Fungicide in OJ? Now what are we to drink at breakfast?!

OK, so now we can’t drink commercial OJ anymore. First it was arsenic and lead in apple juice, now a bad fungicide in orange juice. What the hell is America supposed to drink at breakfast anymore?

This fungicide is linked to cancer and infertility. But the FDA assures us it’s only “trace” amounts, so we should be just fine. Well those “trace” amounts of chemicals and toxins in our food, water supply, and environment, start to add up and don’t leave your body so readily…thus the cancer risk.

I purchase Trader Joe’s Organic Florida OJ which I found relief in knowing this fungicide is banned in the U.S.  Brazil imported oranges and juice is what contains it and the commercial OJ providers like COKE uses it and found it. Wouldn’t tell us if it was in their Simply Orange or Minute Maid brand…and Pepsi won’t admit if they have found it in their OJ brands Tropicana and Dole. You can bet that Pepsi is buying it from Brazil where the OJ is cheaper than Florida grown orange juice.

Time to plant that apple and orange grove in your backyard folks. Squeeze it fresh everyday. Seems to be the only way we can be assured our food supply isn’t tainted. *heavy sigh*

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204124204577154813627399478.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Advertisements

Essential Fatty Acids and Why We Need Them

Omega-3 and omega-6 are considered “essential fatty acids” (EFA) because our bodies need them for building healthy cells, and maintaining nerve and brain function. Our bodies can’t produce EFAs, so our only source is from food. This is one area where your diet will greatly affect the balance of omega-3 vs. omega-6 and your overall health. Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that can protect us from diseases likes type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and age-related brain decline.

Omega-6 fatty acids primarily comes in the form of linoleic acid from plant oils. The main source that the western diet provides these are in the form of corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. But the healthier source of omega-6 should come from seeds and nuts. We really should only be getting 5%-10% of our food calories from omega-6 fatty acids in our diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids come from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna. Unfortunately, with our polluted oceans, tuna and mackerel contain unsafe levels of mercury, and other contaminates, while salmon is only best as wild caught Alaskan salmon. There are other sources such as flaxseed, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. Flaxseed oil, for example, contains about 55% omega-3 fats. Canola oil has about 10%.

All of these foods are healthy choices, but there’s still some debate about whether they have all the benefits of fish oil. The reason: the omega-3 in flax, canola, walnuts, and other vegetable sources are in the form of alpha linoleic acid, or ALA. Although the body can convert some ALA to EPA and DHA, the two forms of omega-3 fats with proven heart protection benefits, it’s not clear how much is converted. Diets high in omega-6 fats interfere with the conversion of ALA to DHA in omega-3s.  As you age that conversion becomes even more inefficient, at a time when your brain and nerves really need the protective benefits from EPA and DHA.

Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3 in the body, so the ratio of these two forms of polyunsaturated fats is very important. We need more omega-3 in a ratio of 1:1 to 1:4 (omega-6:omega-3).  With all the fast food, prepared convenient foods and packaged foods in the America diet, this ratio is way off since it’s flooded with omega-6 fatty acids in the form of vegetable oils such as corn and safflower oil.

So if you don’t eat fish, or want to limit the amount you eat due to exposure to toxins, a supplement is recommended in the form of omega-3 that is high in DHA.

BENEFITS OF EFAs

Essential Fatty Acids, particularly Omega-3s (high in DHA) supports brain function with focus, concentration and mood. About two-thirds of the brain is composed of fats. Myelin, the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons, is composed of 30% protein and 70% fat. DHA reduces oxidative stress, enhances learning and memory, and is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in cell membranes within the brain. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and the primary building material for cell membranes, which let nutrients in and toxins out.

  • Our bodies cannot produce Omega fatty acids, so we must get them through our diet and supplementation.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are utilized by our eyes, brain, heart, joints, digestive system and many other tissues and systems.
  • Omega-3 improves your ability to concentrate as well as your energy level.
  • Omega-3s in the form of DHA are beneficial to kids and adults with ADHD or autism.
  • Through it’s anti-inflammatory effects, cod liver oil is a promising treatment for arthritis sufferers.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils keep platelets in the blood from sticking together, which reduces blood clotting and lowers the risk for heart attacks. They may also provide protection by reducing inflammation in the blood vessels.
  • Omega-3s help with mood disorders, such as depression.
  • Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and omega-6s are pro-inflammatory. Diseases like heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s thrive on cell inflammation. Diets rich in omega-3s reduce inflammation and disease risk.
  • Grass-fed cattle are higher in omega-3s vs. omega-6s.  Conventional beef is fed diets high in omega-6s with grains like corn and soybeans.  Organic beef doesn’t necessarily mean they are grass-fed, which is the type of beef we should be consuming. It just means the grains they are fed are organically grown.

Our family has reduced our intake of omega-6s and eat a diet richer in omega-3s, yet we still take a dietary supplement of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of DHA.  Remember, our bodies may not be efficient at converting enough of the ALA (from EFAs) to DHA.

An informative source with a great list of FAQs on this subject is the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute.

http://www.dhaomega3.org/

 

Is it OK to eat that?!

Lately it seems that we keep hearing about produce or meat recalls due to one of the many types of bacterial contamination.  Or that lead, antimony or mercury is found in unsafe quantities in our kid’s juice. Our ocean’s are polluted and the fish aren’t safe to eat. Tap water is not a viable option for the most part due to chlorine, flouride, and numerous other contaminates that leach into the supply. You know, growing your own garden, raising farm animals and digging a well is about your best option these days…unless you live in a populated city like Los Angeles. 

We live is such an area and I’m constantly having to research what foods are not only healthy for our bodies, but which ones to look out for that are not. I recently saw another article on this subject by Prevention Magazine and it summed up some of the most important foods to eat “clean” or avoid altogether. Here is a summary of their article that lists seven foods to avoid:

  1. Canned tomatoes. The lining of the cans they come packaged in contain bisphenol-A (BPA) and the acidity of the tomatoes cause it to leach into the food. BPA is a synthetic hormone that wreaks havoc in the human body. Can’t live without your canned tomatoes? Suggestion: buy them in glass containers or grow your own.
  2. Corn-fed beef. Not sure if you know this or not, but cattle evolved from eating grass, not grains. They don’t graze on corn fields or soybean plants. It’s grass…green, unfertilized, grass. Grass fed beef is richer in the good omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E, A and minerals. Corn-fed beef is high in omega-6 which is pro-inflammatory and proven to increase cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risks. Suggestion: buy grass fed beef and if it’s too costly, eliminate it from your diet. You’ll do just fine without it.
  3. Microwave popcorn. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not for a lot of people. We have really gotten lazy and dependent on instant gratification. At least that’s what packaged food manufacturers think of us. Chemicals line the bag (shocker!) vaporize and migrate into the popcorn as it heats and pops. These chemicals stay in your body and accumulate there. Another factor that contributes to cancer risks. Suggestion: pop your own on the stove top in a pot, the old fashioned way. Or buy an air popper. It’s infinitely less expensive and you can control how much salt and butter to put on it.
  4. Non-organic potatoes. Root vegetables absorb pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are in the soil. Potatoes are treated with fungicides while growing then sprayed with herbicides after harvested. If potato farmers won’t eat conventionally grown potatoes they grow and sell themselves, then you know it’s bad. Suggestion: buy organic. Don’t compromise on this one. Washing the potato does not remove the chemicals that absorb into the flesh.
  5. Farmed salmon. Atlantic salmon is farmed in crammed pens and fed soy, antibiotics, hormones and dye to make it’s sick flesh pink. There are high levels of antibiotics, pesticides and other contaminates in the fish that outweigh the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Suggestion: buy wild, fresh, Alaskan salmon when in season. When it’s not, buy canned salmon that is from wild Alaskan salmon.
  6. Milk produced with artificial hormones. Avoid all dairy, not just milk that is made from cattle treated with the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). These hormones increase milk production in cattle, are passed on into the milk and leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in milk. In humans, high levels of IGF-1 increases risks of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. It’s pro-inflammatory, and cell inflamation feeds cancer growth. Suggestion: buy milk and dairy with the label rBGH/rBST free or organic milk. A lot of dairy farmers produce milk without these hormones, so it’s easy to find.
  7. Conventional apples. Yes, that means any apple that is not organically grown. It’s one of the “dirtiest” fruits grown. The high level of pesticides are sprayed on them due to their inability to develop a resistance to pests. Recent studies have shown that higher level of pesticides in children contributes to ADHD and Parkinson’s disease as adults. Suggestion: buy only organic apples and applesauce. The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was coined long before we grew pesticide laden fruit.

We need to take care of our health by first feeding our bodies good, healthy foods that aren’t artificially produced or poisoned with chemicals. Today’s consumer need to be aware of the dangers in certain food supplies and stay educated in making good food choices. We can’t leave our health and well-being up to the food manufactures and FDA. They are not looking out for our best interest. Only you can do that for you and your family.

To read the extended article referenced above, click on this link:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/01/7-foods-should-never-eat/?intcmp=obinsite

Why You Should Read “Anticancer – A New Way of Life”

I have never done a book review on my blog, and I’ve read a lot of books on health and biomedical treatments.  Why am I doing this now? Because I have read a book that has touched me personally. It’s called “Anticancer – A New Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber. I keep telling my family and friends that they must read this book, so it occurred to me that perhaps I should write a review about it to better inform those that I touch through this blog.

This summer was a tough one for me and my family personally. My older sister became very ill, very quickly and was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. See, the doctors discovered it after it had spread to her lungs and gave her severe breathing problems. It was too late to even treat it, which I believe is a blessing. Why? Because I watched another dear sister of mine die from melanoma cancer just two years earlier. She fought for five, very tough, painful years to win the cancer battle, but lost it at the age of 55. Both sisters turned 50, and were diagnosed within a year. That completely freaked me out. I questioned, am I going to get cancer in my 50’s?! I’m going to be 50….someday. A wonderful friend and doctor recommended I read Dr. Schreiber’s book to allay my fears and take control of my health.

David Servan-Schreiber was a doctor and research scientist that was diagnosed with brain cancer. His search for preventing relapse and to improve his health led him on a journey that resulted in his book. Anticancer combines his memoirs, a concise explanation of what makes cancer cells thrive and what inhibits them, conventional cancer treatments along with alternative methods to slow and prevent cancer. It outlines the role of diet, exercise, stress management, and environment for reducing your chances for cancer. Cancer thrives on cell inflammation which can be regulated through the above mentioned factors. Our immune system is the front lines for fighting cancer cells and preventing them from developing into tumors. Certain food items or behaviors that have anti-inflammatory properties can help stop cancer from spreading. It’s all about taking care of our “terrain” so that cancer cells can’t grow.

The quote in his book that struck a chord with me is “All of us have cancer cells in our bodies. But not all of us will develop cancer.”  

It’s a touching book and yet very informative. He lists scientific studies on foods, herbs, stress management and other alternative treatments for cancer. He doesn’t advocate to not take the conventional approach to cancer treatment with chemotherapy/radiotherapy. He states how our body can benefit from both approaches in cancer treatment.

To summarize some of his findings:

  • Our traditional Western diet creates conditions for disease and he explains how to follow a science-based, anticancer diet.
  • How sugar and stress feeds cancer growth
  • The importance of Omega 3’s (EFAs) and eliminate Omega 6 fats (pro-inflammatory)
  • Organic vegetables, fruit, and meat reduce cancer causing pesticides exposure
  • Green tea, dark chocolate (70% or more), red wine (with a meal, in moderation!) and berries all have cancer fighting properties
  • Our main course should be 80% vegetables, 20% animal protein
  • Spices and herbs (such as: turmeric, thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, oregano) not only enhance flavor in your meals, but have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce the growth of cancer cells.
  • Eat your grains whole and mixed (wheat with oats, barley, spelt, flax, etc) and favor organic whole grains since pesticides accumulate on them. And of course, avoid refined white flour.
  • Exercise to reduce stress and detoxify
  • Meditate, practice yoga, or find hobbies that relax and center you
  • Stay connected and involved with friends, family…cultivate happiness like a garden.

This review is only a fraction of what you can gain from his book. I highly recommend you read it and apply it to your life to prevent cancer, and for loved ones that are battling cancer. And for those families out there that are treating their child with autism/adhd/allergies/asthma biomedically, this book is for you too. I have always said that the number one reason I’m treating my son’s autism with biomedical treatments is to help him with his autism symptoms, and the second is to provide him with better health so that he can fight off cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. His compromised immune system and chronic inflammation in his body gone untreated would create the optimum environment for cancer cells to grow.

I know as a busy parent, that we put our children’s health first at the expense of our own. But I am making a conscious effort to take charge of my own health, thanks to Dr. Schreiber.

Find out more on the book’s website: www.anticancerbook.com

My favorite mineral: Magnesium

Everyone in our family takes a magnesium supplement in addition to the magnesium we get from our diet. Magnesium is an essential mineral, which means our body needs it to function. We get it from our diet or with supplements. 

Lack of magnesium may lead to irritability, muscle weakness, and irregular heartbeat. Every organ in the body — especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys — needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Most important, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.

Certain medical conditions, however, can upset the body’s magnesium balance. For example, an intestinal virus that causes vomiting or diarrhea can cause temporary magnesium deficiencies. Some gastrointestinal diseases (such as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and ulcerative colitis), diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels), kidney disease, and taking diuretics can lead to deficiencies. Too much coffee, soda, salt, or alcohol as well as heavy menstrual periods, excessive sweating, and prolonged stress can also lower magnesium levels. Children on the autism spectrum tend to be low in magnesium due to digestive issues and diet.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include:

  • agitation and anxiety
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • sleep disorders
  • irritability
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure
  • confusion
  • muscle spasm and weakness
  • hyperventilation
  • insomnia
  • poor nail growth

Magnesium will:

  • relax nerve impulses and muscle contractions
  • promote relaxation; aid in restful sleep
  • help lower blood pressure
  • keep your bones strong (especially when taken with calcium)
  • keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol
  • relieve symptoms of menopause and PMS
  • help the body absorb calcium and potassium

Fibromyalgia – A small preliminary clinical study of 24 people with fibromyalgia suggest that a proprietary tablet containing both malic acid and magnesium may improve pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia when taken for at least 2 months. Other studies suggest the combination of calcium and magnesium may be helpful for some people with fibromyalgia. Magnesium has been shown to relieve muscle pain and fatigue in individuals with Fibromyalgia.

Migraine headache – A few studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may help prevent migraine headaches. In addition, a few clinical studies suggest that magnesium supplements may shorten the duration of a migraine and reduce the amount of medication needed. People who have migraine headaches tend to have lower levels of magnesium compared to those with tension headaches or no headaches at all.  Some experts suggest combining magnesium with the herb feverfew along with vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may be helpful when you have a headache.

Type 2 Diabetes – It is estimated that up to 80 percent of those with type 2 diabetes have a magnesium deficiency. High glucose levels, in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, will cause the body to flush magnesium from its system. In a recent study, people with diabetes who took magnesium supplements had improved insulin and glucose levels.

Heart Disease – “Magnesium does a heart good”. People with heart conditions, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms and coronary artery disease, tend to be magnesium deficient. Studies show that people with low amounts of magnesium in the body have double the risk of developing coronary heart disease, and that magnesium supplementation can lower cholesterol by as much as 20 percent. Magnesium supplementation can increase individuals’ magnesium levels and minimize the risks associated with heart disease.

DIET: The best dietary sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, peas, beans, and cereal grains in which the germ or outer layers have not been removed.  For example, spinach (1 cup) and pumpkin seeds (1 ounce) will provide about 157 mg.; long grain brown rice (1 cup) provides 84 mg.; 1/2 fillet of wild fresh salmon contains 59 mg. For a list of foods rich in magnesium, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has a list: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium#h2

A diet high in fat may cause less magnesium to be absorbed. Cooking may decrease the magnesium content of food.

Diets that provide plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of potassium and magnesium, are consistently associated with lower blood pressure. The DASH study (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) suggested that high blood pressure could be significantly lowered by a diet high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and low in sodium and fat.  Evidence suggests that magnesium may play an important role in regulating blood pressure.

The U.S. RDA of magnesium intake for children 4 – 10 yrs is between 120 – 170 mg/day; adults between 270 – 400 mg./day.

To supplement your diet with magnesium, there are various forms of magnesium to choose from.

TYPE OF MAGNESIUM: Magnesium citrate, oxide, glycinate, and sulfate. For constipation, people use magnesium citrate, but for a good supplement for bodily functions without diarrhea, we use magnesium glycinate.

The various forms of magnesium will affect the digestive tract differently. Below are some guidelines on how your body may react to types of magnesium:

  • oxide:  tends to firm stools
  • glycinate:  a very gentle form of magnesium that is easier on the system
  • citrate:  tends to loosen stools
  • sulfate:  tends to loosen stools
  • chloride:  tends to loosen stools

Magnesium sulfate – Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. Be sure to buy USP (U.S.Pharmaceutical grade). You can get them at the Dollar store, grocery.drug store and Costco. Epsom salts will:

  • ease stress and improve sleep
  • reduce inflammation and relieve muscle pain/cramps
  • flush out toxins
  • help prevent or ease migraine headaches

When given an Epsom salt bath, the magnesium and sulfate in the salts are absorbed into the body through the skin.  Sulfate is thought to circulate in the body up to about nine hours. Any Epsom salts left on the skin may continue to be absorbed as long as it is still on the skin, offering continuous ‘timed-released’ input into the bloodstream.  I put 1.5 to 2 cups of Epsom salts in hot bath water to dissolve and then add the cold water to balance the temperature. Soak for about 15 minutes before using natural soaps or shampoos. Others add baking soda and lavender oil to enhance the relaxation effects.  You can also do a foot bath of hot water and Epsom Salts for 15 minutes while watching TV/reading before bed.

Artificial Food Coloring Is Evil (Part 2)

The U.S. Food & Drug Agency (FDA) is holding hearings over the next two days on artificial food coloring in our food supply and the effect it has on children with ADHD. They have asked for a panel of experts to present evidence of a link between these artificial dyes in food and ADHD in kids, with possible recommendations on policy changes like warning labels on food. Believe me, I’m pleased to see the attention it is getting which means more parents are learning about the harmful effects of artificial food colors. Here are the links to some of the mainstream media coverage of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/health/policy/30fda.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471904576228550619608050.html

http://www.usnews.com/mobile/articles_mobile/fda-panel-examines-possible-links-between-food-dyes-adhd

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/food-dyes-hyperactivity/story?id=13221478

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rainbow-of-food-dyes-in-our-grocery-aisles-has-a-dark-side/2011/03/21/AFyIwaYB_story.html

http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/28/does-food-dye-make-kids-hyper-an-fda-panel-will-investigate/

I am not holding my breath that the FDA will actually ban the dyes, in fact I know they won’t. Maybe a warning label, but I doubt it would be stern enough to draw any attention from unsuspecting consumers. Yes, I’m cynical when it comes to our FDA actually doing something that is good for us, the consumer. They lean more toward protecting the food and drug manufacturers that will put a lot of money against any initiative to ban or label their products with artificial dyes. After all, their future job security at these consumer packaged goods companies are at risk if they do their present job at the FDA correctly. Yes, the job exchange program between food and drug manufacturers and our FDA and CDC happens all the time…and it’s been going on for years.

All that really needs to be done is have some of the high level decision makers at the FDA feed their kids a diet filled with these toxic food dyes for two days and monitor their behavior at home and school. Then take them completely off the dyes for a few days and see the dramatic difference. And it does not ONLY affect kids with “sensitivities” like some media outlets are reporting. You don’t have to have ADHD or autism to be affected by these dyes. Read my original post to learn more about them and how they are manufactured.

https://healingautismandadhd.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/artificial-food-coloring-is-evil/

I’m sure if food and drug manufacturers do have to put a disclaimer on their packaging we will see some really awful television ads renaming their artificial food dyes to something like “natural colorful additives”.  You may think I’m being sarcastic, but have you heard how the Corn Refiners Association (corn farming industry) has renamed High Fructose Corn Syrup to “Corn Sugar”?  And they even have the audacity to say that corn sugar is handled the same by your body as sugar or honey. HA!  You can read just how our body processes that artificial sweetener in my post below. This deceptive marketing is tolerated by our FDA.  Enough said.

https://healingautismandadhd.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/just-say-no-to-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

HBOT Isn’t Just for Michael Jackson

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been around for decades and the healing properties of it have been utilized by many doctors, researchers, athletes, and yes, even Michael Jackson. My first impression of HBOT was when I learned how it helped scuba divers with the “bends”, or decompression sickness, which occurs when the diver surfaces to quickly and nitrogen builds up in their body. It’s very painful and can even cause death. The treatment is to quickly get them to a pressurized chamber and have them breathe 100% oxygen.

In the 1980’s Michael Jackson started napping in a HBOT chamber to reap the health benefits and to preserve his youth. Seemed sort of creepy and strange to most everyone, and made you believe that HBOT was only for the wealthy. Star athletes, like Lance Armstrong, and major sport franchises have their own chamber to aid athletes in recovery from injury quicker.

What is HBOT?

Hyperbarics is a technology in which the air pressure in the environment is increased.

Hyper means increased and baric relates to pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) thus refers to intermittent treatment of the entire body with 100-percent oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressures.

HBOT involves inhaling 100% oxygen at greater than one atmosphere absolute (ATA) in a pressurized chamber.  The air we breathe at sea level is defined at 1 ATA. Low pressure/mild hyperbarics uses 1.5 ATA or less. When a person’s body is placed in a more pressure environment, it absorbs more oxygen molecules per volume of compressed air. The body normally transports oxygen via the hemoglobin of the red blood cells. By increasing the air pressure, oxygen is then driven into the body’s fluids, allowing a super-saturation of the tissues and organs with oxygen.  The increased pressure infuses the body with oxygen, even reaching injuries with damaged circulation. An example of this is a blood clot in the brain (stroke).

What are the benefits of HBOT?

  • It greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues, even with reduced or blocked blood flow.
  • Stimulates the growth of new blood vessels to locations with reduced circulation which aids the body in its own healing process.
  • Increased oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria.
  • Reduces inflammation in the gut and brain
  • Increases blood vessel diameter greater than when therapy began, improving blood flow to compromised organs.
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Reduces swelling at injury site
  • Removes toxins such as heavy metals from the body

Why HBOT for autism?

Multiple studies have shown that autism is a neurodegenerative (a loss of nerve cells/death of neurons) disease that features cerebral hypoperfusion, brain and GI inflammation, and increased oxidative stress. Hypoperfusion refers to decrease blood flow. Numerous studies on children with autism have shown decreased blood flow to the brain, especially in the temporal regions.  The temporal lobes are responsible for speech, memory, emotional responses, auditory and visual processing, and olfactory (sense of smell)).  This hypoperfusion is associated with many core symptoms of children with autism.

Decreased blood flow to the temporal lobes has also been correlated with an “obsessive desire for sameness”, “impairments in communication and social interaction”, and also with decreased IQ. Decreased blood flow to the temporal lobes and amygdala has been correlated with impairments in processing facial expressions and emotions and trouble recognizing familiar faces. Decreased blood flow to the thalamus has been correlated with repetitive, self-stimulatory, and unusual behaviors including resistance to changes in routine and environment.

Cerebral hypoperfusion causes hypoxia (or decreased oxygen), which triggers electrical failure in brain cells. Worsening hypoxia then eventually results in ion pump failure, which ultimately leads to cell death. Studies have shown that the oxygen delivered by HBOT can reverse hypoxia in brain tissues caused by hypoperfusion.

Inflammation is a known cause of decreased bloood flow.  Research has shown us that when the GI tract is inflamed, so is the brain and immune system. It’s the triad of the gut, brain and immune system that are susceptible to inflammation if one of the three is damaged. HBOT improves gut inflammation by killing off the bad bacteria. Bacteria thrives on an oxygen deprived environment. When infused with oxygen, it dies off.  Therefore, having a good probiotic on board, anti-oxidants like vitamin E, selenium, glutathione, and melatonin are recommended during HBOT treatments.

HBOT has improved symptoms in children with autism including enhancements in socialization, language, and repetitive behaviors. The GI tract improves, inflammation is reduced/eliminated, better sleep and improvements will continue months after treatment is concluded.

Hard Chamber or Soft Chamber?

This question is dependent on the child and doctor’s assessment of need. The hard chamber provides 100% oxygen at 1.5 ATA.  The soft chamber uses room air and an oxygen concentrator that delivers 28% oxygen at 1.3 ATA.  Less pressure, less oxygen concentration. Both chambers have shown effectiveness in eliminating symptoms of autism through studies.

The advantage to the soft chamber is parents can purchase or rent them for their home. This becomes more feasible for families that don’t have HBOT providers close to home. And all members of the family can be treated in the comfort of your own home. Plus you can take electronics into a soft chamber, so a game system like my son’s Nintendo DS will help occupy his time.

The number of treatments range from 40 dives to 80 dives. Each treatment is one hour. Most clinicians recommend at least 40 dives. Improvements may be seen as early as 10 dives, depending on the child. The recommendation is to have 40 treatments over 8 weeks. That’s 5 days/week with weekends off.

Cost of HBOT session range from $100-$150 per session. It is not for the faint of heart when committing to this financial investment in your child. I’m still investigating the cost of renting a soft chamber, so that will also factor into our decision on which chamber we’ll use.

Why HBOT for our son?

Well, the above information I provided is one reason. The main reason I am pursuing this therapy is that my son with autism suffered from obstructive sleep apnea from the age of 9 months to 2 yrs 10 mos. His sleep study indicated hypoxia, which means he is a perfect candidate for benefiting from HBOT. I believe he has brain cells that are “idling” right now and will get turned back on with the oxygen infusion. He also battles gut bacteria, low glutathione levels, and heavy metal toxicity, which will be reduced/eliminated with HBOT.

We have not determined which chamber we will pursue. A hard chamber is available to us, but is a one hour drive from our home. It takes approximately 15 minutes in the chamber to get to the pressure level and then each session is one hour. 15 more minutes to come back to normal pressure, resulting in a total of 1.5 hrs inside the chamber. Add to it the 1 hr drive to and from and our HBOT treatments now will take approximately 4 hours out of our day. We anticipate to start in the summer, with the break of school. The soft chamber rental is still an option that we are investigating. Both options appeal to us and we need to determine what is best for our child and family.

If you’re thinking about HBOT for your child, there is a ton of information on the internet and the research with children on the autism spectrum. We’ve been wanting to do this treatment for 2 years now, and 2011 is the year we will achieve this goal.

%d bloggers like this: