by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© August 2018, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


Many thousands of children today suffer from delayed development.  It may also be labeled as mentally slow, persistent delayed development (PDD), learning disorders, autism, birth defects, and others.  Let us examine what these children have in common and how it is sometimes possible to correct this condition. 




Hair mineral testing usually reveals inadequate zinc reserves in almost all children with delayed development syndromes.  I find this unusual, but not too difficult to explain.  Zinc is essential for growth and development and all tissue synthesis in the body.  Many children are born low in zinc today due to deficiency in their mothers. 


A preventable problem. Zinc deficiency is preventable, but no one is teaching the young women that they must become well-nourished before they have children.  This includes avoiding any diets such as vegetarian diets, raw food diets, and others that cause lowered zinc levels.  Often, they also need supplementary nutrients and they need an entire development program for a year or more.

Zinc is required for growth and development.  Many other nutrients are also required as well.  However, zinc is the most common nutrient, in our experience, that is deficient in these children. 

The most common cause, in almost all cases, is low zinc in the mother, though the father may have some influence as well, strange as that might sound.  Other causes of low zinc are excessive stress on an infant or suffering an illness, such as an infection of some kind that depletes zinc.

The child could also have been born with excessive copper or cadmium, for example, and these antagonize zinc.  This means they can interfere with the normal metabolism of zinc in the body.

Another cause of zinc deficiency is a diet of too many sweets, especially sugars of any type, including eating a lot of fruit or fruit juices, a common food today of infants and children.

All of these situations could, in theory, result in a severe enough zinc deficiency that halts both physical and mental, or nervous system, development and leads to delayed development syndromes.


Correction.  Fortunately, zinc deficiency, as well as excesses of copper and cadmium, are not usually that difficult to correct if the person will follow a development program.  In many cases, they can be corrected enough to begin development within a few months at most.

A complete development program is often essential, not just taking a single nutrient such as zinc, and not just nutritional supplements.  The diet is required, as well.

Note: Just giving zinc to a child is often not enough.  In fact, if zinc is given in a formula with copper or other minerals such as manganese, it can make zinc deficiency worse.

Also note: We do not like the use of synthetic or natural chelators to remove mercury, cadmium or other toxic metal in infants, or in adults, for that matter.  These include drugs such as EDTA, DMPS and DMSA (the best of the three).  They also include alginates, zeolite, cilantro, chlorella, Metal-free, NDF and several other popular products.  The chelators can make things much worse, and are always unnecessary.  The problem is they can all remove some vital minerals, of which these children are almost always low in to begin with. 

For example, one child was recently referred to us who was taking piles of vitamins, plus natural chelators such as modified citrus pectin.  The child had made no developmental progress in a year and was very agitated on the supplements.  When they were discontinued, and a few supplements given based upon a properly performed and correctly interpreted hair mineral analysis, he felt much better and began to grow quickly.  For details, read Chelation.


What to expected  Correction does not mean the child will regain normal height, weight or other developmental parameters immediately.  It could take months or even years, but young children can grow to normal height, weight and other physical size quite easily.

Mental development also often speeds up, especially if the child is young when the process is halted and restarted.  If the child is over the age of 10, for example, then mental development might be stunted, although not necessarily.  The reason for this is the personality of the child is developing by this age, and some development of the personality may be impaired for life.  However, even in older children, remarkable changes can occur with nutritional correction. 


Zinc deficiency on hair mineral tests may be hidden.  At times, the hair zinc level may be normal or even elevated.  However, indicators for hidden zinc will usually indicate a deficiency.  This can be confusing.

Please note that any of the following indicates a zinc deficiency on a properly performed hair mineral analysis from a laboratory that does not wash the hair at the lab.  Most labs wash the hair, which ruins the readings to some degree.  The only lab I suggest using is Analytical Research Labs in Phoenix, Arizona.  Trace Elements, Inc. does not wash the hair, but they are not as careful, their graphs are harder to read, their products are not as good, and their corrective programs are not as good.

The indicators for a zinc deficiency include:

1. A zinc level less than about 12 mg% or 120 parts per million.

2. A copper level greater than about 2.6 mg%

3. A cadmium level greater than about 0.01 mg%.

4. A mercury level greater than about 0.06 mg%.

5. A zinc/copper ratio greater than about 12:1 often is an indicator.  A zinc/copper ratio less than 6:1 may also be an indicator.

6. A sodium/potassium ratio less than 2:1 may be an indicator.

7. A hair phosphorus level less than 10 mg% is often an indicator.

8. Any elevated toxic metal may also be an indicator, such as a high lead level.




All children today need a lot more cooked vegetables, preferably some with each meal.  If a child is fussy, cook the vegetables for 3 minutes in a pressure cooker or 20-40 minutes in a steamer and then puree them.  However, donŐt add water.  Use a hand blender to mash the food).  Most children will eat it.

Also, use onions and carrots as a base, as they are an excellent vegetable and very sweet and their flavor may overwhelm the flavor of other vegetables.  Do not add other sweeteners.

Some children will also eat more vegetables if you use a dressing or garnish of cream, butter, or a little almond butter, for example, over the vegetables to add flavor.

Most young children, in particular, need a lot more quality fats and oils than many eat.  They need these with each meal.  They include red meats, dark meat chicken or turkey, certified raw dairy products are excellent, oily fish such as sardines or salmon in small quantity, eggs (with the yolks soft are best), and such items as butter, olive oil, flax or hempseed oils, and some almond butter and a little sesame tahini or hummos.




Food sensitivities among autistic children, in particular, are extremely common.  This is not usually the precipitating cause of the delayed development, although if the diet is low in zinc and the digestive system is very deficient or weak, it is possible this could help induce a zinc deficiency.  Therefore, it is a factor to consider and definitely a factor to think about in terms of correction of the situation.

Food allergy testing is often helpful, but not necessary in most cases.  The childŐs diet needs to be very simple, with the removal of offending foods, at least for a time until the intestines rebuild. 

The most common sensitive foods that we eliminate with every child, anyway, are wheat, beef, sugar and dairy products.  These are not needed in almost all cases, and are best avoided.

Some children need to avoid all gluten grains, including oats, barley, rye,  and spelt. Rice is not healthful today, either.  For details, read All Rice Is Toxic.  

For development, blue corn chips are excellent if one can tolerate them.  Other food restrictions that may be needed are to give up all fruit and all nightshade vegetables.  These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and all peppers and chiles.

Correction of food imbalances or intolerances is often a slow process of renourishing the child, getting rid of irritating foods such as those mentioned above, and plenty of rest and relaxation.  Stress makes this much harder, as does inadequate rest and sleep.

Very rarely, we use a special product such as a probiotic, anti-candida product, anti-parasite product, or other.  We have never recommended a medical drug for this purpose, as natural products usually can work well.




Children have an important need for the essential fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA.  These very important fatty acids are needed for brain development.  They are not found in most food today, however.  Therefore, it is best to supplement them with capsules or oils.

The best source is fish oil, which is not the same as cod liver oil.  The label should give the amount of EPA and DHA contained in the product.  Other sources are flaxseed oil, hempseed oil, borage oil and a few others.

One can get these oils from foods, but it is difficult.   Among the fish the best source is sardines.  Other lesser sources are lamb, organic beef only and wild game. 

Note: Eating a lot of vegetable oils, such as corn, sunflower, safflower, canola, peanut and soy oil actually interferes with the metabolism of the omega-3 oils by providing too much of the omega6 and omega 9 oils.


Other nutrients all children tend to need.  These include iodine, vitamin D, vitamin A, carotenes and proteins.  These all tend to be low in children who live on refined food diets of cold or hot cereals, breads, pasta, cookies, candies, soda pop and other refined products.

These diets are extremely harmful for all children.  Feeding children better must be a priority for our nation if the children are to avoid even worse health problems in children in the future.



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