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viruses and bacteria, especially if they stay in day care facilities. With each viral invasion the body is subjected to a wave of free-radical generation that will continue as long as the virus persists: as long as the virus is active in your child, his or her immune system will be launching an attack to destroy it, and, as we have seen, the immune system kills foreign organisms by releasing a burst of intensely concentrated free radicals. Less free radical damage will occur if the immune attack ends quickly, again, emphasizing the importance of having a strong immune system in conjunction with a powerful antioxidant system.

There is compelling evidence that the immune system plays a vital role in brain development and that a weak immune system can severely impair later brain function, especially cognition—the ability to think. The connection appears to be between immune chemicals, called cytokines, and brain neurotransmitters, chemicals that allow brain cells to communicate with each other.

There is also evidence that antioxidant vitamins and minerals play a vital role in brain function. While much of this antioxidant research has focused on the elderly, there is also abundant evidence that brain function is affected during childhood as well. It may be that antioxidants protect the delicate brain-cell processes from destruction during life's ongoing free radical attack. One interesting finding is that most children suffering from ADD/ADHD and autism also show deficiencies in brain zinc, a vital antioxidant as well as immune-supporting nutrient. Again we find that both systems work together.

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