Mind your Minerals

Minerals are essential for thousands of metabolic reactions in the body; including but not limited to helping muscles function, supporting proper brain function, assisting in oxygen delivery to cells and boosting and balancing metabolism.

Simply stated, we all need them, and, in many cases, we don’t get enough! The best sources of minerals are whole foods that contain them. Below is a list of essential minerals and where to find them in your diet

Calcium- great sources of calcium are Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (DGLVs and my nursing professor used to call them). Almond, chick peas (organic only due to hormone disrupting chemical sprayed on the commercially grown kind and this inhibits mineral absorption), broccoli, and flax seeds to name a few. Notice Dairy is not on this list. That’s because the calcium in dairy is only bioavailable for baby cows! Mind Blown I know! http://www.baytallaah.com/bookspdf/196.pdf

Magnesium is best found in spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, dark chocolate and avocado to name a few!

Iron is best found in organic and pastured meat, organic beans, raisins, apricots and peas. The research shows that animal sources of iron “heme” iron is better absorbed and assimilated by the body. A vegan “hack” to boosting iron absorption is adding foods rich in vitamin c to your iron rich meal to boost absorption.

Sulphur which helps reduce inflammation can be found in Arugula, coconut products, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, radishes, bok choy and kale

Potassium Avocado, squash, spinach, sweet potato, bananas, wild salmon and coconut water

Sodium is best recognized by the body in Himalayan salt, vegetables, meat and shellfish

Chloride is found in tomatoes, rye, seaweed, olives and celery

Phosphorus is found in pumpkin seeds, organic meats, lentils and beans

Chromium is found in whole-grains like quinoa, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and egg

High copper foods include seafood, kale, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, beans, dried fruit, avocados

Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. Other sources are Yellowfin tuna, Beef, Turkey, & Chicken

Zinc- Beef is an excellent source of zinc. Zinc is also found in Shellfish, Legumes like organic chickpeas, & lentils as well as Nuts and Seeds.

Be sure you include a variety of vegetables, meats, fruits, nuts & seeds in your diet to insure the proper amount of minerals in your diet!

For more information on how to cook some of these delicious foods rich in minerals, check out my book

Lung infections and MTHFR; Chiropractic can help!

It has been widely reported that individuals with MTHFR are more susceptible to asthma and other lung infections. In the winter, particularly in New England bronchitis and pneumonia is rampant, even among our kids. Conventional medicine offers little to support these kids and usually leads them down a road of more steroids and antibiotics, increasing susceptibility.

Sadly, we know that many classes of antibiotics given to individuals with MTHFR can leave kids with more symptoms than when they were initially seeking treatment. Steroids, lifesaving in many cases, are often over- prescribed, assaulting immunity in our youth, and leading them down a road that requires steroids as their only treatment.

Chiropractic has been a mainstay in medicine for nearly 150 years. However in many cases, families believe that chiropractic is for “back pain” or “after a car accident”, yet the research shows us that chiropractic is very effective for many, many acute medical conditions as well!

hippocrates

The lungs have an extensive supply of nerves that communicate with them.  What would happen if there was interference with communication to the lungs? It may lead to respiratory problems, bronchitis or respiratory infections.  Several studies demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic care and improved respiratory function, breathing difficulty and bronchitis.

The premise of chiropractic is wellness and true prevention. So, the idea is we don’t get sick at all when under chiropractic care; however, stress, mal-adaption and dis-ease can set in to all of us!

Studies have shown chiropractic care is safe and effective, meaning proper adjustments can restore health sooner and more effectively than other modalities.  Especially in the presence of shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, coughing and hiccups!

One of the biggest symptoms that young children experience with pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis is air hunger. Air Hunger is the feeling that “you are running out of air”, it is part of the process of healing the lungs after an infection and it can last a few weeks! There is little conventional medicine can do     for this symptoms, but chiropractic can make a big difference.   In discussing such cases, the term “somatic dyspnea” is suggested to denote air hunger or shortness of breath related to somatic dysfunction.  Somatic dyspnea is a condition, which may accompany other causes of dyspnea (lung pathology, psychogenic or “functional” causes etc.)or can exist alone. There are multiple studies that prove, this symptom of air hunger was alleviated or abolished following the correction of vertebral subluxation complex or other somatic dysfunctions, aka, a chiropractic adjustment.  The response to chiropractic adjustments is sometimes so dramatic and rapid that patients may have an emotional response to taking their first FULL breath in a while!

The take home message is, first of all conventional therapies are useful in acute life threatening conditions or episodes. Secondly, individuals with MTHFR are likely more sensitive to everything; drug dosages, dis-ease, imbalance and environmental change. Thirdly, chiropractic is more than just for back pain; it’s useful in many acute conditions and can restore health and balance safely and effectively. Lastly, take care of your body, watch for signs of dis-ease, imbalance and illness and address them immediately!

Don’t make chiropractic or holistic medicine your “last resort “make it your first stop to better health!

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Chiropractic adjustments of the cervicothoracic spine for the treatment of bronchitis with complications of atelectasis.  Hart, D.L. Libich, E, Ficher R. International Review of Chiropractic, 1991; Mar:31-33.

Chiropractic management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Masarsky CS, Weber M. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1988; 11:505-510.

Adjustive osteopathic manipulative treatment in the elderly hospitalized with pneumonia: a pilot study. Noll DR, Shores J, Bryman PN, Masterson EV. Journal Of The American Osteopathic Association 1999; 99(3): 143-6

Somatic Dyspnea and the orthopedics of respiration.  Masarsky CS, Weber M Chiropractic Technique, 1991; 3:26-29

Specific upper cervical chiropractic care and lung function.  , R Abstracts from the 13th annual upper cervical spine conference, Nov 16-17, 1996 Life College, Marietta, Georgia.  Pub in Chiropractic Research Journal, Vol. 1V, No.1, Spring 1997 p.27 (also Kessinger R; Changes in pulmonary function associated with upper cervical specific chiropractic care J Vertebral Subluxation Research 1997; 1(3):43-9.

 

Torticollis and MTHFR

left-torticollis-in-infant

Torticollis, or wryneck, literally means “twisted neck” in Latin. A common transient condition found often, in individuals who have slept in the wrong position. A chiropractic adjustment or extra minerals can typically alleviate this type of torticollis. In newborns, torticollis can happen due to positioning in the womb, after a difficult childbirth or because the infant is trying to compensate for a tongue tie while nursing. This is called infant torticollis or congenital muscular torticollis. The use of forceps or vacuum devices to deliver a baby during childbirth also makes a baby more likely to develop torticollis, as in a    C-section delivery, an emergency, or precipitous delivery. Also having the genetic polymorphism, MTHFR can prone a baby to have a congenital tongue or lip tie, and increase the incidence of torticollis; this causes the baby to develop “compensation” to allow for nourishment through breastfeeding. Compensation may be in the form of a neck twist in order to develop a proper latch, for nourishment.

Torticollis is relatively common in newborns. Boys and girls are equally likely to develop a head tilt, the most common visible sign, along with tongue tie and a diagnosis of MTHFR.  Torticollis develops in utero or over time due to pressure on a baby’s sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). This large, rope-like muscle runs on both sides of the neck from the back of the ears to the collarbone. Extra pressure on one side of the SCM can cause it to tighten, making it hard for a baby to turn his or her neck.

torticollis-and-chiro

What to look for:

  • The head tilts in one direction
  • Preference to looking at you over one shoulder instead of tracking with the eyes
  • Difficulty breastfeeding on one side (or prefers one breast only)
  • Frustrated when unable turn the head completely
  • Positional plagiocephaly (flattening of the head one side) from lying in one direction all the time
  • Does not tolerate tummy time or gets stuck in the same position
  • Development of a small neck lump, which is similar to a “knot” in a tense muscle.

Even though over 45,000 infants are born with congenital torticollis in the US each year, there is little conventional medicine has to offer. Torticollis causes painful, involuntary spasms, impedes normal growth and development, and disturbs vision. The conventional medical approach to correct torticollis often involves invasive and painful procedures and treatments. Fortunately true healing can occur.

liptie

Best tips for quick healing of Torticollis:

  • Infant torticollis is often associated with subluxation of the upper cervical spine. So find a qualified pediatric chiropractor who can do an adjustment on your baby
  • Soft tissue therapies can often produce a rapid solution in many cases of infant torticollis
  • Be sure to get a proper diagnosis. Untreated torticollis can be misdiagnosed as reflux, colic, allergies, and fussiness
  • Be sure to evaluate and treat MTHFR and other genetic concerns that may predispose a baby to tight or pulled muscles, tongue ties, or any other conditions that may affect feeding

Always remember healing is possible, trust your instinct, it’s your baby and keep asking questions until you get the answers!

Stay on track with your healing diet during the Holidays!!

 

The holidays can be a stressful time, both financial and emotional. Added to that is your new regimen of a healing diet to improve your lifelong health. Remember there gazillion foods that don’t contain any of your triggers! Focus on those and remember keeping with your healing diet will be worth it in the end.

Here is a list of Hacks to get you through the holidays

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  • Plain turkey is gluten free! Be sure it has not been seasoned or marinated with something that contains an allergen or trigger.
  • There are plenty of stuffing’s and gravies that can be made allergy free too!
  • Even though ham is usually gluten free, it can be very inflammatory and should be avoided during times of stress.
  • Try a beautiful slow cooked brisket. There are many traditional recipes that avoid many of the typical allergens.
  • Traditional mashed and roasted potato, turnip or sweet potato recipes are well tolerated on most healing diets.
  • Avoid or modify some traditional holiday recipes that contain allergens. Many wonderful substitutions are available to fool your family “not yet diagnosed”.
  • Potato, onion and egg (or egg replacer), salt and pepper to taste make an amazing allergy free potato pancake for anyone on a healing diet.
  • A great egg replacer is chia seeds or flax seeds mixed with water.
  • Just a reminder most Vegetables and Fruit are safe for healing diets and should be plentiful on your holiday table.
  • Be mindful about cross-contamination issues. Remember when healing the body can be more sensitive to allergens or “offenders”. Gently remind your family chefs to be cautious with cooking and utensils.
  • Always plan to bring something to eat to the party. It’s an opportunity to point out “healthy food” can be delicious (and you are sure to have something to eat).
  • Better yet! You host the dinner and be sure to tell your party goers exactly what to bring, most people appreciate the direction and organization tips!
  • Include “new and improved” tradition, a mild veer away from the typical but still about family, food and fun! It takes the focus off “your healing diet).
  • To simplify holiday baking, use simple mixes or no bake style desserts, most of your dinner guests will be too full to eat dessert anyway.
  • Remember food is for nourishment and eat until you are full not stuffed.

If all else fails remember

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  • Walnuts are a good antidepressant
  • Oatmeal contains natural calming properties
  • Almonds balance blood sugar
  • Blueberries strengthen your immune system in times of stress
  • Dark Chocolate protects your heart, and stabilizes your mood

Holidays are a temporary experience, staying on track to healing leaves you with a lifetime of benefit!

for more recipes check out my blog or book!

***

Let Them be Dirty and Healthy

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Cleanliness is next to GODliness right? Well that’s what society has implied over the last 50 years. We have turned health into a disease and indoctrinated our children into it before their birth!  Why did we start hating dirt, bacteria, germs and microbes? When families moved out of the farming fields into the service industry we became “cleaner” to a fault. Research has shown that this may not be the healthiest option for the human form. There is always opportunity to change, balance and heal..so start today!

When babies are born and pass through the birth canal they receive a load of beneficial bacteria to help model the immune system properly; if this is not the case babies should have some assistance with proper immune support in the form of probiotics. It takes approximately 5 years to lay down a properly balanced immune system. Excessive antibiotics or other medications can alter the growth and development of immunity. Breastfeeding, properly timed non allergenic food introduction, and baby-wearing can actively support the proper development of immunity in our toddlers.

When they get a bit older, send those kids outside! Playing in fresh air and fresh dirt can dramatically boost immunity and help the proper balance of bacteria to form in the gut, out first line of defense! Having pets and minimizing and eliminating anti-bacterial cleaners also help the body’s immunity develop properly. In Scandinavian countries many hours of the day are spent outside with young ones! They are bundled for the cold and play until it’s time for a nap! Here in America, Antibiotics are over used; there are epidemic rates of asthma, allergies, autism and atopic skin conditions; as well as high rates of infant death!

infant death.png

Feed your kids well and support a healthy gut!!

What do bad bacteria love to eat? Sugar!!

The introduction of sugar-full foods such as rice and other starches, as well as dairy and processed foods, actually alter the development of proper digestion bacteria in the gut! These foods then become nutrients for sugar loving bacteria and not nutrition for your baby! First foods should include delicious and fatty avocados or sweet potatoes, which are easy to digest and low in “allergenic potential”, in 2013 over 70% of children below the age of 2 received antibiotics! A developing gut and immune system needs to be supported while on antibiotics! Be sure to replete with probiotics and keep “bad bacteria loving foods” away from sick kids and those on antibiotics for at least 2 weeks (during and after treatment).

Growing up in America is hard enough! However if our kids have a good foundation in family and health the body is more resilient and heartier! Amazing medical research regularly report breakthroughs as to how to heal the gut and balance proper gut bacteria! But if we have the knowledge and the power to help develop it properly from the beginning, give that gift to your baby!

 

RECOGNIZING ANXIETY in our children 

 

In the pediatric population, anxiety is a common phenomenon. It is estimated that between 10% and 30% of children in North America experience clinically significant anxiety. Anxiety often presents differently in children than in adults. Instead of the typical worrying, physical restlessness, palpitations, and sweating with which anxious adults present, children can somaticize their worries into stomach pain, musculoskeletal discomfort, and headaches. Anxiety can also be misdiagnosed as a myriad of disorders including ADD, ADHD, depression and ODD to name a few. However it is important for providers to differentiate between typical developmental worries and clinically significant anxiety. Epidemiological research confirms that pediatric anxiety disorders are correlated with mental health conditions later on in life, particularly major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and, of course, persistent anxiety disorders.

To mitigate symptoms of anxiety in our kids take a look at this!!:

1) There are well-established connections between pediatric anxiety and factors such as prenatal maternal anxiety, presence of parental anxiety disorders, and children learning avoidant coping styles in their environment.
2) Current data suggests that chemical and toxin exposures such as bisphenol A (BPA) may also be related to anxiety. Anxiety and other behavioral problems in children were correlated with elevated levels of lead and PCBs.
3) Nutritional deficiencies are also implicated in the development of anxiety disorders in children. Recent research showed supplementation with multi minerals yielded more cooperative and resilient children. So it is important to assess mineral levels in kids with anxiety issues.
4) Hypoglycemia can mimic the symptoms of anxiety. So keep kids’ blood sugars balanced with quality food thought the day. Of course avoid any potential anxiety “provokers” such as sugar, dyes, gluten and preservatives.
5) Consider some supplements such as magnesium and omega3s; be sure to check with your provider before dosing. Children with MTHFR polymorphisms have a higher depression risk, benefit greatly (reduced anxiety) from the proper administration of methylcobalamin.
6) Try some homeopathy! A variety of acute and constitutional remedies can help with reducing symptoms.
7) Get some exercise. The rigors of school and homework can increase anxiety in kids, so extra recess and physical play can benefit kids of all ages. Conversely, screen time greater than 2 hours per day was associated with a higher incidence of anxiety.
8) Therapy of all kids has demonstrated huge success in reducing anxiety in teens.
9) Teaching children how to do diaphragmatic/belly breathing, doing yoga poses helps kids to focus on calming their own thoughts.
10) Get some chiropractic! A chiropractic adjustment can “reset the nervous system” and restore balance as well as clear out cortisol and other stress hormones.

Pediatric anxiety is a relatively common health concern that can be challenging to recognize and diagnose. For any child presenting with idiopathic pain symptoms, especially headaches, abdominal pain, and muscle aches, anxiety needs to be included in the differential diagnosis. Of course, during the course of typical development, children will have fears and worries. Remember there is always a solution and a resolution to symptoms and gentile treatments can be both safe and effective.

If your child suffers from anxiety, don’t wait schedule an appointment today!

‪#‎drkendrabecker‬
‪#‎mthfr‬
‪#‎anxietyinkids‬
‪#‎ilovewatchingyouheal‬

Natural Treatment for School Time Illnesses

Many parents experience the joy of sending their healthy child off to school ..only to have them home sick shortly after classes begin. Classrooms can be breeding grounds for organisms that cause illnesses in young children. Here are some common afflictions children can get in school and some simple tips to treat them naturally and effectively!

Head lice

head-louse-nymp-2

Head lice are a common problem among children attending daycare, and elementary school.  This louse is most often spread by direct contact with the hair of an infected person. It is uncommon for head lice to spread by contact with clothing, furniture, or personal items used by an infected person. A diagnosis of head lice should always be confirmed because head lice can be mistaken as lint or dandruff.

Some natural treatments for head lice include:

  • Salt and vinegar
    • Mix one-quarter cup of salt and one-quarter cup of vinegar thoroughly.
    • Gently spray the solution onto your hair so that it becomes slightly wet
    • Put on a shower cap and leave it for about two hours.
    • Then wash and condition hair.
    • Repeat this every three days to get positive results.

Tinea capitis/ringworm

ring worm 2

Tinea capitis, also known as ringworm, is an itchy fungal infection of the scalp that can occur at any age. Typically, the affected areas appear bald, round, scaly, and red or inflamed. Low-grade fever, and swollen glands may or may not be present. Ringworm infections are contagious and can spread easily to others by direct contact with an area of ringworm on the body of an infected person, by touching personal items and by pets (particularly cats). Ringworm is effectively treated with home remedies and anti-fungal medications if necessary.

Some natural treatments for ringworm include:

  • Topical use of Apple Cider Vinegar or Tea tree Oil

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)

hand foot mouth 1

HFMD is an acute viral illness. HFMD typically affects children younger than 5 years, although it can also occur in adults. Signs/symptoms include a skin rash, blister-like sores in and around the mouth and hands & feet, and fever. It is spread from person to person by direct contact, and contaminated surfaces. There is no specific therapy, and children should be out of school until all the blisters are completely gone or scabbed over, which can sometimes take up to 10 days.

Some natural treatments for HFMD include:

  • Boosting the immune system with elderberry or vitamin d
  • Soothing the rashes with coconut oil (which is naturally anti-viral)
  • Offering warm bone broth and cold coconut water or coconut water popsicles for soothing the mouth
  • Wet socks help to boost immunity and shorten the duration of the illness

Strep Infections and Sore Throats

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Strep bacteria are the most common causes of sore throats. Although anyone can get strep throat, it is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. Kids may develop sudden symptoms 2-5 days after they come in contact with the nasal secretions or saliva from infected persons. The symptoms may be mild or severe and include sore throat, fever, reddened throat, nausea, and malaise. Currently the AAP recommendation is an antibiotic regime for any positive strep test.  However, the sensitivity with the testing is limited and approximately only 70% of valid strep infections are detected.  The primary concern for missed strep infections may subsequently cause Scarlet fever.  Scarlet fever is a disease caused by untreated strep bacteria getting into the bloodstream.  Symptoms include a rash with a “sandpapery” feel usually appears first on the neck and chest, and then it spreads over the body, lasting for a week or more, Other symptoms include fever, pharyngitis, chills, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A “strawberry tongue,” a tongue with a whitish coating and a red and bumpy appearance, may be present. Also peeling skin in the hands and feet may appear. The major concern with scarlet fever is that if it is left untreated, a small percentage of patients will develop rheumatic fever.

Some natural treatments to support the treatment of strep infections include:

  • Zinc which helps kill bacteria
  • Eliminate most dairy products while the child is ill; causes congestion and excessive mucus
  • Goldenseal kills strep bacteria
  • Garlic boosts immune system
  • Apple Cider Vinegar gargle helps to relieve throat pain
  • For Children that have constant infections consider a specific probiotic sold here to reduce the number of infections

 

Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis is common in children presenting with a red or pink eye. Characteristic signs include red swollen eyeballs, mucus drainage, itching and pain. Most cases are self-limited, but pink eye spreads easily in schools and daycare.

Some natural treatments for pink eye include:

  • Topical application of chamomile tea
  • Topical application of breastmilk (this works like a charm)
  • Consider a daily dose of probiotics which can reduce the incidence of reoccurrence. Probiotics have been shown to reduce daycare absences because of fewer colds, and the use of antibiotics.

Fifth disease

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Fifth disease is generally a mild, self-limited illness. The initial symptoms are often nonspecific, such as fever, headache, and runny nose.  After a few days, most children will develop a “slapped cheek” facial rash, which is the most recognized feature of this disease. Kids usually become ill within 4-14 days after becoming infected. Fifth disease spreads through respiratory contact when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Fifth Disease can cause concern in pregnant women, who can develop fetal hydrops and possibly fetal death. It is important to inform pregnant mothers and teachers of the risk from exposure from infected children or teachers should have “titer” levels drawn by blood work to identify if they are immune and not at risk. Fifth Disease can also cause an aplastic crisis in patients with sickle cell disease and other blood disorders, these individuals should be identified as well.

Some natural treatments for Fifth Disease include:

  • Echinacea has been shown to support the immune system, prevent the frequency of viral infections.
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc viral infections, especially colds, absences from school, and antibiotic use in kids.
  • Minimal or No sugar or fake sugar foods which cause the immune system to not work optimally

Impetigo

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Impetigo is an acute, highly contagious staph infection; it’s the most common skin infection in children. It tends to affect skin on the face or extremities that has been disrupted by bites, cuts, or abrasions.

Some natural treatments for Impetigo include:

  • Topical coconut oil
  • Topical goldenseal
  • Topical tea tree oil
  • Consider Vitamin C orally to help prevent future occurrences
  • Boost immunity by reducing sugar in the diet which can block the immune system from working properly

For more information on healing the gut and keeping kids healthy check out this.

 

This information is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem.  Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own primary care physician or other healthcare provider.

Concussion

Concussion has been reported to be the most common youth ice hockey injury. It represents more than 15% of all injuries in 9 to 16 year old players and close to 25% of injuries among male high school players. The report of injuries is estimated at a mere quarter of all concussions that occur!
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics this month, found that young adolescent male ice hockey players had a significantly increased risk of prolonged post-concussion symptoms compared to older players. These studies performed in both Boston and Rhode Island Hospitals found that the younger the player (the lighter and least sexually mature) the longer the recovery. On average younger players took 40% longer to recover compared to the more physically mature players. In addition, the study demonstrated an increased probability of experiencing prolonged concussion symptoms among lighter weight males. These findings further suggest that adolescents may have longer recoveries from concussions than adults.
These findings simply intensify the necessity for better mandates on education and awareness of concussion management among our young athletes. Research also highlights the risk of younger lighter players “playing up” to superior teams.
Sadly under reported and under treated concussion can have devastating effects on the young brain that carries into adulthood. Common Medical treatments include acetaminophen, opiates, reduction in screen time and rest. For longer term symptoms stimulants, antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
When looking closely at the anatomy and physiology of concussion, the traumatic force causes a “metabolic problem” an increased need for energy in the form of glucose/sugar. This glucose, if present is used to repair the brain; However evidence suggests this is not at optimal function in an adolescent brain.
After an immediate event offer glucose to the brain, perhaps by way of pineapple or orange juice. Within 24 hours have a chiropractic adjustment to maximize oxygen flow to the brain and accelerate healing! Protect the brain with “Mighty Mind” (sold at the FWC). Mighty Mind contains the ONLY form of magnesium that crosses the Blood Brain Barrier to assist in healing. Brain healing requires elevated magnesium and the Brain magnesium levels are low during the first 4 days post-concussion! The brain needs rest! Weeks of rest, the younger the brain the more rest it needs, this is usually in the form of no screens, homework, or stress (your local provider should be advocating for our athletes in very specific terms for coaches and schools).
As a parent, coach, advocate, politician or community citizen, it is all of our responsibility to insure the brain health of our community! Talk about it, raise awareness of it and treat it!

Backpacks or Back Pain?

 

dock pack.jpgSo quickly, it seems, the summer is nearly over and soon children will be back to school.  Along with brand new school clothes, come new backpacks soon to be filled, or over filled with school supplies.  It’s safe to say most students won’t be thinking about back and neck pain, but that’s what they risk if their backpacks are too heavy or are not carried properly.

If a backpack is carried improperly or is excessively heavy, it can result in the severe back and neck pain, neck or back injury, poor posture and generalized fatigue.  Excessively heavy back packs may harm muscles and joints as well, compounding, serious fatigue to the child’s body.  Though books are essential for learning, carrying them, should not affect physical well being..

Heavy backpacks may be more than just an annoyance for students.  Studies show an overloaded backpack forces the child to compensate by leaning forward to balance the load, creating potential health problems if the backpack is over weighted and hanging too low. This action can cause kids to hunch forward, putting an awkward strain on the shoulders, spine, and muscles.  This is no laughing matter, it has been reported that most students in The US carry school backpacks.  Stress and strain to their bodies resulted in over 7,000 emergency room visits in 2006 and approximately half of the injuries reported occurred in children 5 to 14 years old.  NPR reported that over 65% of all adolescents’ visits to a health care provider were due to back pain.

According to a study conducted by UC Riverside, the prolonged strain of the backpack weight can result in long term injuries. The study involved 3,500 students between 11 and 15 years old.  64% of the students reported back pain and 21% said that the pain lasted for more than six months.  Another recent study found that backpack use significantly altered head-on-neck posture in every age group studied. This finding was most pronounced in younger students.  In a survey of the orthopedists, 58% had said reported seeing patients complaining of back and shoulder pain caused by heavy backpacks. More than 70% of the orthopedists surveyed indicated that heavy backpacks can become a clinical problem in school-age children if not enough attention is made to decrease some of the weight being carried in the packs. Research tells us that the earlier children are diagnosed with back pain the longer in life they are affected.

As a rule the total weight of a backpack should not exceed 10-15% of a child’s total body weight.  So if your child weighs 50 pounds their backpack should not weigh more than 5-7 pounds- that includes the backpack and all of its contents.  Parents can also teach their kids to carry the backpack correctly, by using both the straps.

To reduce injuries or pain resulting from back packs, students can increase muscle strength and endurance, making back pain is less likely. Purchasing a backpack that has straps that go around the hips to keep the weight away from the back, also help balance the “load” and distribute the weight more evenly and also reduce injury. Backpacks should never hang more than four inches below the child’s waistline. Backpacks should be smaller than the child’s back. Straps should be padded and used at all times to avoid an uneven pull on the back.Proper positioning of a backpack is in the center of the back. Adjust the straps and use the middle waist belt if available to keep the backpack from hanging too low. It should rest between or below the shoulder blades. Using a chest strap helps distribute the weight evenly across the back.  Packs should not go below the lumbar spine.

Some easy and practical tips to reduce injury are:

1. Keep extra books and notebooks at home.  So there is no need to lift extra weight.

2. Always wear backpack on both the shoulders. Carrying backpack on one shoulder can put the pressure on one side of the body and can cause injury.

3. Wear both straps of the backpack at all times, this distributes the weight load evenly so well aligned posture is encouraged and facilitated.

4. Avoid carrying backpack for a long time.

5. If the backpack is very heavy, use the belt that will save from back problem.

6. Buy a backpack with wide well padded straps, and a chest strap that can distribute equal loads.

7. Use the bag with wheels if backpack is too heavy.

8. Avoid buying a backpack that in itself has a lot of weight.

9. Encourage kids to use lockers at school if available.

10. Lobby for less homework so books can stay at school.

11. Visit your local Chiropractor for wellness checks and symptom management.

12. Watch body mechanics putting on and taking off the backpack. Avoid twisting and bending together at the waist. Swinging the weight to get the backpack on is a sign it is too heavy.

13. Weigh backpacks regularly and “clean them out” often to avoid carrying additional unneeded weight.

The American Occupational Therapy Association has named September 19 as National School Backpack Awareness Day.  This organization educates communities on proper backpack ergonomics. The theme is, “Pack It Light, Wear It Right!”  Back to school is a fun and exciting time in a child’s life…make is a safe and pain free one too.

#backpacks, #chiropractic, #posture

The Genetics of ADD and ADHD

A recent article on Medscape (the largest doctor publication in the US, funded by Pharma of course) published an article implicating a specific gene in ADD/ADHD. Science and research has shown is there is a genetic component in most diseases and disorders, however, our genes do not define us and choosing the wrong medicine and diet can have a far greater implication on our health than the biology we were handed.

The study referenced here, implies that glutamate neurotransmission plays a role in ADD/ADHD. This study determined the frequency of genetic mutations involving specific genes ― namely, glutamate receptor genes (GRM), which were found that more than 20% of children and adolescents with ADHD carried the mutations. These recurrent mutations in glutamatergic neurotransmission genes which impair the glutamatergic pathways in the brain. The significance of this study is the demonstration of the actual prevalence of these variants in the general ADHD population. The agenda here is now there are more genes discovered in the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, more neurotransmitters identified and of course, more DRUGS that can now be used in treatment.

My dispute or concern with this article is, although the research is beneficial, throwing medications at immature brains, immune systems and bodies is poor medical practice and ultimately harmful.

Instead I propose first line treatment in ADD/ADHD should be diet…..perhaps a low glutamate diet.

To review, Glutamate and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are the brain’s most plentiful neurotransmitters. Over half of all brain synapses use glutamate, and 30-40% use GABA. Since GABA is inhibitory and glutamate is excitatory, both neurotransmitters work together to control many processes, including the brain’s overall level of excitation.

Many of the drugs of abuse change the balance of glutamate or GABA, exerting tranquilizing or stimulating effects on the brain. Drugs that increase GABA or decrease glutamate are depressants.

 

Glutamine and glutamate comprise approximately 25% of the dietary amino acid intake and constitute the “glutamate family” of amino acids, which are disposed of through conversion to glutamate. Although glutamine has been classified as a nonessential amino acid, in major trauma, infections, bone or marrow injuries chemotherapy and surgery, consumption exceeds production, it becomes a (conditionally) essential amino acid. L-Glutamate is the most abundant free amino acid in brain and it is the major excitatory neurotransmitter of the vertebrate central nervous system. Glutamate plays a key role in nerve cell differentiation, migration and survival in the developing brain via facilitated Calcium transport, as well as synaptic maintenance and plasticity. Glutamate also contributes to learning and memory. Glutamine via glutamate is converted to alpha-ketoglutarate, an integral component of the citric acid cycle, and subsequently the super-antioxidant glutathione.

So, what does this mean for a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD?

All healing starts in the gut. If we use this study for its analysis of basic genetic variation in the human population, then let’s take that information and use naturopathic principles of “removing the cause of illness” to heal the body.

Step one- reduce all glutamate from foods. This is most often found in the form of MSG aka “natural flavors”. Monosodium glutamate can be hidden in all sorts of processed foods under names like: monopotassium glutamate, yeast extract, anything “hydrolyzed” such as hydrolyzed protein, calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, textured protein, gelatin, soy protein (including isolate and concentrate), whey protein (including isolate and concentrate), carrageenan, bouillon and broth, stock, and “flavors” or “flavoring” (i.e. natural vanilla flavor), maltodextrin, citric acid, pectin, milk powder, soy sauce, anything “protein fortified,” corn starch, corn syrup and modified food starch.

It has been well reported that kids who carry a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD have a leaky blood brain barrier (BBB) this contributes to the misuse of glutamate by the brain.  Natural genetic variation in our population may predispose some to glutamate sensitivity as well. The combination of excess glutamate in the diet, and chronic low-grade inflammation as seen in food sensitivities, can contribute to the exact symptoms we see in kids with ADD and ADHD.

So, before any child takes any experimental drug for ADD or ADHD, heal the gut and heal the brain! Start with eliminating any processed foods that contain glutamates and begin to heal the gut!

 

 

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/871222?nlid=110436_821&src=WNL_mdplsnews_161104_mscpedit_peds&uac=127670EJ&spon=9&impID=1228511&faf=1