: Yes, I mean we could talk the whole time on COVID, but I think that it ties in really well with really how do we take this opportunity now during this pandemic with what’s going on the world to really build those foundations of optimal health for our kids? How do we make sure that they become so resilient even if they were to get COVID that they are left without any complications? Right? That they can thrive through all of this physically, emotionally, socially, immunologically, so many foundations there and really this has been such an eye-opening time that–

Of course, we know that the adults who are at higher risk are the adults who have those lifestyle-related diseases. That’s not the only risk factor. Even for children who are not as affected– that rare but really scary complication as a parent like the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which is becoming increasingly noted in the States as children’s cases rise. Even then, the lifestyle-related disease that was associated with an increased risk primary, see, was obesity. We need to lay these foundations now. It is critical.

You called it this “new normal” state of what’s going on in the world. There is this “new normal” of chronic disease in kids too. It mirrors that. We’re finding that a couple of years ago, the statistics were that about 55% of all kids in the US had some sort of a chronic diagnosis, over one in two kids. Fast forward five years from now, 2025, that number is projected to be 8 in 10 kids, and you see it, right?

I see it in my pediatric patients. I see it in the kids at my children’s school. There’s autism, ADHD, asthma, eczema, anaphylactic food allergies, which weren’t really almost non-existent when you and I were children. There is autoimmune illnesses on the rise like crazy, PANS and PANDAS. We need to figure out a way how to make this not normal, not expected and not common, all right? [laughs] That’s all. It’s not just about COVID, it’s how do we take this opportunity and step back and say, “What are we doing with our children? How do we make sure that they actually really are our future?”

The biggest factors that has influence on a potential severe COVID infection

Ari Whitten: There’s a couple of avenues I want to go down in response to what you just said, that wonderful big picture overview that you painted there. One is the predisposition from preexisting conditions from lifestyle-related factors. One of my big things throughout this whole COVID thing is I feel there has been a huge disconnect between a recognition of that, of the vast majority of the people who are actually at risk of severe COVID or dying from COVID, is largely determined by one’s lifestyle habits. Now, there’s exception. There’s people who have genetic conditions, their immune system is dysfunctional, they have COPD, they might have some preexisting condition through no decision-making of their own, but the vast majority of people have these preexisting conditions that are decidedly diseases of lifestyle.

As you noted in kids that’s going on to– given that those preexisting conditions, for example, obesity and insulin resistance, high blood pressure, that given that they also increase the risk of dying early from a whole host of other conditions, so for example having a heart attack or having limbs amputated as a complication of diabetes, having cancers, neurological disease. They increase your risk of a host of other conditions that might cause you to die early, and they also increase your risk of getting a respiratory infection and dying from a respiratory infection. That seems to me to be a proper context to place this in and it seems like very few people are placing it in that context. Do you [crosstalk]

Dr. Elisa Song: Yes, I totally agree. I think this really is sort of our wake-up call. It’s really interesting. The majority of patients who are getting serious complications need to be hospitalized and admitted to the ICU even having increased risk for dying, the underlying factors do seem to be those lifestyle-related diseases and more and more people are starting to recognize that. That being said, what we’re finding now months into this pandemic. It seems we’ve been in this forever, but we have seven months’ worth of information which is baby steps. We know so much more than we did back in February and March when the lockdown happened, but we’ve still so much more to learn.

What we’re finding now is this whole group of people that are calling themselves long-haulers, this post-COVID chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, mast cell activation, dysautonomia-type syndrome with 90% or more of people who have had “mild illness”, not hospitalized, reporting persistent symptoms months and months out. That to me also is another facet of this resilient piece. We have this foundation of, “Okay, how do we reduce our risk of being hospitalized and actually dying from COVID?” but then we have this other piece because the long-haulers is that– There’s a doctor, David Putrino in Mount Sinai who now, he’s a rehab doc and he has a clinic now that’s largely devoted to these “long-haulers” and he’s finding the demographic is actually different. These younger adults, 44-ish on average, who are a little bit more maybe women and previously fit and healthy. That goes against our idea of, “Oh my gosh, what are these risk factors?”

There’s some piece of it where we need to understand how do we get to build that cellular resilience so that even if you get sick, maybe they’ll get seriously sick, but we don’t want you then to be that 90% that has three or more symptoms later on like continued ongoing fatigue and brain fog and joint pains and shortness of breath. That I think is where we need to move the discussion of functional medicine, not just, “Okay, how do we prevent these lifestyle-related diseases?”

How do we really build that true foundation of cellular resilience so that you get COVID or like here the wildfires, you get exposed to all the toxins or you get exposed to psychological toxins, and you take that hit, maybe you get sick, really sick, but then you bounced back and you’re strong and you’re even better than before. That’s what we want for our children too in terms of psychologically. How do you get those psychological frustrations, hits, challenges and go through that and then be even more resilient afterwards?

Ari Whitten: Absolutely. Quick maybe side-point digression. When I think of these long-term long-hauler symptoms, I think of Epstein-Barr virus, because I got Epstein-Barr virus as an adult. Most people get it when they’re little kids, and little kids are basically not necessarily asymptomatic but it manifest as a common cold. It’s no big deal. You’re a few days, a week or something of being sick with mild cold-like symptoms and then you’re over it. You get it as an adult and as a teenager in your 20s and your 30s, 40s, now it’s a severe sickness and that oftentimes has these long-haulers symptoms where you got symptoms for months, I did when I got it in my mid-20. I was extremely sleep-deprived and overworked and burnt-out in that context, and so I got it and I got it pretty severely.

It’s interesting I think as a thought experiment to think what would happen if Epstein-Barr virus were a novel virus that we didn’t have a large amount of population immunity to and we didn’t have people getting exposed to it during childhood. Let’s say it just was a brand new virus, it was circulating in the population and everybody got it as adults instead of 90% getting it as kids. Now, I think you’ve got a virus that would probably be maybe even more severe in terms of the amount of illness it would cause in adults and the types of long-hauler symptoms. I’m just curious. I thought that was kind of an interesting frame to think about.

Dr. Song. Yes, absolutely. We know that the Epstein-Barr virus, it’s in this class of viruses called the herpes virus. It never goes away. It’s kind of like getting shingles after chickenpox illness. It lives in your system and during times of stress it may reactivate, which is why people who have chronic Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue it can be so sporadically debilitating.

You feel better, and then you go through a moment of stress and it reactivates and then here you go downhill again. With the brain fog and the muscle aches and the joint pains and the shortness of breath, all those things that long-haulers are seeing. The syndrome, the post-COVID syndrome really does seem to look very similar to that chronic fatigue immunodeficiency syndrome that we get post-Epstein-Barr.

Now, one of the hallmarks of Epstein-Barr and many different viruses and organisms is that Epstein-Barr virus is highly mitotoxic, toxic to our mitochondria. When we’re thinking about long-haulers, we really need to think about how do we support their mitochondria now, but even better yet, to have supported their mitochondria while they were sick, while their cells were trying to churn out all of that cellular energy to fight the virus, heal and to repair, could they come out the other end without chronic fatigue, fully recovered?

At this point now, strangely enough, I think the world happens in the way the universe brings you things that they’re meant to bring you. My son and my daughter both had COVID just after we went into lockdown at the end of May. My nanny, her partner, her husband and her husband’s coworkers, all Latino, all living in East Palo Alto, we know Latinos and Blacks are more affected with serious outcomes. Even children, even Black and Latino children make up 70% of the kids who have developed MIS-C. There’s a huge disparity there that this pandemic is also bringing to light that needs to be addressed as a society.

I started from my experiences and all the research that I did and online course for parents, to help them understand what ways we can do to support our immune system, hopefully, to protect ourselves against getting COVID and also protect ourselves against long-term complications and everyone in the group who has gotten COVID, my son who actually was probably headed towards MIS-C, it was the most frightening experience I’ve ever had.

My nanny and all of her family at this point now, months out, my son now is what, five and a half months out from his illness, like zero complications, zero symptoms remaining. That’s what we want, and part of what I do for patients and Bodi was really support his mitochondria while he was sick and support a healthy immune response, because our lifestyle nowadays, all of those factors. There’s air pollution, there’s glyphosate, there’s Wi-Fi, there’s emotional toxins.

There’s so many toxins that are causing our immune system to be constantly revved up that we don’t really have a fighting chance to have a normal immune response when something like COVID comes along. There’s the mitochondrial support and then there’s the immune balancing support, what I call the immunomodulation. We know from some of the research studies that steroids do seem to be helpful for some patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized, but what do steroids do? They blast the immune system. They suppress everything, but it’s not helping the immune system to respond normally.

In the beginning, if you could help your immune system respond normally with that immunomodulation, not immunosuppression but immunomodulation with things like vitamin D and melatonin, and my favorite, SPMs, there’s something called Specialized Pro-resolving Mediators. I think that is the key to preventing the complications when you’re sick with COVID and the post-COVID, the long-haulers’ syndrome.

Ari Whitten: Beautiful. I want to get into all that and you’re speaking my language when you’re talking about mitochondria. Before we get into that, I want to jump back to something that you were saying earlier on, which is– Oh, you know what? Actually, before I get there, I just want to comment. Your kids got sick very early on with COVID. I think there is a case, maybe this is somewhat speculative, but I think it’s reasonable. I’m curious if you have knowledge into it. There’s a case for the strain of virus actually being more severe early on compared to how it is now, [crosstalk] less lethal strain over time.

Dr. Elisa Song: Yes, it’s an interesting thought and we know for sure that it’s mutated already. Could that be why we’re seeing fewer hospitalizations, why we’re seeing fewer deaths? Is it because we know how to treat it better? In the beginning, patients were getting intubated left and right. We know now that was the worst thing to do. You want to avoid intubation, you want to give high-flow oxygen. We know a little more, but could it be that there’s a weaker strain? I really hope so. [laughs]

Ari Whitten: I saw a data that just came out from I think Brown University on 26,000 cases in– I don’t know if it was entirely in Brown University but among university students now that they’ve gone back to school, 0 hospitalizations, about 26,000 cases of COVID.

Dr. Elisa Song: That would be amazing. Like I said, I think the universe brings you what is needed at the time. I really have to think that the reason that my kids got it so early on when literally like none of my patients and none of my pediatric colleagues had seen any COVID and in that early month I saw, of course, my two kids and then like four other kids with probable COVID, remembering that the testing was so inaccurate back then, still inexcusably inaccurate, but I had a child diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. This was before MIS-C was known.

This was just around the time, just before the lockdown, and I remember questioning the rheumatologist and saying, “Do you think this could be COVID-related?” He said, “Definitely not.” He had a negative COVID PCR test. Then I had four kids who had COVID toes, the skin findings. I think that the universe brought that to me so that I could understand what it feels like to go through as a parent with COVID-19, like terrified.

Bodie was hospitalized for a day and a half. Just the fear that grips you, especially remembering back, this is in March when just the panic was huge. I think that allowed me to go through this, see what works, what doesn’t work, and then be able to just really stay calm in all of this and help educate parents to stay calm because now that, of course, schools are back, here we go with the surge of fear again, and then there’s the impending–

I don’t even like to use the word, it’s so silly, the media, they’re calling it the twindemic of COVID and flu. To be totally honest, I really don’t think flu is going to be that bad this year in the United States. That’s my hope. I can only predict based on what Australia’s experience was and our flu season typically follows Australia’s flu season. They had probably the most mild flu season they’ve ever had in the beginning before their lockdown, which was their fall.

They’re heading into winter, they had a lot of cases and then rapidly dropped, sharply declined. When I think about the flu vaccine, I always think, okay, the circulating strains are predicted the year before, and that’s how they choose the four strains to be in the flu season, in the flu vaccine. Some years they get it like 0%, like completely wrong. Other years they might get it right.

Then I look to see, okay, Australia strains, do they match within the current flu vaccine? Knowing that even if it’s a perfect match or so only about a 40% to 60% effectiveness rate. I looked at the Australian, their equivalent to the CDC site to see what strains were circulating. Literally, it says there have not been enough flu cases to know whether or not the circulating strains match the current vaccine.

We’ll have to see. I think that we’re still relatively closed down in the United States. We’re not really having a lot of international travel. I don’t think the predictions are going to be as bad as some say, and more researchers are coming out also kind of thinking too that this flu season may not be the flu season that they had anticipated.

What science tells us about flu-vaccines

Ari Whitten: There’s so much I want to digress into there. I know you didn’t want to delve into vaccines in-depth, but I’ll comment on a few things and I’m curious if you agree. You can also feel free to pass. On the flu vaccine, there’s some interesting Cochrane Reviews which are– it’s regarded as the pinnacle of evidence-based medicine. There’s one from 2018 and I think one from 2010. Those reviews included a few interesting things. One is they said there is no evidence to support the idea that the flu vaccine decreases hospitalizations or deaths, which is the most meaningful metric that [crosstalk]

Dr. Elisa Song: Yes. That also looks specifically to kids with asthma and it didn’t seem like in all the reviews. The flu vaccine did not seem to reduce the risk of hospitalizations in the kids with asthma, because, of course, kids with asthma are considered some of the higher risk kids if they were to get the flu. IT’S so much food for thought as a parent. Each year and, again, if I don’t know what’s going on with the flu here, it may be hard to do.

I’ve in the past done a flu webinar going through in October, November-ish when it’s more clear what’s going on with the flu, what flu strains are circulating, to answer some questions. Because now too, there’s this concern about a fast track to COVID vaccine. That’s a concern across the board, mostly from scientists and researchers, from people in the CDC who were very concerned that a fast-tracked vaccine will have more harm than good and so–

Ari Whitten: Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. Peter Hotez have been warning about this. These are the most staunch advocates of vaccines and mandatory vaccines that have been out there in recent years. They’re saying, “Hey, there’s some red flags here.” Dr. Paul Offit came out and even said publicly, “I’m not sure if I would even take the COVID vaccine when it comes up.”

Dr. Elisa Song: It’s interesting that this is one of the biggest discussions that I’ll have with patients. People who know my work, people who know my practice, my patients, they know that I am not 100% pro-vaccine, I’m not 100% anti-vaccine. For me, it’s 100% pro-child and pro-safety. Just looking at the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, everyone knows, there’s never in history been a vaccine that’s been fast-tracked this quickly.

At one points, they announced that perhaps the Phase III trials would be exempted, that was astonishing to me. There was just a report out. It was earlier this week, at the time of our interview, that there was a possible case of transverse myelitis in the UK associated with it, one of the COVID vaccine trials, and so they paused the trial temporarily. Now, some of these effects are hard to know, is it from the vaccine or not?

That’s where the pausing and taking a little back. We know that, at least for coronaviruses, and even though SARS-CoV-2 is not like any other coronaviruses that we’ve ever seen, it’s still a coronavirus. We’ve never ever been able to successfully manufacture a coronavirus vaccine. What the more commonly used type of vaccines that are being trialed are what are called RNA vaccines. RNA vaccines have never ever been used in humans. All of our current vaccines are not RNA vaccines, so we just have so many unknowns.

Ari Whitten: It’s just to emphasize that we’re fast-tracking a brand new technology that we essentially have no long-term data on safety of.

Dr. Elisa Song: Yes, that absolutely. I don’t even think we can conjecture about whether or not a vaccine would be mandatory, because I just can’t see how that could be the case, especially if some of our top heads are not going to take it themselves.

Ari Whitten: There’s a counter to that. There’s some states right now, Massachusetts, and I think some other places that are now pushing to mandate the flu vaccine in children, which is really interesting and bizarre that, to me, at least, that there’s this push for that, given that there’s such poor evidence to show efficacy of the flu vaccine and actually decreasing hospitalizations or deaths.

The Cochrane Reviews I mentioned before also noted that there was widespread evidence of manipulation of conclusions and bias among the researchers performing the studies. There’s also a variety of other studies that have indicated that flu vaccines may increase susceptibility to other types of respiratory infections in children in particular. There’s even some indications that certain types of flu vaccines may increase the risk of coronavirus infections in particular. The data is still relatively early, but given that kind of data, it seems extremely dangerous to me to be all of a sudden pushing for more and more flu vaccines.

Dr. Elisa Song: I think it’s become such a political issue. The discussion has lost a lot of scientific rigor, really on, I hate to call them sides, but there are– I feel like it should be a discussion on scientific evidence and really looking at efficacy and safety issues with an eye towards what’s the best thing for our children. I think that the ability to have that kind of conversation is long gone, sadly. In some places where the flu vaccine maybe mandated, I have one preschool around me where the mom said that the preschool has said that it would be mandatory if in school, preschool takes place this winter.

Ari Whitten: What do you think is the rationale behind why they’re trying to mandate the flu vaccine all of a sudden?

Dr. Elisa Song: The rationale would be if it is effective, that it would reduce the burden of influenza in children and adults. Reduce the complications of influenza, weakening the immune system. Then also if you come in too with a fever and respiratory symptoms, the chance of it being flu is less likely so they’d have higher suspicion for COVID. I mean, that being said. If I have a kid who comes in with a fever and a cough and stomachache, I’m going to presume it could be both or either. [chuckles] I would test for both of them.

Ari Whitten: Any failed test doesn’t necessarily tell you you have an infection or whatever symptoms you’re experiencing are because of that. The PCR test detects bits of viral fragments that are present and as far as I understand, there’s big issues of false positives going on with that test. Isn’t there a potential for misattribution of if someone could have a flu or some other virus, but they could also have bits of viral fragments of COVID in their nose that’s detected by nasal swab and that what might actually be a flu or other respiratory infection couldn’t that be misattributed to as a COVID infection?

Dr. Elisa Song: It’s possible and also vice versa. What I worry about is not so much the false-positive rates, because the false-negative rates are astounding with the PCR technology. It relies also on getting an appropriate swab. There’s some evidence that the saliva test developed out of Rutgers lab and now, I think, it’s also a Yale lab. Anyway, the original saliva test was developed out of the Rutgers Lab and that seems to have a lot more sensitivity in being able to actually pick up SARS-CoV-2.

For instance, my daughter, she was the first person in the family to have COVID. Since then, because everyone was like, “How did you impede or not get it?” [chuckles] When your babies are sick, there’s not going to be social distancing. We briefly made Kenzi wear a mask when she was coughing. I was laying with my son in bed with him, watching him breathe.

I was actually literally holding my breath, waiting for a shoe to drop in for me to get sick, but I never did. We never knew. The week before, maybe 10 days-ish before Kenzi got sick, this was literally– March 13, Friday the 13th was the day the school shut down. I remember Thursday, the 12th, I started getting it, this really bad headache and a teensy sore throat and I never get headaches.

I thought, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’m dehydrated.” I was worried because now there’s this COVID thing going around. I felt under the weather enough that I actually cancel my patients. I’m like, “If this is turning into something, I don’t want to expose anybody.” I did strep swab, I did flu swab, I did COVID swabs, those were all negative. I thought, “Okay, it must be some weird virus thing.” I actually tested myself twice during that time, four days, totally fine.

In the meantime, my husband had also had a weird stomach thing and a weird thing in his chest and felt a little off, but we did our mega vitamin D dose. We have our little regimen when we’re sick, we take a hundred thousand, I use vitamin D, we have a Chinese herbal concoction called Windbreaker. We do pelargonium sidoides, which actually has been found to be helpful for human coronaviruses. We megadosed ourselves and we’re fine.

Fast forward July, I thought, let me get antibody testing through everybody. I split tested, had a phlebotomist come and sent our blood off. Me, Peter, Kenzi, and Bodi, like all four of us to six different labs. Quests SARS-CoV-2 antibody, it’s a useless test, right? It’s not even worth going into the lab of potentially getting exposed to get that one, but I thought, “Well, let me send it off.” I sent it off there, sends it off to LabCorp. Do you want to know the tests I sent off?

Ari Whitten: Yes.

Dr. Elisa Song: Quest, LabCorp, IGeneX, which actually does an ImmunoBlot test, which is a different kind of technology than the ELISA IgG test that the other labs use. Diagnostic Solutions, KBMO, and Aperiomics.

Ari Whitten: Wow. You might be one of the only people in the world that has done that kind of split testing with the same samples.

Dr. Elisa Song: Yes. I’m fortunate because I can, I have access to all those test kits and I thought, “If I’m going to test antibodies, I’m just going to do them all,” because we know that the idea has been that antibodies go away and you’re not immune after two months. They disappear somehow, but the tests are so bad. We’ve just shown how poorly things have been running in terms of getting rolling out accurate, available, accessible testing. Both the PCR for possible acute infection and antibodies to show whether or not you have immunity. That’s why I did that.

Ari Whitten: What were the results of the antibody?

Dr. Elisa Song: The results, all negative, except IGeneX and Diagnostic Solutions, and all four of us had antibodies, all four of us. This was– When did I send the test off? Middle of July, so that was four months after we would have had COVID-19. You have to presume in all of this, yes, it’s a novel virus, but our immune system, when we have antibodies against the pathogen, most immunologists would say that that should confer immunity at least while you have those antibodies.

Whether or not they go away, who knows? We need more research in all of this. We need more research, more research, more research, but we have to presume while you have those antibodies, you have some amount of protection. Did the strain mutate? Could you get a different one? Could you get a second time? Could it reactivate? Those cases are so rare right now and at this point now, we have nine months of COVID, maybe more, right? If we’re presuming like– I mean, Wuhan was actually December, so we have 10 months.

Now, I’m not that I’m blowing all caution to the wind, but I’m a little bit– I’m actually happy that I’ve antibodies. That’s why if someone suspects that they could have had COVID, which I had in the beginning, in March, I had so many patients and parents say, “I think we had COVID, we had a terrible flu-like symptom, we have terrible cough.” At that point, Quest was the only lab that was available and, of course, they were all negative.

If I were to do it again heading into this winter where the authorities are saying, we’re going to have another peak, I might consider doing some antibody testing may be through IGeneX or maybe through Diagnostic Solutions, which also seems to be a little more accurate even from other functional medicine practitioners that I’m talking with. Again, the accessibility is a problem. The disparities in health related to socioeconomic status they’re heartbreaking in all of this. This test–

Ari Whitten: The good news is that the tests are so bad that even if you have access to them, they still might not give you meaningful–

Dr. Elisa Song: [laughs] That’s true. The IGeneX test, you would need a functional medicine practitioner to order them and I don’t know if insurance would cover it and so you’d have to pay out of pocket, so there are some problems with that, but anyhow, I think that, yes, it looks like we all had COVID. Why my children had it worse than the adults doesn’t make sense, but because we all–

At that point too, when Bodi actually got more seriously ill with COVID and was hospitalized and he had all the signs, as I mentioned, of possibly getting MIS-C. He had fever for seven days, he had hallucinations, like he was hearing scary voices and seeing scary people. He developed an eye tic. His personality completely changed, all those neuropsychiatric symptoms. He was alternating between being really goofy and spacey, not understanding me to be really angry. Very PANS-ish.

I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, is he developing PANS or PANDAS?” He had a skin rash, he had the pink eyes, he had the abdominal pain, the headache. MIS-C wasn’t described back in March, otherwise, I would have been doubly panicking. I would have been like, “Oh my gosh.” At that point, what was interesting was I had not many, but I had some people comment on social media like, “Well, why should we keep listening to you because obviously you don’t practice what you preach and your kids must be really unhealthy?”

Which really took me aback. We live a very healthy lifestyle. Yes, do they get a little more sugar now during the quarantine than we did before? Probably right because we’re doing a lot of baking, but they’ve been the picture of health their whole lives. This is where we want to really emphasize it’s about building these foundations and then when you do get sick, understanding how to really continue to support that resilience.

I think for Bodi, he did have some red flags. He’s had these PANS take many episodes in the past where he’s had the eye blinking and the kind of goofy personality changes associated with, like a strep skin infection one time, another time with a strep throat. I think his immune system is just showing that it’s a little bit more sensitive, right? A little bit on edge. I know now to jump on things a little bit in a little different way than I do with Kenzi.

Ari Whitten: Real quick, I want to comment on the antibodies thing. As far as I can see, one of the really interesting things that’s come out is, the last seven months or so, is that we’ve really expanded our knowledge, our collective understanding of the immune system. There seems to have been a previous assumption that only antibodies are the thing that matters and not to that extreme, but it was in that direction.

Now, we’re realizing, “Oh, there’s the innate immunity.” The innate immune system really matters before antibodies even kick in and that may be a big factor of why kids predominantly are protected. Mucosal immunity and even if you don’t have IgG or IgM antibodies, you might have IgA mucosal antibodies and might sort of fight it off on that level, and then T-cell immunity and how that interplays from previous exposure of other coronaviruses. You now have the possibility of even if someone tests negative for antibodies, how meaningful is that? They may still be immune, and so we’re uncovering all these other layers to the story. I’m just curious if you had any thoughts on that.

Dr. Elisa Song: Even with all this knowledge about immunology, we’re just in our infancy of really understanding how our immune system works. Now, even let’s say histamine, because many people with COVID and post-COVID syndrome are representing with mast-cell-activation-type symptoms and it’s really up until recently that we didn’t even know that there were H4 receptors on our immune cells.

We have so much more to learn about how our immune system works, what defense systems we have, how our immune system recovers. Absolutely, I think that there are these other mechanisms in play and that antis are not the only answer. For instance, with chickenpox, right? I had a mom who never has had chickenpox antibodies in all of her prenatal testing and, of course, that’s a concern because you don’t want to get chickenpox when you’re pregnant with the baby because that could– actually, it’s more harmful for the fetus. She’s been exposed, all of her sisters had chickenpox.

She’s had multiple exposures through her kids when they were children and never ever gets it. Obviously, she’s an immune somehow but zero IgG antibodies, which has been a puzzle to the doctors. There are different ways their immune system can respond, which is why I think even when we think broader in the context of how do we think about treating infections or any toxic hit, but we also want to look broad or beyond conventional medicine.

Even broader too beyond herbs and supplements. In a way, of course, I’m a huge believer in functional medicine, but that’s not the only piece. Functional medicine if done appropriately takes into account the whole person in front of you and is open to incorporating other modalities. In many ways though, functional medicine for some has become more of a cookie-cutter approach like conventional medicine. Here’s your protocol, heal the leaky gut, here are the vitamins to support your mitochondria, here are the things to do to detox. It doesn’t really embrace a personalized approach that it really was meant to.

With that, I think looking beyond herbs and supplements and thinking about, “What about acupuncture and acupressure?” Vagus nerve stimulation is something that I’ve been working on with my patients with PANS and PANDAS. I just got a new little toy to do a microcurrent auricular transcutaneous biggest nerve stimulation to really see, can that help our kids with autoimmunity? I have my little e-stim that I teach parents to stimulate acupressure points in the ear because the sympathetic point .0 and Shen Men, the spirit gate point actually, has been shown to improve heart rate variability, which is a measure of vagus nerve function. This is something that parents can learn to do on their own, if I want them to do it every day.

There was a fascinating study. We’re going on so many tangents in this topic. There was a fascinating study that was actually put on hold during the pandemic, but looking at transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation in sepsis. There was one small study that looked at giving the transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation to patients with sepsis. It seemed to be beneficial. Another study looks specifically at heart rate variability and found that improved heart rate variability, optimal heart rate variability.

For your listeners, I’m guessing they know what heart rate variability is, but if they don’t, that’s a proxy measure for vagal tone, optimal parasympathetic nervous system functioning. As a parent or as an adult, you measure yourself if you don’t have a device. If you don’t have an Oura ring or whatever other device. If you just check your heart rate, when you have optimal heart rate variability, you have what’s called an optimal respiratory sinus arrhythmia. When you take a deep breath in, you should feel your heart rate speeding up. When you exhale slowly, your heart rate should slow down.

Children should have much more heart rate variability and respiratory sinus arrhythmia than adults, but we all should at any age. The study looked at patients with sepsis and found that heart rate variability was the better predictor of sepsis in the ICU than what’s called the SOFA scale that assesses all of the physical signs for impending sepsis. Even clinicians– What do they call it? Clinician’s perception or intuition or something like that, your clinical judgment. If we can use these tools like your acupuncture or vagus nerve stimulation, that auricular vagus nerve stimulation has been found to be very helpful for inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, migraines, epilepsy, you name it, anxiety, depression, bipolar.

That’s what we need. That’s what I truly am moving towards in terms of, what makes a truly resilient person, child and adult is the ability to keep our vagus nerve engaged and optimized. When we’re going through moments of stress, like a serious infection, or psychological trauma, we naturally move out of that parasympathetic state. That’s okay. That’s an expected response. When you are sick with an infection, you should have a fever. That’s our body’s way of trying to get better.

Then to move back into the health cycle, to optimal health, we need our vagus nerve to be reengaged. That’s what many of us don’t have the tools to do. We can do it passively, but we need to teach our kids and teach ourselves how to do it actively too with things like breathwork, and meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Chronic illness in children on the rise

Ari Whitten: I want to come back to that point, but I want to jump back all the way to the beginning to the epidemic of kid’s health problems. You mentioned, there are skyrocketing rates of so many different conditions, medical conditions, diseases in kids. Not just obesity or diabetes, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes, and now is no longer purely adult-onset, and autoimmune diseases, and ADHD, and autism, and all these other things. It’s interesting to think about, I think, what’s going on that’s causing that.

At the same time, as that transition is occurring of dramatically increased rates of childhood illness– I heard some statistics on that. I’m curious if they’re true. I think it’s 40% of kids now have some chronic condition by the age of 13 or something like that. Maybe you can give me the accurate statistics. As we’re having these epidemics of chronic disease in younger and younger ages, this is simultaneously occurring with all these medical advances. We’re seeing medicine advance, advance, advance.

Over the last 60 years, we’ve gone from kids receiving three vaccines to 72 doses of vaccines. All of these amazing advances, and yet kids are sicker than ever. I was thinking of the Aldous Huxley quote. I think it’s something to the effect of, “Modern medicine has advanced so much, there’s hardly a healthy human left.” He was saying that but all the way back in the 50s or 60s. What in your opinion is going on that is causing this epidemic of childhood illness?

Dr. Elisa Song: There’s so much. That’s to say that we know a lot of the factors that go into developing chronic illness. On the one hand, that could instill fear in us as parents that, “Oh my gosh, is my child doomed to have some chronic illness?” At the same time though, it is an opportunity because we know some of the things that we can do to reduce that risk. We can have these points of intervention.

Of course, in functional medicine, everyone starts with the gut. I still think that’s an appropriate place to start. We know that babies who are born already with a higher risk for a disrupted gut microbiome, whether it’s because of maternal antibiotics, or antibiotics around the delivery, or mom’s gut also is just not in good shape, or C-section, or formula feeding.

If you’re a mom listening and that’s happened to you, just the first thing to do is actually just get rid of the guilt, because what’s happened has happened and we just move forward from where we are. If you have the opportunity, even beforehand, preconceptions to optimize your gut health as a mom, your baby will start off in life with the best chance of having a healthy gut microbiome. We know that disrupted gut microbiome can increase the risk later of eczema, asthma, ADHD, all sorts of other chronic conditions.

In fact, there was a huge study done a couple of years ago. It was almost 800,000 children. It was a military study, that’s where we can get these huge numbers. They looked back as a retrospective study, and they looked at children who had received either antibiotic medications or antacid medications. All of a sudden, it was maybe 2003, I had taken a year off to travel around the world with my husband thinking, “When we come back I’ll open up my own integrative practice and we’ll try to start having babies.” In that one year, I think it was 2002, I can’t believe I’m forgetting, but I came back and was doing a locums at one of my friend’s practices, and all of a sudden, Zantac was approved for reflux in babies. I’m like, “What?” Almost every other baby was put on Zantac. It was astounding to me.

The study in 2018, looked at babies who received antibiotics and antacid medications in the first six months of life. They followed them through the first six years of life and found that there was an increased risk of every single allergic disease in those children including anaphylactic food allergies, hives, eczema, asthma, hay fever.

The authors actually conjectured that it’s because early antibiotic use and antacid use can disrupt the developing gut microbiome, which influences the developing immune system and the developing nervous system. What was astounding to me was this huge paper that the authors actually put that into their conventional journal, which was great.

Anyhow, we know the gut is so important. Whatever age your child is at, and making sure that your child’s gut health is optimized with food, fermented foods, probiotics, glutamine, butyrate, whatever way you can support, especially if they’ve had antibiotics. We cannot undo that disruption to the gut microbiome, but we just have to have knowledge first that that’s happened, even after just one antibiotic, of course, it can happen. Then do our best to optimize the gut because again, the gut-brain connection, the gut-immune system connection, the gut-endocrine system connection,

the gut-hormone connection is going to be really key in laying down these foundations for if your child does get sick, keeping them in a healthy state so that they don’t tip over into autoimmunity.

Ari Whitten: If you were to compile a quick list of the biggest factors that you think are driving the–

Dr. Elisa Song: Gut health, the gut-microbiome disruption, the gut dysregulation, toxic exposures, glyphosate, food, Wi-Fi, our food additives, Wi-Fi, all of that, and psychological toxins. I think those are the number one. All of those are going to lead down the road of mitochondrial hits, further gut disruption, and immune dysregulation.

The role screen time and emotional stress has on a child

Ari Whitten: Do you have any thoughts on screen time and kids, mental health, and what’s going on with social media, and just kids spending more and more time in front of the screen, starting from younger ages and teenagers spending an inordinate amounts of time on social media?

I had a friend recently who was trying to limit her 13-year-old daughter’s time on her phone and on social media in particular. She had put all these tracking apps on her daughter’s phone and was monitoring them. Then she discovered after about six months of this, that her daughter had a secret other phone in her room. She was spending eight hours a night on social media on her other secret phone that she was hiding from her mom. These addictions are very real and very serious. What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Elisa Song: The addictions are real for children and adults. I came across this diagnosis, this new psychological diagnosis that I hadn’t heard before. This was literally just a couple of weeks ago, there was a study that came out on how increasing numbers of young adults are suffering from something called nomophobia. Have you heard of that? N-O-M-O phobia, nomophobia. When I read the description, I actually laughed out loud, but then I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is a real thing.” It’s fear of no mobile phone, fear of not having access to your mobile phone. That fear of not having in your room, fear of losing internet access, fear of not being able to be connected.

In my practice, I know adults. It’s a very real thing. At the same time, we have to counter that. Especially right now, we’re in such a unique place, especially when teenagers are starting remote learning. Really one of the only ways that they have to keep in touch with their friends, if they don’t have a social pod and they’re not going on walks or seeing their friends physically, the only way to really keep in touch is through social media, or FaceTime, or video games. Boys tend to do more video games and girls do more social media.

As a parent of a teen, you need to encourage socialization, but we also want to educate our teenagers about the impact of the screens and the social media on their brains. This is the time not to just instill all of your parental controls, but have that discussion with your teenager, “This is why I’m worried as your mom or your dad. These are some studies, just think about it because it’s up to you to make these good decisions when I’m not with you, when you’re out with your friends, or when you’re in your bedroom.”

One of my strongest recommendations though, and I talk to teenagers about this and parents about this, and I actually started talking to kids about this from the time they were in elementary school, from the first moment they start asking, “When can I have a cell phone?” Which is probably going to be in kindergarten. From that very first moment, you start talking about some of the ground rules that are going to be family rules. The number one family rule is that phones must stay out of the bedroom.

They found that phone that stay in the bedroom– Forget about even the Wi-Fi impact, but the phones in the bedroom, when kids wake up or adults wake up, they are much more likely to wake up and actually use their phone in the middle of the night. That immediately turn on. There’s a blue light, disruption of melatonin, it disrupts your sleep. Also, reported the next day feeling worse about themselves. Phones out of the room is really, I think one of the most important rules you can have. Start these discussions young because that cell phone is this amazing thing that kids want from the moment that they’re a toddler.

Then I have teenagers think about all the things that they’re not doing. What is screen time replacing? Is it replacing your time with your friends personally, or your family replacing the time that you be spending exercising, or sleeping, or doing homework? Think of all the things that you’re not doing.

Then you give them the research about some of the harms of screen time use, video games. There’s a phrase coined digital dementia, which mimics a lot of what we’re seeing in the elderly with dementia, with increased screen time associated with confusion, and brain fog, and cognitive deficits, and poor motivation, and just really poor coordination.

The teenage brain and the toddler brain are the two stages of brain development where your brain is the most rapidly developing, the most synapse are being produced and also pruned. I just let teenagers know. Just think about what connections are being made in your brain and which ones you’re keeping and which ones you’re losing.

There’s one study that found– It’s actually ongoing. It’s called the ABCD study [unintelligible 00:56:57] The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study. Almost 12,000 kids that were followed from middle school all the way through early adulthood that started four years ago, and they’re looking at screen time too. The preliminary MRI findings found that kids who use their device more than seven hours a day had significant cortical thinning in their brain. Their brain is thinning.

Kids will say, “That’s a lot of screen time.” Then they’ll have them take out their phones and say, “Let’s look at your screen time.” I tell parents too, “Mom, dad, you get your phone too.” They’re shocked because those five minutes of waiting online at Trader Joe’s, or that 10 minutes you’re waiting while the gas is pumping, that all adds up.

Then, in terms of the mood, I pulled up the study because it was really remarkable. The effect of screen time and social media on depression and anxiety was more significant in girls than in boys, and they correlated device time with suicide risk factors. We know that suicide, that is the second leading cause of death in teenagers and young adults in our country, by far. The first is accidental injury. The second is suicide, intentional injury. Girls who are spending five or more hours a day had a 50% higher likelihood of having suicide risk factors. Even two or a fewer hours a day was associated with a 13% more likely chance of suicide, and anxiety, and depression.

What was nice and they say there also is a protective factors. The most protective was face-to-face time. In-person like I am with you physically, communicating not next to you on my phone, but face-to-face communication was found to be so protective. I do worry now with our kids at home on their Zooms all day long, and then connecting on social media, or video games, and not having any face-to-face time with their friends, it’s no wonder that anxiety and depression are at an all-time high right now.

I don’t know what the answer is. The answer isn’t to completely take it away because that’s going to take away one of their only points of contact with their friends. I think if you can find a core group that you feel comfortable with, that your teams feel comfortable with, that are being safe in whatever way that your family is being safe, then to get them together like walks, and bike rides, and just physically seeing each other is going to be so important.

Ari Whitten: I think the answer has to be in real life. It has to be engagement with the real world, with other humans, and with nature in the real world. The challenge is right now, we’ve had this technology stuff that’s building up, it’s pushing us in that direction, but now we also have this other factor of COVID, and the ‘new normal’ of we should all now be home-schooled, and we should all be avoiding each other, and socially distancing, and be careful of getting together with too many people. Now, that’s going to massively amplify, as you alluded to, all of those in front of screen trends.

I’ll tell you personally, as far as what I think, the answer is, for me as a parent, raising my kids, it’s all about how can I provide an environment to them that is all about engagement with the real world and other humans in the real world, and have that be a really rich pleasurable source of feedback for them such that they actually will prefer that over staying at home being on their screens. I think that, that is just the only possible answer to me.

Dr. Elisa Song: I think given life circumstances when we’re faced with, for some of us are not able to avoid all of those exposures that we’re considering toxins, just thinking about how do we work in then every day, the ability to have a little screen detox, have a little emotional detox, physical detox, brain detox, so that we can, at least, mitigate some of the impact.

Dr. Song’s top tips to building resilient children

Ari Whitten: Absolutely. I want to wrap up with some of your top tips. I want to do it for two things. One is for parents, your top suggestions for how to be a better parent. Then the second thing is how to create more health, more emotional, and physical resilience in kids.

Dr. Elisa Song: In terms of parents, as a parent of an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old, [laughs] I right there in it with everybody trying to figure out what can I do to not totally mess them up [laughs]? It’s fascinating even the things I think about that I remember that my mom said or my dad said that probably were very flippant, one-off comments that are ingrained in my mind [chuckles].

I think about that all the time, “How do I raise my children to be the adults that I want them to be, the adults that they want to be, the adults that they would be proud to be. Just kind, and respectful, and resilient, and go-getters, and go-givers.” [chuckles] Just exactly what I would want for their lives.

With that, I would say that one of the most important things, of course, you have to walk the walk. You can’t tell them to eat vegetables and not eat any yourself. That’s simple. One of the most important things is to really let them see you being human, allowing them to see when things are tough for you. As parents, a lot of we want to shield our kids from that, and acknowledging times when you mess up.

There are times when I completely lose it. A lot of patients think, “Oh my gosh, you must be the best mom, so calm and so nurturing all the time.” I’m like, “Sometimes I just lose it with them.” There’s nobody you love more than your kids, but there’s also nobody that can piss you off more. I’m human too.

When I lose it with them, I acknowledge, “Okay. Guys, sorry. I lost it. I was so mad. I did some things or said some things that I’m really not that proud of. I need a little time for myself.” If I do, I’m giving myself a little time out, need a little break [chuckles]. Then when we come back, let’s talk about it because then they know it’s not about being perfect.

It’s about when you make a mistake, recognizing it, acknowledging it, saying you’re sorry, and then making it right [chcukles]. If you can do that with your kids, then they’re going to learn so much just from what you do.

Ari Whitten: My three-year-old threw a tantrum the other day. I got so angry. I was like, “You’re on your own buddy. We’re kicking you out of the house. Go make a living.” Then I had to come back and apologize to him. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said. You can still live here.”

Dr. Elisa Song: [laughs]. You have to come back because a three-year-old might take that literally. [chuckles] It’s true. We are going to have moments, every day where something doesn’t go quite how we want it to. As a parent, allowing your child to have those little mess ups, and also not stepping in to fix it right away for themselves.

I remember watching Kenzi doing a little shape puzzle as a kid and it was so hard that she was crying and so frustrated. It took all my might not to go and say, “Here, let me do it for you.”

Ari Whitten: [unintelligible 01:04:54].

Dr. Elisa Song: That doesn’t serve your child. Your child will be better served if they can work through their frustrations, realize that they are competent, gain confidence that they can succeed. That shape [unintelligible 01:05:07] that’s a little small thing, but it starts when they’re toddlers. It starts when they’re young and built on into when they’re older.

In fact, I have a college student now whose mom said he just had such a hard time in college. He’s had, from the outside, every single thing in life that any child could want. In college, he couldn’t make it on his own and had to come back. His mom said to me, he said, “Let me give you one piece of advice. If your child forgets their soccer cleats for the soccer tournament, don’t go get them.” That’s what she did with every single thing in his life. She fixed it for him, so he never had to fix it.

You forget your soccer cleats for that big soccer tournament and you can’t play for your team, you’re only going to forget them once. That’s where we have to think about building up that immune resilience as via building up emotional resilience and building up that physical resilience. That emotional resilience is really key not just from a mental health perspective, but really and truly from an immune and a physiologic perspective.

Ari Whitten: That was a really nice blending of how to be a better parent and how to create more emotional resilience in your kids all at the same time. The last thing is just, if you could offer just a few tips on mitochondrial or immune support and just the physical health of children, what would be your top tips there?

Dr. Elisa Song: Mitochondrial health, we think of mitochondria as getting depleted as we age, and not something that most kids have to deal with, but that’s absolutely not true. [chuckles] We know all of these things in our society, I mentioned before, they’re all mitotoxic, they all put stress in a mitochondria starting from birth, actually starting from preconception. We know that epigenetic imprinting happens even before you’re in your mommy’s tummy [chuckles]. What grandma did affects your epigenetic imprinting.

All of these factors, our lives are very different now. We have a lot of mitochondrial stress on our system that we need to really be able to manage, so that we don’t get a chronic illness. Mitochondria, yes, they are the powerhouses of ourselves, but I will tell you as a parent and as a pediatrician, you can see some signs of mitochondrial dysfunction in your kids that might be a tip-off that, “Hey, my kidney’s a little bit more mitochondrial support, maybe a baseline. When they get sick, I probably want to definitely give them even more.”

Some of the signs that I see in kids are low core tone. If you look at most babies, they’re sitting so upright, good posture. At a certain point, we all start to slump, that tech posture [chuckles]. Little kids, little babies should sit upright and have a fairly good core tone. If they’re hunched over naturally, even from the time they’re little, if they’re sitting in what’s called a W-position, which I did all the time. I was loosey-goosey. Sit on your bottom, your knees are out in front of you, and your legs and feet are splayed out to the side, making a W shape.

Weak pencil grasp energy. Some parents say, “Oh my gosh, my kids have so much energy.” The energy piece, but mostly the endurance piece. Most kids, they can play a soccer game and come home, jump on the trampoline, have a play-date with their friends, and they’re still fine, to hang out and have dinner and do whatever the family does. If your child plays soccer, goes full out, he’s awesome, comes home, or she comes home, and then has to lay on the couch for the rest of the day, you know you can’t schedule any other activities if there’s a big activity, that’s not necessarily normal for a kid. That’s not necessarily normal for young mitochondria. Supporting your mitochondria is important then.

Of course, if your kids have mid-infections or medications that can stress out your mitochondria. There are supplements that can be helpful. If you speak with different functional medicine practitioners, I’m sure they all have different mito-cocktails. [laughs] They all have a different combination of nutrients used to support mitochondria. I always start with CoQ10 as ubiquinol, which is the more active form of CoQ10 and carnitine. Those are just my go twos. You want to make sure that they’re optimized in their antioxidants. When you have mitochondrial stress, I know you know this and I’m sure your audience does too, but mitochondrion stress creates a lot of free radicals and oxidative stress, so you need a ton of antioxidants that will mop up those free radicals and reduce that oxidative stress. The oxidative stress is what makes you feel so crummy. Antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione can be really, really important. Phosphorylcholine, it’s one of the phospholipids found in our brain cell membranes that help stabilize our neurons and promote healthy brain cell to brain cell communication. That also supports mitochondrial function, and especially if you’re having any neurological, neuropsychiatric symptoms, it can be really an important part of recovery, for instance, in COVID-19 with post-COVID syndrome.

Then food. When you are suffering from mitochondrial dysfunction, for whatever reason, you do not want to add on to any oxidative stress, to the extent possible. What things are going to add on to oxidative stress? Well, altitude. You probably don’t want to spend like a month in Tahoe, if you’re really suffering because altitude lowers your oxygen, which increases your oxidative stress. Not getting enough sleep. If you’re exercising too much, so exercise is great, but don’t overdo it when you’re having mitochondrial stress. Then all of those colorful fruits and vegetables.

One of the diets that I recommend looking at for mitochondrial support is, the Terry Wahls, the Wahls protocol. Really and truly, one of the foundations is nine servings of fruits and vegetables, but mostly vegetables. One of the mistakes we make as parents is thinking that fruits and vegetables are interchangeable. Well, my kid eats a ton of fruits. He probably have like nine servings of fruit, but no vegetables. That’s not okay because you know that that’s still is a sugar load. When Terry frames her nine vegetables it’s, three green vegetables, three colorful vegetables, and that’s where you might have an apple or might have some berries, those low glycemic index foods and fruits. Then three sulfur-containing vegetables that enhance your glutathione. All those yummy cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, they’re not cruciferous, but they’re sulfur-containing.

Ari Whitten: Beautiful. Dr. Song, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for coming on the show, and teaching people how to be better parents, and how to make better kids, and keep their kids healthy and resilient. Thank you so much. This was really a lot of fun. I really appreciate your time.

Dr. Elisa Song: Thanks, Harry, for having me. I know we went all over the place, but hopefully, everyone found it useful.

Ari Whitten: We did, yes, it was excellent. Thanks so much.

 

Show Notes

The “new normal” (1:20)
The biggest factors that has influence on a potential severe COVID infection (4:11)
What science tells us about flu-vaccines (20:06)
Chronic illness in children on the rise(44:45)
The role screen time and emotional stress has on a child (51:38)
Dr. Song’s top tips to building resilient children (1:01:30)

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