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

 

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

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

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

If all else fails remember

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

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

for more recipes check out my blog or book!

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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.
________________________________________
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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Antibiotics and The Gut…again.

In society today antibiotics are overly prescribed. Most patients receive the advice to “take all medication as prescribed” however, in some cases that not be the case. It is ALWAYS imperative to discuss with the prescriber when changing a treatment plan but there may be more occasions than not, to discontinue antibiotics before the “last pill was taken”.

The failure of the medical community to appropriately utilize antibiotics in the 20th century has left us with many antibiotic resistant microbes plaguing patients at younger and younger ages.  Many prescribers prescribe to a “quick fix medicine” and in many cases abused and misused antibiotics in the name of “protocol”.  Of course this comes back to the fundamental disconnect between pharma and health. So it is imperative patients and parents advocate for themselves in these sorts of situations.

Antibiotics, like food are broken down and digested by the body. Long term or frequent use of antibiotics alter the proper digestive bacteria in the gut and reduce the digestion and assimilation of these pharmaceuticals. This means that active and Un-Metabolized antibiotic by-products, which retain antimicrobial activity, will be excreted into the environment compounding our issues with antibiotic resistance.  Even though an antibiotic is prescribed an for 7 days, does not mean that “bad bacteria” are only exposed to it for 7 days; normal gut flora (and potentially the pathogen) will continue to be exposed to the antibiotic and it’s by- products for some time after completion of therapy. The US contributes more than 17,000 tons of antibiotics into the environment every year in the United States alone (80% for agriculture, 20% for human use).

Compounding this issue is the antibiotics found in our food. This too builds resistance to microbes and accelerates the problems with prescribing. Be a savvy consumer and choose with your dollars. Buy local, organic and avoid processed or packaged products. Ultimately your gut and the rest of your body will thank you for it.

There is a time and place for all things medical, however the research over and over has shown that antibiotics as a first line of treatment may not be as effective or useful as previously revealed. Any and all pharmaceuticals will disrupt normal function of the gut, temporarily or permanently. Be sure to utilize them wisely and replete the gut with beneficial probiotics after use, discuss with your provider the shortest most optimal course of action for your condition and your lifestyle.

For more information and healthy recipes to heal the gut check out my book

 

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/871856?src=WNL_infoc_161120_MSCPEDIT_TEMP2&uac=127670EJ&impID=1238355&faf=1

http://dhs.unr.edu/Documents/dhs/chs/NVPHTC/The%20New%20Antibiotic%20Mantra%E2%80%94%E2%80%9CShorter%20Is%20Better%E2%80%9D.pdf

Can’t conceive? Check out this before feeling like all hope is lost

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Inability to conceive can stem from a number of causes:

  • Poor nutritional status
  • Genetic mutations
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Hormone imbalances

 

If a mother’s nutritional stores are depleted she will not have enough “supplies” to conceive and grow a healthy baby. Vital nutrients like Magnesium and b vitamins are necessary for proper development of a fetus and proper signaling of hormones from the mother to stimulate cell signaling and growth. Proper hormone balance between estrogen and progesterone is a must. Abnormal levels of either of these can create problems with conception. Be sure to check for low levels of progesterone or estrogen dominance.

Remember almost all pharmaceutical medication deplete some nutrient, this includes anything put on your skin topically too, like steroid creams or even sunblock. Be sure whichever depletions are being caused that they are RE-pleated properly.

 

If there is a genetic mutation present then, the interruption in signaling will not allow for proper conception, impanation or development of a growing fetus. MTHFR and homocysteine levels play an integral part in the conception and development of your baby. Be sure you are speaking with a qualified provider about your nutritional needs or get tested for the MTHFR mutation and treat it before trying to get pregnant. Avoiding all forms of synthetic folic acid and un-methylated B vitamins like cyanoB12 is a good place to start! Always remember Folic acid does NOT equal Folate; Folic Acid a synthetic type of Folate. Folic acid is not found in nature. Folic acid must undergo various transformations prior to utilization and with or without a MTHFR mutation, folic acid can cause problems with fertility. Always look for methylated or activated forms of folate in supplements.

 

Autoimmune diseases affect 30% of our population and repeatedly studied in the correlation with fertility challenges. Autoimmune conditions are often made worse with the above mentioned nutrition and genetic problems. Proper management of autoimmune conditions will maximize fertility and also improve rates of artificial insemination or conventional fertility management. Consider having some lab work done specific to autoimmune markers. Supplements like Zinc, probiotics, and Vitamin D are very helpful in supporting proper immune function. If a mom is struggling with fertility its always beneficial to avoid gluten as 20% of patients with MTHFR, and (estimated) 50% of patients with positive autoimmune markers have gluten sensitivity and gluten is inflammatory.  To that end, reducing inflammation on any level is beneficial to the body pre and post baby! Healing always begins in the gut, and a healthy gut improves fertility!

Common MTHFR Mutations and General Health

mthfr

What is a MTHFR Mutation? An abnormal change in gene structure/mutation, of the MTHFR gene can cause a disruption of the MTHFR enzyme’s normal function of breaking down homocysteine.

MTHFR mutations are common. The mutations can be “heterozygous” meaning they occur only on one strand or “allele” of the chromosome, or they can be “homozygous”, occurring on both alleles. The frequency of a mutation is common, occurring in about 60% of the population. MTHFR gene is directly related to hyperhomocysteinemia (high or elevated levels of homocysteine).

High levels of homocysteine can be attributed to many conditions seen in midwifery such as

  • Decrease in vitamin B-12 levels. Higher incidence of anemia
  • Complications in Pregnancy Due To Neural Tube Defects, posterior Tongue tie, lip tie
  • Anencephaly
  • Other neural tube defects
  • Spina bifida
  • Autism
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares
  • Down Syndrome
  • PEs
  • Altered drug metabolism
  • Low vitamin d levels/ osteoporosis
  • Neuropsychiatric Disorders
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Early Pregnancy Loss/ SAB (viable fetus)
  • Placental Abruption, Low Birth Weight

The most common MTHFR gene mutations are found at position 677 and/or position 1298 on the MTHFR gene.

Typical amino acids are replaced by others rendering the enzyme defective or inactive

  • MTHFR 677CC = a normal MTHFR gene
  • MTHFR 677CT = a heterozygous mutation which is one mutation
  • MTHFR 677TT = a homozygous mutation which is two mutations
  • MTHFR 1298AA = a normal MTHFR gene
  • MTHFR 1298AC = a heterozygous mutation which is one mutation
  • MTHFR 1298CC = a homozygous mutation which is two mutations
  • MTHFR 677CT + MTHFR 1298AC = a compound heterozygous mutation which is one mutation from two different parts of the gene

MTHFR 677TT + MTHFR 1298CC= DOUBLE Compound Heterozygus

folate-vs-folic-acid-1

Treatment: (of course always speak with a knowledgeable provider)

May or may not include.

  • Getting you or your family members tested (blood, saliva)
  • Avoiding all forms of synthetic folic acid and un-methlyated B vitamins like cyanoB12
  • Folic acid does NOT equal Folate.
    • Folic Acid a synthetic type of Folate. Folic acid is not found in nature. Folic acid must undergo various transformations prior to utilization.
  • Being mindful of all pharmacology and vaccines
    • Antacids (deplete B12)
    • Cholestyramine (deplete cobalamin and folate absorption) – common in gallbladder issues during pregnancy!
    • Colestipol (decrease cobalamin and folate absorption)
    • Methotrexate (inhibits DHFR)
    • Nitrous Oxide (inactivates MS)
    • High Dose Niacin (depletes SAMe and limits pyridoxal kinase = active B6)
    • Theophylline (limits pyridoxal kinase = active B6)
    • Cyclosporin A (decreases renal function and increases Hcy)
    • Metformin (decreases cobalamin absorption)
    • Phenytoin (folate antagonist)
    • Carbamazepine (folate antagonist)
    • Oral Contraceptives (deplete folate)
    • Antimalarials JPC-2056, Pyrimethamine, Proguanil (inhibits DHFR)
    • Antibiotic Trimethoprim (inhibits DHFR)
    • Ethanol
    • Bactrim (inhibits DHFR)
    • Sulfasalazine (inhibits DHFR)
    • Triamterene (inhibits DHFR)
  • Involving yourself with providers who are educated on MTHFR
  • Take supplements that are methylation supportive
    • L-5-MTHF
    • Riboflavin (B2)
    • Methylcobalamin or Hydroxocobalamin
    • Zinc
    • DHA
    • Choline
    • TMG (must be avoided in pregnancy)
    • Magnesium
    • Methyl- B6
    • NAC
    • Vitamin E (natural forms only)
    • Selenium
    • Glutathione
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin D
    • Potassium
    • Probiotics
    • Molybdenum
    • Milk Thistle
    • *****Avoid gluten as 20% of patients with MTHFR have gluten sensitivity and gluten is inflammatory

 

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

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  • 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