• Could a Commonly Prescribed Over the Counter Medicine Be Harming Your Children?

    21 February 2017
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    By Dr. Skylar Kulbacki

    MiraLAX is a commonly prescribed over the counter (OTC) medication that is becoming more popular among pediatricians for the treatment of constipation in their young patients. A laxative intended for adults, MiraLAX is now being prescribed to children and infants as young as a few weeks old.
    The effectiveness and safety of MiraLAX and its active ingredient polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG) has not been tested in children.

    “Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients has not been established.” [1]

    Even though there have not been any studies to confirm the safety of the use of MiraLAX in the pediatric population, it does not stop many pediatricians from suggesting to parents to put their children on long term regimes using this potent drug. There have even been protocols created by The Seattle Children’s Hospital for long term use of MiraLAX, up to 12 months [2], even though it states directly on the label to not use the medication for longer than 7 days.

    mira

    The cutout from the MraLAX product label [3].

     

    What is this dosage doing to our children? Is it necessary?
    How does MiraLAX work?
    • PEG, the active ingredient in MiraLAX, is an osmotic laxative. This means that it acts by stimulating the intestines to pull in water from the body, softening the stool and allowing for an easier bowel movement. By pulling this water from the body and into the intestines, the risk for becoming severely dehydrated and experiencing electrolyte disturbances is greatly increased.

    What does this mean for my child?
    • By treating the symptom and not the source of constipation, a child may be at risk for developing long term complications due to chronic constipation and/or laxative use.

    • The effects of prolonged and habitual use of MiraLAX is unknown, but due to its properties, this drug can at the very least cause dehydration, malnutrition, and Gastrointestinal dysfunction in a child.

    • The body becomes accustomed to the stimulation provided by the medication, and constipation is likely to persist in the absence of laxative use. This creates a physical dependency upon laxatives to create a bowel movement at all.

    How to help your child suffering with constipation:
    • If your child is currently being treated for constipation using MiraLAX or another laxative, speak to your pediatrician about weaning your child off these medications safely.

    • Try to figure out why your child may be suffering from constipation:

    o Is your child drinking enough water throughout the day?

    Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements:
    4 to 8 year old Girls and Boys need 5 cups a day
    9 to 13 year Girls need 7 cups a day
    9 to 13 year old Boys need 8 cups a day
    14 to 18 year old Girls need 8 cups a day
    14 to 18 year old Boys need 11 cups a day
    [4]

    o Is your child eating a diet consisting of naturally binding foods?

    Bananas
    White bread/pasta/rice
    Dairy

    o Does your child eat enough fiber each day?

    Avocados
    Peas
    Black beans
    Nuts

    o Does your child get enough physical activity throughout the day?

    Daily physical activity and exercised helps to keep the bowels healthy and regular.

    • If your child is still suffering from constipation after a change in diet, increased water consumption, and daily physical activity there are safe and effective options for promoting a healthy GI and regular bowel movements.

    o A daily probiotic will help to feed the GI and creates an environment for regularity.
    o Chiropractic care can remove any restrictions the body may have creating improper nervous system communication that directly regulate the bowel and GI tract.
    o A gentle belly massage using lavender oil can help to stimulate a bowel movement. Working from the child’s right lower belly and massaging little circles with your hands in a clockwise motion in an upside-down U will help to ease discomfort and encourage a bowel movement.

    Children should be having a bowel movement every day at the very least. For infants, it is more, at least 2-3 times each day. Feces are filled with toxins and it is vital to health that bowel movement are occurring daily.

     

    References
    1. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Company. “Polyethylene Glycol,” Drugs.com, last revised Februaray 2016, [link].
    2. Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation. “Constipation Treatment Recommendations When Child is Over One Year of Age, for New Diagnosis or Recurrence of Symptoms. [link]
    3. “Stop use and ask a doctor if you need to use a laxative for longer than 1 week,” MSD Consumer Care, Inc., “Directions,” “Warnings,” MiraLAX product label, [PDF file].
    4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Water: How Much Do Kids Need?”, eatright.org, last revised May 2015, [link].

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  • Right Vs. Left Brain Children

    29 December 2016
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    Vector concept. Textured background. Sciences and arts. Back to school icons. Left and right brain functions.

    Few people know if their child is right or left brain dominant.  Few people understand why it is important to know such a thing.  Not only does brain hemisphere domination relate to how a child learns and absorbs information, but their thought process, emotions, and conflict management are all tied to it as well.  As a chiropractor, knowing this detail about a child, which brain hemisphere dominates, is a wonderful tool to aiding an adjustment.

    The brain is made up of two halves – hemispheres – with each one controlling the opposite side of the body.  This means that the right half processes what the left eye sees, and it controls the left side of the body.  The opposite is true for the left hemisphere.

    Children are born right side dominant.  Until the age of three, blood flow is significantly greater to the right hemisphere of the brain.  Between ages 4-7 there is a huge shift, as the left half of the brain typically takes over.  This aligns with most countries of the world delaying formal education until 7 years of age. The left side of the brain is responsible for the reading, writing, calculation, logistical thinking, verbal processes, analytical thinking, and ability to focus for extended periods of time. It is known as the “Digital Brain.”  But for some children, this shift is much more gradual – or does not fully happen.  These “Right-Brained Children” are known as ‘butterfly-chasers.’  The right hemisphere is visual.  It processes information as a whole with an emotional product.  Creativity, artistic ability, emotions, and all of the senses are tied to the right side.

    Researchers want us to believe that there is a true balance that occurs in adolescence, but I fail to agree.  While a child may pull from both hemispheres, it is far from equal.  I have yet to meet a parent who wouldn’t agree. 

    Research shows that the frontal lobes of the brain are extensively involved with logical reasoning.  The left hemisphere’s frontal lobe being the ‘rational voice.’  Therefore, left-brain children can handle social situations with little emotion but practicality instead. http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/127/4/783.abstract

    That being said, the right frontal lobe is tied to divergent thinking. This means that things are never black and white.  While a right-brained child sees things as a whole, they also see it as ‘gray,’ with so many emotions and details involved that the answer may never be exact. controls sensory processing and expression. Children who are right brain dominant are often very visual, spontaneous, emotional and intuitive but may struggle academically with memorizing facts and paying attention to details. This hemisphere also controls sensory processing and expressions. These children may struggle academically, as our curriculums tend to be left-brain driven.  http://repository.cmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=shr  and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107958/

    Children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, SPD, social, behavioral, or academic challenges may have an extreme imbalance in hemispheric communication.  Although, I do believe that the gut plays a major role in feeding these issues, the brain itself may be aiding in the problem(s).

     

    brain

     

    What does this have to do with chiropractic care?

    A right-brained child needs to be adjusted throughout the left side of the body.  This allows optimal blood flow to reach both sides of the brain as needed. 

    While our society is molded for left-brained children (and adults), I urge you not to try to fit your right-brained child into that mold.  We need more creative, musically inclined, artistic, peace-seeking, compassionate, empathetic children in the world.

    Right-Brained Children: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107958/

    • Prefer group activities
    • Day-dream
    • Organize things before they begin something (by color, size, product, etc)
    • Are athletic
    • Prefer to be shown rather than told
    • Tend to lie down while reading or drawing
    • Can find patterns and similarities while problem solving
    • Read later and prefer drawing to writing
    • Need to touch and physically handle objects
    • Need to physically manipulate items to problem solve
    • Want to discuss and air feelings
    • See information as a whole
    • Reach beyond the reflexive action of a situation and expand farther to include past experiences adaptive behaviors, and needs

    If this is your child, chiropractic care may help her adapt to our society’s educational system by feeding the left hemisphere of the brain, along with:

    • Using visual cues like picture stories to stimulate the brain to remember facts
    • Using colors and images for mathematical reasoning
    • Role playing lessons to increase memory
    • Working in small groups instead of alone

    While there are strengths and weaknesses to both hemisphere-dominant sides, right-brained children seem to struggle in our culture’s expectations.  Instead of allowing this, support your child’s creativity and passions and aide them in conquering their goals.  These are the children who will change the world.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • How to Help Growing Pains

    27 November 2016
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    Funny girl measuring her height supporting at four big books pointing to the ruler with her finger

    As a chiropractor, I see many children who are experiencing growing pains.  This is one of those diagnosis that seems to umbrella many unknown issues in the medical world.  The biggest misconception is that everyone assumes the pains are caused from a sudden growth spurt.  In all actuality, science cannot seem to find the cause of growing pains.  That is, if there is one cause.  It seems more probable that many causes may exist.

    Chiropractic care is extremely beneficial for everyone, children experiencing growing pains are no exception.

    Let’s break down everything known about growing pains.

    The good news is that science does acknowledge that these pains exist.

    A South Australian study published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics found that approximately 36.9% of children 4–6 years of age experienced growing pains.

    It has been found that up to 40% of children will experience these pains between ages 3 and 12.

    A throbbing or sharp pain typically occurs in the legs (thighs, knees, calves, and feet) but may be felt in the arms as well. It begins in the evenings or wakes a child at night and may cause intense emotional reactions. It tends to be worse after an overactive day of sports or running.

    How to Help

    Parents are given few to no options for treatment. Typically, massaging the legs and the use of pain killers are the only suggestions. Parents are told this is normal during the growth process and it will pass. This is not the answer.

    In the moment, massaging may be the only form of comfort, but (as I have previously discussed) pain killers such as Tylenol should be adamantly avoided.

    Arnica gel and pellets: Arnica Montana, a plant native to mountainous areas of Europe and North America, has been used for centuries to treat a variety of pain. In 2007, research proved that arnica worked as well as ibuprofen.

    Chiropractic Care: Improving the alignment and mobility of the joints of the pelvis and lower extremities can eliminate growing pains. Many times growing pains can be attributed to biomechanical issues early in development. Vertebral Subluxations may be behind the pain. Research shows that Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) has been an effective way to eliminate growing pains!

    Vitamin D: A recent study found that only 6% of children who suffered from growing pains had adequate levels of vitamin D. Another study examined the relationship of supplementing affected children with Vitamin D over a three month timeframe. Amazingly, the pain resolved completely in most of the children, while others experienced a significant reduction in symptoms.

    Vitamin B6: According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, growing pains may eb a sign of Vitamin B deficiency.

    Diet Changes: An anti-inflammatory diet, or more specifically, finding your child’s trigger foods, may end the pains. The gut is linked to the brain, the skin, the nervous system, etc. Inflammatory foods such as diary and gluten, as well as anything processed or containing chemicals should be avoided.

    Regular Stretching: A small study found that regular stretching appeases growing pains. Stretching the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves every morning and evening for 10 minutes eliminated reoccurring pains.

    Magnesium Lotion: The skin is the largest organ and will absorb anything placed on it. Magnesium has amazing powers and a soothing lotion version rubbed over the legs may prevent the pain.

    Epsom Salt Bath: The magnesium found in Epsom salt mixed with warm water will soak into the skin and replenish a slight magnesium deficiency that could be linked to the night time pains.

    Did You Know?

    Growing pains are bilateral. That means that they will not exist on only one side of the body. If the right foot hurts, the left foot is sure to follow. It may not be at the same time, but it will be within a few days.

    A Reassuring Note:

    One believed cause of growing pains is a low threshold for pain. Since adults with fibromyalgia also have low pain thresholds, it was thought that children who suffer growing pains may be at an increased risk of suffering from chronic pain syndromes later in life. However, in 2010, a 5-year study followed 44 children suffering from growing pains and found that when children stop having growing pains, their pain thresholds tend to normalize. None of the kids in his follow-up study had developed fibromyalgia.

    When Is It NOT Growing Pains?

    It is important to note that ‘Growing Pains’ do not suddenly appear at age 8,9, or 10, but rather they exist from a younger age and may continue through age 12. If pains suddenly occur at these later ages, it is not caused by growing pains.

    Some children diagnosed with growing pains meet diagnostic criteria for Restless Leg Syndrome, and a family history of RLS is common in these children. In some cases, symptoms are severe enough to warrant treatment.

    Talk to your chiropractor or doctor about other issues if:

    • Pain is occurring in the joints
    • Pain worsens when touched
    • Pain is worse in the morning
    • Pain interferes with activities
    • Pain is associated with an injury
    • Pain is accompanied by fever, rash, weakness, redness, swelling, limping, loss of appetite, or fatigue.

     

    Resources:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17318618?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum+++&version=meter+at+2&module=meter-Links&pgtype=Blogs&contentId=&mediaId=%25%25ADID%25%25&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2F&priority=true&action=click&contentCollection=meter-links-click

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15283013

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19039913

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2553776/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20171654

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21168111

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/metals-and-the-mind/

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  • Blue lights, Media, Technology, and Our Children

    11 November 2016
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    It is almost impossible to avoid interaction with technology today.  Our children are exposed to smart phones, tv’s, laptops, smart watches, iPads, LeapPads, other pads, and gaming systems just about every awake hour of every day of their lives, starting from infancy. As parents, we know it is wrong, but yet, the blue light draws us all in.

    Children between the ages of two and 18 spend an average of five-and-a-half hours (or more) a day at home watching television, playing video games, surfing the Web or using some other form of media

    Brain growth occurs at a rapid rate.  From birth, an infant already has all of the neurons he will ever have, but the synapses are forming based on nourishment and environment. Synapses are the relays over which neurons communicate with each other and are the basis of the working motherboard of the brain. Already more plentiful than an adult’s at birth, synapses multiply rapidly in the first months of life. A 2-year-old has about half as many synapses as a grown adult. They continue to form throughout childhood, into the teenage years, and complete development around age 25.

    A few facts we know to be true about the development of the brain:

    • Environmental exposures influence brain development.
    • As the brain develops, the fibers connecting nerve cells are wrapped in a protein that greatly increases the speed with which they can transmit impulses from cell to cell. The increase in connectivity shapes how well different parts of the brain work at the same time. Research is finding that the extent of connectivity is related to growth in intellectual capacities such as memory and reading ability.
    • Many hormonal changes take place during puberty. Reproductive hormones play a role in behavior and stress hormones have compound effects on the brain.
    • The part of the brain involved in emotional responses changes during the teen years.
    • An adolescent brain peaks in its ability to absorb and learn well before adulthood. The amount of information it can hold will never be larger than this stage.
    • Sleep, or lack of it, plays a huge role in brain development.  Sleep deprivation and fatigue attributes to difficulty maintaining attention, irritability and depression. Studies of children and adolescents have found that sleep deprivation can increase impulsive behavior. Sleep is imperative for proper physical and emotional health.

    Did You Know?

    21% of children under the age of 2 have a television in their bedroom, by the age of 8, over 50% of children have one.  This does not include other media devices.

    The amount of time spent in front of blue-light media devices at 2 years of age is linked with academic, social and health problems by age 10:

    • Less engagement in classroom activities
    • Less exercise
    • Less sleep, poorer sleep quality
    • Increased bullying statistics
    • Poor food consumption
    • Increased obesity

     

    The average amount of reported time a 2-year-old spends exposed to blue-light media each day averages around 90 minutes. Again, that is the reported average, not the actual. I would assume the numbers are much higher. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 2 watch no TV, and children over age 2 watch no more than 2 hours per day.  For every hour beyond this mark, the rate of the above mentioned problems increases.

    As children enter school, those who utilize the internet during class cannot recall the information being taught nor do they perform as well on a test of the material as those who are not exposed to media. Research proves that reading books, not screens, develops reflection, critical thinking, problem solving, and vocabulary.

    Not only is increased screen time effecting learning and brain development, potentially stunting both, but exposure may be causing permanent eye damage. Unlike digital eye strain, the effects of blue light media add up over time and can lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration. Children are at a higher risk than adults because their eyes are still developing, and they don’t yet have the protective pigments in their eyes to help filter out some of this harmful blue light.

    I know that this is all scary, and yet common sense at the same time.  We live in a time of technology, and our children should be included so they are not surpassed, but there is so much to be aware of before handing over a device and walking away. Notice body positioning as devices are used.  Joints can be effected by prolonged media usage, effecting posture and causing many chronic problems.  I see it all too often in my practice!

    The bottom line, follow the guidelines of zero exposure before age 2 and limit to under 2 hours a day afterward. It may be an easy babysitter.  It may even provide educational purposes, but there are consequences to the exposure.

    teenager with tablet while lying on the floor in the room

     

    Resources:

    Please take the time to watch this TedTalks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoT7qH_uVNo

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb03/unraveling.aspx

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-still-under-construction/index.shtml

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=141164708

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC419576/

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201212/how-technology-is-changing-the-way-children-think-and-focus

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Sensory Processing Disorder and Chiropractic Care

    10 October 2016
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    Child in trouble and throwing a tantrum.

     

    October is Sensory Awareness Month.  Sensory processing disorder is becoming a more well-known diagnosis among children, those on and off of the autism spectrum.  The label is still not recognized by many medical professionals, but I can tell you that SPD exists.  As a chiropractor, I work with many children (and adults) who struggle with processing their emotions.  That is what SPD comes down to: sensory triggers that cause a spiral of emotions in which the individual cannot control.

    Sensory Processing Disorder in simple terms is a misinterpretation of sensory information. We have 5 main senses: touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight. While any of these senses can become overwhelmed within the brain, an SPD child cannot figure out how to let go of the situation.  The proprioceptive and vestibular systems play a huge role in regulating the incoming sensory information.  The vestibular system is located from the base of the brain to the upper neck and inner ear.  The proprioceptive system calls the entire spine and joints of the body home.  This is why, when a sensory child is caught in an episode, he may seem to be in pain.  His joints may hurt. His ears may ring. He may feel itchy like his skin is crawling.  Even when not triggered, a child with SPD may feel constantly ‘off.’  They may not actually know ‘normal.’  This is why so many children may be misdiagnosed with ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc.  

    A sensory child does not fit in a mold.  A few common signs parents notice (this is not an exhaustive list by any means) include:

    • Not handling things such as loud noises, being dirty, getting wet, wearing structured clothing, wearing loose clothing, wearing tight clothing, bright light, crowded spaces, having hair washed/brushed, getting fingernails or toenails cut, receiving an unexpected hug; walking barefoot, wearing shoes, getting buckled, or certain textures.
    • Doesn’t notice when touched; almost always prefers sedentary activities to active ones; seems unaware of bodily sensations such as heat, cold, or hunger
    • Needs to be touching someone, something, or everything he passes. Hugs too strongly and doesn’t know his own strength.
    • Dislikes foods with certain textures.
    • Cannot be anywhere without his primary caregiver.
    • Often struggles with speech.
    • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
    • Is passive, quiet, slow to respond to directions.
    • Is excessively cautious and afraid to try new things.
    • Is upset by transitions or unexpected changes.
    • Avoids group activities.
    • Wants to spin, slide or swing excessiely, and is constantly moving.
    • Is accident-prone and has difficulty with physical skills such as catching a ball.

    Children with SPD experience their meltdowns due to one of three reasons:

    • The brain not receiving messages due to a disconnection in the nerve cells
    • Sensory messages received inconsistently
    • Sensory messages received consistently, but not connecting properly with other sensory messages.

     

    Chiropractic Care

    Enabling a functioning vestibular and proprioceptive systems are key to aiding a healthy sensory connection. Vertebral subluxations (misalignments) of the spine may cause a disconnect between the brain and these sensory systems.  An irritation can cause this misalignments – birth position, birth trauma, a fall, stress, etc.  Chiropractic care removes neurological imbalances by realigning the spine.  Within weeks of proper adjustments, a SPD child’s spine may begin to heal. Improvements with sensory triggers should occur, meaning the meltdowns should improve quite a bit.  Motor skills, social skills, even speech may see vast improvements throughout chiropractic care.  

    Diet

    Along with seeing a chiropractor, a diet free of processed foods, dyes, and gluten will greatly benefit a child suffering with sensory processing disorder.  There may be more specific foods that a child reacts to, and an elimination diet (such as the Feingold diet) can help pinpoint the exact triggers.

    It is not easy parenting a child with sensory processing disorder.  Many pass judgement and try to blame the behavior on parenting styles of lifestyle choices, but the truth is that SPD is real.  Occupational therapy, chiropractic care, dietary and lifestyle changes will all improve a family’s daily happiness.

     

    Resources:

    http://icpa4kids.org/Wellness-Articles/what-is-sensory-processing-disorder/Treatment-for-Children-with-SPD.html

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27545764

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19665348

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26943106

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27548868

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14589467

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  • Children Who Wet the Bed

    26 July 2016
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    Bedwetting may be a common occurrence in households across the country, but common does not mean normal.

    The biggest thing you need to know is that a child does not purposefully wet the bed.  You cannot punish orscare your child, but it may worsen the problem.

    The next thing to know is that the most common reason children wet the bed at night is due to what they are eating and drinking.

    Diet is Linked to Bedwetting

    “Nocturnal enuresis may be linked to dietary allergies that provoke bladder instability.”  –Dr. Douglas N.Tietjen, M.D., and Douglas A.Husmann, M.D. from the Department of Urology at the Mayo Clinic.

    Their study concluded that all stopped bed-wetting when they began food-restricted diets, and the wetting re-occurred when they resumed regular diets.

    Could Your Child’s Diet be the Problem? 

    • digestive problems
    • bloated belly
    • skin rashes or hives
    • eczema
    • asthma
    • stuffy or runny nose
    • dark circles under the eyes
    • hyperactivity
    • night sweats
    • red ears
    • red cheeks
    • bumps on the back of the arms
    • frequent colds/illnesses

    All of these ailments are linked to food sensitivities (or allergies), and they may be to blame for the bedwetting. Typically, the foods your child reaches for the most (processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy) are to blame, but not always. Talk to your doctor about IgE and IgG testing to find out specifically what’s triggering issues or follow an elimination diet like Feingold or GAPS.  Make sure to keep a food journal to link any reactions to specific foods!

     

    crying little child sitting on potty at home

    Other Possible Bedwetting Causes

    Enuresis is a condition in which the child has the loss of bladder control. Nocturnal Enuresis is known as “bed-wetting” because it happens during the night. Approximately 5 to 7 million children wet the bed, with boys more so than girls.

    The most important thing to note is that there is a cause to bedwetting.  While there is more than one possibility, there is a specific reason your child is wetting the bed; and stubbornness or defiance are not options.

    Most research has proven that bed-wetting isn’t caused by drinking too much liquid before bedtime. It’s not a psychological problem. It’s not because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

    According to Research, Possible Causes Include:

    • Genetics:  Bedwetting tends to run in families
    • Overactive Bladder Syndrome: When the muscles that control the bladder spasm and trigger urine to leak out.
    • Small Bladder Capacity: A smaller bladder needs to be emptied more, but the child should wake to empty it.
    • Medications: Certain medications cause frequent urination or a deeper sleep, meaning the child will not wake up to go to the bathroom.
    • Hormones: Low levels of the hormone Vasopressin (which regulates urine production) cause the kidneys to produce too much urine for the bladder to hold –  OR not enough antidiuretic hormone; this hormone reduces the amount of urine made by the kidneys.
    • Nervous System:  The nerves attached to the bladder may not be fully developed.  This can cause a weakened signal to the brain causing the child not to wake up.
    • Fears:  Being scared of the dark or other nighttime fears may keep your child in bed and scared to leave for the bathroom.
    • Urinary Tract Infection
    • Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
    • Abnormalities in the spinal cord
    • Constipation:  If the bowels become blocked, it places pressure on the bladder and triggers bedwetting.
    • Stimulating Beverages: sodas, teas, and caffeinated beverages may stimulate an increase in urine.

     

    How to Help

    • Do not voice your frustration or place blame on your child.  You may cause the problem to get worse.
    • Make sure your child uses the bathroom before bed.
    • Keep a small potty-training potty next to his bed so he knows he has something close by to use if the bathroom is too far, the hall is too dark, or he’s too tired to walk that far.
    • Keep the mattresses protected with waterproof covers.  Go one step forward and add another waterproof layer on top of the fitted sheet that can be removed in the middle of the night without having to strip the entire bed.
    • Chiropractic Care: If the bedwetting is caused by nerve interference from the spine, chiropractic care will help. Several studies show that manipulating and adjusting the spine can eliminate bedwetting.
    • Behavior therapy: A treatment that doesn’t use medicine.
    • Motivational therapy: positive reinforcement and reward systems to help your child keep track of his progress.
    • Behavior conditioning: This therapy uses an alarm. The alarm rings or vibrates when your child first begins to wet the bed.
    • Diet Change:  Following an elimination diet and removing trigger foods, typically processed items, those containing dyes and toxins, gmo’s, and/or general items that hurt your child’s gut may eliminate all bed wetting.

    Note:  Your doctor may offer medicine if your child is seven years old or older, and if behavior therapy and diet changes haven’t worked. But medicines aren’t a cure for bed-wetting! Remember that medicines may have side effects.

    These medicines work in two ways:

    • One kind of medicine helps the bladder hold more urine
    • The other kind helps the kidneys make less urine.

    Solving the root of the problem is a much better option.

     

    References:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7884329

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2019820

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19836605

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0301/p1219.html

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/11/01/are-hidden-allergies-causing-many-of-your-health-problems.aspx

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/09/20/the-tragic-consequences-of-drugging-our-children.aspx

    http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Bedwetting/pages/causes.aspx

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  • Plagiocephaly: Flat Head Syndrome in Infants

    1 May 2016
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    It is becoming a more common site:  babies wearing helmets, or babies without helmets, but with a noticeable flat portion to the back of their heads.  You stare for a moment and look away, but you are wondering what the cause is and how you can avoid this with your infant.  There is also the possibly that you are experiencing this right now and want answers.  I’m going to break down the science of what has happened, or could happen, the history behind it all, how to prevent, and ways to treat the problem.

    Let me start with this:  Infants should not have flat heads.

    The Science

    Before I dive into cranial malformations, known as plagiocephaly, let me first brush upon Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis (IIS).  IIS is scoliosis in children under 3 years of age.  While you may not think it has anything to do with plagiocephaly, there is a link.  IIS was a rare phenomenon in past decades; however, in the last 15 years, authorities in the field of scoliosis have noticed a steady increase in children with this condition.  Many researchers have taken this a step further and linked a relationship between IIS and cranial malformations.  The link is this: an infant being laid in the supine sleeping position, on their backs.  In 1993, Canada and many other countries around the world began recommending that infants be placed to sleep on their backs, and this was later reinforced with the “Back to Sleep” campaign. The incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in Canada subsequently declined by 50% between 1999 and 2004. Obviously, the reduction in SIDS is wonderful, and I am not advocating a return to the prone (belly) sleeping position.  But within two years of the recommendation, there was a six-fold increase in the cases of plagiocephaly. This is research that needs to be noted, and there are changes that need to be made.

    Interesting though, when babies spend time in the prone (belly) position, IIS and cranial malformations are significantly reduced.  While this contradicts SIDS information, it does explain why, when babies are not asleep, they need to be held, worn, experience tummy time, or other options that do not include being on their backs.  http://www.canadianchiropractor.ca/patient-care/the-rise-in-infantile-scoliosis-2301#sthash.uPlDTj0S.dpuf

    Studies also show that 16% of babies, mostly male, are found to have torticollis.  Congenital muscular torticollis can be present at birth or develops soon after. It is usually discovered in the first 6 to 8 weeks of life, when a newborn begins to gain more control over the head and neck. With tortocollis, the infant is unable to turn his head away from the affected area, which over time may cause mild facial asymmetry, range restriction of the neck, delayed development of postural control, and alteration in visual gaze to one side.  Physical therapy involving stretching or deep neck massage may be needed. Prior to physical therapy, it is important to obtain cervical x-rays to rule out structural abnormalities. Surgical release of the sternocleidomastoid muscle is done only as a last resort if other therapy fails. Torticollis shows in the form of a shortened neck muscle, and can be seen easily by the parent or pediatrician.  A specific cause is not known, but is assumed to be non-ideal positioning in the womb.  Chiropractic care can also help greatly.  The larger problem occurs when these newborns are then sleeping in a supine position (on the back), and are spending extra time throughout the day in this position.  They are then at higher risk of developing deformational posterior plagiocephaly. Identification of affected infants may allow early implementation of positioning recommendations or physical therapy to prevent the secondary craniofacial deformations that are part of this increasing problem.  http://adc.bmj.com/content/93/10/827.short and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595182/#citeref13

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    Historically, a dolichocephalic (elongated) head shape was always the norm. Currently the norm has changed to a more brachycephalic (shorter and broader) shape. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Back to Sleep Campaign,” the incidence of positional plagiocephaly has increased dramatically with a concurrent rise in the incidence of torticollis.

    Infants who require NICU care, and particularly premature infants, are more prone to positional plagiocephaly and dolichocephaly. This is because they spend days, weeks, or longer being laid on their backs. Both can be prevented or minimized by proper positioning. http://journals.lww.com/advancesinneonatalcare/Abstract/2005/12000/Impacting_Infant_Head_Shapes.11.aspx

    Another interesting fact is that the incidence of cranial flattening is 13% in singletons and 56% in twins. Risk factors include: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595182/

    • assisted forcep vaginal delivery
    • prolonged labor
    • unusual birth position
    • multiparity
    • male gender

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    Preventing

    It is important for parents to be informed about the importance of supervised prone (belly) playtime to enhance the development of early motor skills.  Parents also need to be aware of their infant’s head position preference and remember to alternate head positions when putting the infant to sleep. This is even more important when cranial flattening is noticed immediately following the birth of an infant.

    Preventativev measures include:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595182/

    • Daily tummy time
    • Limit the time in supine position in car seat, infant swing, and infant carriers.
    • Encouraging increased head and neck movement.
    • Babywearing
    • Hold your baby more often: Reduce the amount of time your child spends lying on her back or often being in a position where the head is resting against a flat surface (such as in car seats, strollers, swings, bouncy seats, and play yards).

    Preventative Chiropractic Care: Cranial adjusting techniques can be done to prevent plagiocephaly.

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    Treating

    If plagiocephaly is left untreated, the infant can have prolonged developmental delays. It can also cause abnormal occlusion, temporomandibular joint difficulties, and strabismus. Any altered physical appearance, without treatment, may be permanent as well.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01942630903011016

    In most cases of plagiocephaly, the condition is self-resolving. A study found plagiocephaly to be present in 20% of 8 month-old infants, but that by the age of two years, this number had decreased to 3%.

    • 73% of infants suffering from plagiocephaly have the problem resolved with frequent head turning.
    • 23% of infants are cured by use of helmet molding therapy
    • 4% require surgery

    A helmet called a thermoplastic orthotic device involves the use of thermoplastic materials that can be molded directly onto the infant’s head. The device is lined throughout, using a soft material to protect the skin of the infant. It is light, comfortable, and tolerated well by the infant This method of treatment is most effective if used between 4 and 12 months of age and involves the infant wearing the helmet for several months with weekly adjustments made by a technician. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595182/#citeref23

    Again, chiropractic care can aid in the treatment of flat head syndrome, as well as in the prevention of it.  Please do not hesitate to take action if you feel as though your infant is showing signs, as you do not want motor skills to be effected long term.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Part 4: How Stress Affects Children

    8 January 2016
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    As if reading Parts 1, 2, 3 haven’t stressed you out enough, let’s go ahead and dive into how stress affects our children.  I’d like to say that the point of researching and writing this series is not to stress anyone out, but instead to make you (and me) realize just how important it is to learn to handle our stress and include more relaxation in our lives.

    Stress is positive when the person feels stimulated and able to manage the situation. This positive response prepares the body for action and activates the higher thinking centers of the brain. A positive response to stress can provide the energy to handle emergencies, meet challenges, and excel.

    Stress is negative when a person feels threatened and not in control of the situation. These feelings instigate a powerful reaction – affecting both the brain and body in ways that can be destructive to physical and mental health.stress11

    Children are more stressed than ever these days.  Young children living in poverty or those living wealthy but expected to know how to read by four years old.  Stress does not discriminate.  A baby, toddler, or child’s body also does not discriminate when it comes to stress. It’s all relative to each child’s environment, and (if you read how stress affects pregnancy) even the stress level of their mother while pregnant with them.

    We now know that early life abuse and neglect have adverse effects upon the developing brain and body that can result in poor self-control and emotional regulation, impair cognitive development, and raise the risk of cardiovascular, metabolic and immune system diseases. http://www.dana.org/Publications/ReportOnProgress/Effects_ofStress_on_the_Developing_Brain/

    Animal findings demonstrate that isolation from mother, decreased skin stimulation, and withholding of breastmilk (not feeding on demand) have biochemical and permanent brain consequences. Correlating these findings with human behavioral research suggests which events lead to chronic stress and its permanent consequences.

    Common Sources of stress in Infants: http://www.parentingscience.com/stress-in-babies.html

    • Being away from caregiver: Without regular closeness to a caregiver, an infant not only suffers from elevated stress hormones, but also receives less benefit from oxytocin surges and other positive biochemical influences. The biochemical environment imposed on an infant’s brain during critical development stages affects the anatomy and functioning of the brain permanently. A poor biochemical environment results in less desirable emotional, behavioral, and intellectual abilities for the rest of a child’s life.
    • Allowing a child to “cry it out” without affection
    • Not feeding the child when hungry
    • Not offering comfort when the child is disturbed or distressed
    • Limiting body contact during feeding, throughout the day, and during stressful parts of the night
    • Low levels of human attention, stimulation, “conversation,” and play

    While it is evident that genetic makeup and life experiences influence behavior, it has been demonstrated that experiences during infancy have the strongest and most persistent effect on adult hormone regulation, stress responses, and behavior. Research has demonstrated that high levels of early physical contact and maternal responsiveness can even mitigate genetic predisposition for more extreme stress reactions.

    Common Sources of stress in children: http://www.networkofcare.org/library/childrenandstress.pdf

    • being away from home
    • being bullied
    • fear of wetting themselves (ages 5 and older)
    • fear of punishment
    • worry about getting along with peers
    • worry about school work
    • fear of being chosen last on any team
    • fear of being different from others
    • worry about changing bodies (ages 10 to 12)
    • divorce of parents
    • move to new town or city
    • being held back in school
    • serious illness

    The HPA (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical) axis, a relationship between specific brain organs and the adrenal glands, is the chief regulator of stress reactions. During stress, stress hormones are released under control of the HPA axis to help the body cope. Cortisol can elevate the blood pressure and the heart rate, increase blood sugar, and interrupt digestive and kidney functions.

    The hippocampus, a structure important in learning and memory, is one brain site where development is affected by stress and bonding hormone levels. The level of the stress hormones circulating in an infant affects the number and types of receptors here. It has also been demonstrated that nerve cells in the hippocampus are destroyed as a result of chronic stress and elevated stress hormone levels, producing intellectual deficits as a consequence.  Children with the lowest scores on mental and motor ability tests have been shown to be the ones with the highest cortisol levels in their blood.

    Continuously elevated stress hormone levels in infancy from a stressful environment are associated with permanent “negative” effects on brain development, causing heightened stress responses that can lead to aggressive behavior and early puberty.  Early life stress has also been tied to depression, anxiety, heart disease, cancer, and a lack of educational and employment success.

    Behavioral problems and increased cumulative life stress were also linked to smaller hippocampus and amygdala volumes. Why early life stress may lead to smaller brain structures is still unknown.

    Studies have shown that infants who receive frequent physical affection have lower overall cortisol levels, while psychological attachment studies reveal higher levels in insecurely attached children.  http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Keeping%20Fit%20for%20Learning/stress.html

    Common Signs that your infant or child is experiencing stress: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/350/350-054/350-054.html and https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002059.htm

    Physical symptoms can include:

    • Decreased appetite, other changes in eating habits
    • Accident proneness
    • Hitting, Kicking, Biting
    • Extreme Laziness
    • Tattling
    • Fingernail biting
    • Grinding Teeth
    • Pounding Heart
    • Thumb Sucking
    • Headache
    • New or recurrent bedwetting
    • Nightmares
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Stuttering
    • Upset stomach or vague stomach pain
    • Other physical symptoms with no physical illness

    Emotional or behavioral symptoms may include:

    • Anxiety
    • Worries
    • Inability to relax
    • New or recurring fears (fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of strangers)
    • Clinging, unwilling to let you out of sight
    • Questioning (may or may not ask questions)
    • Anger
    • Crying
    • Whining
    • Inability to control emotions
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Stubborn behavior
    • Regression to behaviors that are typical of an earlier developmental stage
    • Unwillingness to participate in family or school activities

    We need to lead by example with handling our own stresses, and give our children the tools to handle theirs. The younger the child, the easier it is to set a solid foundation. You can’t lead a life of stress but then effectively teach stress management, it’s just not possible.

    Be aware of how you are disciplining your child(ren). If children fear their parents, they are constantly experiencing stress over their actions.

    Ways to Help Our Children:  http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Pages/Helping-Children-Handle-Stress.aspx and http://handtohold.org/resources/helpful-articles/what-causes-children-stress-understanding-childrens-developmental-stages-and-common-stressors/ and http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/350/350-054/350-054.html

    1. Be with your infant and hear their cues: Hold her. Rock her. You will not spoil a baby by holding her. Listen and learn your infant’s specific cues of hunger, wetness, being uncomfortable or unhappy and tend to their needs.
    2. Stop Overscheduling: One of the biggest stressors for kids is being overscheduled. Today, kids are expected to pay attention and perform in school for seven hours, excel at extracurricular activities, come home, finish homework, and go to bed just to do it all over again the next day. Kids need downtime to rejuvenate. Their brains and bodies need to rest. And they might not realize this by themselves. So knowing when your child is overscheduled is important.
    3. Make time for play: Children of all ages process their emotions through play. They need many opportunities to “play out” their worries and concerns. For younger children this may be done through pretend play while older children may choose to express themselves through avenues such as art and music. No matter what their age, let them know that you want to hear what they have to say and that you will do your best to help them through this crisis. Make sure that play isn’t “pressured” and there is no lesson to learn, competition, or end goal. (Bike riding, imaginative play, hiking, exploring.)
    4. Make sleep a priority: Sleep is vital for everything from minimizing stress to boosting mood to improving school performance. Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
    5. Teach Body Awareness: Understanding stress and when the body feels stressed may need to be taught. Encourage children to listen to what their bodies are saying.
    6. Manage your own stress: Stress is contagious and your children will feel your own stress. If you slow down, they will follow.
    7. Make mornings calmer: Disorganization, constant hurry, and pressure to perform from the moment they wake up is a stressful trigger.
    8. Prepare them to make mistakes: Perfection is not and should not be attainable. You are not perfect and neither is your child. Striving for such a thing can set the rollercoaster of lifelong chronic stress. Making mistakes, even BIG ones, is normal.  Making bad decisions is also normal.  Teach them how to recover and be loved through these moments.
    9. Encourage your child to face her fears, not run: Avoidance of anxiety causes further anxiety. By facing fears, stress naturally lowers.
    10. Focus on the Positives: Many times anxious and stressed children can get lost in negative thoughts and self-criticism. They may focus on how the glass is half empty instead of half-full and worry about future events. The more that you are able to focus on your child’s positive attributes and the good aspects of a situation, the more that it will remind your child to focus on the positives.
    11. Encourage your child to express his anxiety: Avoid telling your child how they feel (“You’re fine”). Instead, use statements that prompt a response (“You seem scared. Are you worried?”). This will ignite a conversation.
    12. Practice relaxation exercises with your child: Sometimes really basic relaxation exercises are necessary to help your child to reduce their stress. This might mean telling your child to take a few slow, deep breaths (and you taking a few slow breaths with your child so your child can match your pace). You can also meditate or do yoga exercises together.

     

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  • Probiotics and Overall Health

    30 November 2015
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    Poor gut health affects much more than the picture displays. Your digestive health affects every physiological system in your body. The digestive system is the second largest part of the neurological system. Called the enteric nervous system, it is located in the gut. This is why the gut is known as the second brain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19149514/

    80% of the immune system is located in the digestive track.

    “According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), upward of 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases.” Inflammation is believed to be the root cause of most diseases. Guess where inflammation typically begins? The gut. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11157355 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17024003

    What researchers believe is that an overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defense cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins may build up in the body, turning the immune system on and keeping it highly reactive. As these toxins build, they throw the balance of good to bad bacteria off, causing the gut to become inflamed.

    The gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Digestive experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way. By consuming certain types of probiotic foods and supplements you can help bring these ratios back into balance and eliminate the inflammation. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/4/overlooked-role-probiotics-human-health/page-01

    Some common warning signs of a bacteria imbalance: http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/signs-of-bacterial-imbalance
    • Bad breath, gum disease & dental problems
    • Sleeping poorly, possible night sweats
    • Frequent colds, flu or infections
    • Faulty digestion, acid reflux and other gut disorders
    • Chronic yeast problems, candida
    • Frequent constipation or diarrhea
    • Acne, eczema, skin & foot fungus
    • Frequent fatigue, poor concentration
    • Extreme menstrual or menopausal symptoms
    • Difficulty losing weight, sugar/carbohydrate cravings
    • Allergies and food sensitivities
    • Painful joint inflammations/stiffness
    Two additional signs that your gut flora may be adversely impacted are depression and lowered immunity. Both of these are actually common-sense side effects of poor gut health, but they’re usually completely overlooked. Most people, including many physicians, do not link the immune system to the gut, when they should be making a healthy gut a major focal point if they want to help the root issues.

    The gut originates from the same type of tissue as the brain. During fetal development, one part turns into the central nervous system, while the other develops into the enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. Hence the gut and your brain work in tandem, each are influencing the other. And this is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. This also helps explain the link between neurological disorders (including ADHD and autism) and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, gluten intolerance is frequently a feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/05/microbes-manipulate-your-mind.aspx

    Foods that promote inflammation are:
    • Corn and Soybean oils
    • Pasteurized dairy
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Conventional meat
    • Sugars
    • Trans fats

    The secret to restoring your digestive health is all about balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you are going to be healthy you MUST consider consuming probiotic rich foods and supplements daily.

    What are probiotics?

    Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. They are found in many foods and can be taken in supplement form. (Review our guide to choosing a quality supplement because they are not created equal.)

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    How do you benefit from probiotics?

    The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics. https://www.healthambition.com/probiotics/

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    Digestive Health: http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics We have more than 1,000 types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracks. They help us break down food and absorb nutrients. Environmental and chemical toxins can throw off the bacterial balance of the gut. For example, when antibiotics are introduced, the drugs can kill-off the good bacteria, the healthy intestinal flora that helps us digest, as well as the bad. Probiotic intake should increase if antibiotics are being taken. The probiotics can keep the bacteria balanced throughout the antibiotic treatment so the body does not experience extreme side effects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071814
    Probiotics can help with many, if not all types of digestive issues. Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Probiotics can help with overall digestive health, even if you are not suffering from any urgent problems.
    Urinary Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics
    Probiotics taken regularly can help prevent bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a population of healthy bacteria on the tract’s adherence sites. Infections in this area of the body are extremely common, especially in women, and taking probiotics daily can help prevent reoccurring infections.
    Allergies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733627/
    One of the most important characteristics of probiotics is their safety for human health. Thanks to their ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and to modulate and stabilize the composition of gut microflora, probiotics bacteria may play an important role in the regulation of intestinal and systemic immunity. They actually seem capable of restoring the intestinal microbic equilibrium and modulating the activation of immune cells.
    Several studies have been recently conducted on the role of probiotics in preventing and/or treating allergic disorders.
    Probiotics have also been shown to reduce childhood eczema (a sign of allergies) when mothers take them while pregnant. Researchers found that pregnant women with a history of seasonal allergies who took probiotics throughout their pregnancies passed on a 50% higher level of tissue inflammation in utero, which is believed to trigger the immune system and reduce allergy incidence.

    Women’s Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26052924
    Just like the digestive tract, the vagina relies on a balance of good and bad bacteria. When the balance is off, it can result in bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Studies have found that probiotics can help prevent infection, manage an already active one, or support antibiotics as a treatment. Utilizing the probiotics as a vaginal suppository rather than orally may be even more helpful if there is a current problem.Probiotics have an important role in maternal health, as pregnant women are susceptible to vaginal infections.

    Immunity:
    As you have read, in detail, the gut holds 80% of our immune system. By eating probiotic-rich foods and maintaining good intestinal flora, you can maintain a healthy immune system.
    Obesity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26459447
    A study revealed that obese people have different gut bacteria than those maintaining a healthy weight. This shows that gut flora plays a role in obesity.

    There are several strains of probiotics, and each one is being shown to affect the body in different ways. Some of these strains include: http://probiotics.org/strains/

    • Bifidobacterium bifidum — The most dominant probiotic in infants and in the large intestine. Supports production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune system response and prevent diarrhea.
    • Bifidobacterium longum — Supports liver function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy metals.
    • Bifidobacterium breve — Helps colonize healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria.
    • Bifidobacterium infantis — Alleviates IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation.
    • Lactobacillus casei — Supports immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections.
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus — Relieves gas, bloating, improves lactose intolerance.
    • Lactobacillus bulgaricus — A powerful probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally produces its own antibiotics.
    • Lactobacillus brevis — Shown to survive the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and kill h. pylori bacteria.
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus — Supports bacterial balance and supports healthy skin. Helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors.
    • Bacillus subtilis — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and supports GALT. Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.
    • Bacillus coagulans — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.
    • Saccharomyces boulardii — A yeast probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. It has proved effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. It’s also been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial, and reduce inflammation.

    Taking probiotics is extremely beneficial, but making sure that you don’t prevent them from working is also important. Be sure to eliminate the following, or increase your probiotic intake if any of the following is necessary: http://www.shanti.com.au/body/probiotics.htm
    • Prescription Antibiotics
    • Sugar
    • Tap Water
    • GMO Foods
    • Grains
    • Emotional Stress
    • Chemicals and medications
    • Birth Control/Steroids/Hormonal Drugs
    • Chlorine (Use a good filter for your drinking water)
    • Flouride
    • Coffee (I know. I know. Just add a little extra probiotics if you are a coffee drinker.)
    • Carbonated Beverages
    • Ascorbic Acid (In low-quality supplements, bottled drinks and juices.)
    • Radiation (chemotherapy, x-rays, microwaves)
    • Additives/Preservatives (Avoid processed foods)
    • Pesticides/Herbicides/Fertilizers
    • Stress

    In order to improve your gut flora balance, make sure to avoid these probiotic killers the best that you can. We are exposed to many of these foods, toxins and stressors on a daily basis, and if you’re going to restore your digestive health, they must be addressed. If they’re not addressed, your gut micro-organisms become imbalanced and your system can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi and parasites.

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  • Supplements Part 4: How to Choose.

    19 November 2015
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    It seems that there is no way to truly win with our supplements and vitamins. While this is partially true, there are options that offer great benefits. You may find brands not included on this list that work well for you, but remember to read labels and research what you are putting into your body. I am including the brands that I have found to hold the highest amount of positive, helpful and healthy ingredients.
    Almost all supplements and vitamins will have some sugar, unfortunately, but if you can find zero fillers and dyes, you are winning. If a brand has consciously left these out of their product, then I would like to think that they are only using a small amount of sugar.
    Klaire Labs: http://www.klaire.com/ Klaire Labs was created to provide supplement options for those with sever food allergies. All products are free of artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. Most of the products are vegetarian; and all common allergens: wheat, corn, soy, yeast, and dairy are avoided unless otherwise specified on the label. Active ingredients used are selected based on their purity, bioavailability, documented actions, and safety characteristics. Any raw materials undergo quarantine, inspection, and evaluation before being used in products. There are small amounts of naturally-derived materials such as cellulose-based excipients, vegetable-derived magnesium stearate, L-leucine, and silicon dioxide used to encapsulate or bond the tablets. Tablets are protected with an inert, water-soluble cellulose coating. This dissolves immediately and does not interfere with active ingredients within the supplement.

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    Seeking Health: http://www.seekinghealth.com/ These supplements are free of fillers. Nearly all Seeking Health products are free of Casein, Corn, Dairy, Egg, Fish, Gluten, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts, and Wheat. (Read the label to be sure)  Containing ingredients that are readily absorbed by the body, Seeking Health strives to reach the foundation of your health: your gut and brain.  By strengthening your foundation with a well-balanced lifestyle and proper supplementation, you are increasing your overall health and enjoyment of life.

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    Thorne Research: https://www.thorne.com/quality Filler and dye-free products that contain the highest quality ingredients. Non-GMO and Organic, Thorne provides FDA approved supplement options for us and our pets.

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    Davinci Labs:  http://www.davincilabs.com/ Supplements that provide support for all areas of health, including brain and heart health, joint and muscle support, mood support, immune system support, and stress management support, along with full spectrum multivitamins and minerals to support overall good health.  With close to 300 products to choose from (for us and our pets), Davinci stands by its pure and potent ingredient lists. Raw materials used in DaVinci products are as natural as possible and are guaranteed to contain no artificial flavorings, preservatives, colors, sweeteners or other foreign agents unless otherwise stated on our labels. Each lot of tablets or capsules is carefully assayed to be sure they meet product specifications.

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    Apex Energetics: http://www.apexenergetics.com/ Apex uses cutting-edge science and practitioner observations and experience while collaborating with the top international experts in the field. Utilizing the latest peer-reviewed scientific research they develop effective nutritional strategies and formulas. Apex offers supplements, creams, flower essences and homeopathics. The supplements are created to support the endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, brain, brain-gut axis, circulatory system, hepatobiliary system, musculoskeletal system, and immune system with high-quality ingredients.

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    Xymogen:  Xymogen formulas do not contain wheat, gluten, corn protein, yeast, soy, animal, or dairy products unless otherwise labeled. None of the formulas contain artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. Dicalcium phosphate, methylcellulose, glycerin, and croscarmellose sodium comprise the majority of binders used in the tablets. All binders are hypoallergenic, non-animal derived compounds. Xymogen supplies supplements, vitamins, detoxes, and nutritional support.

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    Remember that supplements are just that – supplemental to your diet.  Please practice a healthy lifestyle, full of real whole foods and plenty of exercise!  Once your diet is optimized, nutrients flood in, energy increases, blood sugar stabilizes and the immune system balances.

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