Extra Chromosome & Absent Enzyme; A look at Down Syndrome and MTHFR

Down Syndrome is a genetic mutation identified by an extra 21st chromosome. MTHFR is a genetic mutation identified by the absence of a vital enzyme essential for folate metabolism. There is an intimate connection between these 2 conditions, and by identifying MTHFR in children with Down Syndrome risks for many co-morbid conditions can be reduced or eliminated.
Contributing Factors
Environmental and Maternal Disposition. There has been recent research showing there is a higher incidence of children with Down syndrome born to mothers that are positive for MTHFR. Multiple polymorphisms were identified in this study which simply correlates the association. Practically speaking MTHFR mutations are seen in elevated levels in autism, spina bifida, fetal cardiac defects and Down syndrome. However, to solely implicate genetics in any medical condition is bad medicine. The environment plays such a large role in influencing our genes. Because of the role that MTHFR plays in folate metabolism and Homocysteine metabolism this association bears regard and acknowledgement.
It has been well researched that Children with Down Syndrome have higher incidences of:
Midline Development Issues
Heart defects. Almost one-half of babies with Down syndrome have congenital heart disease, the most common type of birth defect. MTHFR mutations are associated with a higher incidence of Heart Defects. MTHFR effects “midline development” the heart is an organ that develops form the midline in utero.
Hypothyroidism. Occurs more often in children with Down syndrome than in children without Down syndrome. Close evaluation of thyroid health, diet, supplements and possibly medication can assist in balancing this condition. Again, the thyroid is developed from the “midline” embryonic tissue. The same layer that is effected by the presence of MTHFR mutations. Research shows us children with Down syndrome are born to mothers with MTHFR mutations themselves. Genetics, and an extra chromosome leads to a much higher incidence of hypothyroidism.
Dental problems. Children with Down syndrome generally have a higher palate. This changes the landscape of the mouth and jaw and can cause teeth and speech development that differs from what is expected. Gum disease, is also very common. Gum Disease is well studied as a problem with digestion, bacteria imbalance and nutrient deficiency. MTHFR mutations are closely correlated with dental problems. Again, the gums and teeth develop from the “midline” during pregnancy. MTHFR mutations cause an “inefficiency” of folate metabolism. When this system is impaired the body uses additional vitamins and minerals (stored in the teeth and bones) to properly run its cycles. If nutrient levels are lower that the body’s demand the teeth and gums will suffer.
Sense Organs Issues
Vision problems. More than 60% of children with Down syndrome have vision problems. MTHFR defects can affect the eye. The vessels of the eye are so small that any kind of inflammation or excessive toxicity can “get stuck” in the small vessels of the eye and effect vision.
Hearing loss. About 75% of children with Down syndrome have some hearing loss, sometimes because of problems with ear structures. Children with Down syndrome also tend to get a lot of ear infections, due to narrow canals and anatomic variation which should be watched closely. MTHFR is more highly associated with sensory issues associated with hearing impairments.

Immunity and Blood Issue</strong>s
Infections. Kids with Down syndrome are 12 times more likely to die from untreated and unmonitored infections compared to kids without Down syndrome. The Immune system develops differently in kids with Down Syndrome, which can cause problem with immunity. This poses challenges with children and the current immunization schedule. In children with impaired immunity, vaccines can cause unanticipated reactions, which can lead to further health concerns. MTHFR and its ability to metabolize folate plays an intimate role in the immune system. These mutations can cause reduced immune function, bone marrow suppression and the inability to produce proper components of the immune system.
Blood disorders. Are common in children with Down syndrome. There is a 10 to 15 higher incidence of developing leukemia. Kids with Down Syndrome are at higher risk for a diagnosis of anemias of all kinds (low iron, low B12, high red blood cells, etc.). MTHFR is the enzyme that controls folate (B9) metabolism, however proper signaling of methylation, the pathway signaled by the MTHFR enzyme also requires proper interface with B!2 and B6, without these other B vitamins the pathway operates ineffectively and can further problems with anemias of all kinds.
Structural Issues
Hypotonia (poor muscle tone). Poor muscle tone and low strength is a common contributor to “delayed” milestones in Children with Down Syndrome. Low Tone can also effect nursing, swallowing, speech development, constipation and coordination.

Many of these problems can be addressed with skilled providers educated in the specificity of Down Syndrome Concerns. MTHFR pathways assist to eliminate toxins in the body. The benefit of an efficient elimination system means the body reduces its exposure to toxins and therefore reduces its potential for disease. Keeping MTHFR in good working order helps the body better balance muscle and strength development as well as reduce the problems associated with low tone.
Atlantoaxial Instability. Is present in 20% of children with Down syndrome. This is associated with an increased incidence of spinal cord injury and should be evaluated by a skilled provider for the best course of treatment. MTHFR is not associated with Atlantoaxial instability, however it is well reported that individuals with MTHFR have a higher incidence of damage to ligaments and tendons when ingesting “floxin” antibiotics. This should be thoroughly researched by any provider prescribing antibiotics to children with Down syndrome.
Digestion Absorption and Elimination
Digestive problems. Digestive problems in kids with Down syndrome, range from structural defects in the digestive system, food sensitivity or food allergy, and food aversions or addictions. Due to the metabolic and genetic components with Down syndrome very specific diets can be recommended and useful for a lifetime of healthy digestion, assimilation and weight balance. The research shows that approximately 80% of individuals with MTHFR have food allergy or food sensitivity. Remember that individuals with MTHFR have a harder time with detoxification where as individuals with Down syndrome have an impaired immune system.
Celiac disease. Is very common with Down syndrome. Celiac is an immune and gastrointestinal inability to digest the protein found in wheat and other grains containing gluten. Gluten should be completely avoided throughout a lifetime, this can be of benefit for a host of conditions that are associated and co-diagnosed along with Down syndrome. Individuals diagnoses with MTHFR have a 60% incidence of having Celiac disease as well. This is an important screening for all kids with any sort of immune dysregulation. Kids with Down syndrome can be susceptible earlier and with more severe symptoms.
Mental & Emotional
Mental health and emotional problems. There is a very high incidence of anxiety, depression, perseveration, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder associated with Down syndrome. Individuals with MTHFR have higher incidence of anxiety, and depression. In some cases, the proper balance of specific B vitamins can improve symptoms in a very short timeframe avoiding medication and its problematic side effects.
Sleep disorders. Many children with Down syndrome have disordered sleep. This can be due in part to obstructive sleep apnea, narrow structures in the head and neck, food sensitivities or side effects of medication. MTHFR mutations can certainly cause issues with sleep. When folate metabolism is impaired a dysregulation in the body occurs. Also, effecting sleep can be B12 levels which can cause bedwetting, anxiety and restlessness

In conclusion Down syndrome and MTHFR are closely related and treating and supporting proper functioning of the MTHFR enzyme can dramatically improve outcomes or assist to avoid complications kids with Down syndrome may occur in their lifetime.
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1. Bull, M. J., & the Committee on Genetics. (2011). Health supervision for children with Down syndrome. Pediatrics, 128, 393–406. [top]
2. So, S. A., Urbano, R. C., & Hodapp, R. M. (2007) Hospitalizations of infants and young children with Down syndrome: Evidence from inpatient person-records from a statewide administrative database. Journal of Intelle
3. Hardy, O., Worley, G., Lee, M. M., Chaing, S., Mackey, J., Crissman, B., et al. (2004). Hypothyroidism in Down syndrome: screening guidelines and testing methodology. American Journal of Medical Gen
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078648/pdf/nihms-259545.pdf
5. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110863015000889
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11807890
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168164/
8. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/4/429.long

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Food cravings and Body Messages

Ever experienced food cravings? That feeling where you KNOW the potato chips are calling you from underneath the seat in your car and now YOU MUST EAT THEM or you might die?? Well food cravings are a way your body tells you what you need to survive. Sadly, many of these “organic” cravings are disguised in junky, nutrient poor processed foods. However, listening to your body and understanding food cravings can help you get the nutrients your body desires in a healthy way!!

Cravings are usually a symptom of poor diet, dehydration, excessive stress or poor digestion. Fixing these issues for the long term will reduce the cravings overall.

Do you crave Salty Foods?

Craving salty foods can indicate that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue or trace mineral deficiencies.

These craving can indicate a potential for chemical imbalances which alter many metabolic processes that keep your body working optimally.

Satisfy your cravings with:

Bone Broths: which are an excellent source of the minerals calcium, magnesium, sulfur, silicon and phosphorus that your body can easily absorb. Prepare your broth with pink or black salt to increase the amount of minerals your body desires.

Pink Salt: The flavor and trace minerals in pink salt will have you requiring less salt for your desired flavor. Pink salt contains zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium, and a 100 or so more useful minerals that the body needs.

Sea Vegetables: Contains vitamins and sea minerals like iodine, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.

Do you crave Sweets?

Often people who crave sweets have issues with blood sugar balance. Diets high in carbs and simple sugars are addictive and cause insulin spikes which trigger the release of a feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.  However, later there is a crash, which encourages the consumption of more sweets and carbs.

Satisfy your cravings with:

A low glycemic lifestyle like the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is rich is chromium and other essential minerals which help stabilize blood sugar and reduce insulin spikes and crashes.

Do you crave Chocolate?

Chocolate cravings generally indicate a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiencies are one of the most common and overlooked nutrient deficiencies affecting an approximately 80% of Americans. Magnesium is essential for approximately 1000 metabolic processes in the body.

Satisfy your cravings with:

Eating DARK, organic chocolate to quench your craving is generally not an issue. The problem exists when we grab the low cacao high sugar varieties and then trigger sweet cravings, insulin spikes and blood sugar problems. Choose chocolate treats low in sugar (and fake sugar) and with greater than 70% cacao. These treats contain more than half of the recommended daily value of magnesium in a single serving.

Other delicious suggestions to boost magnesium include almonds, pumpkin seeds and avocado!!

Do you crave Dairy?

If you are craving a cheesy pizza you may be lacking essential fatty acids like EPA, DHA, ALA, and GLA. These dietary fats are critical to the health of your nervous system and brain function.  The problem with commercial dairy products is they are processed and pasteurized beyond what the human body can digest and assimilate.

Satisfy your cravings with:

If you start craving dairy, try eating healthier selections of foods rich in omega 3. Such examples are wild caught fish, 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, wild game and pasture raised eggs. This will keep you healthy, full and craving free.

Do you crave Red Meat?

Craving red meat is common during menstruation and pregnancy because the body is depleted in energizing nutrients like iron, vitamin B-12, zinc and the amino acid acetyl-L-carnitine. These 4 critical nutrients help the body produce balance blood production, energy uptake, and support immunity.

Satisfy your cravings with:

Eating red meat can be beneficial and healthful. Choose the highest quality you can purchase, grass fed, organic, free range and local if possible. This signal is one you should listen to, but be sure to not over indulge. Other foods high in iron and zinc include swiss chard, spinach, figs, prunes and almonds.

Always remember to listen to your body it gives you the right information to be the healthiest you!!

 

references

The Healing Center: Food is Your Best Medicine: The Benefits of Bone Broth
Drake SL and Drake MA. Comparison of Salty Taste and Time Intensity of Sea and Land Salts From Around the World. J Sensory Studies. 2010 Nov; 26(1): 25-34. DOI: 1111/j.1745-459X.2010.00317.x
Head KA and Kelly GS. Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun; 14(2): 114-40. PMID: 19594222
Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Feb; 67 (1): 48-53. PMID: 18234131
Klutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77. PMID: 20152124
Koleva PT, Bridgman SL, and Kozyrskyj AL. The Infant Gut Microbiome: Evidence for Obesity Risk and Dietary Intervention. 2015 Apr; 7(4):2237-2260. PMCID: 4425142
Hunt JR. Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. Am J of Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep. 78 (3): 6335-6395. Link Here

 

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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Gluten and the Whole Body

Gluten Sensitivity is very real. If you don’t test clinically positive to Celiac Disease you could still have issues with digesting and assimilating gluten. Gluten can have huge implications in the body; it impairs the absorption of beneficial vitamins and nutrients, creates inflammation in the gut lumen and circulatory system, and can affect the nervous system by way of balance, stability, mood and sleep.

Here is a list of symptoms NOT related to the digestive system that can be caused by gluten:

• Craving high sugar foods
• Difficulty keeping weight normalized
• Iron deficiency anemia
• Frequent headaches
• Sinus congestion
• Migraine Headaches
• Vertigo
• Poor memory or Brain fog
• ADD or ADHD
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Neuropathy
• Irrational irritability
• Mood swings
• Restless leg syndrome
• Muscle & Joint Symptoms
• Joint pains with or without activity
• Chronic muscle aches or spasms
• Fibromyalgia
• Autoimmune arthritis
• Bone pain
• Fatigue
• Infertility
• Thyroid issues
• PCOS
• Asthma
• Yeast infections
• Eczema
• Psoriasis
• Dermatitis Herpetiformis
• Gall bladder problems
• Elevated liver enzymes

Some common issues with Gluten that are often missed by conventional physicians include:
• Gluten can cause vitamin B12 deficiency
• Excessive gluten consumption can cause both excessive weight gain or loss
• Lab tests for gluten sensitivity may not be accurate and tend to deliver false negatives
• Gluten can cause asthma symptoms
• Gluten can cause iron deficiency anemia
• Gluten can cause seizures
• Gluten can cause migraine headaches
• Gluten can cause thyroid disease
• Gluten can cause liver damage
• Gluten can cause IBS
• Gluten can cause Ataxia
• Gluten can cause many different skin diseases
• Gluten can cause nerve pain and neuropathy
• Gluten can cause gallbladder disease
• Gluten can lower testosterone in men

Science shows us that even the healthiest gut which consumes gluten in the quantity of a breadcrumb, can have intestinal damage that takes three hours to repair. Gluten is one of the leading causes of leaky gut, which comes with its own set of inflammatory and auto immune issues. However, eliminating gluten isn’t always that simple. There are many medications that can mimic gluten sensitivity and cause the same symptoms in a person avoiding gluten. The same inflammation caused by gluten, can be caused by corn, soy, dairy, and parasite infections in some individuals. Processed food that is assumed (or labeled to be gluten free) can be cross contaminated with gluten up to 41% of the time. It is estimated that over 90% of the people following a gluten free diet continue to have health problems because of cross contamination, processed food, and consumption of corn, rice, sorghum and other grains. Gluten can be found in products used at the dentist or orthodontist. Gluten is often found in cosmetics and skin products. Gluten free on the label doesn’t make the food healthy.
There are many proteins found in grains that can mimic gluten and therefore create symptoms in a sensitive individual. In many cases, gluten gets blamed for health problems that are caused by the pesticides found on gluten containing grains. Almost all processed products that contain gluten also contain folic acid which “enriches” the product; this folic acid can also create inflammation in individuals sensitive to it (with or without MTHFR).
The good news
Vitamin C can help heal the damage caused by gluten
Probiotics can help reduce inflammation and enhance digestion while healing from gluten sensitivity
Children with learning disabilities respond well to a gluten free diet
Gluten sensitivity can be recovered, but it can take 3 years
There are thousands of unprocessed whole foods that do not ever contain gluten that are delicious and nutritious and help heal your gut!

For more information check out my book!

What a post-partum mom really wants when you visit her and her baby

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Truth is visits from well-meaning family and friends are always welcome! It’s the unsolicited advice or subtle (pressured) offers to hold/ care for the newborn we could all do without. Research has shown us time and again that the first weeks of life are critical for bonding, proper milk supply and post-partum recovery of the mother.

The best things we can do for mom and her new baby is:

1) Take their other kids somewhere. Older siblings are usually under stimulated by the daily goings on of a newborn. So take the other children for as long as you can, and bring them back exhausted and fed.

2) Feed the mama! Remember she is constantly feeding another human! Be sure to check with here to see if there are particular things she is or isn’t eating. Be sure the dish is disposable or a gift. Post-partum moms do not have the best memory capacity.

3) Collect some cash or a gift card for cleaning services! Who has time for cleaning after you have just spawned a human from your loins! Find a trusted service or person to do the job! Worth every cent!

4) Offer to watch the baby while mom naps or showers. Both those items become scarce in the immediate post-partum period. A few minutes of your time are a huge gift to a tired or smelly mama!

5) Help to recognize signs of postpartum depression. “Baby Blues” can last 6 weeks, anything beyond that that could be cause for concern should be addressed and guided to the proper provider. As you all know regular chiropractic has been shown to reduce post-partum depression. Be Sure to on the lookout for tell-tell signs that mama might be struggling.

6) Invite mamma and baby to get out of the house. We all know what kind of Olympic sport it is to get a newborn fed, changed and clothed to get out; help her get a change of scenery, even if it is only a short walk around the block.

7) Offer to run errands for her, do her grocery shopping in person or online, pick up a few items at the coop, grab that homeopathic for the baby’s prickly stomach (remember #6) it is likely she will gladly accept the help.

8) Make a sign for their door that says “Baby Sleeping” or “please come in..and do some laundry” in early postpartum days sleep is precious get any and all you can! And avoid being disturbed by the UPS guy or the neighbor’s kids who want to play.

Truth is we have all been there and we all need the help. This is an amazing way as women we can support each other and grow together. When mama is recovered she will be ready to help you with your bundle of joy!

Start the school year OFF SWEET!!!

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School is right around the corner! Back to packing lunch, and managing the nutrition of our kids from a far. In many cases parents may choose foods out of convenience instead of nutritional density leading to a large amount of sugar consumption by kids during the school day. High sugar consumption and processed foods, all be it organic can cause issues for our kids during the school day and beyond!

If your child suffers from:

  • Stomach aches, Constipation and diarrhea
  • Fatigue, joint pain, and muscle pain
  • Frequent infections, especially of the ears and throat
  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Behavioral issues
  • ADD/ADHD or other problems with concentration
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Frequent bed wetting
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Take a look at the diet and their lunchbox selections before making a battery of provider appointments and planning extreme measures with the school.

A good list of things to avoid include:

  • Gluten
  • Sugar and fake sugar substitutes
  • Preservatives (like BHT, TBHQ, MSG, etc)
  • Food Dyes (red #40, Yellow #5, etc)

Of course, dramatic changes in diet, especially for a picky eater can seem overwhelming. Every parent wants their kid to be healthy and fit in, but sometimes “special diets” (even if they are sugar-less and not processed) can make a child feel left out.

palm-tree-snack-477

Some easy tips to help your child (and the rest of the family) adjust:

  1. Empower your child- have your child help with the shopping, teach them how to read labels, or better yet choose foods without labels, like fruits and vegetables. Teach your child which symptoms to look for and how they can articulate or recognize them in their own bodies. Remind kids that food may not affect just their belly that food can affect their brain, skin, and sleep cycles too. And remind them that there is not often a direct ‘eat the food>> have a symptom” relationship.
  2. Emphasize all of the delicious foods that your child CAN eat, instead of focusing on the few they can’t.
  3. Eat what they eat. As parents we have an awesome opportunity to set the exact example we want our children to follow.
  4. Explain to kids about the food industry processing, how sugar (and other substances) can actually change brain chemistry and cause “addiction”.
  5. Teach your kids how to cook, teach them how to ask questions in restaurants and order food that they can enjoy. SKIP the kids menu, there is likely nutrient poor, processed selections that leave kids craving more junk instead of feeling full when they leave.
  6. Eliminate the chance for sneaking foods, or making non-optimal selections by taking all the processed foods, sugar foods and other “offenders” out of your home.
  7. Support them by removing the food from your house. Chances are, the offending food isn’t so great for anyone else anyway. It’s best to remove problematic foods like gluten and dairy before illness has a chance to take root.
  8. Understand this is a process and healing takes time. Kids taste buds will eventually change and their palates will improve.
  9. As parents (and our kids) we can educate other parents and teachers. In many cases the information is welcomed and may be a catalyst for changes in their own homes.
  10. Find support among your peers. The more visibility around healthy eating we can bring the more people will lend support. You many know many people with the same eating philosophy than you think!

Bottom line..change is hard but possible! Kids deserve every advantage we can offer! Enjoy the journey and reap the rewards.

For more information or recipes check out MY BOOK

Autism healing begins in the Gut!

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It has been well reported that autism is intimately connected to the immune system and acts in some way as an autoimmune conditon. Immunity begins to develop during the 14th week of gestation, as undifferentiated developing immune cells, which later become major cells of a human’s immune system, with specific and necessary function. The placenta, provides nourishment for the baby, also secretes hormones, primarily progesterone, which shifts mom’s chemical profile away from Th1 (offers protection to pathogens that pose a threat to get inside of cells) and towards Th2 (response offers protection against pathogens outside of cells).  The baby then will trigger his/her increase in Th1 when travelling through the birth canal and swallowing, sitting and slipping through on its earth side voyage. The development of the Th1 mechanism is continued during breastfeeding, for which the “World Health Organization” recommends at least 2 years, to glean all the necessary immunologic benefits for the baby.  Continued, through childhood with encounters from viruses and bacteria help build this individualized Th1 response to properly enhance the child’s immune system. If at birth immunity is skewed toward Th2, for such reasons as a c- section, multiple exposures to antibiotics in utero or mother receiving passive immunity exposure, breastfeeding is interrupted or cut short; Th2 is accelerated and can predispose a baby toward eczema.  If the baby is prone toward a Th2 response, as they were unable to develop a proper microbiome, autism can be triggered or allergies and asthma may also develop.

The answer to the triggers for these conditions may be found in the gut bacteria that babies are gifted on their way down the birth canal. Since we know, One third of all antibiotic prescriptions given to children are unnecessary (according to medical research). Antibiotics are well reported to disrupt a child’s gut microbiome in ways that a growing amount of evidence suggests may have long-term consequences, including asthma, allergies, and eczema.

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Balancing gut bacteria with proper diet free of chemicals, processed foods, irritants and GMOs help balance the biome. Identifying triggers and reducing or eliminating passive immunity can also help improve these conditions. When a body is inclined toward a Th2 response, the cells will “over react”, with an inflammation response. Passive immunity such as vaccination bypasses the Gut and triggers this over response in the blood stream. This compounds the “inflammation” cascade and revs up the immune system in an “autoimmune” fashion creating a global multi-faceted reaction that will prone the body toward constant “reaction” as seen in eczema, allergies and asthma.

Conventinal Pharmecutical modalities may cause additional “stress” to the body, and since stress and stress hormones can elevate inflammation, they are intimately related.

Autism is rising at epidemic rates with some prognostication that 50% of our children will have autism in the next generation!

Some easy tips to get started on healing the gut and rebuilding your microbiome are:

  • Eliminate inflammatory chemicals in your environment; start with anything with a scent and replace them with non-toxic bio degradable choices
  • Eliminate inflammatory foods such as Dairy, Wheat, Corn, Soy; these are the most common food triggers associated with autism, asthma, allergies, and eczema
  • Eliminate GMOs; these chemicals are not digested or assimilated well in a healthy gut, worse for one that needs healing
  • Use only products you can eat on your skin, like coconut oil, avocado or shea butter for example
  • Check Lab work with a qualified provider, check immune markers, MTHFR status, stress hormones, vitamin and mineral levels; all of which play into the inflammation cycle.
  • Remember there is no one size fits all approach; every child is different and every healing process is different

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2015.04.006

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684040/

B Vitamins; Better Protection for Baby

It has been well reported that women who conceive in late spring and summer have children with a higher incidence of allergies. The theory behind this finding is (especially in the NorthEast) there are higher levels of pesticides in the air due to farming and a short growing season. Although we all should take extreme care of ourselves walking around in a hypoallergenic bubble is not compatible with a satisfying life.   Luckily for us recent research at Johns Hopkins has shown that if women maintain adequate levels of B vitamins are more likely to get pregnant and stay pregnant. This study also concluded that there are some protective aspects to B vitamins, not only in pregnancy and conception but in the presence of pesticides and pollutants (namely DDT, known for causing reproductive problems in multiple species). While the US banned DDT in the 1970s, it is still used in other countries around the world.

In this three year Johns Hopkins study which looked at women who had early miscarriages showed; Women with high DDT levels and sufficient levels of B vitamins (B6, B12 and folate) had a 42% increased risk of early miscarriage than women with lower pesticide levels. But in those with high pesticide levels and vitamin B deficiencies, women were twice as likely to suffer a miscarriage before six weeks of gestation. The researchers discovered that the risk to a pregnancy was higher with B12 and folate deficiencies and with deficiencies in more than one B vitamin, and one can extrapolate that multiple deficiencies were likely caused by MTHFR mutation, which can increase risk of oxidative stress and miscarriage risk. In addition, researchers found that women with high pesticide loads and low B vitamin levels took almost twice as long to conceive in the first place.

 

“This study tells us that improved nutrition may modify the toxic effects of pesticides, by better preparing the body to cope with environmental toxins and stressors. We have shown that women with high levels of pesticides who also had high levels of B vitamins had a better chance of getting and staying pregnant than those were deficient in those vitamins.”

 

We are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, chemical solvents, xenobiotics, pharmaceuticals, free radicals and industrial chemicals of all kinds from the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. These toxins accumulate in the body and contribute to the total toxic load that can cause a variety of health problems. In the presence of MTHFR mutation when toxic load can be higher due to impaired methylation and inflammation uncontrolled due to the inability of the body to detoxify properly the body can begin to malfunction and the human form can become weak, or worse, infertile.

In my opinion, this study validates the idea that sufficient B vitamins and improved nutrition protect our bodies from environmental toxins, enhance fertility and reduce the incidence of miscarriage in an ever toxic world.  It can also be inferred that B vitamins are protective to the human body and can counteract the toxic effects of pesticides, environmental toxins, and other stressors we get exposed to on a daily basis.

pregnancy pic

But,

The care we give to our bodies in preparation for pregnancy or maintenance of health should not stop with taking the proper B vitamins alone. Because this world can be so toxic it is important to remember to keep our environment as “clean” as possible. Eating a Wholefoods “organics as much as possible”  diet, using non-toxic cleaning supplies, educating our friends and neighbors about the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and processed foods, reducing or eliminating EMFs and toxicity from our own homes and lives is a great place to start. Also planning in advance for babies and conception, making sure B vitamin levels are adequate BEFORE conception assures a better pregnancy outcome.  Women who have adequate levels of B vitamins in their bodies are more likely to get and stay pregnant even when they also have high levels of pesticides or toxins.

Be sure to discuss with your qualified health care provider the importance of B vitamin levels and to be sure women intending on getting pregnant get adequate B vitamins and micronutrients before they even conceive.

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150105141701.htm

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.

B12…not always created equally

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B12 is important to build red blood cells and nerves. It also supports proper DNA development. Most individuals who are vitamin B12 deficient on lab work, have  some preexisting condition, such as gastritis, auto immune disease, take multiple medications that deplete b12 stores or are malnourished.  Vitamin B12 tests are not the most accurate way of telling how the cells are utilizing b12, or if they are utilizing it at all. So, in fact individuals with adequate numbers on lab work could actually be deficient.  In the presence of MTHFR, B12 can look adequate or even elevated on lab work but be completely depleted inside the cell where the B12 is needed most.

Experiencing any of the symptoms on this list could mean there is a B12 deficiency in the body

  • Light-headedness, tiredness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath and elevated heart rate
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Tingling and numbness of the feet and hands
  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • Diagnosis of persistent anemia
  • Excessively pale skin
  • Sore tongue
  • Rash around the mouth
  • Bleeding gums and easy bruising
  • Upset stomach
  • Abnormal weight loss or gain
  • Hallucinations, depression, mania and irritability

 

Adequately Inadequate vitamin B12 intake

For individuals with a MTHFR mutation, B12 absorption and utilization is faulty. Individuals with any issue with digestion B12 absorption are impaired. In order to make the proper amounts of stomach acid, B12 is needed as a cofactor. Without this digestion IS impaired. Vegan and vegetarian diets are deficient in B12, posing a greater risk of deficiency in individuals with MTHFR, this can lead to other nutrient deficiencies and health problems.

The best foods for boosting B12 are

  • Clams and beef liver
  • Eggs, fish, poultry, meat, milk and other dairy products
  • Nutritional yeasts, some cereals and other fortified foods

 

Suspect B12 deficiency with any of the conditions listed

vitaminb12deficiency.jpg

 

  • Anemia with elevated mean corpuscular volume or Pernicious anemia
  • Balance issue, numbness, difficulty with walking, tingling and other neurological symptoms
  • Gastritis, Celiac Disease
  • Food sensitivities
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Any chronic inflammatory bowel disorder
  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Developmental delay and autism
  • Use of “poly pharmacy” drugs such as SSRIs, Metformin and PPIs
  • Vascular disorders such as blood clots, stroke or heart attack

 

B12 deficiency…all B12s are not created equal

It is important to understand that treatment is not a “one size fits all” approach. Not all B12 will react the same in each body depending on SNP expression; there are the 4 Types of B12. Of course its optimal to get the bulk of B12 from the diet, however in cases of deficiency or unrelenting symptoms proper supplementation can help.

Adenosylcobalamin is naturally occurring, but, it is the least stable of the four types of B12 outside the human body and does not translate well into a tablet-based supplement. This is best for individuals who are sensitive to other forms of B12 and require a highly absorbable form of supplementation.

Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic, pharmaceutical version of vitamin B12 is created in a lab. It’s cheap and utilized most often by prescribers, who prescribe B12 for a deficiency. When it metabolizes in the body it breaks the cyano- molecule (cyanide, yes cyanide) off to be absorbed by the body.  Although the amount of cyanide is not dangerous, it does require extra energy of the body to eliminate it from the cells. Extra toxin elimination is not optimal for anyone with methylation challenges.

Hydroxocobalamin is naturally created by bacteria. Hydroxyocobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 most likely found in food; it easily converts into methylcobalamin in the body. Hydroxocobalamin is commonly used in individuals who do not tolerate methylcobalamin supplementation and as a treatment for cyanide (yes, cyanide) poisoning.

Methylcobalamin  is the most active form of B12 in the human body. It converts homocysteine into methionine, which helps protect the cardiovascular system. Methylcobalamin also offers overall protection to the nervous system. Methylcobalamin can cross the blood-brain barrier, this helps to protect and heal the brain. Methylcobalamin is essential for detoxification and as a catalyst for many of the body’s biochemical reactions.

With nearly 40% of Americans having trouble absorbing B12; selecting the proper form of B12 can be tricky business. Absorption of B12 is heavily reliant of digestive health, get digestion working properly and find a provider savvy enough to assess and prescribe the right B12 for your body.

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.

First Foods for Babies with MTHFR

 

In conventional medicine there is a gross disconnect between our health and our food.  It is always important to remember each and every thing we consume affects us in some way. This is ever so apparent in our babies, who have immature detoxification systems and immune systems. So why is the “general consensus” to offer complex nutrient poor foods, often times before the baby is even ready to digest them?

First foods are so important for baby! But “offering food before age one is just for fun” which means that the bulk of nutrients for babies under 1 year of age should be from breast milk (The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months and then concomitantly with nutrient dense food until the age of 2). Formula in many cases poses a problem for families affected by MTHFR, as most formulas are fortified with folic acid. Folic acid should be avoided in all individuals with MTHFR, since individuals with MTHFR lack the proper functioning of their enzyme to properly convert the synthetic folic acid into usable folate for the cells.  

Always look for signs of readiness in a baby to be sure their digestive system is ready for food.

A-Baby-Sitting

Be sure baby is:

        • sitting up nearly unassisted
        • Has teeth or is actively teething
        • Shows an interest in food or chewing
        • Has begun to develop a pincer grasp

Some of the best recommendations for first food are avocado and sweet potato. Avocado is a folate rich food, which helps the body methylate properly. Generally parents will alternate these foods for up to 3 months before introducing other foods. When a baby is teething or gets a cold they may lose interest in food and prefer to just nurse for a while. If baby is voracious and very interested in food then parents may consider advancing the diet slowly.

General rules of thumb for food introduction include:

  • Introduce one food at a time with at least a week in between new foods.
  • Be an example for your baby by also choosing these foods or offering them off your plate so baby feels included.
  • Start with Orange veggies followed by Yellow veggies followed by green veggies; fruits can be introduced as well after this time, avoiding the most acidic fruits such as oranges.
  • Of course, when the time is right lots of green, folate rich veggies can be delicious and nutritious for baby, Folate stores help the body methylate properly, reducing the complications with MTHFR.                                                                                                                 squash

Most babies tolerate high quality meats and fish with scales by around a year of age, which is perfect timing as iron stores drop as baby lays down muscle and brain tissue quickly during development; This can lead to a diagnosis of anemia.

With MTHFR food introduction may be a bit more complicated if a tongue tie has gone undiagnosed. These babies may show little interest in food or eat a lot and then appear to be in distress. It is always wise to have a tongue tie issue assessed and addressed as early as possible. Remember, tongue tie and lip ties are midline defects, defects that should be “prevented” with proper folate dosing, however in individuals with MTHFR, or who have been counselled that folic acid and folate “are the same” may experience these issues with a higher incidence; people with MTHFR have trouble converting their folate into a useable form.

In general supplements are not recommended for babies under the age of 2, however speak with your provider about individual needs.

What foods to avoid?

  1. Avoid offering any processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid.  Instead eat  and offer whole foods to your baby with no added chemicals or preservatives.
  2. Avoid using plastics if possible, BPA is banned in baby products but that doesn’t mean it disappeared. It has been found in breast milk in multiple scientific studies.
  3. Babies with MTHFR often get diagnosed with reflux and are prescribed proton pump inhibitors, this depletes minerals, vitamin d and essential Vitamin B12 absorption. Visit your local chiropractor to get adjusted or visit your local holistic provider to have baby evaluated.
  4. If you do not have a MTHFR mutation but your baby does, parents should avoid synthetic folic acid and processed foods too. Folic acid can functionally cause you to have all the same problems as someone with a MTHFR mutation.

In closing, our genes (or mutations) do not define us; nothing beats a good diet, exercise, quality sleep and kindness, show this to your kids and your parenting investment will be returned in spades….

this information is never to replace the advise of a qualified medical provider. Consult your physician before making any changes to your healing regime