Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pica and Autism: One Family's Solution!

Pica ~ An eating disorder characterized by the consumption of non-food items for more than a month.

PICA AND AUTISM, our history...

I used to ask myself, "How can she eat TOILET PAPER, CARDBOARD, FOIL, PAINT CHIPS (and more) and not eat the meals I carefully and lovingly prepare for her????

No one had an answer to this question..... some offered judgmental expressions; as if my mothering her wasn't up to snuff. And yet the contempt in others' voices was present, as they questioned how she got the object or substance in her mouth in the first place.

I ignored them of course... Any sensible person would know better than to compound a mother's desperation as She waded forward in a world of special needs with no guide book!!

I think aside fleeing....... PICA was the most undeniably frustrating and fear inducing behavior we have faced in our Autism Journey! For years, we have prayed for answers. In fact, I remember in toddler-hood commenting how easy we had it with our older daughter, who never put ANYTHING in her mouth, but what I didn't know was that what we were seeing was the early signs of pica .... a disorder sometimes, maybe often, coupled with autism!

There was Constant 24 hour supervision because of the fleeing and pica, but even then... you couldn't keep your eyes on her every single moment of the day.

(I have learned to forgive myself; I am only human after-all!)

Her tears... My tears... Pica, without discrimination, punched wholes in my heart every time I had to pry her mouth open and swoop my finger with the high chance of being bitten (hard!!) to extract the checker,marble, eraser, stone, paint, rock!!

It would literally take nano-seconds for her to get the desired substance within her mouth. Which is what happened when the night we ended up in the ER under the suspicion that she had swallowed Connect Four Checker. Yes, she was sitting right in front of me on the bed.... read that story here.

BUT, at that time she was non-verbal.... so we didn't know if she really swallowed it or not.... and to be safer than sorry, we went to the ER. Which is when I learned checkers do not show up on x-rays... therefore that night I added to my resume, "Poop Sifter!".


5 months ago.... new risks emerged; swallowing a Polly Pocket dress WHOLE at school and attempting to eat the baggie in her lunch box. Even then, the only recommendation from the Doctor's Nurse was to watch her poop....... we never did find the dress!! But the level of supervision intensified.

Just a few weeks later, we discovered she was eating the eraser and metal off of pencils ......... she was prying them off with her teeth, chewing it up in to tiny tiny pieces and swallowing them!!

Then the dentist found a scar on her front upper gum; assumed to be a cut from the metal.

And she was cleaver... but not because she was trying to be deviant, But because when your body craves something like METAL... you will do anything to consume whatever will give you the biological relief your body so desperately needs.

This had become a medical issue!!!

We knew some people attributed pica to mineral deficiencies..... specifically zinc. But others suggested iron..... and her ashened complexion was consistent with anemia. So we decided to take her to a new doctor, one that looked at the biological aspects of Autism......


...... but just as I feared this medical doctor ordered 42 tests!!!!!

Mind you, in the state of Ohio insurance companies are not required to pay for anything coded as Autism. ( I know this because despite having Speech Therapy benefits on our policy, they send us a denial based on the Autism diagnosis every month!!)

So, I crunched the numbers. I calculated what it would cost us... THOUSANDS!

No, not figuratively, but very literally.

So we were left feeling helpless, confused and mostly angry about what to do.....

Choice 1: Bite the bullet and get the tests and budget in monthly payments to pay this off ...... for the next... well, forever!! But, even if we did that.... then we couldn't afford any of the supplements that the doctor would suggest to address the Pica, because of the exorbitant costs of the tests. Yet alone, the nagging thought in the back of my head... even if they prescribe supplements, HOW would we get them in her?

Then there was...

Choice 2: Take a huge chance and put her on a Whole Food Nutrition Infused Supplement that we had been considering for the past16 months..... and basically cross our fingers and hope for the best. Yes, A Shot In The Dark!!


Just 1 ounce is like drinking...

  • 4 lbs of Carrots (2 qts of carrot juice)
  • 8 Oranges (1 pint of orange juice)
  • 2 lbs. of Raw Beets (2 cups of beet juice)
  • 3 cups of Blueberries
  • 2 cups of Raspberries

What it really has in it...

  • Ningxia Wolfberry Puree
  • Blueberry Juice
  • Pomegranate Juice
  • Raspberry Juice
  • Lemon and Orange Essential Oils
  • Agave Nectar
  • 18 Amino Acides
  • 21 Trace Minerals
  • 6 Essential Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin B1, B2, B6, E
  • Antioxdants
  • Phytonutrients

Ningxia Wolfberry Nutrient Summary...

  • 67 times the Thiamin (vitamin B1) of Brown Rice
  • 2 times the Niacin (Vitamin B3) of Baker's Yeast
  • 3 times the Vitamin C of raw oranges
  • 2 times the Beta Carotene of Raw Spinach

Ningxia Wolfberry Minerals...

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Iron


I Tried to get her to drink it plain.... with no success. However, her older sister LOVED it that way so much, we bought the single serving packets to put in HER lunch box.

However, we had to get creative... well, not too creative. We started by adding a tiny bit, like 1/4 ounce to her Organic Strawberry Smoothies (main part of her diet)... and she didn't detect it. We have since slowly increased the amount to 1 ounce per smoothie. This timeline demonstrates her consuming 1 - 3 ounces per day.


Earlier in December we put both kids on Ningxia Red for a week... we saw a 90% reduction in pica episodes (Note: She had been consuming various non-food items numerous times a day... including METAL and PLASTIC!!) But, we ran out and didn't buy more... I was still unsure whether or not I want to do this or the medical tests and labs. BUT THE PICA CAME BACK 100% AND I DECIDED THEN TO BUY MORE!

Here are my FaceBook Ningxia Red Related Statuses over the next several weeks...

12/30 Pica doesn't vacation .... even At grandma's! We need to go do that lab work ... so we can start the nutritional support!

1/08 Reintroduced Ningxia Red..... Whole Food Nutritional Antioxident Drink...... No pica this weekend and she ate Chicken, broccoli and noodles for dinner! This happened the first time we introduced it, so we Decided to hold off on labs since this is our desired outcome anyways!

1/10 Last night Sahara ate 25 shrimp, 3 apples, 5 cookies and 3 glasses of water.... Every time we introduce Ningxia Red she becomes this eating power house!! No PICA episodes since Saturday! ....And on a side note, Emily warms my heart!!

1/15 Sahara has been consistently on Ningxia Red for a week; 1-2 ounces a day..... A couple things I have noticed in just a week! .... Only 1 PICA incident all week, but not metal... In fact it was the eraser and she left the metal alone on the pencil and brought it to me (HUGE), her appetite has increased, she is sleeping better (laying down immediately, not Stimming by running in circles in the room and) the best for last..... Her color in her face is this beautiful blush pink (her OT noted 2 weeks ago she looked anemic in her face coloring.... I said I knew that!) Not only have I noticed this, but Jim and Emily noted it as well..... I am very optimistic in our choice to use the funds on this instead of labs... Stay tuned :)

1/17 Spent all morning researching Ningxia Red (YL's nutrition infused drink) and the Wolf-Berry...... prompted by the immediate results we are seeing w the girls. Even w YL products I have to do my research. #impressed

1/18 The BBC News reported that wolfberries may provide more dietary iron than steak. The Chinese Wolfberry has 9mg iron per 100 Grams.... Seen as one of the best plant sources of iron!! I KNEW HER COMPLEXION WAS BETTER FOR A REASON!!! YAHOOO.... #Ningxia Red

1/20 On a positive note .... Ningxia Red update... she is now refusing Wendy French Fries... She has eaten them 5 days a week for 2 years! (I know, I know, but my excuse was poison her or starve her) 1-2 ounces a day of infused nutrition!!!! Can make a huge difference! She wants NR instead!! Better nutrition, Slightly Pink cheeks, no pica, falling sleep better..... Why did I wait so long?

1/23 Day 16..... Sahara's complexion is 'normal' tonight!!! No pica!! I am going to schedule a gathering in Feb about this amazing drink!!!

1/26 I think the Ningxia Red is making her crave REAL food.... she hasn't touched a French Fry in over a week and now she is refusing bacon. #happydance

1/27"Both the mineral profile and mineral balance of the Ningxia wolf-berry is without equal in the plant kingdom, with magnesium to calcium ratios at almost 1:1, zinc to copper ratios at 2:1 and potassium to magnesium rations at 8:1."

2/03 4 weeks on Ningxia Red.... 1 PICA incident at home (day 3, but she said the metal tasted gross!), NO PICA at school. I believe it is Safe to say this is working! Thank God!!

2/12 PICA update..... I can't believe it has been 5 weeks!!!!! I don't want to be premature, but I think we have resolved this issue. I still shudder thinking about how she was eating plastic and metal!! That was the worse..... fearing her choking or having internal injuries. THANK YOU Ningxia Red.... I am still in disbelief that this worked...... definitely a gift from our Creator!! *grateful tears*

2/12 PICA update: We ran out of Ningxia Red!!!! Sahara hasn't had any for 56 hours... Yes, I counted! She has lost the color she was getting in her complexion... So ashen (anemic looking!) and she was mouthing rocks again, first time in 5 weeks!! And she is craving junk food again.... THAT FAST! CONCLUSION: the NR is working for the PICA, anemia and appetite! And we will NOT run out again!

2/15 Dear PICA, I loathe you!! And be warned... the Ningxia Red (nutrition infused puree) will be here Friday and I will NEVER EVER run out again!!!! And therefore youwill be eradicated!! My daughter is off limits to you from that point on!!!Got it?? Signed, Me

2/17 FED EX IS HERE!! Woot Woot!!

2/19 PICA UPDATE: Back on Ningxia Red for 48 hrs. 1 confirmed incident of sucking on plastic. Her ashened color is gone and is an eating machine again! I need to write up this time line ... It is amazing to see first hand.

2/25 Morning Gratitude: 1 week back on Ningxia Red and the pica is gone againand her cheeks were pink last night..... This purée is a miracle! I thank God for providing us with everything we need, we just have to be willing to listen and take action.

2/27 Went through my posts over the last 2 months and pulled all of my updates on PICA and NINGXIA RED for my blog post.... SO GLAD I post about our milestones and struggles... My daughter's quality of life is better bc of Young Living and ningxia red.


I am not saying Ningxia Red treated or cured my daughter's Pica or other issues stemming from the Autism, but I will say, WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE NINGXIA RED IN OUR HOME AND I WILL MAKE SURE WE NEVER RUN OUT AGAIN!!!

I am convinced the Ningxia Red supported her body and gave her the nutrition she needed to deal with this very scary situation: PICA!! But, other observations are evident too: Decrease in Anxiety and Stimming, Improved Sleep, Immune System Enhancement.... and more. The results our entire family has had in the past 2 months has been staggering!!!

I don't know of anyone else who has used Ningxia Red with a child (or adult) with Pica; however I decided to do this when I learned about the zinc and iron content in the Wolfberry. In retrospect, I wish I had done the tests..... then put her on this product to see what really was happening at a phisiological. However, I am not willing to stop to see the regression just for statistics. Her daily progress and the halt of the consumption of metal, plastic, paper, etc is proof enough to me that this worked for us.

Do your own research... here are some places to start:

Ningxia Red: Ancient History part 1

Product Description and Studies


  1. Woohoo!!! What a great report! Thrilled to read your Goodbye Pica story.

  2. NICE Timeline Susan. I can look back at GFCF and see similar drastic changes. Considering for L for all her wacked to look at site.

  3. FABULOUS!!! What a great account with obvious results! So glad you were led to effective treatment! <3

  4. OUr experiences sound so similar (bacon, Wendy's french fries!)...looking forward to learning more and helping my son!

  5. I am going to try this for my son who has severe PICA, he eats paint, wood, aluminum and other metal, plastic including baggies, rubber, dirt and plants.

  6. Hi! I just skimmed your blog, I did a search on autism & pica. I have an 8 year old daughter with both and the pica has just intensified, . She has swallowed batteries withing 4 feet of me before, and like your child she is QUICK about these things. It is a daily if not hourly occurrence. Sometimes I'm like relieved cause " oh its only a piece of paper this time" But other times... and geez how many things has she swallowed that I am unaware of? Scary thoughts. Combine that with the fact that she is barely able to communicate. The stress level is ... well you know. I am going to try this stuff. She has been tested for vitamin deficiencies and metabolic issues, all normal.. a list of things she east, paper, rocks, toothpaste, deodorant, erasers, marker tips, stickers, coins, button batteries, ABC gum, sticks / wood, leaves, flowers, dirt, sand, playdough, paint, small toys. glue adhesive that come off the labels of water bottles, etc... cardboard, toilet paper, I gotta try this Redstuff

    1. I am so sorry I am just seeing this!!! Were you able to get the Ningxia Red? How did to go? Please let me know how our daughter is! - Susan

  7. Do you generally think about optimizing your blog articles for search engines?

  8. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that there is a grant for biomedical treatment Just in case you're still interested in doing the lab work. Good luck! Great Blog!

  9. So excited to find this in the doc's in my natural parenting of the child with special needs fb group, showed with my huge helper that introduced me to Young Living Essential Oils. We have the Ningxia Red, Regenelone lotion and I love calming effects of lavender for my son. This just makes me so excited because we are seeing such wonderful healing and changes in him, too!! I love the single serve packs!! I started w/using it as a lotion for him and transitioned to also giving him a little bit orally. Love this company!!!

  10. I am definitely going to give the Ningxia Red a try. I just found hair- probably pulled from my hairbrush, in my 2 yr old son's poop. He also eats sand, kitty litter, paper and stickers if he can get a hold of them. I have tried a kids zinc supplement but I am not seeing much improvement.

  11. I wanted to say thank you!!!! Last February I was in tears over my son's PICA. It was horrible! He was eating the carpet,chewing the paint off the walls,banister, and stair rail. He tore holes in our sofa and love seat and was eating the stuffing out of it. He was also eating blanket fibers. I reached out to the Facebook community and one of my friends sent me your blog post. I had to try something I was desperate. I ordered NingXia Red and after taking 2 oz a day my son's PICA had improved by 90%!!!!! Like you when I ran out he went right back to eating everything. I swore I would never run out again. I am now a Young Living Distributor and recently made Star. I now get NingXia Red auto delivered every month. I also now have a blog about my Young Living business. My son not only stopped eating things, he became vocal(he is non-verbal) He does not talk like a neurotypical person, but he is using words! His meltdowns are also not on a daily basis like they used to be. He has one every 2 weeks now. Thank you so much for writing this blog post. It changed my life and my son's life!

  12. I'm going to try this! My son is 2 and has renal failure and he wont stop eating dirt. The problem being is we live in an old house that has led in the dirt making his led levels go up. I'm praying this helps because if I have the house clean he is licking the floor or the bottom of shoes.

  13. I am just reading this. How is your daughter doing now is the PICA still remitting? I KNOW this is a nutritional thing and am going to go get labs to see, but I am sold on trying the Xingia red, I love YOUNG LIVING oils but haven't had the money to invest but I will find it somehow now. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. Hi, my name is Tom Gillespie and I am a reporter with a press agency called Barcroft Media. This is a fascinating story and I am really keen to speak to you and find out more. We would like to cover the story in print and video, and you will be paid if you are happy to help. Please email me at Kind regards, Tom

  15. This is awesome ! After a lot of research and studying I have also learned that increasing Iron and Magnesium helps reduce Pica ! And Vitamin B's go hand in hand with Iron and Vitamin C helps faster absorbtion of iron ... I love that someone has combined all these things in a drink! I have Pica and I can't stand to take pills and tablets. :)... You know what I also learned that Autism is most often an affect of an "abnormal" Amygadala "gland in the brain responsibile for the fight or flight response " and this gland is very dependant on Iron ! Ha how about that. Thanks for this product review I do want to try it now !...

  16. This is awesome ! After a lot of research and studying I have also learned that increasing Iron and Magnesium helps reduce Pica ! And Vitamin B's go hand in hand with Iron and Vitamin C helps faster absorbtion of iron ... I love that someone has combined all these things in a drink! I have Pica and I can't stand to take pills and tablets. :)... You know what I also learned that Autism is most often an affect of an "abnormal" Amygadala "gland in the brain responsibile for the fight or flight response " and this gland is very dependant on Iron ! Ha how about that. Thanks for this product review I do want to try it now !...

  17. I have literally stumbled on your site. I have 24 year old daughter with classic autism. Where do i start with living oils?

    John Vasey