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
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‪#‎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

StrepPR-A-enIL.jpg

 

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

impetigo-s1-facts.jpg

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.

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

A Dozen Metabolic Boosters (and Stuff that can cause weight gain)

Every cell in your body plays a role in energy metabolism. The faster your basal metabolic rate, the more calories you burn.  There are ways to speed it up and to slow it down.

Here are 12 things sure to slow you down.

  1. Eating Inconsistently At Odd Times From Day To Day-Researchers suspect that eating at the same times every day trains the body to burn more calories between meals. Eat frequent, consistently sized meals to avoid binges and feel happier. Research from Liverpool John Moores University found that women who fluctuated between low- and high-calorie meals were less happy with their bodies than those whose plates packed a similar number of calories from meal to meal.
  2. Pesticides-Organochlorines (chemicals in pesticides) can interfere with your body’s fat process and make it harder to lose weight, according to a Canadian study. Researchers found that dieters who ate the most toxins experienced a dip in metabolism and had a harder time losing weight. Opt for organic fruits and veggies as often as you can.
  3. Dietary Toxins in Processed Foods-MSG, harmful fatty acids and toxic preservatives and emulsifiers weaken the thyroid reducing metabolism up to 70% in the long-term. With sustained exposure to the chemical preservatives develop significant abdominal weight gain, early insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Reducing exposure to dietary toxins, sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed foods will keep your metabolism sharp.
  4. Drinking Water Containing Fluoride and Chlorine-Both chemicals in treated water supplies also interfere with normal thyroid function. If your thyroid is sluggish, your metabolism slows down and even becomes dysfunctional. Drinking fluoridated and chlorinated water supplies will guarantee at least some dysfunction in metabolic processes. Drink filtered water whenever possible. If you are not sure what is in your water run a comprehensive water test like    
  5. Not Getting enough sleep -Sleep deprivation reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest, according to the German and Swedish researchers. Stay away from alcohol, fatty foods, coffee and chocolate at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  6. Pharmaceuticals-The most popular medications in the world including antacids and drugs for diabetes, cholesterols and high blood pressure, all interfere with critical metabolic processes which dramatically reduce energy expenditure.
  7. Eating Too Little– When you skimp on calories, your body switches into starvation mode, slowing your metabolic rate to conserve the fuel it’s got. You will never increase your metabolism by dramatically curbing your calorie intake. Always eat often and make good food choices!!
  8. Lacking Protein– Make sure protein is a component in every meal. It assists your body in maintaining lean muscle. Add a serving, like 3 ounces of fish, 2 tablespoons of nuts daily. Research shows protein can up post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35%.
  9.    Vitamin D is essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue.
  10. Sitting Too Long– It takes only 20 minutes in any fixed position to inhibit your metabolism. A research study has discovered that sitting for long periods increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and death regardless of physical activity.                                                                                                                                                         11 Disrupting Circadian Rhythms–  Your internal clock directly controls the part of your cells that keeps your metabolism working optimally. But when you disrupt your so-called circadian rhythm — by crossing time zones, for instance — your cells don’t function the way they should and your metabolism suffers.      12 Dehydration– All of your body’s cellular processes, including metabolism, depend on water. If you’re dehydrated, you could burn up to 2 percent fewer calories.

Metabolism boosters

  • Water ..1/2 oz per pound of body weight surely will boost your caloric intake
  • Hot peppers- including spicy peppers into foods help lose weight
  • Parsley- works like a diuretic
  • Grapefruit- helps with a gentile liver cleanse. Be careful with medications it can interfere with some meds
  • Garlic- boosts immune system and clears out mucus
  • Chia seeds- work like detox for the intestines
  • Chocolate—helps support happy hormones in the brain
  • Cinnamon- stabilize blood sugar and has anti inflammatory aspects
  • Melon- stabilizes blood sugar
  • Almonds- full of vitamin b which helps boost metabolism and helps stabilize blood sugar
  • Lemon- helps clear toxins and mucus from cells in the gut
  • Sweet potato- metabolism booster

BONUS) Coconut Oil- yummy delicious fat and helps mobilize fat out of the cell..yes this oil actually HELPS you lose weight

As humans we have the ability to support or impair our health. The beauty of human resilience is if you make any of these changes today you will begin to see results!

For more information on healthy eating and recipes check out my book

Foods that should be included in a healthy diet, that will keep you healthy, & happy for 100 years!

Always remember a key to a healthy diet is selecting the highest quality least altered food we can find. The most optimal selections are Organic, Local and harvested at the peak of freshness. However reality exists and we do the best we can!

Take a look at some of the best researched foods to be included in a healthy diet that are the most nutrient dense selections with the highest benefits for our bodies….

Gold Kiwis – one of the best heart healthy foods, packed with more polyphenols, a type of powerful antioxidant per serving than green kiwis, apples, white grapefruits, and oranges!

Purple Potatoes- Purple potatoes contain high concentrations of a variety of antioxidants, including phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and carotenoids, according to researchers which help to keep cells working optimally and reduce damage.

Chocolate- Good news for chocoholics! The flavonoids in dark chocolate can be included in a healthy diet to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, decrease LDL cholesterol oxidation, and increase HDL cholesterol, says a Harvard University study. And one square of dark chocolate is 12 calories, but be sure to choose 70% or darker chocolate because the research shows lower percentages of chocolate do not carry the same benefits.

Red meat-Red meat has gotten a bad rap over the years because some cuts of beef are loaded with saturated fat.  BUT 100%  Grass fed beef has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease and provide the body with a healthy source of protein. 4 ounces of lean beef each day had a 10 percent decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol by one research study. Beef liver is one of the leanest beef products available, and it’s packed with nutrients, so why not give it a try?

Wild Caught Shrimp- raises HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces triglycerides (a type of fat found in blood), resulting in a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Just remember to skip butter and deep-frying, both of which can add a load of saturated fat to an otherwise healthy low calorie food.

Tomatoes- these ruby gems are delicious and packed with multiple nutrients, especially lycopene. The body does not produce lycopene naturally, but studies have shown that a diet rich in lycopene can lower the incidence of many chronic conditions such as cervical dysplasia and a variety of cancers. Studies indicate that people with more lycopene in their body fat suffer fewer heart attacks than those who do not have lycopene in their body fat.  Other foods high in lycopene include watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava.

Eggs- studies have shown that 25 pastured eggs can have great health benefits! they raise good cholesterol (HDL) and provide cells with necessary protein and B vitamins. Be careful of your source! Your breakfast scramble should only include the freshest of eggs, as eggs lose ½ of their nutrients within 24 hours of being laid…note that store bought eggs are, on average 2 weeks old at purchase.

Kale ON! Doesn’t every healthy diet include Kale? Well why not? Where else would you find one single food packed with so many nutrients, vitamins and that tastes great? Of course remember to always buy organic because the bugs love kale as much as humans do! Always wash your kale even if packages as “triple washed”

And here are a bunch of foods to avoid!

Skip the soy..over processed junk food that can raise inflammation levels (including cholesterol and blood pressure) in the body,  wreak havoc with a female cycle and the thyroid!

Avoid the sugar and sugar substitutes they cause oxidative- stress, damage to your cells and immune system making you crave it, clog your arteries and gain weight; research shows optimal weight is a prognosticator of longevity and sugar works against that!

Of course there are many other foods that should be included in your 100 years, this is just a short list of delicious selections, that along with your lifestyle care can make your diet rich and delicious!

For more information on how to heal from within and prepare recipes including these nutritional gems check out my book

Concussion and the Female Brain

It has been well researched that male and female brains are different. Now research is explaining that concussions are a very different experience in a female brain. In a concussion the female brain has a 44% greater rate of acceleration increasing the incidence of concussion. There are also differences in neck circumference, girth and length as compared to males of the same age.

Female hockey players have the highest incidence of concussion and are concussed at 3 times the rate as male FOOTBALL players of the same age. Female lacrosse players come in second, however female lacrosse is a NON-CONTACT sport (their incidence is the same as male lacrosse which is a contact sport), this means that these women do not wear any protective gear to prevent or reduce the incidence of concussion. Girls’ Soccer comes next and is the second OVERALL in all youth sports. Softball and baseball have equivalent rates even though they are very different sports. Showing overall girls take a “bigger hit”.

Another difference between male and female athletes , is females report more concussion symptoms than their male counterparts, their symptoms last longer and have 4 times the migraine incidence than males of the same age!

SO why is this the case??

In a menstruating female (please note, girls as young as 6 can have hormonal fluctuations that would put them at the same risk as their older counterparts that have a menstrual bleed), hormones play a role in concussion pathology. If a girl sustains a concussion in the first two weeks of her menstrual cycle, when progesterone is high, there is a sharp, abnormal drop in progesterone and a sharp abnormal rise in cortisol. Progesterone withdrawal leads to headache, dizziness and nausea, and elevated cortisol, which can contribute to leaky gut. Then Estrogen levels will then slowly increase abnormally, which acts on the trigeminal vascular complex (the migraine pathway) it is apparent that female physiology would account for higher incidences of concussion symptoms and longer times for recovery in female athletes.

Unfortunately, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament of the knee)  injuries are also more common is women. This is well reported due to posture and anatomy related to center of balance and hip structure. Approximately 85% of all ACL injuries are the result of a previous concussion. The ACL ligament is the stabilizer in the “righting reflex” (The righting reflex, is a reflex that corrects the orientation of the body when it is taken out of its normal upright position). When a concussion goes untreated the righting reflex is impaired as it initiated by the vestibular system in the brain.

SO how do you heal from a concussion??

First of all, keeping the body in optimal condition with a healing diet free of chemicals, artificial hormones, unnecessary pharmaceuticals & preservatives, drinking purified water, getting proper sleep, proper & safe exercise, and stress management will reduce help keep the body in optimal form and reduce the recovery period should a concussion occur.

Secondly, learn your sports teams’ concussion protocol (most have an outdated version of this) and watch your child during practices and games. You know her best and you can best protect her if you see her take a hit that looked harder than she anticipated.

If a concussion Happens

1) Immediately after a possible concussion offer something with natural sugar to the athlete. Sips of fruit juice or gummy bears (that is glucose and gelatin/collagen) flood the brain with immediate sugar to eliminate the build up of concussion containing neuro-chemicals.

2) Report the incident to your family physician as millions of concussions go undiagnosed and can lead to long term, or permanent symptoms for your child.

3) Take her to the chiropractor! Be sure you find a doctor certified in an updated concussion treatment protocol that include a test at baseline (this should be done before the incident. Kids in general should be under some form of maintenance chiropractic if they are playing sports. Many Chiropractors do a baseline test for concussions at the beginning of each school year)

4) Heal the gut! Estrogens cause leaky gut simply by the nature of the hormone! High cortisol, low progesterone and elevating estrogens is a leaky gut trifecta! Consider using specific strains of probiotics, immunoglobulins, or collagen to help heal and seal the gut.

5) Constantly check in with your athlete, ask she how she is feeling, sleeping and recovering. It is common to have “regressions” in healing with concussion recovery. Stay the course and know healing is possible.

In closing, Concussions are a very common sports injury. There are marked differences in how females and males exhibit symptoms. Keeping this in mind will help our daughters play their favorite sports healthy and injury free.

 

 

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3858400/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24396327

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!