Friday, April 29, 2011

What to do....

A friend today said how I must feel wonderful watching my child do normal things, referring to all the work we put into their health and yes, she is right, it feels wonderful watching my children experience the world with clarity.  It feels great watching my children develop normally, which was no small feat.  Our lifestyle takes incredible conditioning and tolerance.  We've lost touch with friends and family members who think we are extremists and even those still close to us occasionally express feeling as though we take things too far.

Let me share an experience with you from today.  I was at the grocery store when I heard a child screaming at the top of his lungs.  We are not talking about a baby, this was a child clearly about the age of 4.  When they came into sight, he had his very worn blankey over his head (an attempt to reduce sensory overload), he was screaming and fighting the air, arms flailing.  When the blanket was removed, I could see the deteriorated condition of his health, eyes sunken yet swollen at the same time, paper thin pale white skin with bright blue veins popping through, no muscle tone on his arms and legs....I knew his story without knowing a thing about these people.  I felt like she came into my path more than a few times on purpose, to give me the chance to say something, but I could see that she was treating him as though he needed to "cut her a break, just today"....the sadness I felt for this child and his family, it literally brought uncontrollable tears to my eyes and still does.  I wanted so badly to say something to them, but where to start, how to not offend, what to do....nothing.  I did nothing.  Do you know how incredibly painful that was for me?  I have tried confronting parents before and in the split second a person has to listen to the "crazy stranger" never really feels like it goes over well and what do you tell them, you can't say everything that needs to be heard.  I've been looked at like I had two heads, ignored and politely nodded at.  So I gave up on this child, why? Because of those previous people.  If only I could have tactfully handed that woman a slip of paper with my e-mail address and telephone number on it.  I wish I could say "look at my child now....he was your child at one point".....and I didn't. 

So yes, I am proud beyond words at the progress we have made with our wonderful boys, but my heart aches a thousand times over for those who have no support, those who are relying on mainstream doctors to tell them they can't change a's a very sad turn of events in this world.

We may appear to outsiders like we do too much, things they "wouldn't do the same way", but can they really say that with certainty?  What if it were them?  What if one stranger could change their lives forever, because that is exactly how it started for us.  A stranger with something important to say.  Her voice rings in my memory daily and thanks to her bold honesty, here we are.

I want to do more, SO much more!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The realities of this toxic world

Just when I think we have gotten things back to running smoothly, WHACK up the side of the head with life's ugly lessons.....this time it's mold, and not just any mold, but toxic mold, yup, in OUR house!

I often feel like we can't catch a break, it's bad enough having our children exposed to this nastiness, but every circumstance that we find ourselves up against slips through the proverbial cracks.  Our health issues aren't covered by insurance and now our second mold issue, same thing.

The leak first made itself visible in our basement ceiling, by dripping on the floor next to where my husband works.  We noticed the ceiling (subfloor) contained a nice water stain and the water was running down the sheetrock eventually soaking it along the way.  It doesn't help that we are right smack in the middle of the wettest season either!  I can't seem to catch a break from rain after rain, after rain.  At first, we couldn't locate the water entry, because putting the hose along the deck (which is just above the leak) didn't reveal anything.  And it's not from ground moisture, because we have a walkout basement, so essentially the leak is at the floor of the second level, even though it's our basement.  We had THREE contractors come out and all were baffled, literally scratching their heads.  The first contractor thought the flashing could be it, so we had him add new no avail, the next rain resulted in even more water damage as the seeping water entered the building.  I can't even explain the feelings that come with watching water enter your house at lightening speeds while having NO idea where or how to stop it!  Hmmmm, sort of reminds me of another battle we contend with daily.

The third contractor had an inkling that it could be a small tiny spot where there was some rotted wood at the base of our mud room door trim.  Interesting, yup, there was a little finger-sized hole right there, could the next dry day we had, we stuck the hose on that little hole and sure enough, it was gobbled up like a thirsty mouth and where did it go?  Right into our basement, pouring down the walls.  What baffles me is how this spot was rotted so poorly when I just sanded and painted the trim in the fall!!  I later learned that the "new" prefab door trim kits which are put together before installation included unfinished ends to all the cut wood.  So no matter how much we might have maintained the wood, it was still capable of drinking up water that was so readily available.  In other words, this wood was rotting from the inside out, even though the exterior new paint gave us the warm and fuzzies as responsible homeowners.

SO....with the water pouring into our house by the boat-loads, we decided to be proactive and remove the wet sheet rock to make sure we didn't end up with some fast growing mold.  Sure enough, all underneath was wet, very wet!!  We kept the window open to air it out and allow for ventilation, then we put a heater and a fan on the wet walls, aiming up at the ceiling to help the subfloor dry too, since we couldn't get to the inside layers.  At this point, the inside of the subfloor was my biggest concern, the possibility that molds could be growing there since we couldn't air it out.  Little did I know that we had already uncovered a nice stash of stachybotrys, penicillium/aspergillis and chaetomium right beneath our noses, quite literally!!  We found out the next morning when we went down to see how the drying was progressing.  The areas that were soaked were drying up, but there was BLACK on the walls in the darkest spots.  Uh oh.....we had the fan on this, SHIT!!  Our next step was to contact a mold company to get the ball rolling ASAP.  I was referred to a company called Air Care where the President acts as a consultant.  He does air quality testing, inspects the sites, writes up a work order that is adhered to by whichever mold company is hired.  He personally sees the job through to completion and then he retests and issues a certificate confirming that the house is safe again.  This is essential when reselling the house.  During his inspection, I mentioned the work we had done in the front and I was concerned with the fact that our repair didn't hold up in that area after having the work done, although the additional repair was done as soon as we noticed the problem.  He used a moisture meter and found no moisture behind the wall, the basement, a very moldy, wet piece of structural lumber was LEFT in the house!!  I knew the company had been difficult, but seriously??

The next step was to monitor the levels of mold spores in the house to see what we were dealing with and how much of it.  This was highly recommended based on the issues we have with our kids' immune dysfunction.  Knowing what we are dealing with is essential.  I didn't expect the results we got.  When the first thing he said to me when I picked up the phone was not to panic until I heard him out completely, I knew I was in for it.  He said "the basement has significant issues and I recommend you close it up and stay out of it"....yikes.  What does that mean? Below are the levels found in our basement, I have been advised that the bold molds (hehehe) are mycotoxic in nature. 

  • Chaetomium - 27 spores per cubic meter (this would be a 3 foot cube of air space) this level is not concerning, however, the spore itself is considered a mycotoxin.
  • Cladosporium - 80 spores per cubic meter
  • Ascospores - 80 spores per cubic meter
  • Basidiospores - 350 spores per cubic meter
  • Penisillium/Aspergillis - ready for this? 1,500 spores per cubic meter!!! WOAH!
  • Scopulariopsis - 80 spores per cubic meter
  • Stachybotrys - 27 spores per cubic meter - again, not a very high number, but a VERY toxic spore known as the "killer mold" which will grow on just about EVERYTHING it finds.  
  • The total spore count for the basement was 2,144!
Now, for the rest of the house.  The HVAC was tested to have not only the Basidiospores and the Penisilium/Aspergillis, but a mold spore unique to the unit, called Epicoccum.  As if this wasn't enough, we also have fiberglass fibers coming from our HVAC which means we will also have to have a scope of the ducts done to find out the problem, as well as having the ducts cleaned.  The first floor mud room was tested as having Cladosporium, Penisillium/Aspergillis and Basidiospores and the latter was fairly high, although nothing upstairs was even close to the numbers seen down in the basement.

I guess if there is some good news in this mess, it's that the Stachybotrys isn't in the HVAC or throughout the house.

So the plan is to basically rip out the exterior walls that were wet, from the outside starting with removing the siding, etc.  Not sure how they plan to handle the subfloor yet and then I have to get a different contractor who does the repair work.  We plan to use the same guy who will do our leak repair on Tuesday.  I'm not sure what is going to be recommended for the area that already was repaired, but not properly remediated, but I have to imagine that in order for him to give us a completed mold remediation certificate, it will need to be addressed.  He told me during our meeting that it needs to be accessed from above - AKA - our newly repaired dining room walls/floor!!  We still don't even have a quote on all of this work, but what I can tell you is that even before starting the mold remediation, we have already spent $2,000 between the leak repair and mold testing (some of which gets paid with the final testing phase).

How has this effected our family....?  Aside from the emotional disturbances of dealing with mold AGAIN, having to deal with the previous mold company who screwed up their job exposing our family to continued mold spore toxicity, knowing that there is a very toxic mold residing right below our feet settling on all of our beloved belongings (which will need to be thrown out, if they are porous) and the sheer cost of all of this, we are also experiencing some physical symptoms.  Grayson seems to be the most effected with burning red eyes, a runny nose, a phlemy cough, and a very moody disposition, Gavin only has the runny nose and mood swings.  Hubby and I also have some mucus congestion and headaches.

This morning I made an inhalant on our stove with water, a touch of food grade hydrogen peroxide, grapefruit seed extract, eucalyptus and cinnamon oil, which we all took turns breathing into our lungs.  It definitely generated some coughing which felt like clearing the lungs.

I am a bit paranoid about the time span between exposure and remediation which will be at least a week and a half total, depending on when the mold company can do the work.  I immediately went out and bought a 3M filtrete HVAC filter to filter out 93% of the mold spores in the unit.  We've also researched Thieves oil which we can't find anywhere locally so I will be making it with the essential oils and a recipe I found online.  I will soak cotton balls and put them on our HVAC venting (especially the return vents), plus expose some to the air around us by dipping wood sticks into it to act as a reed diffuser.

We tried to call our doctor yesterday explaining the concerns we had and if he thought we should get out until the work is done, but I haven't heard back.  So now with the long holiday weekend, we are pretty much cornered into making it through the long weekend before speaking with any additional professionals.  I'm perturbed to say the least.  And now I am off to create my homemade thieves oil, wish me luck...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The learning continues - iodine

A day doesn't pass that I don't learn something new, and I LOVE it!  Since taking iodine, I am learning about more connections tying the obvious symptoms I have had of iodine deficiency for many years! 

I have been able to increase my dose of iodine to about 30mg a day so far.  It takes time to increase, because it causes detox resulting in uncomfortable side effects and these side effects are the body screaming out, "SLOW DOWN!"  So I take a few days at a time using the same dose in my morning supplements, then increase one drop by adding the additional drop later in the day with my afternoon vitamins.  After I tolerate that increased drop with no problems, I will add it into my morning dose.  I remain there for a few days and then add a new drop in the afternoon again.  It seems to be working, so if it's not broken....

Since increasing the Lugol's 2% iodine to 14 drops, I am feeling a dull throbbing pain in my right breast.  I have read that taking iodine helps with fibrocystic breast tissue.  Interestingly, I have had problems with fibrocystic tissue in my right breast for years.  I even went to a surgeon once years ago, because I had one cyst that was fairly large and I was concerned it could be cancer.  He explained fibrocystic breasts to me then and I haven't really been concerned about it since.  Now I am connecting the iodine deficiency with not only the thyroid function, but my problem with fibrocysitc tissue, which can also turn into cancer, regardless of the fact that doctors will tell you it doesn't!  I found this great link from a doctor regarding this very topic.  I am not sharing this link for the product, just the information from Dr. Derry. 

I expect that the throbbing sensations I am feeling in my right breast could be associated with this fibrous tissue dissolving with the increased iodine dose.  It's not something I feel regularly, especially not between cycles!  Oh and another interesting connection...when I was at my dental revision exam, the chiropractor who did muscle testing told me that I was retaining mercury in my right breast!  I am not surprised by this, but at the time, I didn't have the information about my right breast, iodine, mercury toxicity and my thyroid. 

I am SO glad to have found this connection.  My supplementation with iodine is increasing my energy levels too, this is a HUGE improvement for me!!

Here are a few more links regarding our need for increased iodine:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Want to see the vitamin cabinet?

So here it is, our FULL vitamin cabinet.  Grayson said it looks like store shelves, ha ha ha.  He must enjoy organization as much as I do, because he thinks this "looks nice".  Only another organizing nut could appreciate the beauty of this cabinet, hahaha.

I'm slightly anal, I think the proper technical term for it is OCD, hehehe.  I like to have multiples of everything so that as we run out, I just grab another from the cabinet.  Considering there are three of us on this regimine now, we go through some of these bottles pretty fast.  For instance, the zinc picolinate which is 60 22mg capsules per bottle.  The kids use 5 a day between them and I use 6 a day!  I am opening a new bottle every couple of days!  The biotin too, we go through those really fast, but at least I can get 120 count bottles of that.

Within this organization, there is even more organization, the lazy susan is the kid's daily supplements, the step organizer to the left is full of my daily supplements, plus I use the kid's stuff, our Bach Flower Essences are in the middle, with some things that we all use behind them.  The second shelf has our illness supplements to the left and all of our unopened back-up bottles on the rest of the shelf.  The third shelf is all things that are used much less frequently, but always manage to come back to for some reason.

If you could see the inside of the doors, you would see pages and pages of notes, lol.  I type up lists of what supplements we use and where we buy them, lists of what to use for what and when.

I stocked up on three back-up bottles of Lugol's iodine recently, because of the risk of not being able to get it, due to the radiation exposure in the US from Fukushima.  People are scrambling to get their hands on it to help prevent radiation damage.  The problem is that prevention is the key, you can't erase radiation damage and considering radioactive iodine - 131 has already been found in the drinking water in PA among many other states and in foods in CA, it's probably a bit too late to be trying to prevent.  Perhaps it will help with all of the domino effects though, like how the rain water will feed the plants, how the grasses will feed the animals, and the half life of radioactive iodine in humans is 100 days, whereas it's half-life outside of a person is 8 days.

Sorry to get off track, I have a habit of doing that!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Contemplating the future ahead

I typically have a very positive outlook on things, especially the health of my children.  I am always completely convinced that they will be well, even healthier than most NT people, when we are through with their detox program.

For the first time, I am scared about raising children who eat differently in this harsh world.  We have recently found out that Grayson has been eating gluten and casein, and who knows what else, while on the bus.  A friend is giving it to him almost daily and no efforts to remove tv privileges or play dates with friends is even making him hesitate in taking another bite....or half a sandwich, or a bagel with cream cheese....not even the tummy and head aches that result!

We have lengthy conversations about the reason gluten and casein, among other foods, aren't good for him.  He just isn't capable of self-control, so no conversation results in compliance.  I know that one factor is that he is five, and five year olds developmentally experiment with truth and lies anyway.  But the fact that a gluten infraction will stay with him for 6+ months in the form of gut and brain inflammation as well as immune disruption makes this a very serious topic for us.  We can't continue to trust a five year old to control himself, especially after having had an infraction with an opiate-like food.  It causes a craving beyond our comprehension.  Only a drug addict would get it.  He is addicted to the opiates, so when a well-meaning friend opens his lunch bag up to Grayson, he is going to take the offer, no matter how many warnings, threats or days grounded he gets.

Since this is the first time this is coming up with him, probably because it's really the first time he's had independence and freedom, we need to be sure we set the story straight and make an impact regarding how serious this is.  He needs to understand that we aren't bending, this isn't optional, it's his health, period.  So until we find out, if there are options available through the bus company or school, we will be driving him every day, grrrrr!  It means getting Gavin up and dressed in the morning to have breakfast with Grayson so we can run out the door and it means having to wake Gavin from his nap an hour early every day that I have to pick Grayson up.  It's definitely disruptive, but what can we do, it's his health.  I haven't budged on any particular part of his healing program in the past, nor will I start now.  I've even considered home schooling, which may become a hot topic, if the school or bus company doesn't do something to assist us in providing a safe environment for our child.  For now, we only have a few months of school left, so even if we had to drive him daily for the rest of this year, we will make do, but next year, Gavin will also be in school three days a week, and he will require driving to and from school.  It just won't be possible for us to handle both.

I also fear the idea that Grayson won't take responsibility for his health.  What if he really just doesn't care about what we are doing for him, if he truly doesn't grasp it, ever?  The idea that his gluten sensitivity causes health consequences for 6 months from each infraction means that everything I am doing in that 6 months feels like a waste of time!  I'm feeling very doomed right about now.

I think it's time for some Bach Sweet Chestnut and Cherry Plum flower essences:

Sweet Chestnut: For extreme anguish, the feeling that one has reached the limits of one's endurance. Teaches one to believe that change is possible, to trust oneself and the benevolence of the universe.

Cherry Plum is one of the five flowers in the rescue remedy formula. It addresses emotions of desperation and loss of control. This remedy helps one re-connect with a higher power when the tensions and pressures of life are overwhelming. It brings calm and emotional encouragement, allowing stresses and fears to be overcome. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Iodine - critical timing

I have been using iodine since I found out that my hypothyroidism and low iodine are interconnected.  In my reading about iodine and how mothers pass their deficiencies on to children who then develop immune problems, I also began giving it to my two boys in small doses.  Ironically, that was just before the Fukushima disaster.  Since things have heated up in Japan, I have been following Dr. Brownstein, the doctor of iodine, on his blog about how to deal with this disaster as it unfolds. 

If you aren't already supporting your family with iodine and your kids exhibit ANY signs of an ASD, I would recommend getting some ASAP.  Iodine has been very hard to find, but Swanson's Vitamin and Ebay do still have some J. Crow Lugol's, my favorite, as it's liquid and easy to hide in any drinks.  I have read that J. Crow ran out recently and that the prices are increasing.  Could be hearsay, but to me, it's not worth the risk, especially since I already know I NEED iodine and so do my kids, so I stocked up on three more bottles!

Below is his latest blog entry, pretty scary stuff! 

Japanese Radiation Update 7: Why You Should Consider Iodine Therapy

I just wanted to give you a quick update on the Japanese nuclear disaster. It is clear that there has been a meltdown at the reactor core. The amount of radioactivity released into the air and the ocean is very large. This may surpass the amount released at Chernobyl.

There is no question that radioactive particles will be carried by the jet stream and deposited over North America. In fact, there have been multiple reports of radiation spikes occurring in a number of states. Now, the amount of radiation reported has been low. But, do not let that fool you. If you are iodine deficient, your body will try to absorb iodine from whatever source it can get it from, radioactive particles from Japan included.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it is important to ensure that you are iodine sufficient. How can you do that? The first step is to work with a health care provider who is knowledgeable about iodine. Next, you can get your iodine levels checked. Many labs will do this with a simple urine test. FFP labs and Hakala Labs do the most complete test on iodine, the 24 hour loading test. I describe this test in more detail in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition. You don’t need a doctors order to complete this test.

Finally, ensure that you are taking adequate amounts of inorganic, non-radioactive iodine in order to maintain whole body iodine sufficiency. Iodoral (Optimox), Iodozyme HP (Biotics) and Lugol’s solution are examples of this type of iodine that are effective for maintaining whole body iodine sufficiency. The amount of iodine needed to achieve whole body sufficiency, for most of my patients, varies between 6-50mg/day. What do I mean by ‘whole body sufficiency’?

Many people and experts talking about the problems with radioactive iodine focus on the thyroid. The thyroid gland has the largest concentration of iodine in the body. However, every cell in the body needs and requires iodine to function optimally. The breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate, and other tissues also contain large amounts of iodine. If the body is deficient, these tissues will take up radioactive iodine if given the chance. The whole premise of ortho-iodo supplementation that I discuss in my book is to ingest enough iodine in order for all the tissues of the body to be iodine sufficient. The consequences of iodine deficiency are severe—increases in cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus and thyroid. Radioactive iodine exposure in an iodine deficient state will increase the risk of cancer. Again, I discuss this in much more detail in my book.

The best results with iodine therapy are when it is combined with a holistic treatment regimen. This includes taking vitamin C and salt. Furthermore, correcting nutrient imbalances and detoxifying will help. Finally, ensure that you stay hydrated.

There is no need to panic over the Japanese disaster. You can use this situation as a wake-up call to ensure that you are doing all that is possible for maintaining your optimal health. Finally, remember to educate yourself about iodine so that you can make the best health care decisions.

posted by Dr. David Brownstein @ 5:11 PM   0 comments

More information on iodine thanks to the Iodine Group at

Iodine is detected in every organ and tissue in the body.  It is found in high levels in the thyroid, breast, stomach, saliva, ovaries, liver, lung, heart, and adrenals. It is essential in pregnancy. 

Often, iodine is treated as if it is important only to the thyroid, and the effects of iodine on the rest of the body are ignored.  However, iodine seems to impact every organ and system of the body.

Much of the research has been done on the thyroid since iodine is essential for the formation of thyroid hormones and the thyroid hormones affect every cell of the body.  The primary thyroid hormones are T3 and T4, named for the number of iodine atoms contained.  For example, T3 contains three iodine atoms and T4 contains four iodine atoms.  Recent research indicates that T2 and T1 are also important hormones.

Many studies have been done on the metabolism of iodine by the thyroid.  The NIS (Sodium/Iodide Symporter) allows iodide to be taken into the thyroid cells at levels of concentration much higher than the levels in the blood.  Once the iodide is in the cell, it undergoes a complex metabolic process as it gets transformed into the thyroid hormones.

There is an extensive body of research and theory on iodine and the breast.  The breast contains NIS receptors and is known to concentrate iodine in the excreted milk.  Iodine is considered important for proper breast structure and health.  The specific form of molecular iodine (I2) (versus iodide, I-) is considered to be essential for a healthy breast.

Research on iodine and the breast focuses on (1) fibrocystic breast disease, (2) breast cancer, (3) iodine metabolism and (4) relationships between thyroid issues and the breast. 

Iodine is known to be essential for the development of the brain.  Cretinism, a severe form of mental retardation with physical difficulties as well, is caused by severe iodine deficiency in the mother during pregnancy.  It is the best known of the Iodine Deficiency Diseases and is still a problem in much of the world.  Many suspect that lesser forms of mental retardation are also caused by iodine deficiency.

      Iodine and the Heart 
Iodine is essential for the heart.  The thyroid hormones (which are molecules containing iodine) have major effects on the heart and circulatory system. 

Iodine is accumulated by the immune system, especially by neutrophils during phagocytosis (engulfing of bacteria and other foreign bodies).  A potent antimicrobial system is created with a peroxidase, hydrogen peroxide, and a halide.  This system is highly effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other micro-organisms. During this process, iodoproteins such as monoiodotyrosine (T1) are created.

Iodine is concentrated in the stomach and is being studied in relationship to stomach cancer.  Iodine is also important in the production of stomach acidity, bowel movements, and candida.

Much of the body's iodine is found in the skin.  Moreover, iodine can be absorbed through the skin.  Exactly what the iodine is doing in the skin and the various factors that affect transdermal absorption are not yet clear.

In addition to thyroid hormones, iodine also affects other hormones.  Iodine affects estrogen metabolism, reported to transform estrone and estradiol to estriol.  Iodine affects the ovarian production of estrogen and also affects estrogen receptors (at least in the breast).

Ovaries concentrate iodine and have NIS symporters.  Ovarian iodide uptake varies with sexual activities and is enhanced by estrogens.  Iodine deficiency is related to ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer.

There is a long history of the therapeutic use of iodine for lung issues.  It has been used in asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.  It is presently being studied in lung cancer.

Iodine occurs in large quantities in the ciliary body and lachrymal glands of the eye.  It has been related to cataract formation and glaucoma, and is seen as useful in treating eye infections.  Iodide has been found to be protective against UVB radiation. 

The salivary gland concentrate iodine 20 to 100 times serum levels.  The function of the iodine in the saliva is not yet clear.  Povidone-iodine is used as a disinfectant in dentistry for periodontal issues.

Several studies have now shown a relationship between iodine and bones.

Iodine has been studied as an antioxidant in human blood and has been found to be as powerful as Vitamin C.

Some of the most fascinating work on iodine has been in the field of evolution, where scientists have been researching how iodine came to be concentrated by certain parts of the body.

Studies on iodine and pregnancy

Maternal exposure to endocrine-active substances and breastfeeding.

Dorea JG.
Am J Perinatol. 2006 Jul;23(5):305-12. Epub 2006 Jun 23
[abstract only]

"Women pass on low levels of hazardous environmental contaminants and naturally occurring substances during pregnancy and nursing. In addition to estrogenic activity, these substances exhibit antiestrogenic, antiandrogenic, and androgenic actions, and because they can affect thyroid metabolism, they are described as endocrine-active substances (EAS). Specific topics related to EAS metabolism by mothers, fetuses, and infants are discussed. There is strong evidence that the assumed risk of EAS in early human development is exacerbated by interrupting neonatal priming provided by breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding are fundamental to attenuate possible EAS effects on infants due to long-term intrauterine exposure. Breastfeeding is a guarantor of health benefits, whereas its alternative (infant formula) is a predictor of some health limitations. Mothers concerned with exposure to environmental contaminants should be advised of the proven benefits of breastfeeding and the possible health limitations of formula feeding."

Early (in uterus and infant) exposure to mercury and lead.

Dorea JG, Donangelo CM.
Clin Nutr. 2006 Jun;25(3):369-76. Epub 2005 Nov 22.
[abstract only]

"Mercury and lead are toxic metals widely spread in the environment with bio-accumulative features that raises public health concerns. Both metals are equally dispersed in the human food chain but exposure and risk of toxicity during early human development are modulated by the diet and nutritional status. Understanding how Hg and Pb occur and interact with nutrients is fundamental to establish guidelines for diminishing exposure and the risk of toxicity. The risk of fetal and infant exposure to Hg can be influenced by maternal amalgam filling (inorganic Hg) and fish consumption (monomethyl Hg), whereas the risk of exposure to Pb is complex: maternal absorption depends on nutrient interactions (Ca and P); and maternal body Pb accumulation responds to all factors known to interact with bone and calcium metabolism. Maternal exposure to Hg and Pb is more important during fetal development than during breastfeeding. Moreover, these metals (especially Pb) are frequently higher in infant formulas which do not carry the nutritional and psychological advantages and protection of breastfeeding. Infant's reference dose is lower for Hg than for Pb, but risk of Pb contamination for fetuses and infant (breast- or formula-fed) is higher and lasts longer than Hg. Breastfeeding is essential to complete infant development. Interruption or suppression of breast-feeding with cow's milk-based formulas is not an option to environmental pollution."

Breast-milk mercury concentrations and amalgam surface in mothers from Brasilia, Brazil.

da Costa SL, Malm O, Dorea JG.
Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Aug;106(2):145-51.
[abstract only]

"Human milk is the best source of nourishment for the newborn because of its incomparable balanced nutrition and psychological benefits to the infant's development. Dental fillings containing metallic Hg are the primary source of inorganic Hg contamination of humans. We studied Hg concentrations in the breast milk of mothers during the first month (7-30 d) postnatal in relation to the number of amalgam surfaces. The concentration of total Hg was determined in 23 samples of human milk collected from lactating mothers with a varied number of amalgam dental restorations. The average number of amalgam surfaces was 6.87 (5.81, SD) with a range of 0 to 20. The mean concentration of total Hg in breast milk was 5.73 ng/g (range: 0-23.07). The Pearson correlation coefficient was significant (r = 0.6087, p = 0.0057) between breast-milk Hg and number of amalgam surfaces. In 56.5% of low-fish-eating mothers, the amount of Hg likely to be ingested by breast-fed infants is above the World Health Organization reference."

Maternal thiocyanate and thyroid status during breast-feeding.

Dorea JG.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):97-101. Review.
[abstract only]

"Cyanogenic glucosides are naturally present in plant foods especially in staple foods (cassava) consumed by millions of people in tropical countries. Most traditional processing methods are effective in detoxifying such goitrogens to safe levels of consumption. Nevertheless, residual cyanide (CN) is rapidly metabolized to thiocyanate (SCN) by existing metabolic pathways. There are concerns that goitrogens may reach the nursing infants through breast feeding or cow's milk based formulas. SCN adverse effects are commonly observed in relation to cigarette smoking. Breast-feeding is effective in protecting infants from anti-thyroid effects of eventual or habitual maternal exposure to CN exposure in food (cassava) or recreation habits (cigarette smoking). SCN goitrogenic effects occur secondary to iodine deficiency in special circumstances of high consumption of incomplete detoxified cassava and insufficient protein intake. Only during inadequate protein nutrition can SCN aggravate endemic iodine-deficient disorders (IDD)."

Maternal mercury transfer.

Dorea JG, Barbosa AC.
Environ Res. 2003 Oct;93(2):113-4.
[citation only]

Iodine nutrition and breast feeding.

Dorea JG.
J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2002;16(4):207-20. Review.
[abstract only]

"A survey of the databanks Medline and Web of science identified studies dealing with maternal and infant iodine nutrition during breast feeding. The iodine concentration of human milk varies widely due to maternal iodine intake. Mean breast milk iodine concentrations are reported as ranging from 5.4 to 2170 microg/L (median 62 microg/L) in worldwide studies. In the few studies that compared length of lactation, gestation length, and parity number, these factors did not significantly affect milk-iodine concentrations. In studies of maternal iodine deficiency, untreated goiter had no impact on breast milk iodine when compared with controls. Iodine in human milk responds quickly to dietary iodine intake, either supplemented or consumed in natural foods. Easily absorbable iodine from foods, supplemental sources, iodine-based medication or iodine-based antiseptic solutions used during parturition, is taken up by the maternal thyroid and mammary glands through the Na(+)/I(-) symporter system. This transmembrane carrier protein transports iodine against a high concentration gradient. Hormonal iodine in breast milk occurs mainly as T-4, but depending on maternal iodine intake, high concentrations of the inorganic form (iodide) are found. In less developed countries, where natural-food-iodine intake is low, adequate maternal iodine nutritional status depends exclusively on enforcement of food iodination. In industrialized countries, maternal iodine intake has increased as a function of increasing consumption of dairy products. The human infant is sensitive to maternal iodine nutrition during fetal development and later during breast feeding. Environmental factors, not directly related to maternal iodine intake, such as intake of selenium and organochlorine pollutants, can affect thyroid hormone homeostasis in breast-fed infants. In spite of low iodine concentrations found in milk of mothers consuming low-iodine natural foods, long lasting or even life-lasting benefits to the breast-fed infant are demonstrable."

Selenium and breast-feeding.

Dorea JG.
Br J Nutr. 2002 Nov;88(5):443-61. Review.
[abstract only]

"The objective of the present review is to discuss Se nutrition during breast-feeding, encompassing environmental and maternal constitutional factors affecting breast-milk-Se metabolism and secretion. A literature search of Medline and Webofscience was used to retrieve and select papers dealing with Se and breast milk. Although Se in natural foods occurs only in organic form, breast milk responds to organic and inorganic Se in supplements. Inorganic Se (selenite, selenate), which is largely used in maternal supplements, is not detectable in breast milk. The mammary-gland regulating mechanism controls the synthesis and secretion of seleno-compounds throughout lactation, with a high total Se level in colostrum that decreases as lactation progresses. Se appears in breast milk as a component of specific seleno-proteins and seleno-amino-acids in milk proteins that are well tolerated by breast-fed infants even in high amounts. Se in breast milk occurs as glutathione peroxidase (4-32 % total Se) > selenocystamine > selenocystine > selenomethionine. The wide range of breast-milk Se concentrations depends on Se consumed in natural foods, which reflects the Se content of the soils where they are grown. Se prophylaxis, either through soil Se fertilization or maternal supplements, is effective in raising breast-milk Se concentration. In spite of wide variation, the median Se concentration from studies worldwide are 26, 18, 15, and 17 microg/l in colostrum (0-5 d), transitional milk (6-21 d), mature milk (1-3 months) and late lactation (>5 months) respectively. Se recommendations for infants are presently not achieved in 30 % of the reported breast-milk Se concentrations; nevertheless Se status is greater in breast-fed than in formula-fed infants."

Expression of thyroid-related genes in human thymus.

Spitzweg C, Joba W, Heufelder AE.
Thyroid. 1999 Feb;9(2):133-41.
[abstract only]

"There are several thyroid antigens including human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS), thyrotropin receptor (TSH-R), thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and thyroglobulin (Tg) that have been considered to be thyroid-specific proteins involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune thyroid diseases. We examined the expression of these thyroid-tolerance related genes in normal human thymus, the lymphoid organ responsible for the induction of central T-cell self. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplifications were performed with 4 pairs of oligonucleotide primers specific for the hNIS, TSH-R, TPO, and Tg genes, respectively. Gene-specific transcripts were confirmed by Southern hybridization using digoxigenin-labeled internal oligonucleotide probes. To monitor cDNA integrity and quantity, all samples were coamplified with a pair of intron-spanning human beta-actin-specific oligonucleotide primers. Furthermore, using a highly sensitive immunostaining technique and antibodies specific for these 4 antigens, we examined whether NIS-, TSH-R-, TPO-, and Tg-specific immunoreactivity can be detected and localized in normal human thymus. RT-PCR and Southern hybridization revealed expression of each of these 4 thyroid-related genes in normal human thymus. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis of frozen tissue sections derived from normal human thymus showed marked immunoreactivity for NIS, TSH-R, and Tg as well as weaker staining for TPO. Control reactions using isotype matched nonimmune immunoglobulins were consistently negative. Taken together, our results suggest that NIS-, TSH-R-, TPO-, and Tg-RNA are present and actively processed to immunoreactive NIS-, TSH-R-, TPO-, and Tg-like protein in human thymus. These data support the concept that pre-T lymphocytes may be educated to recognize thyroid-related epitopes expressed in thymus, and, thus, to generate self-tolerance against these thyroid-related antigens."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The wrath of mercury

Have you ever done strenuous exercise or hard manual labor and felt afterwards like you couldn't function, but never really connected the two?  I have always been one to become exhausted after vigorous physical exertion and just thought being tired afterwards was a normal part of the process.  Well, it's not.

Today I tried to de-thatch the yard with my husband which involves rigorous raking to loosen the packed down grass, exposing the soil in patches where it didn't grow.  You have to use a lot of elbow to really pull the grass up and rough up the soil.  I felt fine while doing it, which is usually the case, but shortly afterwards, I felt like I couldn't even keep my head up.  I went upstairs to take a short nap and was woken by Gavin two and a half hours later!!  Not a small nap, nor did I feel refreshed.  Instead, I had a headache, felt nauseas, ringing in my left ear and unable to cope with anything much, including my kids' voices.  Ironically, this is how I felt post round the other day.  I recall reading things in the past from mercury-toxic people having a hard time recovering from exercise, so I went out on the hunt for more information.  One experience I read about reminded me of myself, but I had no idea it was related.  I used to get burning lungs after strenuous workouts or biking.  Again, I thought this was normal, that everyone experienced it.  Although I was totally wiped after today's hard work, I noticed that I finally did NOT get this burning in my lungs.  I've read that it is something experienced by people when they still have their fillings, the result of releasing more mercury and that it disappears after the amalgams are replaced.

I found NUMEROUS reports of people who couldn't function after working out.  Why?  Well, for one, it releases free radicals so taking antioxidants can help, but the best explanation I could find is in Andy Cutler's words, from his book, Amalgam Illness.

"Exercise mobilizes mercury and needs to be done in MODERATION.  It is NOT always good for you.  Exercise is STRESS, and there is a particular physiological response to stress that is messed up in most mercury toxic people - cortisol goes DOWN instead of UP like it's supposed to.  So you can release adrenaline and feel really good WHILE you are active but then crash afterwards and take a long time to recover.  Depending on how sick you are this can be from hours to days.  Moderation is doing exercise is small enough bits that you don't get this "crash" after it.  No hours of sitting and doing nothing.  No inability to think.  No being woozy with allergy symptoms."

So, that just about sums it up.  It's obvious that I haven't been imagining things.  All I can say is OUCH and more ouch.  Epsom salt baths are suggested for detoxing and de-stressing, looks like there is a bath in my forecast.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Infraction of the worst kind

I had been warned multiple times that this day would come.  As good as Grayson is about knowing which foods he can't have, he IS still just a 5 year old exposed to a lot of different people and foods when he leaves our four walls for school every day.  I was thrilled with our arrangement at his green charter school, because as of right now, everyone brings their own lunch, so I still have complete control of everything he eats while there.  I plan to retain complete control of his food for at least the next few years too, but little did I know where the loop holes could be....and Grayson promptly found them.

Let me go back a few days to some things I began noticing.  In one day, two of his teachers contacted me about "incidents" at school.  There was nothing horrible, but it was obvious that his focus was suffering for some reason.  I also noticed that he wasn't eating all of his lunch, something very rare for Grayson, even when he isn't fond of a food, he will always eat what we send for him.  He may just leave a small morsel behind.  Two days ago, his ENTIRE lunch came home untouched.  He said his stomach hurt.  Hmmm.  He has just gotten over an awful cold and before that, he was sick with the stomach bug, and before that...well, you get the picture, he's been sick a lot, so I immediately thought, "OH NO, not again!!"  That night, same thing, he didn't want to eat, because his stomach felt sick.  He did eventually eat though. The next morning, the eggs he normally loves made his stomach turn and he said he felt like vomiting.  I was sure he was getting sick yet again.  Then something in the universe pointed us in a completely different direction.  My husband had filled his backpack for school and forgot to include his lunch box.  In an attempt to catch the bus, he grabbed the lunch box and ran off after it.  Luckily, in many ways, he did catch it, because when he got onto the bus to give Grayson his lunch box, he was greeted by a nice little surprised Grayson.  He was in the process of eating his friend's lunch.....a BAGEL, probably with butter on it and who knows what else!  Meanwhile, his friend was gobbling down his Redenbacher popcorn, which I am sure he also shared ever so generously.

Suddenly the past muddy months have begun to look VERY clear!  He had been doing SO well for so long and then this sudden Jekyll and Hyde behavior, new sleep problems including bed wetting and nightmares, lack of focus at school, some hyperactivity randomly....but a clean stool test, all had us baffled.  I was reaching at straws and aiming at things in the dark.

Unfortunately for Grayson, we are now forced to tighten the noose.  He was given a lot of trust and freedom, but he has promptly lost that, and indefinitely.  He will now have to ride in the very first seat on the bus and is not allowed to eat anything at all.  In fact, the day we told the bus driver about our new plans, he told us Grayson accepted a bag of popcorn from a girl on the bus.  UGH!  He learned very fast where he could manipulate the situation.  He befriended a generous child, he found where he could sit on the bus to hide and eat....yes, this was calculated, but I do believe it may have started innocently enough with the boy offering him a bite of his snack/food and Grayson accepting then realizing no one noticed or said anything.  Rules?!  What rules?

This is a huge scare, because gluten can take many months (even from a trace encounter) to get out of the system.  We can't afford mistakes like this, his health has been severely deteriorating over the past weeks and months.  In the past, he would catch a cold or a stomach bug and be over it in a day, but more recently, he can't seem to fight anything.  Even now, he still has this awful deep cough (his brother has been over it for days) that was from a cold they caught two weekends ago!  Not like him at all.  But suddenly crystal clear!

I still want to pursue the additional testing and see, if viral issues may still be at play, weakening his immune system, but even more importantly, the updated food sensitivity panel could be very telling, now that he has been exposed to potential allergens.  When a child is avoiding a food, it doesn't show up as a sensitivity, because lack of exposure removes the antibody reaction.  Now that he has been exposed to gluten at minimum and possibly even dairy, if he is still sensitive to them, it should show up on this next test.  So we are going to take advantage of this little blunder and use it to educate ourselves. I have always believed in learning from mistakes and making the best of the situation, what better way to use this to our advantage?  Looks like the boys will be having their IgG food panel testing ASAP!  In fact, I think I will go call now, lol....