New Under the Sun:
Volume 1, Issue 10
Greetings!! October is the first full month of autumn. In many parts of the country, it can be a month of wildly fluctuating temperatures. Temperature fluctuations denote the onset of the cold and flu season. Therefore, it is vitally important to keep our immune systems in peak condition if we are to limit and/or avoid illness. Following the diet and lifestyle tips in these newsletters will help your immune system operate optimally. Give yourself a fighting chance!
News Updates: Fish Oils and Infants and Children Previous issues of AnthroHealth News have discussed the importance of fish in the diet. This month, there is more good news on that topic.
Infant Sleep Patterns: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in the omega 3 fatty acids of fish oils and egg yolks, is an important factor in the development of the central nervous system. Researchers found that the newborn infants of mothers who had high blood levels of DHA slept more quietly and were more alert when awake than was the case for those infants whose mothers had low blood levels of DHA. The quiet sleep/alert awake pattern is associated with a more developed central nervous system. Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, Lammi-Keefe CJ. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 2002 Sep;76(3):608-13.
Children and Ear Aches: In the first part of a two-part study, researchers found that children suffering from otitis media, middle ear infection, had lower levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega 3 fatty acid; vitamin A; and selenium than were true for adults. All three nutrients are involved in the immune and inflammation responses to infection. In the second part of the study, researchers gave the children lemon-flavored cod liver oil (high in EPA and vitamin A) and a multi-vitamin containing selenium. The supplemented children experienced fewer and milder ear aches and needed less antibiotic intervention. Linday LA, Dolitsky JN, Shindledecker RD, Pippenger CE. Lemon-flavored cod liver oil and a multivitamin-mineral supplement for the secondary prevention of otitis media in young children: pilot research. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2002 Jul;111(7 Pt 1):642-52.
Note: Eating fatty fish would achieve the same result since these fish are high in EPA, vitamin A, and selenium, along with other needed nutrients. In addition, there is no concern with overdosing on vitamin A as may be the case with cod liver oil supplementation. And fish are much tastier than is cod liver oil.
Comment: The fundamental basis of good health and optimal neurological development occurs in the uterus as the fetus is developing. Therefore, the health of the mother is critical to the health of the infant. Prior to becoming pregnant, the woman needs to make sure that her health and her intake of important nutrients are at optimal levels. During pregnancy, and post-pregnancy while breast feeding, these optimal levels must be maintained. The health of the mother has a major impact on the health of her offspring.
Improving the health of infants and children the AnthroHealth way: Mothers and potential mothers should: Eat three servings of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring) each week. Eat eggs and tree nuts. Eat 8 – 10 servings per day of richly/deeply-colored fruits and vegetables. Avoid dairy and grain products. Ensure that their older infants and children eat a similar diet including eating fatty fish and eggs. Breastfeed infants for at least 9 months.
Exercise and the Common Cold: Researchers examined data on 547 healthy adults between the ages of 20 and 70, about equally divided between male (51%) and female (49%). Subjects were divided into groups based on activity levels with the higher activity level group doing some form of exercise (walking, mowing the lawn, etc.) for at least 30 minutes each day, while the lower activity group did little more activity than that involved in dusting furniture. Results indicated that during the fall season, when most colds occur, the higher activity group had a 32% reduction in their risk of contracting a cold. A moderate level of activity evidently aids the immune system; however, overtraining (e.g. preparing for marathon) can have a depressive effect on the immune system. Moderation is the key. Matthews CE, Ockene IS, Freedson PS, Rosal MC, Merriam PA, Hebert JR. Moderate to vigorous physical activity and risk of upper-respiratory tract infection. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002 Aug;34(8):1242-8.
Preventing colds the AnthroHealth way: Walk 2 – 3 miles each day. Eat the AnthroHealth way. See above. Wash hands frequently. Get 8 – 10 hours sleep each night.
Note: Update on Helicobacter pylori Infection and Disease: Last month, news was presented on a number of diseases in which H. pylori infection played a role. This month, we can add rheumatoid arthritis to that list. Researchers in Italy divided 58 patients with rheumatoid arthritis into two groups based on whether they tested positive for H. pylori infection or not. The group that tested positive, 28 patients, was treated for the infection and it was eradicated. Upon completion of the treatment, the patients in both groups were followed for two years. When compared to those in the group who tested negative for infection, those in the treated group showed significant improvement in all measures of rheumatoid arthritis and this significant difference held throughout the two-year period. H. pylori is evidently involved in the onset and course of rheumatoid arthritis in some patients. Therefore, those who are suffering from this condition should have their physician test them for H. pylori infection and if found to have it, receive treatment for that infection. Zentilin P, Seriolo B, Dulbecco P, Caratto E, Iiritano E, Fasciolo D, Bilardi C, Mansi C, Testa E, Savarino V. Eradication of Helicobacter pylori may reduce disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002 Jul;16(7):1291-9.
Book Review: For anyone who has a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, or anyone who works with those suffering from AD, GentleCare: Changing the Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease in a Positive Way by Moyra Jones [1999: Hartley & Marks, Publishers] should be required reading. Based on her own experiences dealing with a father suffering from AD and her work as a nurse in facilities caring for those with AD, Ms. Jones developed the GentleCare System. This methodology works with the preferences and strengths of each individual to develop care methodologies that allow the AD individual to live out her/his life in the most respectful and meaningful way possible.
A key element that distinguishes the GentleCare System from the traditional methods of dealing with those suffering from AD is that the system focuses on the individual and not on what is most efficient for “processing” those with AD each day. It appears that many of these more “efficient” methods actually exacerbate the problems of those with AD, creating conflicts and traumas where there need be none. Perhaps the biggest difference is a change in mindset. That is, instead of referring to and treating those with AD as “patients”, the GentleCare System treats them as unique individuals requiring individualized care. A seemingly simple change from “patient” to “individual” in the language used can result in profound changes in how care is provided. Language shapes our thinking. GentleCare is an excellent resource that should be widely read so that the methodologies can be incorporated throughout the healthcare system. For further information, check out the website: http://www.gentlecare.com
AnthroHealth Tip of the Month: During the fall and winter months, it is generally dark when we go to work and dark when we return home. If we also live in a region where it is frequently cloudy, rainy, and snowy, we may feel a general malaise or even depression during these months. This month’s tip offers two methods to combat this malaise/depression for those who cannot become snowbirds.
First method: Make sure that every room in your home has adequate light sources. The first thing you should do when you arise each morning is to turn on every single light source in every room in your home. There should be no dark corners anywhere. The slight increase in electrical use is more than offset by improvements in mood and energy you will feel by being surrounded by bright light.
Second method: For those living in the higher latitudes, particularly 400 and above, essentially no vitamin D can be obtained from exposing skin to sunlight during the fall and winter months because the angle of the sun prevents most UVB radiation from reaching the earth. The only exception is if you go skiing at high altitudes. Research has shown that the depressive symptoms of those suffering from seasonal depression can be improved through vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D can be obtained in 1000 IU doses from www.VitaminShoppe.com or from www.freedavitamins.com. Taking one 1000 IU pill each day will improve your serum vitamin D levels and should provide some relief from depressive symptoms. In the US, one is cautioned about taking more than 2000 IU per day. However, in Canada, recommendations are for 4000 IU per day. Vieth R, Chan PC, MacFarlane GD. Efficacy and safety of vitamin D3 intake exceeding the lowest observed adverse effect level. Am J Clin Nutr 2001 Feb;73(2):288-94.
© 2001-2009 Kathleen E. Fuller, PhD. All rights reserved.