I have to admit, even the title sounds disturbing! But I believe it’s high time to stop sugar coating the reality we live in. I see in my practice more and more children who share their parents’ nutritional deficiencies and toxicity. Yes, a pure, innocent baby who’s barely starting life is also touched by the harsh environment we live in these days and parents can pass down their imbalances to their baby.
This article is not supposed to offer a pessimistic view, but rather to help raise awareness, prepare and teach you about how to better take care of your children’s health. This became really necessary considering that:
Environmental toxicity is one of the most important causes of chronic illness in the world today.
Heavy metals as well as petrochemicals play an important role in toxic buildup and disease.
Every man, woman and child in the United States has at least one petrochemical solvent in their blood stream and likely more than 100.
In the past 40 years, every single person tested in the United States has been found to have styrene in their blood…
…given that everyone has styrene in their blood, the excretion of this petrochemical solvent in the urine should
show up on everyone’s test.
…the most symptomatic and chronically ill individuals are those with poor excretion patterns.
How Toxic Is Our World Today?
Over 80,000 man-made chemicals have been added to our environment. Most of them are toxins and a great many are carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. The situation with each passing year grows worse, not better. Toxins now pervade the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the seemingly endless array of body care products — toothpastes, mouthwashes, hair products, makeup, shampoos, soaps, lip balms, body lotions, sun products, etc. And let’s not forget the food packaging and delivery containers — cans, plastic bags, plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups and carry-outs, etc.. And then there are the industrial pollutants, home cleaning products, new cars, new carpets, new furniture, and toxic exposures in the workplace in assembly lines, beauty parlors, construction sites, etc.
And then we have heavy metals, which are now found almost everywhere in our food and water, not necessarily in a proximity of a nuclear fallout. Heavy metals accumulate in vital tissues (brain, bone, liver, etc), disrupt organ function, displace nutritional minerals from sites of biological activity, disrupt enzymatic activity and create biochemical imbalance.
Chronic exposure to a number of occupational and environmental pollutants is a growing concern in today’s industrialized communities: their effects on human health are profound. Many have been linked to a variety of pathologies including neuropsychological dysfunction, leukopenia, dyspnea, anemia, and certain cancers, to name a few.
Acute toxicological effects of aromatic compounds include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, tremor, and loss of consciousness. Chronic exposure may affect multiple organ systems.
Aromatic solvents are used commercially in a variety of applications. You’ll find them in the manufacture of plastics, paints, varnishes, resins, synthetic fibers, rubbers, lubricants, dyes and detergents. They are also used in the printing and leather industries, found in many industrial cleaning agents and are a natural part of gasoline, airplane fuel and cigarette smoke.
Parabens are a widely used family of preservatives found in many cosmetic, pharmaceutical and industrial products. They have inherent estrogenic, and other hormone related activity, and have been detected in certain human breast cancer cell lines.
Phthalates are used in the manufacture of plastics to allow for flexibility. They are found in everything from makeup to detergents, shampoos to time-released pharmaceutical drugs. Phthalic acid esters are well known endocrine disruptors which may cause neurological and developmental disorders. They can interfere with tryptophan metabolism resulting in an increase in quinolinic acid, a pro-inflammatory and neurotoxic compound. Phthalates have also been implicated in abnormal fetal development, especially in male fetuses.
In 1950 there were forty million cars on the road, compared with the over 225 million vehicles in 2000. The exhaust from this nearly 600% increase has brought an equivalent increase in carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde and polycyclic hydrocarbons.
Recent studies connect the rising incidence of asthma to air quality and reveal that, in many regions, the water supply contains residues of hormones and prescription drugs.
The physiological effects from exposure to these toxins depend on a number of factors. These include the amount and duration the individual is exposed to the substance, the route of exposure (air, water, food, skin, consumer products), and whether or not other chemicals are present at the time of exposure, as some compounds exert an accumulated effect.
But this already serious aspect can go even deeper than that. On top of all toxins we are all exposed to these days, people eat worse than ever! Processed food, contaminated food, wrong diets, veganism are just a few of other factors which contribute to a poor health profile for parents to be.
What Exactly Can Parents Pass Down To Their Babies?
If in ancient times a woman gave birth to a baby with health problems, people used their common sense, careful observation and wisdom to understand and make the connection that certain foods were missing from the mother’s diet. They were actually “designing” babies using special feeding before conception, aiming for healthy, bright, happy babies, all necessary traits to the community long-term survival. Mothers were also advised to have children 3 to 4 years apart, in order to let their body replenish all the necessary nutrients before the next conception. Babies were breastfed for about two years.
Today, we are taught by mainstream media and conventional medicine that beautiful and healthy people are just a matter of luck and genetic chance. In reality, healthy, beautiful babies don’t happen by “accident“. In reality, what we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression. Epigenetic factors (“beyond the control of the gene”) are directly and indirectly influenced by the presence or absence of key nutrients in the diet, as well as exposures to toxins, chemicals, pathogens and other environmental factors.
The “genetic material” a mother transmits to her baby is made up of very complex factors, but they all come down to the answers to these simple questions: What did the mom eat? What was her lifestyle? What were her health problems?
In utero, babies act like real little “vacuum cleaners”. They suck up everything they need to grow, along with the toxic load the mother carries. Believe it or not, mothers are capable of “detoxifying” just by giving birth!
Tests of cord blood show newborns have already been exposed to more than 200 potentially hazardous chemicals in the womb.
Pesticides as well as heavy metals are passed down to the baby. Mercury, strontium, uranium, arsenic and many more which are common in most people these days, are transmitted to the baby in utero.
Commercial baby formula became the most toxic food a baby could have. Commercial formulas contain cupric sulfate – a known herbicide, fungicide and pesticide. Oftentimes, there are things in there that we, as adults, shouldn’t even be eating — hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified organisms. Of particular concern in formula is the ingredient manganese, a neurotoxic chemical found in much higher concentrations in baby formula, particularly soy-based formulas, than in breast milk. Elevated manganese levels have been linked to behavioral problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) later in life. Babies are not able to absorb and excrete excess manganese during the first year of life.
The CDC found percholate, a chemical from rocket fuel, in 15 brands of infant formula, including two brands that accounted for 87 percent of the market share in 2000. Other contaminants discovered in some infant formulas include: melamine (linked to kidney failure), dioxin, BPA, AGEs (advanced glycoprotein end products).
Human milk will contain high levels of trans fats if the mother consumes margarine, fried foods and commercial baked goods. Consumption of trans fats lowers the overall fat content of mother’s milk. Trans fats interfere with many enzymatic processes, cause reduced learning ability, disrupt the endocrine system, and contribute to allergies, asthma and many other diseases.
As early as the 1940s, Weston Price observed a decline in the quality of human breast milk, as evidenced by the extensive dental problems he found in his breastfed patients. The recent poor showing of breastfed infants in comparison trials indicates that modern human milk is not better—and possibly worse—than it was in Price’s day. Human milk will be lacking in vitamins A, D, B12 and other fat soluble vitamin if the mother’s diet is poor. Human milk will also lack long-chain fatty acids if these are not present in adequate amounts in the mother’s diet. In addition, mothers on calorie-restricted diets will have lower levels of fat and lactose in their milk. Weston Price found that in traditional societies, women continued to consume special foods during the lactation period.
The development of the face and jaw depends on the nutrients available to the child from preconception through childhood. Breastfed children can have dental deformities if their nutrition in the womb and the breast milk they received were lacking in nutrients.
Babies are born with a sterile gut flora, and they “inherit” the mother’s gut health, good or poor. Vital nutrients which the baby received or not in utero, antibiotics, drugs and other medication took by the mother, the way the baby was born (cesarean or vaginal), and quality of breast milk are all essential in determining the baby’s gut health and the level of both existent beneficial and pathogenic bacteria.
Most of the times, the milk of vegan mothers will be lacking in vitamin B12 and important long-chain fatty acids. If a vegan mother insists on breastfeeding, her baby’s diet should be supplemented with cod liver oil, egg yolks and liver, all animal foods.
The onslaught of cellular damage has only increased in the past ten years. The toxic environment damages cellular function deep within the cell’s epigenetics. Genetically modified food damages DNA more and more every day as Round Up Ready genetically modified (GMO) toxins are being incorporated into infants DNA around the world.
An Epidemic Of Neurological Inflammation
Neurological inflammation occurs when an inflammatory cascade releases inflammatory mediators. Neurological inflammation can be a result of the overexcitation of neurons, nerve pathways in the nervous system and brain, leading to misfiring, exhaustion, and ultimately the death of these nerves.
When neurons die, chronic inflammation results, leading to poor nerve signaling and health imbalances. For example, the red swelling that surrounds a bug bite is actually the body’s inflammatory process at work. A very similar process can occur in the areas surrounding our nerves, even if we can’t see that internal process as clearly as we can the red bite on our skin’s surface. (dr Amy Yasko, Ph.D – Neurological Research Institute)
The causes which determine the process of “neurological inflammation” resulting in autism and autistic-like behaviors including ADD and ADHD is multifactorial. Without a particular combination of genetic mutations, heavy metal toxicities, chronic viral infections, underlying bacterial and fungal infections, and excitotoxin damage leading to a negative cascade of neurological events, autism, ADD/ ADHD and other neurological conditions like Alzheimers may not manifest. And the same underlying factors may also be responsible for the increase in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia as well as the increase in mitochondrial disease.
For example, excitoxins are stimulating chemicals present now in many common foods, that overstimulate brain chemistry via the neurotransmitters and nerve receptors. This over-stimulation can trigger nerve cell death, which results in poor signaling, contributing to “stims”, and language difficulties. Add to this all the other mentioned factors and it’s no wonder such conditions are on the rise in our society!
Let’s Talk Solutions!
There is no panacea, no magic cure, nor do most conditions arise form one sole cause, like a hostile bug or toxin. Many different factors act together to influence their development, and as our understanding of their complex origins changes, so must the manner in which we address them. From this perspective, only an individualized and holistic approach will work for real.
The Food You Eat
Big brains require brain-building fats like cholesterol, lecithin, choline, saturated fat and long chain polyunsaturated fats. These are found in highest concentrations in organ meats, cold-water fish and fish eggs. How many mothers-to-be today are still consuming these to ensure their babies will have healthy brain cells and nerves?
For centuries, many ancient cultures have consumed foods that are striking us as bizzare or make our stomachs turn these days: seal, lichen (the Netsilik Eskimo), fat grubs of giant flies, lizards, pounded sago palm hearts (the Kombai), forage for insects, millet, goat meat (the Mofu). But believe it or not, these foods’ nutritional content is very familiar to your body, it is REAL food that your body can process. Corn hot dogs, vegetable oil, aspartame, GMO foods and pasteurized dairy? Now these are some weird Franken-foods your body will never be able to process and recognize, but stock up as toxic build up instead. Which is again, passed down to your child…
No, the solution here, for us, “modern people” is not to prepare meals with giant flies and lichen. But to re-learn our own, traditional way of eating which fits our unique metabolism, balances our biochemistry and is able to provide all the necessary nutrients we need in any situation, may that be reverse and recover from disease, pregnancy, lactation, etc. We can do this today by finding out our metabolic type and learn the whole know-how behind this concept so we can be our own healers.
The market is flooded these days with all kinds of nutrients, herbs and plant extracts meant to aid in detoxification. It’s wonderful that we have Nature work for us in this regard. But how do we choose what works best for us? Is it safe to go from one detox protocol to another, changing one supplement with a new one? How do we measure our progress? Or lack of it…
Detox procedures are actually essential in our modern times. Luckily, part of the genetic intelligence in every cell is the ability to detoxify. If that was not the case, every cell in our body would die from autointoxication. But in many people who need to detoxify, cells don’t have what they need in order to function properly.
Cells need raw materials – to chelate or pick up the toxins, energy - to move the toxins out of the cells, selective membrane permeability -the ability of cells to open and close their membranes appropriately, to let good things in and close to keep bad things out. But if your diet is not correct to meet your genetically-based requirements for nutrition, then none of these three functions needed to detoxify will work properly.
Detox is just a step in the whole very complex process of natural healing; it is just a tool, not a “cure”. Detox from various toxins shouldn’t take place without previously preparing your body to do so. A pretty good digestion, liver, kidney and adrenal function are all required in order to handle the whole process well and use it to your benefit. Specific and accurate lab testings are required to detect the level and kind of toxicity, how this is affecting your metabolism and what are the best ways to address it.
Depending on all of the elements of individuality, as change begins to take place, if too many supplements are taken for too long, the rate of change can exceed the body’s capacity to keep up with it. Carefully observing all these subtle or pretty obvious signs the body is sending us on a daily basis is the core premise of true natural healing.
Yasko, Amy. Autism – Pathways To Recovery
Tips, Jack. Methylation: The Molecule That Unlocks The Body’s Healing Response