• Autoimmune diseases/ bodykind supplements/ Energy/ Food intolerance/ Hashimotos Disease/ Health/ Hypothyroidism/ Nutritional Medicine

    Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Adults & Children

    B Vitamins

    Vitamin B12 deficiency in Adults & Children can become serious and debilitating if not diagnosed. Many of the signs and symptoms can be similar to other health problems and sometimes health professionals may be looking for diseases rather than nutrient deficiencies.

    Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin and  cyanocobalamin. It is water soluble and found mainly in foods from animals. It is an essential vitamin and sometimes known as a ‘feel good’ vitamin as, along with other B vitamins it ensures a healthy nervous and energy system. It forms and regenerates red blood cells and is essential for growth and development being necessary to utilize fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It improves concentration, memory and balance and also helps detoxify cyanide from foods and airborne toxins like tobacco smoke.

    SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS IN ADULTS

    • weight loss
    • weakness or fatigue
    • muscular soreness
    • sore, red tongue
    • headaches
    • shortness of breath
    • abdominal bloating
    • Palpitations
    • Anaemia
    • Depression and other Psychological symptoms
    • Problems with memory, understanding and judgement leading to Dementia
    • Neurological symptoms such as ‘pins and needles’ in extremities, Peripheral Neuropathy
    • unexplained Vision or taste impairment

    CAUSES

    1. Nutritional – people following a vegan, vegetarian or low protein diet. Low dietary intake over a prolonged time are at risk of deficiency. All of these people should take a Vitamin B Complex supplement that includes B12.
    2. Malabsorption – Lack of a protein produced in the stomach called the ‘Intrinsic Factor’ can mean that B12 cannot be absorbed. This is called Pernicious Anaemia and the treatment is high dose B12 injection. Anyone who has had to have part or all of their stomach removed would be in a similar position.
    3. Digestive – antacid medications interfere with the absorption as stomach acid is necessary for proper absorption so anyone on antacids or PPI drugs, especially during pregnancy should supplement B12. Inflammation and damage to the intestines can cause inability to absorb B12, as in Coeliac disease, Crohn’s etc. Also some other medications, like anticonvulsants,inhibit absorption. People over the age of 60 with other health problems, poor diet and diminished stomach enzymes and acid may also be at risk. B12 deficiency can also occur due to SIBO when there is slower movement of food through the intestines allowing an overgrowth of the wrong bacteria and these bacteria steal the B12 for their own use. Intestinal parasites can also be a cause.
    4. Autoimmune Disease – Pernicious Anaemia is an Autoimmune disorder but other Autoimmune conditions can also be present that will possibly be accompanied by lack of Vitamin B12 – Graves Disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Vitiligo, MS and Addison’s Disease (Adrenocortical Insufficiency) for example.

    SUPPLEMENTS AND DIET

    Supplements can be in the form of tablets or capsules of Vitamin B12 plus a Vitamin B Complex or sometimes if deficiency is due to insufficient stomach acid then a sub-lingual powder can be just dropped under the tongue and will absorb through the mucous membrane of the mouth.  Supplements of between 50mcg and 2,000mcgs have been reported safe. The outlook once diagnosed and treated is excellent. Probiotics may improve digestion and absorption.

    Dietary sources of Vitamin B12  Read More

  • Brain - Gut Connection/ Health/ Inflammation/ Leaky Gut/ Mineral Depletion/ Nutritional Medicine

    The Brain – Gut Connection

    The Brain -Gut Connection

    Brain Fog – ADHD – Autism – Dementia – Alzheimer’s – Anxiety – Depression – Multiple Sclerosis – Eating Disorders

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – IBS – Tourettes – Schizophrenia

    The Brain – Gut Connection is being talked about throughout the Medical and Nutritional world. What goes on in the gut directly affects our mood, cognitive ability and brain function. We have known about this connection for years but mistakenly thought the communication was only one way – as when anxiety can cause nausea and diarrhoea and depression can cause changes in appetite but not the other way round. Now we know that the communications between the trillions of bacteria living in our gut and the enormous amount of neurons surrounding it are in constant two-way contact with the Brain and many are now calling the gut our second Brain. It also goes some way to explaining why we say we have ‘gut feelings’ and ‘trust your gut’! A multitude of conditions as listed above are now thought to have a connection to problems of inflammation and gut dysfunction due to the wrong mix of good bacteria or infection with toxic ones.

    What are the causes of gut dysfunction and inflammation?

    • Gut wall integrity is vital to good health. The gut wall is only one cell thick and has the surface area of a tennis court. Many problems can cause this area to become inflamed and leaky – meaning that the product of our digestion and bacteria which should be contained within our digestive tract can enter the bloodstream.
    • Chronic constipation.
    • Stress
    • Environmental Toxins
    • High blood sugar – when the blood sugar is kept high due to a poor diet of sugar and carbohydrates, sugar binds to protein in a process called ‘glycation‘ and high glycation leads to actual shrinkage of the brain as well as release of high levels of inflammatory chemicals called ‘cytokines‘ and increased leakiness of the gut lining.
    • Antibiotics -either given to us or to animals that we eat can damage our good bacteria in what is referred to as our Microbiome.
    • Lack of B Vitamins -that frequently follows antibiotic use.
    • Gastroenteritis and chronic infections with overgrowth of toxic bacteria like Clostridium Dificile and similar, difficult to treat infections.
    • High levels of Omega 6 fats in the body that fuel inflammation.
    • Exposure to gliadin, a protein in gluten containing foods, increases permeability to the blood/brain barrier and gluten increases leaky gut.
    • The gut is lined with gram negative bacteria (LPS) and if these enter the systemic circulation it triggers widespread inflammation including in the brain.
    • When we get inflammation and pain the anti-inflammatory drugs given may relieve some of the symptoms but the condition will actually worsen because the drugs also irritate the digestive tract. Frequently these anti-inflammatories are given with stomach acid lowering drugs which upsets our digestion and assimilation of nutrients from our food and also the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract.
    • Histamine Intolerance – caused by too little of the enzyme DAO (diamine oxidase) that breaks down Histamine in foods. Too much Histamine causes leaky gut and a damaged gut can’t then make more of the enzyme. Magnesium is also necessary to make DAO therefore low levels of this mineral also affect the gut. For more information click Allergy

    When the Brain gets inflammatory Cytokines it responds by sending messages to the Adrenal glands to produce Cortisol which can lead to more gut leakiness, further changes in gut bacteria  and more inflammation that affects the brain. The only way to stop the cycle is to heal the gut. See the Posts on Leaky Gut and Healing Your Digestive tract.

    Beneficial bacteria in the gut have another purpose – they manufacture neurotransmitters that affect our sleep cycles, and activities in the brain and Central nervous System. Inflammation in the gut disrupts the Tryptophan – 5HTP – Serotonin – Melatonin pathways which can lead to sleep problems, anxiety, depression and other mental problems as too much Tryptophan that is not converted to 5HTP will be converted into a brain irritant called quinolinate. If there is any balance or movement disorder then it can be GABA that is affected.

    TREATMENT OPTIONS Read More

  • Food intolerance/ Health/ Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    First foods – baby is ready for solids

    First foods - baby is ready for solids

    First foods – this baby is certainly ready for solids!

    I really sympathise with Mums who are not sure what they should be giving their babies to eat when they are ready for solids. The world of nutrition is a nightmare of constantly changing and conflicting information for all of us, so I hope to bring some of the best current medical opinion and some common sense for you. The choices you make now are important and can set them up for life.

    Mothers know when their babies are ready for more than milk. They will often be needing more milk during the day, waking up earlier in the morning or not settling in the evening until they have had some extra. It is tiring for Mum, especially if she is breastfeeding and she needs more nutrition in her own diet to cope. If we go by the book the recommendation is to stick with just milk until at least 6 months but in reality every baby is different and other factors need to be taken into consideration.

    Weaning needs to be a gradual process that takes into account their immature digestive and immune system. They have to learn to chew and swallow and they have to develop the digestive enzymes needed to process the food and absorb the nutrients. If they eat food that they can’t digest they will get excessive wind, pain and diarrhoea or constipation and it will be misery for everyone.

    The function of the digestive system is to break down food into small enough particles that the nutrients can be absorbed into the blood stream and the waste should be eliminated easily. We can help this process by cooking, softening and mashing most food and introducing soft finger food initially. Even if your baby has no teeth their gums are strong enough to start to breakdown softer foods.

    Good first foods for 5 -7 months:-

    • puréed or well mashed cooked vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnip, carrot, courgette, broccoli, green beans, peas and cabbage.
    • fruit purée from cooked fruit like apple or pear and mashed raw fruit such as avocado or banana
    • protein in the form of cooked egg yolk; puréed organic liver, chicken, and lamb and a little white fish or salmon.
    • Homemade bone broth (links below contain the best way to make this)
    • Homemade jelly made with well diluted pure fruit juice and gelatine
    •  olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee in preparing and softening foods

    If food is not broken down enough in the stomach and passes into the intestines it will cause problems. It can start to ferment or increase peristalsis (the muscular movement that pushes food through the gut) and both will cause tummy ache. Look at what comes out the other end to get a good idea of what is happening. If you can see identifiable food in the poo then they are not digesting it properly. Certain foods will go through without being broken up – tomato seeds, sweetcorn and peas and other higher fibre foods not puréed.

    When they are coping well with those foods you can start to introduce more variety and more texture, like cooked rice, yogurt, fromage frais and let them try plenty of finger food and chop up some of what you are eating if it is suitable and let them feed themselves with fingers or spoon. If they have had to have antibiotics or they have excess wind you can give them an infant formula probiotic.

    Do not give them:

    • normal table salt (a little Celtic sea salt is OK for the good minerals)
    • Low fat or fat free foods
    • margarine or trans fats
    • processed vegetable oils
    • dry breakfast cereals
    • sugar
    • artificial sweeteners
    • refined sugar or undiluted pure fruit juice (well diluted with meals only)
    • flour products
    • Honey (because of the slight risk of Botulism poisoning) under 1 year old
    • certain fish that is known to have a higher risk of mercury -like tuna and swordfish.
    • soft mould ripened cheeses like Brie or Camembert

    At this stage I would say that if you have known allergies within the family, problems with Asthma, Eczema or behavioural problems then be especially careful about what else you add to the diet before they are a year old. The most common allergy foods are:- Wheat, Gluten, soy, peanuts and nuts, Cows milk, eggs (usually the white), seafood, and oranges. These can cause an acute reaction with itchy skin rash, swelling in the mouth or lips, wheezing, coughing, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea where you need urgent medical help or chronic symptoms like runny nose, eczema, asthma, itchy skin, especially dry skin, anaemia and behavioural problems like hyperactivity. If you are concerned about introducing  gluten then start with sour-dough bread and see how it is tolerated. Fermented foods have already had the indigestible parts broken down in the process of being fermented. For more information on this have a look at www.westonaprice.org  This organisation support getting back to a more basic diet of natural foods and eating plenty of animal fats, bone broth and natural, raw dairy and we have certainly come a long way away from this in the last 50 years. The Mediterranean Diet is always mentioned as a healthy way to eat and it is not just about the olive oil and red wine it is because they have very little pre-prepared food and they eat all parts of the animal as was usual in most countries before Supermarkets chased out local butchers shops, fishmongers and bakers. Another great source of information is  www.Kidshealth.org for health in all ages of children.

    If you already have major health problems like Autoimmune disease and you eat a Paleo based diet, then you will find lots of good information on Cave Babies and starting a grain free way.

    Following on from first foods, 7-12 months, try to let them experience as many different flavours and textures as possible. Most babies like quite strong flavours – I personally remember being horrified when a friend gave my first, 9 month old a Chinese spare rib of pork to munch on but he has loved them ever since! We are lucky to have so many choices of food and so let them have a go and give them what you are eating as much as possible.

    If you buy convenience baby foods and ready made snacks taste them yourself – and then come up with some good, cheaper alternatives where you know what all the ingredients are!

    Playing with food and getting involved with growing it (plus getting dirty in the soil) and then helping to prepare it is the key to a good relationship with food.

    A healthy diet does not depend on how much you spend on it but how much you put into preparing it at home from basic, natural ingredients.

    With modern equipment it doesn’t have to take long. A good slow cooker pot of meat on the bone and vegetables, put on when they have a morning nap, will also be an instant meal for your baby and ready for the rest of the family when they need it.  Freeze some in individual containers for when you need them. A stir fry with meat and vegetables is quicker than take-away. Learn plenty of tips to save time and stress.

    This article is a guide for near perfect child feeding and nobody is perfect so the most important thing is not to worry or feel guilty that you do not achieve this 100% – it is a guide.  It is what is advised now with our knowledge of modern food production and science. Above all else remember that food should be enjoyable and tasty and

    make you feel good!

  • Health

    Constipation in children

    What is normal and what is constipation in children? Normal poop should be soft and easily passed and if it occurs less often than every other day then constipation is likely or could be starting. In babies who are breast fed the poo is paler and yellow and more liquid than formula fed babies. In babies who show signs of constipation the first line of treatment is to supplement boiled and cooled water in between feeds and check their temperature as the most common reason is a degree of dehydration.

    Constipation in children under 5 years old seems to be becoming a much more common and worrying problem. It can affect their behaviour, their appetite and their concentration and it can cause them tummy ache and to feel sick. First actions should always be to get them checked out by their Doctor especially if they have any other symptoms like swollen tummy, severe pain, excessive thirst, weight loss or any blood in their poo. It is important to rule out any underlying disease or condition. If no cause is found then it is called idiopathic constipation and it may respond to increase in fluids, fruit and vegetables and a little prune juice or pure apple juice but in 1 in 3 children it becomes persistent and long-term. Persistent constipation in children can be a symptom of gluten intolerance and /or Dairy intolerance.

    So what goes wrong and why is it worrying? We now know that within the digestive tract we have a huge amount of good bacteria that are essential for our well-being. These bacteria make up what is called our microbiome and it is our own internal ecological system that supports our digestion, nutrition and immune system. We start life with just a few species of bacteria that we acquire from our mothers, in the womb, when giving birth and when breast feeding. Even though our knowledge about the microbiome is fairly recent it has been acknowledged for centuries that the first breast feeds give the baby colostrum and that is very important for the immune system. In the first 6 months the baby will only have about a dozen different species of good bacteria in their gut but by the after the age of 2 years the number of species increases rapidly as the baby interacts with the environment and starts to eat more foods. An adult should have about a thousand different species of good bacteria but this is increasingly not the case and the main reason is antibiotics.

    The younger you are when you have antibiotics the more damage they will inflict. Some antibiotics when taken for a 5-7 day course will alter the microbiome for a couple of years or it may never be the same. If your child has had antibiotics (or the mother has while breastfeeding), or had a severe case of gastroenteritis, it is vital that you try to repair the damage. The main symptoms may be constipation, excessive crying and wind,  poor skin (dry or eczema), poor immune system, failure to thrive and fatigue. Worse and the symptoms may be severe allergies, Asthma or Attention deficit disorders.

    So what are your treatment options? In many cases your Doctor may say that the child is ‘stool holding’ and because it has hurt when they have been to the toilet then they resist the urge to go and it just gets worse. The problem with this is that it doesn’t occur without constipation being a problem in the first instance so it is not a helpful diagnosis on its own. If the Doctor feels that the constipation is severe he may prescribe a laxative. The most frequently used for children are:-

    • Lactulose, an artificial sugar that absorbs water and changes the acidity also discouraging the growth of some of the bacteria in the bowel.
    • Movicol Paediatric plain or Miralax which are osmotic laxatives made of polyethylene glycol, a petroleum derivative similar to ethylene glycol (anti-freeze). These are not approved for children, or adults for more than 7 days use. The FDA has received over 7000 reports since 2001 of adverse symptoms of neurological disturbances and kidney problems.
    • Glycerine Suppositories that have to be inserted into the rectum with a lubricant and the glycerine acts as a stimulant/irritant plus lubricant to make it easier to pass hard stools. This may not work if the suppository is not pushed far enough in or if it is not held in the rectum for at least 20 mins. It can be quite painful and cause some gut spasms. If it does work you still need to follow up on other treatment to get the stools moving down from higher up or it may only be a short-term fix.

    Safer treatments that have the benefit of increasing the immune system are :-

    • Milk of Magnesia for ages 3-12 with a maximum of 30 ml in 24 hours and not for more than 3 days (only use for children under 3 on the advice of your doctor.
    • Prune juice, pure Apple juice & pure Pear juice are well tolerated.
    • Syrup of Figs for children over 1 yr. old following dosage on bottle.
    • Magnesium oil spray on the skin or Magnesium Flakes added to a warm bath before bed and peppermint or fennel warm tea that may help ease wind discomfort and contains natural poly-phenols that also help feed good bacteria and
    • Probiotics – there are good ones available for babies and infants (and breast feeding Mums) by companies like OptiBac and Saccharomyces boulardii that is a specific probiotic that can help kill bad gut bacteria and yeasts.
    • Effervescent Vitamin C drinks of 500 mg -1500 mgs can also be a way of softening and speeding up elimination as the body has a tolerance level of about 2-3 grams for adults and the dose should be lower for children.

    At the same time adjust the diet according to age and stage of weaning by leaving out gluten grains, bread, pasta, processed foods, sugar and increase fibre like porridge, brown rice, freshly ground flax seeds, fruits separate from main meals – especially raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, plums and prunes. Vegetables like sweet potato, jacket potatoes with skin, peas, olives, cucumber, broccoli and Olive oil, coconut oil and ghee or butter and live yoghurt if tolerated, and chocolate/cocoa. Encourage plenty of sugar free drinks like water, herb or fruit teas, as well as pure fruit juice diluted with water a couple of times a day. Re-introduce gluten grains, bread and pasta gradually when bowel movements are normal and if constipation or other symptoms return try omitting them for longer.

    Exercise is always beneficial – get them to learn to Hula Hoop! Specific Yoga moves like doing the Cat and pulling in stomach muscles or lateral twists where you lay on the floor with your arms out to the side and then draw up your knees together and roll them from side to side, while keeping your shoulders on the floor, are good and can be made into a game. Gentle massage to the abdomen is beneficial but only if you start in the bottom right-hand corner and work up in circular movements then across under the ribs and down the left-hand side.

    Most of this advice is just as appropriate for adults with constipation and I will cover digestive well-being for all in a other posts.

     

  • Health/ Nutritional Medicine/ Supplements

    How can you avoid infections?

    Bacteria and viruses

    Winter in the Northern Hemisphere always seems to bring with it some nasty bugs and this year has seem some especially nasty viruses, like EV-D68, that have had a big impact on children and those with lower immunity. These Enteroviruses are often found in the respiratory secretions and stools of a person. Colds and Flu, stomach upsets and coughs that upset your sleep can all be quite debilitating.  Arm yourself with a strong immune system and take sensible precautions to remain healthy or to bounce back quicker if you do catch something.

    The normal precautions to avoid infections and stop spreading viruses and bacteria apply

    • avoid contact with sick people
    • wash your hands frequently with cleanser and running water
    • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or you sleeve, if you use your hands then wash them immediately.
    • clean and disinfect surfaces like toilet seats, handles, taps, toys, keyboards and TV remotes with toxin free anti-bacterial wipes or sprays like Faith in Nature from Big Green Smile.



     

    • use a hand sanitiser in between hand washing (but not one with Triclosan as it is a hormone disrupter and can react with chlorine to produce Dioxin)
    • get plenty of sleep
    • stay hydrated
    • get fresh air

    In addition you can put a small amount of Tea Tree cream up your nose, spray your throat with Silver Spray or gargle with Apple Cider vinegar or diluted grapefruit seed extract – these are also great precautions to take when flying. Apple Cider vinegar and honey in a little warm water also good for a sore throat and you can swallow after gargling.

    Foods, Herbs and Spices that can really help your immune system

    Zinc – get plenty in your diet by eating red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

    Vitamin D  – eat plenty of oily fish like sardines, eggs, & fortified milks.

    Vitamin C – in nearly all fresh fruit and vegetables but especially kiwis, tomatoes, mango, lemons and limes, broccoli, cabbage and peppers.

    Immune boosting mushrooms – all mushrooms but especially ones like Shittake and added to Tom Yum soup with the added benefit of good chicken stock, garlic, lime juice and fresh coriander.

    Rosemary -anti-viral, aids sweating and detoxification

    Ginger – soothes aching muscles and reduces fever, detoxifies by stimulating the liver and kidneys.

    Green Tea – immune boosting, reduces inflammation aids a healthier respiratory system

    Curcumin, liquorice root and Omega 3 fish oils – are all anti-inflammatory and liquorice especially good for your lungs.

    Garlic – rich in organic compounds that detoxify the body, stimulate the circulation and helps cleanse the lymphatic system.

    Honey – soothing with anti-inflammatory effect but not to be given to babies under one year due to a small risk of Botulism.

    Supplements for immune system

    • Most important Probiotics. Even babies and children can take special probiotics like Optibacs for babies and children and ProVen Probiotics and Multivitamin for toddlers (12mths -4 yrs.)
    • Vitamin D3 can be taken as capsules for adults and drops for children such as Quest Brightstart Vitamin D3 plus DHA
    • Vitamin C best taken as a high dose fizzy drink (1G per drink) or as a liquid like Sambucol (Black elderberry) for children 1-12 yrs.
    • Zinc – available as pills or as drops (like BioCare zinc plus Vitamin C) for babies from 3 -12 months old.
    • Spirulina- a super-food with Vitamin B12, essential proteins, beta carotene, trace minerals and the essential fatty acid GLA.
    • Astragalus Root is an immune system tonic and can raise white blood cells
    • Echinacea is an immune stimulant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. both of these herbs should only be taken for short periods (up to 3 weeks) and not by anyone with known Autoimmune disease.

    All these supplements can be purchased from bodykind (USA, Europe and UK) who specialise is quality supplements.

    Click here to visit bodykind

     

    If you buy through these links I receive an affiliate commission but please be assured that I only ever recommend products and services that I personally find to be great.