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Cavity Prevention and Fluoride: A Paradoxical Status Quo

In the near future, I plan to post a really fantastic product review on something (that doesn’t have fluoride) that really helps teeth.  However, the controversy on fluoride is so extensive, I believe I need to write up a post just to set-up the foundation for the particular product I’m reviewing.  So, check back next week for a healthy option to fluoridated toothpaste.  Meanwhile. read on to learn why fluoride is evil and leads to cellular death AND tooth decay.  Intrigued?  I thought you would be.

My sister-in-law first piqued my interest on tooth soap by citing research about the negative effects of fluoride on teeth and overall health.  I decided to read about it, and I began my quest at Inspired Living where I found a lot of information.  I was bummed that the specific journal references were missing from the facts, but I kept digging for more info.

I decided to do my own research on Medline to find any current literature on the efficacy of water fluoridation.  For a key word search for articles, I typed in “fluoridation and bone health”.

Basic Chemistry

Interestingly, Fluorine is the most electronegative element in the periodic table of elements.  It has an extreme affinity for other positive charges to complete it’s highly reactive state.  As a result, fluorine or sodium fluoride can break hydrogen-oxygen bonds of other compounds, and cause free radicals to form.  On numerous research sites, I read some variation of the following information:

The presence of sodium fluoride in drinking water at the level of 2 ppm may cause mottled enamel in teeth, skeletal fluorosis, and may be associated with cancer and other diseases.

What’s the Deal with Free Radicals?

Free radicals are highly volatile unpaired electrons that quickly react with other compounds (seeking and destroying weak bonds) in order to capture a necessary electron to gain stability.  When a molecule is “attacked” by a free radical, it then becomes a free radical.  Then, an ugly chain reaction of molecule bullying and breaking has begun.  When free radicals naturally occur to fight viruses and bacteria, that’s not a big blow to the body’s immune system.

But, when the body’s threshold is overloaded with free radicals due to environmental toxins (pollution, second-hand cigarette smoke, pharmacological drugs, lack of sleep, pesticides, BPA, etc.) and the body doesn’t have enough anti-oxidants (vitamins C & E donate a pair of electrons)  to pair with the volatile electron-mongering free radicals, THEN problems arise.  In this day and age, a constant barrage of free radicals is easy to come by . . . so why intentionally ingest them along with drinking water?

[Read more about basic chemistry and get info on free radicals and antioxidants from healthchecksystems.]

Cavity and Water Fluoridation Research

I found a study that analyzed the trends in dental decay from 1992 to 1998 in two towns in Finland which had low fluoridation and they completely ceased fluoridation.  Random samplings of 1500+ children ages 3 to 15 from 1992 to 1998 were examined for dental caries [tooth decay] and the abstract of the study concluded:

The fact that no increase in caries was found in [the town of] Kuopio despite discontinuation of water fluoridation and decrease in preventive procedures suggests that not all of these measures were necessary for each child.

In 2005, a Chinese Journal of Hygiene Research concluded that over 2.0 mg/L fluoride in drinking water can cause renal damage in children, and the damage degree increases with the drinking water fluoride content. Renal damage degree was mainly due to water fluoride concentration.

A follow-up study was published in Environmental Research in 2007.  Researchers found that the fluoride levels in serum and urine of children in China increased as the levels of drinking water fluoride increased.  The study concluded,

Drinking water fluoride levels over 2.0mg/L can cause damage to liver and kidney functions in children and that the dental fluorosis was independent of damage to the liver but not the kidney.

More Freaky Fluoride Facts

But, don’t take my word or research skills for it, read for yourself.

Check out Wholy Water’s site for an informative article and literature review entitled Toxic Effects of Fluoride.

Read the Fluoride Debate which is a response to the American Dental Association’s Fluoridation Facts.

Check out the politically active Fluoride Action Network for up to date info on Fluoride.

Read the Flouride Research Journal.

Read more on the toxic effects of fluoridation in your water from the holistic med site.

Read America: Overdosed on Fluoride by Lynn Landes and Maria Beches.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out the photos of teeth (dental fluoridation) and water pipes with fluoridation from the site Fluoride: Protected Pollutant or Panacea?

So fluoride in my water and toothpaste is more harmful than helpful, now what?

No, you don’t have to use your bar soap on your teeth if you don’t want to (although, that would work just as well).  There’s actually an option that’s helpful and tastes pretty minty fresh.  Check back next week for more.

–This is an original Traveling with Baby post by Dr. Dolly Garnecki

Do I need to buy all organic produce?

One health and nutrition site that I often frequent is Mark’s Daily Apple.  He recently had posts on cracking the code on produce.  You know that little sticker with the 4 or 5 digit code that’s slapped on items in the market?  It’s not just to determine how much you should be charged, it’s also an indicator of whether the produce is organic, genetically engineered, among other options.  Read his informative post: cracking the code.

Additionally, Gaiam collected a great list of information from the Environmental Working Group to determine the list of organic produce to buy.  It answers the pressing question “Do I really need to buy ALL organic produce?”  It definitely makes more of a difference with some items compared to others.  Check out this post, bookmark it, and use it when buying your veggies and fruits.  Eat happy and healthy!

42 Weeks of Pregnancy . . . Now I Know Why

Calvin was a 42-week baby. We didn’t miscalculate the due date, although there is definitely room for error. When my midwife checked him out, she noted that he was definitely at 42 weeks and he would’ve been content hanging out in the womb for yet another week.

Why, oh why was that the case? I did every natural induction method that I could find and yet, he stubbornly stayed where he was.

The answer, I suspected, was because of my super awesome and potent pre-natal vitamins. An article recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics confirms my suspicions.

I was taking some uber-loaded DHA all throughout pregnancy. Turns out it’s not only important post-partum while you’re breastfeeding baby, but it’s actually the most beneficial during the 3rd trimester. Oh, and it causes a longer gestation period.

J.L. Jacobson, et al. found that increased levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are associated with increased visual acuity, heightened cognitive and motor development in infants in their first 11 months, according to a study of more than 100 children and their moms. By the way, the DHA also causes longer gestation period (sorry, mom!).

The authors concluded that DHA is a critically important fatty acid during the third trimester. It enhances the formation and development of nerve receptors and photoreceptors in baby’s brain and spinal cord. Smart baby, healthy baby, long pregnancy.

Minimum requirements of DHA for nursing moms is 400 mg.  During pregnancy, I was getting close to 1000 mg per day.

Good-for-Baby Gut Bacteria

Almost everyone’s heard about how yogurt can aid in digestion and benefits gut flora for nutritional absorption. In fact, even kefir is becoming more popular as a tasty probiotic culture that you can find in a fruity and refreshing “drinkable” form, or you can make it yourself from a starter kit.

Probiotics are live microbial food ingredients which are reported to be effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Disorder, diarrhea, and constipation. Probiotics, such as Bifidobacteria (B.) and lactobacilli (L.), both produce lactic, acetic, and other acids resulting in a [decreased] pH in the colon. A lower pH enhances peristalsis (which is the smooth muscle mobilization of waste particles) of the colon. They subsequently decrease waste matter transit time in the colon which is beneficial in the treatment of constipation.1

But, how many of you know about the benefits of probiotics for babies and children?

Before you gasp and protest, “But, they’re too young! Babies don’t need any vitamins or supplements as long as they’re still receiving breastmilk,” consider some of the latest research on probiotics and how they could possibly benefit your young’uns.

The latest research in several journals reveals how probiotics can help children who suffer from diarrhea, constipation, or eczema, and they can even help boost immunity among children.

Diarrhea

“Probiotics are safe for healthy children, and [they are] effective in reducing the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and the duration of acute infectious diarrhea. Probiotics may also be effective in preventing community-acquired diarrheal infections, in reducing the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants, and in the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis (or eczema).”2

There is a high level of evidence for positive effects of some probiotics to alleviate constipation, to treat [liver disease]. Probiotics may be used to alleviate lactose intolerance, antibiotic-associated intestinal disorders, and gastroenteritis. Probiotics may also assist in the prevention of recurrence of inflammatory bowel diseases.3

Constipation

Last fall, a study conducted at the Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands was published. The study specifically studied the benefit of probiotics containing containing bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in treating childhood constipation. For four weeks, twenty children, ages 4 – 16 (50% male, and average was 8 years) received a daily mix of the probiotics, and outcomes assessed were frequency of bowel movements per week and stool consistency. Additional measurements considered frequency of fecal incontinence per week, abdominal pain, and side effects.

The study concluded that the probiotics mixture containing different strains of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, increases the frequency of bowel movements in constipated children presenting with a defecation frequency of less than 3 times per week. This probiotic mixture was also effective in decreasing the number of fecal incontinence episodes and in reducing the presence of abdominal pain. No side effects (such as bloating, increased flatulence, and vomiting) were reported. Probiotics are much safer than laxitives to administer to constipated children.1

Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis

In 2003, a study from Copenhagen, Denmark’s Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University found probiotics were beneficial in treating atopic dermatitics (or eczema) in children. For 6 weeks, children ages 1 to 13 were given 2 probiotic lactobacillus strains (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri). After active treatment, 56% of the patients experienced improvement of the eczema, and the treatment response was more dramatic in patients who tested positive for allergies in at least one skin prick test.4

Get Some

Okay, so where does a parent find probiotics safe for babies and children to consume? Although children 5 years of age or older can probably safely consume most probiotics manufactured for adults (although varying the serving size dependent on the child’s age, weight, etc.), until more research is done, it’s probably best to stick to a probiotics mixture created specifically for babies and young children.

To date, the only formula that I’ve found is created by MMS Pro:Entrin for Children. The nice thing is that you don’t have to be a health care professional to order this product, so any health conscientious parent can place an order for it. MMS Pro doesn’t sell directly, rather, they have a few distributors. Personally, I’ve only purchased the Entrin from Levine Health who ship it with reusable ice bags to preserve the integrity of the product (which is sensitive to heat!).

My 7-month-old son has definitely benefited from the probiotics. His stool is regular, several times a day (instead of twice a week!) and the consistency is normal as opposed to hard as a rock. I give him 1/4 tsp. once a day mixed in with his solids at lunchtime. And, I’ll probably keep him on probiotics for several months to assist with the development of gut flora and peristalsis.

Resources

  1. Bekkali NL. et. al. The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study. Nutr J. 2007; 6: 17. Published online 2007 August 4. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-6-17.
  2. Kligler B, Hanaway P, Cohrssen A. Probiotics in children. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;54(6):949-67; xi.
  3. Marteau P, Boutron-Ruault MC. Nutritional advantages of probiotics and prebiotics. Br J Nutr. 2002 May;87 Suppl 2:S153-7.
  4. Rosenfeldt V. et. al. Effect of probiotic Lactobacillus strains in children with atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):389-95.

No Mama Baby Blues, and Baby Gets High IQ

How is this fantastic dually beneficial feat possible? Three letters: D-H-A. DHA is an abbreviation for docosahexanoic acid. Here’s a little background on where DHA is found naturally occurring and how it helps reduce heart disease . . . and then, I will explain how it’s related to reduced post-partum depression and a smart baby.

Research appearing in the British Medical Journal in 2004 (Din J, Newby D, Flapan A. Omega 3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease–fishing for a natural treatment. BMJ 2004;328;30-35) found an association between omega 3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. This connection was based on observation that the Greenland Inuit people had low mortality from coronary heart disease despite a diet that is rich in fat. The high fat diet consisting of seal, whale, and fish was proposed to be high in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids, along with omega 6 fatty acids, are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids for human physiological function.

The BMJ article found the Western diet is abundant in omega 6 fatty acids, which are mainly gleaned through vegetable oils (corn, canola, etc.). However, humans lack the necessary enzymes to convert omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids. Humans need omega 3 in order to avoid things like inflammation, pain, heart disease. But, omega 3 can only be obtained from separate dietary sources. Omega 3 is available fish and fish oils and the names of those compounds occurring in marine life are eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). Whew! Try to say those words 3 times, really fast.

According to the BMJ research, “consumption of omega 3 fatty acids is low [in western developed countries], at 0.1-0.2 gram per day.” Experts recommend taking 1 gram per day to prevent heart disease (after doing numerous study trials in the US and Britain). Consuming “omega 3 fatty acids can be increased through diet or with fish oil supplements. Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, sardines and trout are rich sources of [EPA] and [DHA], and two to three servings per week should provide approximately 1 g/day omega 3 fatty acids. Lean fish such as cod or haddock have smaller amounts, and fried fish (for example, from fast food establishments or frozen products) contains minimal amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.

So, eating more fish and/or taking fish oil capsules can help prevent heart disease. Here’s how DHA helps even more . . .

The Better Health News (4(5);2008 May;6) had a fantastic article: DHA and child development. “Research appearing in the European Journal of Nutrition, the amount of DHA found in blood in the umbilical cord during pregnancy has a positive association with the baby’s motor function later in life. Also, DHA levels are associated with a reduced risk of post-partum depression.”

The study followed 300+ children for a seven year period following birth. They found that children with higher levels of DHA in the umbilical cord scored higher on the Maastricht Motor test. “These findings are supported by research in Archives of Disease in Childhood (Fetal and Neonatal Edition) (published online 21 Dec. 2006), which found that omega 3 fatty acid supplementation in the pregnant mother created increased hand-eye coordination, improved scores for language comprehension, a tendency to use longer sentences and a better vocabulary when the children were tested at 2 1/2 [years of age. A total of] 72 children were tested; 33 in the group supplemented with fish oil and 39 comprised the control group.”

Here’s a great reason to avoid low levels of omega 3s. There is an association between ADHD as well as other behavioral disorders and low levels of omega 3 fatty acids according to research in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (75(4-5)2006 Oct-Nov;299-308).

So, eat your fish for great post-partum health for mama, athletic prowess and baby smarts, and heart health!

Eat Healthy, Baby! – Giveaway

Here’s a MommyFest Blog Party Giveaway for my loyal readers and new friends.

I’m a big fan of Mary Enig, Ph.D. who co-authored Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats with Sally Fallon. Mrs. Fallon is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation for wise traditions in food, farming and the healing arts, and she serves as editor of the foundation’s quarterly magazine.

I’m really excited about this cookbook that serves a big whopping slice of nutrition education while putting politically correct diet thinking on its backside. Honestly, who cares about being politically correct when it comes to your family’s health? Eat right, don’t follow fad diets, and reap the benefits for decades and generations. Does that sound like a plan? What’s a great plan without an instruction book? That’s what this Giveaway is all about.

Sally Fallon and New Trends Publishing are generously donating 2 copies of the Deluxe Hardback Edition of Nourishing Traditions (plus S & H) for 2 participating readers (retail value $54).

Topics include the health benefits of traditional fats and oils (including butter and coconut oil); dangers of vegetarianism; problems with modern soy foods; health benefits of sauces and gravies; proper preparation of whole grain products; pros and cons of milk consumption; easy-to-prepare enzyme enriched condiments and beverages; and appropriate diets for babies and children.

What I love best about this cookbook is that it features information that’s not only been relevant for centuries, but the current literature in the medical journals does support so much of the information contained in this book. FINALLY, a book that teaches you how to cook food in a way that your body can best digest AND great food info for children and babies . . . and it’s all located in one place.

Giveaway Details:

  • We’re giving away 2 copies of the Deluxe Hardback Edition of Nourishing Traditions as well as free shipping (total retail value is $54).
  • To enter, visit the WAPF Children’s Health Issue and check out all the fantastic and FREE information available at your fingertips. Then, come back to this post and leave a comment about something new you learned from the Children’s Health Issue. That’s it.
  • This contest runs until midnight (EST) on May 15th.
  • Two winners will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this blog on May 16th. If the winners don’t respond within 72 hours of notification, a new winner will be selected.

Everyone can enjoy a copy of this great book by ordering directly from the publisher:

Toll-Free Order Line (US and Canada): (877) 707-1776
Overseas Orders — (574) 268-2601 — Fax Orders — (574) 268-2120
eMail Orders: newtrends@kconline.com

UPDATE: The WINNERS are Sherry G and Ginny. Congratulations!!

Coconut Constipation Cure

It’s quite common for babies digestive systems to get a little backed up when they go from solely ingesting mama’s pure, sweet, breastmilk to taking in some solid foods. However, since we’re not feeding our son foods that can often lead to constipation like cereals and bananas, we recognize that his body is still adapting and will soon figure it out.

Lately, we’re only alternating between avocados and sweet potatoes. But, since he’s had some discomfort passing bowel movements and a little constipation, we decided he needed some help in a natural form. I’m not about to give my son an enema which could lead to long term health problems with gut development and digestion. So, we opted to try pure and beneficial coconut juice. Instead of buying canned or boxed juice that often is hard to find, expensive, and often has added ingredients, we opted to use a raw coconut.

We learned how to husk a coconut here. Steve just happened to have an ice pick on hand and he was able to collect the coconut juice and peel the buttery rich and yummy meat from the shell.

According to Kate’s Global Kitchen, coconut juice (also known as coconut water) is used to nourish and grow newborn babies. The amazing coconut has many health benefits which you can read about on the Coconut Research Center’s website.

I mixed a little coconut juice with Calvin’s daily serving of avocado. During and after the meal, he sipped the remainder of the coconut juice from a bamboo cup, and he loved it. I can’t always get him to drink 4 oz. of water during a meal, but I had no problem getting him to finish up the coconut juice. Coconut juice has natural electrolytes which most closely resemble those that we have in our bodies. Forget sports drinks for post workout replenishing, next time drink some coconut juice. Of course, the effort of opening up the coconut may make you work up a sweat!

So, about 12 hours later, Calvin was able to pass the rest of the waste that had collected in his digestive system . . . ALL of it. Additionally, a friend of ours is an LPN who works at a pediatric clinic. He sees a LOT of babies and small children. He’s seen positive results for constipation when parents mix 1/4 teaspoon of prune juice with 4 oz. of breastmilk or formula.

Prune juice is definitely easier to acquire, but I love all the amazing benefits of the coconut. You can also read more about the benefits of cooking with coconut oil in The Coconut Oil MiracleWholesome Baby Foods offers insight on using coconut in baby foods.

I haven’t posted in awhile post

Hello Avid Readers,

For the faithful who check this site everyday who end up feeling disappointed that there haven’t been regular photos and stories about adventures with Calvin . . . I apologize.  I’ve just been too dang busy hanging out with the little guy that I don’t take the time to blog.

I’ll try to post at least once a week, or at least provide a regular photo now and then.  My flickr site hasn’t been updated since he was probably 6 weeks old or younger . . . he’s 3 1/2 months now.

Here’s what we’ve been up to . . . lots of traveling.  Since we visited Charlottesville and Lewisburg, we’ve once again visited Lewisburg to look at prospective commercial property for a practice.  There are possibilities, but it’s not my top choice.

We’re still pursuing our options in Charlottesville, although starting over since we’re out of grad school and Steve’s been self-employed for only a few months makes us utterly ineligible for a home owner’s loan . . . even for a condo.  So, that puts us in the market for renting something within our price range . . . which amounts to an apartment.

Meanwhile, Steve is pursuing job leads for something that he enjoys that also gives him flexibility to help out with Calvin and some of the financial aspects of our future practice.

Ultimately, we’re just searching and praying for the right opportunity to present itself.  I feel like we’re stuck here in north eastern PA–land of perpetual winter, icy roads, blizzards, and all around sucky weather.  I truly can’t WAIT to move to the beloved south–land of aspiring green trees, mountains, rushing rivers, and where people unabashedly say “y’all”.

Calvin loves his play gym, swimming the back stroke in the tub, story-time (especially when read to by his daddy), flying in the air, being tickled, blowing spit bubbles, and talking.

I’m becoming quite experienced at stretching the food budget–in a good way.  I’m learning from Steve’s grandfather how to make meals upon meals out of a single roasted chicken or turkey.  I think I made enough lunches and dinners out of a roasted 14 lbs. turkey to last 3 weeks ( I still have bags of cubed turkey in the freezer as well as a pan of enchiladas).  I was especially impressed with learning how to make homemade broth.  Now, I don’t have to worry about all the extra crap that goes into that store-bought stuff . . . where “natural flavors” really means “M-S-freakin’ G”.  None of those brain damaging excitoxins in MY soup!

Tonight, I’m making gingerbread in a crockpot. . . you can do amazing things with molassas, let me tell ya!

Oh, well, gotta go.  The ravenous beast has awoken from his light slumber.  Photos will be posted very soon!

Can you see me now?

Taking advantage of hunting season’s photo opportunity.

Read this book!

raise.jpg

I first learned about this book by some chiropractors at nutritional & neurology seminars. I’ve almost completed reading it, and I’ve already recommended it to several of my friends who are moms.

Dr. Perlmutter, a neurologist, discusses inexpensive, common-sense, and research-backed methods to increase the IQ of your child and keep him healthy. Topics include memory games, breastfeeding, vaccinations, nutrition, common neurotoxins found around the home, health care, toys, and TV/video games/computers.

Much of the information presented rings familiar with courses I’ve taken in child development psychology, psychology of reading and learning, neurology, and pediatrics.

Games and toys that are recommended are typically inexpensive, rather the recommendations are more based on HOW to effectively incorporate reading with your child, playtime, cognition, memory, and health.

In case you have a short term memory and can’t remember all the recommendations as they’re grouped based on age (infant-6 months all the way through age 12), there is a summary table at the end of each chapter that outlines the basic recommendations per age category. So, check it out!