Posts Tagged ‘kända mammor’

Preventing Childhood Obesity from the Womb?

August 6, 2012

Birgitta Lauren,  August 6th 2012,

Today, with 30% of U.S. children overweight –the war on childhood obesity is mostly centered on what children eat, the marketing and availability of unhealthy, processed foods and parental choices, rather than the much easier prevention of it. And as important as healthy school lunches and PE is for children, not starting healthy habit programs until school, like Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign is too late for prevention.  The problem has already been created, both genetically and in habits – habits can be hard to change.  Since obesity leads to all other diseases, from physical to mental, pediatric obesity experts now say intervention must begin early – very early, as risk factors begin before birth, necessitating changing the diet and lifestyle of the mothers themselves, before, during and after pregnancy and with very young children. It’s an interesting note that “pediatricians” are doing this as opposed to “gynecologists”…..

The Obesity Problem is Multipronged:

Statistics from the CDC, show that Hispanic, black, poor, publicly insured, and kids living in the southeastern states and those lacking outside school activities have the highest obesity rates.  This tells us culture and environment matters, and may be difficult to change. But we also know that less expensive food is much less healthy. The latter is the fault of Big Food, Big Pharma (hormone, vaccine and anti-biotic injections of animals) and Big Chemicals (preservatives, additives, colors and flavors, fertilizers, pesticides & GMO’s etc…) manufacturers wanting to keep people addicted to their foods and also the government subsidizing processed foods to keep them less expensive. The collaborations between Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Chemicals, and the FDA, the USDA, the EPA and the government are keeping America fat. According to The Guardian, obesity is getting worse, not only due to too much food but, what’s in the food we eat – or not. Fixing this would require tossing out the entire Congress, or voting with your money, buying only fresh, organic and locally farmed foods, avoiding nutrient void, and chemically processed foods.

Obesity Starts in the Womb.

Too many women gain excessive amounts of weight during pregnancy as they use pregnancy as an excuse to eat too much, says researchers in a Division of Nutrition in Ithaca, N.Y Cornell University study that showed that 38% of normal-weight women, 67% of overweight women, and 46% of obese women gained too much weight while pregnant. 56% of the women who became obese during the study could have avoided it by staying within guidelines.  But a Dutch study this year found that even after counseling 16% of obese women about to get IVF, refused to lose weight36. Since 96% of IVF patients face multiple risk factors – This is a big problem.

 

The 2009 Institute of Medicine advised weight gain during pregnancy is 11 – 40 lbs. depending on woman being obese, normal or underweight.  “Get to a healthy weight before you conceive”, says the IOM, but with 55% of childbearing age women overweight, uncommon preconception care, half of pregnancies unplanned, and half of women don’t follow advice – it’s unfortunately a tall order. This is a problem as a child’s fat cells increase in number from 30 weeks of gestation through 18-24 months old. Over eating during pregnancy and nursing or formula feeding may increase the child’s number of fat cells.

Poor nutrition in the womb causes permanent genetic changes in the offspring –                                              says study published in the FASEB Journal 4.13.09, increasing risk for diabetes, growth retardation, CVD, obesity, and neurodevelopmental delays, autism, among others, affecting multiple healthcare issues across generations. Study reiterates that prenatal care is far more important than anyone could have imagined a decade ago.  Too much body fat, during pregnancy often puts too much stress on the uterus, leading to premature delivery. However obese pregnant women that exercise can prevent prematurity. However, a child will develop tastes and eating habits depending on moms eating habits. Everything mom does gestationally, will affect the baby’s future health for better or worse.

 

 

Causes of obesity in children:

 

Before & During Pregnancy:

  1. Lack of exercise
  2. Processed food, (high fructose corn syrup, soda, sugar, High GI foods)2
  3. Genetically Modified foods (GMOs), I.e.: corn & soy
  4. Excessive prenatal weight gain
  5. Insufficient prenatal weigh gain / Dieting around time of conception and early pregnancy3
  6. High-fat diet16, – fried foods.
  7. Chemicals like BPA, Phthalates11, diesel and petrochemicals exhausts12, and pesticides4.
  8. Medications, especially anti-depressants5
  9. High birth weight (whether from overeating or diabetes)
  10. Low birth weight, (whether from early delivery or undernourishment)
  11. Lack of Vitamin D6, 10
  12. Lack of probiotics, good bacteria and therefore vitamin K production in the gut7.
  13. Premature Delivery
  14. Babies born too close together8 (< 12 months between labor and conception).
  15. Mom’s lack of sleep5, as insufficient sleep may affect cortisol production35
  16. Chronic stress via Cortisol production.
  17. Labor complications and C-sections.
  18. Thyroid problems and Iodine deficiencies9 or toxicity.

 

Epigenetic Metabolic Reprogramming:

 

Maternal diet and physical activity during pregnancy has a profound effect on both placental and fetal development17.  Nutritionally deprived newborns are at stem cells level “programmed” to “conserve energy” (store fat) and eat more by developing less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake, according to an article published in the Journal Brain Research, from a study by Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Altered brain development suggests that fetal growth restriction may lead to cognitive and/or behavioral problems.

These findings that dieting at conception causes obesity and diabetes shows obesity is not inherited, it’s manufactured. – “It also shows that epigenetics is the ‘new genetics’: …our DNA is susceptible to binge eating and dieting — we are what our mother’s ate.” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. Interestingly, infants born large, have less health problems than infants born too small despite both leading to obesity13.

Obesity may also have roots in 1950s when pregnant women smoked, spurned breast-feeding and restricted their weight during numerous, closely spaced pregnancies; says Melinda Sothern, leading fitness and nutrition expert at Louisiana State University.

Weight gain is a known side effect of many drugs, including powerful anti-psychotics, anti-histamines, anti-depressants, diabetes drugs, beta blockers, corticosteroids and contraceptives5.Except the later, all of which seems to be freely doled out to pregnant women despite side-effects. As well as anti-nausea medication, which prohibit moms Folate absorption – with resulting ill effects and growth retardation of baby. I even see moms using serious painkillers like OcyContin (sick). With these painkillers now being the biggest cause of accidental deaths, and the constant exposure to chemicals through environment, household and body products and the food supply – is there any wonder children have problems…?

But metabolic epigenetic changes also extend to what fathers and grandfathers eat. If your paternal grandpa went hungry, or your dad ate a low-protein diet, you are more likely obese, according to the 12.23.2010 issue of Cell. This University of Massachusetts study also linked dad’s high-fat diet to their daughter’s health problems. Another study of the Swedish Sami population a century ago showed an 11 year old boy going from famine to feast prior to puberty caused a propensity for higher weight in his future children34. This means we are never off the hook of eating healthy.

  1. Postpartum:
  2. Lack of Exercise
  3. Formula feeding14
  4. Early introduction to solid foods before 6 months14.
  5. Baby’s lack of sleep14,35
  6. Processed food, GMOs, or a high-fat16 diet consumed by mom while nursing or baby later.
  7. Dieting (insufficient calories and nutrients)
  8. Chemical exposure to BPA, Phthalates, diesel petrochemical exhausts, fertilizers and pesticides.
  9. Medications, especially anti-depressants
  10. Lack of Vitamin D
  11. Lack of probiotics
  12. Eating too fast15
  13. Mom & baby’s chronic stress (including neglect & abuse)
  14. Thyroid problems and Iodine deficiency9 or toxicity.

The growing obesity epidemic, will double diabetes and triple medical costs by 203420, costing $168 Billion annually (individually $2800) says Cornell University 2010. These medical costs will rise 36% a year. This is double the cost of smoking33 and bankrupting America.

How do We Prevent Obesity?

Excellent nutrition of fresh, natural and organic foods and sufficient intake of all micronutrients at all times from preconception through nursing is crucial to establish baby’s proper metabolism, as baby growths and develops throughout. Extra prenatal supplements are vital to help baby’s metabolic system. Mom needs to be “fully stocked up” nutritionally, preferably one year before conception says the FDA. All nutrients work together, and with DHA and EPA from fish-oil; there are 32 necessary nutrients for proper health.  Prenatal nutrition is like baking a cake: if you omit one ingredient or more, the cake or baby won’t be as healthy, so with most prenatals being incomplete, moms must be choosy.

Fit Moms Make Fit Babies

Exercise is a must during pregnancy. Moms who exercise produce children that are healthier on all levels: physically, mentally, better academically and athletically and are 5% leaner, says James F. Clapp MD Professor of OB/gyn Cleveland Metropolitan Health Medical Center.

Before & During Pregnancy & Nursing

  1. Loosing weight prior to conception if overweight.
  2. Exercise (3-6 x a week, 30-60 minutes a day).
  3. Avoid ALL processed & fried foods, white carbohydrates, sugar, soda and GMO’s.
  4. Eat ONLY FRESH FOODs (lean meats, fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables), preferably ORGANIC whenever possible.
  5. Sufficient Vitamin D3, preferably from sun exposure. (Whites: 10 min/day, blacks: 45 min/day minimum).
  6. Avoid all medications, drugs and chemicals if possible.
  7. Eating nuts like almonds21
  8. Apple peel’s ursolic acid may curtail obesity by increasing muscle mass and boosting calorieburning22
  9. Seaweed23
  10. Green Tea improves metabolic rate and reduces fat accumulation24.
  11. Proper protein intake above 15% of daily calories25
  12. Taking a good comprehensive prenatal supplement26
  13. Probiotics
  14. Getting enough sleep (7-9 hrs.)35 and going to bed before 11 pm to allow for Melatonin production (hormone secreted by the pineal gland 27 and found inmustard, Goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamom, fennel, coriander and cherries).
  15. Colder weather activates brown fat burning28.
  16. Eat slowly15
  17. Reduce stress with meditation, breathing and naps.
  18. Breastfeeding prevents obesity.
  19. Positive Parenting through Parent Corps and other programs that promote effective parenting and prevent behavior problems.

 

With 90% of women deficient in vitamin D, iron 40%, Folate 24% and B12 4%, supplementation, dietary and lifestyle interventions31 in pregnancy is vital before conception30 for reducing weight gain, to reduce risk of preeclampsia, diabetes, hypertension, prematurity, still birth29,birth-defects and poor growth of babies31.

 

Breastfeeding is crucial in obesity prevention. Yet, breast-milk is only as good as moms’ diet.

 

Solid Food Introduction:

After 6 months introduce a little rice cereal mixed with breast milk. A few weeks later, oat cereal, then cooked & pureed vegetables & fruits. Later chicken or beef can. An ideal serving size would start with 1-3 tbsp.… offer toddlers a variety of fruits, vegetables, and freshly cooked foods. Avoid using food as a reward. Children will not get a “taste for foods” they aren’t introduced to. Keep TV watching to a minimum32 and get kids active joining you in exercise or take advantage of kid’s gyms and parks. Introduce kids to many sports until they find what they like so they stick with it.

Creating healthy kids is a parent’s responsibility, and will improve your family’s health for generations to come. There are NO excuses.

Resources:

  1.  2007 National Survey of Children’s Health
  2. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology  April 2009
  3. FASEB Journal  4.1.2012
  4. FASEB Journal  7.2012
  5. Dr. Julie Lumeng, University of Michigan, 2007
  6.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 7.2012
  7. British Journal of Nutrition 2.2010.
  8. LA Times 12.19.11
  9.  Newstarget 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 7.2012
  10. Presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting 7.2012
  11. The Research Council of Norway’s Program on Environmental Exposures and Health Outcomes
  12. American Academy of Pediatrics  10.4.2004
  13. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007
  14. British Medical Journal 2008
  15. The International Association for the Study of Obesity
  16. OHSU School of Medicine
  17.  UC Davis MIND Institute 4.2012
  18. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 11.2007
  19. Diabetes Care 12.2009
  20. North American Association for the Study of Obesity
  21. PLoS ONE 6.2012
  22.  A Danish study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  23. Polish Research, Naturalnews.com April 2011
  24. University of Sydney, Australia  11.11
  25. Multivitamin International Journal of Obesity  2.2010
  26. Journal of Pineal Research 5.2011
  27. National Institutes of Health  6.12
  28. BMJ 5.17 2012
  29. Journal Seminars in Perinatology, 12.2011
  30. Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC 5.5.2003
  31. Mayo Foundation 1.2010
  32. American Journal of Preventative Medicine 12.2009Origins
  33.  Uppsala University, Sweden  study  8.12
  34. Journal of Advanced Nursing 5.12

Antidepressant drugs cause premature births

March 25, 2010

A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology showed a five-fold increase in premature delivery when pregnant women take anti depressants (SSRIs) during their second or third trimesters, than those not taking them. Study included Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac and Benzodiazepines. The latter causing the most damage.

Dr. Ronit Calderon-Margalit, lead researcher from Hebrew University’s Hadassah School of Public Health, said it was unclear whether or not the benefit being derived from taking the drugs is worth the significant increase in birthing complications. He believes that further studies needs to evaluate the necessity of pregnant women needing to use such drugs.
SSRIs have been implicated in causing all sorts of mental problems, like psychosis, paranoia, and abnormal behavior. However withdrawal from taking SSRIs is often more dangerous that actually taking them, requiring careful supervision.

According to a 2001 report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, over 200,000 people are admitted to U.S. hospitals for antidepressant-associated mania or some other type of psychosis. Shootings, murders, suicides, and other bouts of violence have been documented in thousands of cases as a result of people taking SSRIs. We still don’t know how SSRI usage will affect children from prenatal use through their school years and by the time they become adults.
http://www.expectingfitness.com

Antibiotics during pregnancy:

March 25, 2010

3.23.10 – Taking antibiotics during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects, according to a study by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

About 30 percent of women take at least one antibiotic between three months before conception and the date of delivery, despite that many of the drugs have not been extensively tested for their safety on developing infants.

18,000 women participated in study that showed that the antibiotics most strongly linked with birth defect risk were the nitrofurantoin and sulfonamide ( “sulfa”) families, including the brand-name drugs Bactrim, Furadantin, Macrobid, Macrodantin and Septra.

Children were born with fatal skull and brain malformation, respiratory problems such as blocked nasal passages (choanal atresia) and abnormal diaphragm openings (diaphragmatic hernia); heart defects such as an abnormally narrow (coarctated) aorta or underdeveloped left side of the heart (hypoplastic left heart syndrome); and shortened or missing limb bones (transverse limb deficiency), cleft lip or palate, congenital heart defects, eye defects and being born missing one or both eyes (anophthalmia).

A Chocolatty Valentines for Mom.

February 13, 2010

Valentines Day conjures up images of chocolate. But please don’t feel “guilty” about indulging. Chocolate is good for you. It is also good for mom and baby during pregnancy. Science has shown that babies that com from moms who ate chocolate while pregnant came out “happier” than other babies – and so were their moms.I am sure you’ve heard of it’s nutrients: anti-oxidants, polyphenols, & flavinoids, but chocolate also contains Tryptophane (helps you sleep – what mom doesn’t need that), and various vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Together they block oxidative stress and improve your cardiovascular circulatory system including your placenta, where a Yale U study found chocolate to ward off Preeclampsia by 40% if consumed 5 days a week. Chocolate is of course known as a “feel good” food where it helps stabilize hormones and lessen depression and ward off fatigue. It’s moms perfect snack. However, moderation is important:  1/2 – 1 1/2 oz is plenty. It is caloric, does contain some sugar and caffeine….And DARK chocolate is the way to go. All of the above benefits will disappear with milk chocolate as the milk prevents absorption of all these nutrients. Milk chocolate also has much more sugar and therefor  calories…..
For additional info please see a wonderful article by Lisa Gache from Beverly
Hills Manners on how to eat chocolate….I never met a chocolate i didn’t like…

Have A Sincerely Chocolatty Valentine’s Day

Birgitta Lauren

http://www.expectingfitness.com

Folate vs. Folic Acid: Benefits and risks.

January 5, 2010

Appropriately, the first week and month of the New Year begins with Folic Acid and birth defect awareness. Folic Acid being the most famous anti-birth defect vitamin in the B family.  However, there is confusion and misunderstanding about this vitamin, its benefits and risks.

This awareness week should be renamed FOLATE WEEK.

Folic Acid is a synthetically made vitamin. Folate, or B9, is the natural form of this B vitamin. It is found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains like brewer’s yeast, legumes like lentils and liver. Unfortunately, most people are still lacking in this B vitamin and many are not aware of how important Folate supplementation is in birth defect prevention.                                                                                               Issues that may arise in a child, from a Folate deficient mother are neural tube birth defects (spina bifida and anencephaly),  mentally retarded children, cleft palate, brain damage, preeclampsia, premature birth, after birth hemorrhaging, anemia in both mom and child, breathing issues, learning or developmental disabilities, premature delivery, and less likely to survive than those born closer to 40 weeks’ gestation.                                                                                                                                                .                                                                                                                                             Spina bifida birth-defects occur within the first 22 to 28 days of pregnancy, when many mothers-to-be may not be aware they are even pregnant. Since half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and half of all unplanned pregnancies occur to women using birth control, it’s important to recommend Folic Acid supplements to ALL women of childbearing age. Studies show that Folic Acid supplements can also help reduce the chance of a premature birth by 70%.

Folic Acid food fortification has reduced birth-defects (spina bifida and anencephaly) by approximately 30%. There has however, been shown this fortification of processed grain foods in 1998 in the Canada and the US, with the synthetic Folic Acid is now causing problems.  An increase in breast and prostate cancer risk by 20-30%, as well as asthma and respiratory tract infections in children by 25%. This has caused Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Italy and the Netherland to rethink plans of fortifications.

Unlike the more easily absorbed natural Folate, Folic Acid is not bioactive as it is proclaimed to be, and must be converted by the intestines and liver before it can be used for critical Folate dependent actions. Many people (< 25%) do not have the ability to convert Folic Acid. These people are particularly vulnerable to Folate deficiency, which is linked to an increased risk of birth defects and cancer. Un-metabolized Folic Acid may store in tissues and possibly increase genetic mutations. Insufficient Folate may lead to blood vessel damage,  abnormal blood clotting, oxidize LDL cholesterol, promote inflammation adversely affecting cardiovascular, neurological, skeletal, endocrine, and digestive health.

Food fortification of processed foods with a single or few synthetic nutrients after they have milled out all of its natural nutrients is problematic. Supplementing with a single nutrient is like trying to bake a cake with just flour….it doesn’t work. Nutrition is like a cake recipe, all nutrients (about 31 including omega fatty acids), work together, and if all nutrients are not present we will not get the same cake or in pregnancy, the healthiest possible baby. An imbalance may cause toxic levels of some nutrients and deficiencies of others. Synthetically produced supplements just do not work the same way as those nutrients found naturally in food.

It would be ideal if all women would eat natural whole grain foods (no need for fortification), fresh vegetables and beans, which have not had their natural Folate and other nutrients milled out of them, as well as take their prenatal supplements.

However, many pregnant women neglect taking vitamins, especially those in low social status, and eat processed foods, never quite achieving full nutrition.

Unfortunately most prenatal supplements contain Folic Acid rather than Folate, as it is much cheaper and neither do they contain the full range of all nutrients.

The general population would also benefit tremendously by avoiding Folic Acid fortified processed foods such as white bread, cookies etc.., that are otherwise nutrient void (useless foodstuff, in my not so humble opinion).  I would venture to bet, that if all men and women consumed sufficient natural Folate and all other nutrients, by eating healthier foods, without synthetic Folic Acid, that these birth defects could be 80-90% prevented. In addition, our overall cancer and heart disease rate would severely decline.

Birgitta Lauren

http://www.expectingfitness.com

What is driving the surge in US premature births? $$ ?

November 11, 2009


This week the CDC published yet again a scathing report card for moms and their yet again higher premature delivery rate, the reason for the US infant mortality rate being worse than most developed countries both in Europe and Asia. 21 countries rate better than the US.

Premature delivery is blamed on deficient prenatal care, obesity, smoking, early C-section, induced labor and fertility treatments. Even though that’s not the whole story, and all of these are preventable, at least to a degree. Moms low on the socioeconomic scale does not get enough prenatal care.  This could be minimized if health insurance coverage for maternity care was more affordable.

Obesity: absolutely preventable if women exercised more and ate healthier foods. Obesity also starts in the womb for the child if mom eats too much or too little while pregnant.

Smoking; definitely preventable! No woman in this day and age should be smoking. No man should be smoking near a pregnant woman.

Early C-sections for any other reason than medical necessity should be banned.  Induced labor: for any reason other than medical necessity should be banned.

Fertility treatments are a necessity for many women and makes focusing on maternal health so much more important, especially if mom is carrying multiple babies. It is not necessarily the fertility treatments that cause premature birth; it is the lack of good health habits in the mother. However, no woman should be allowed to carry more than three, as the health problems created for the babies are too great. Moms are having a tough enough time carrying one healthy baby, 4 or more is impossible. Our number one priority must be that of the health of the babies.

However, even “high risk” moms can have full term pregnancies if proper care is taken to exercise and eat right. In 17 years, I’ve seen many “high risk” moms deliver full term; twins, placenta previa, incompetent cervix, diabetes, hypertension, sever obesity, etc….with proper exercise and nutrition. Of course, there are instances that cannot be helped, nor foreseen, but most premature births can be prevented and pregnancies prolonged. Every extra day and week is a good thing.

With the preemie rate now at almost 13% and rising, we need to focus on the “Lifestyle Factors” of women to prevent premature babies. A healthy vaginal full term delivery cost about $1,500, a C-section can cost $5,000-15,000. The first year of a healthy child costs about $5,000, and the first year of a preemie can cost up to $1.5 million. Not counting food, clothing, diapers etc…

In the last week, several articles were published on how micronutrients reduce prematurity and infant mortality (micronutrient: all individual vitamins and minerals, macronutrient: carbs, protein and fats) , omega fatty acid fish oils are needed for a healthy baby, Vitamin C, D and B vitamins are needed while pregnant, moms veggie rich diet helps baby prevent diabetes, prenatal exercise prevents premature delivery, and even the American Psychological Association came out with “A little know epidemic”: Stress may account for many preterm births.

Stress can be a big problem in pregnancy and can be minimized with exercise, meditation and proper eating and sunning habits. Exercise, meditation, B vitamins, vitamin D (sunshine) and Omega fish oils all improve stress and possible depression levels.  Both stress and nutrient deficiencies are major causes of preeclampsia and prematurity, and must be addressed. Moms must exercise, eat better and take good complete, prenatal supplements. Unfortunately most women take prescription vitamins that only contain half of the needed nutrients and in synthetic form rather than natural forms as the synthetic versions are less expensive.  Many moms are unduly scared of fish and therefore deficient in omega fatty acids needed for a healthy baby. Vegan sources of DHA are not as good for baby’s development as fish sources that also contain the important EPA’s.

Processed foods, fried foods, artificial sweeteners, sugar and white carbohydrate foods, rob women and their babies of vital nutrition and harm metabolically, increasing the likely hood of gestational diabetes and hypertension. Personally I would ban all things sugar, fried and cola sodas as they are pure poison for pregnant moms and their growing babies.

Other issues that can be detrimental to the health of a growing baby are environmental toxins, but even with those, getting enough B vitamins like Folate and B6, and Selenium can counteract harmful effects of unfortunate exposure of the chemicals BPA from plastics and/or mercury.  Other consumed toxins can be medications. Such as commonly prescribed anti-nausea drugs, that has a side effect that prohibits absorption of Folate….the most important nutrient during pregnancy.

Even hygiene and especially dental hygiene can have tremendous effect on the health of a pregnancy. Gum disease has been shown to cause premature delivery.

With all this information at our disposal why is the preemie rate increasing in the US? Why is the US number 22 on the infant mortality rate list of developed countries with more than double the mortality rate than most European countries? Why are moms not taking better care of themselves in the US?

Last week, a premature infant summit was held in Los Angeles by MedImmune for doctors, NICU nurses, charity organizations, government entities and other health care professionals in the maternity field. My first concern was that it was FREE. From Valet parking, to breakfast, snacks, lunch and presentation… all my past conferences needed payment….Listening to presentation after presentation of statistic after statistic on our detrimental prematurity rate and talk of the need for more money to care for these infants without a single hint to the prevention of this problem, I not only got suspicious, I got angry. What was the point of wasting a whole day with all this we already knew…?  Without a solution…. Could all these people that care for preemies deliberately wanting to keep the preemie rate up to stay in business?

A professor of a very well regarded CA University raised his hand and voice for the need of prevention and helping moms to be healthier during pregnancy.  He was ignored, subject changed…. I raised my hand and voice for more effort on prevention and was met with the same treatment.  During the breaks between sessions, several other likeminded health professionals met with me with the same concerns.   Halfway through, I had enough, left and decided to check out MedImmune. It was not an organization, but a drug company that makes drugs for preemie babies…..with no vested interest in reducing the preemie rate.   This drug apparently reduces RSV, a respiratory virus that may happen to preemies. Preemies may need this drug, but I’d prefer if there were less preemies…. The drug’s side effects are: respiratory infections, ear infections, fever, sinus problems, abnormal heart rhythms, anaphylaxis, bruising, skin reactions etc…. or generally compromise the immune system of these children, leaving them vulnerable to flu’s and cancer later. But wait…the same company also makes flu vaccine and cancer drugs…..

With all this talk about the need for lower cost health care, our babies need to be born healthier, to reduce health cost of the future. This starts in utero.  Create healthier children and all of our costs will go down.

With drug companies spending 45% of their budget on advertizing and the above type of “meetings”, (never did I think I would end up in one), drug prices could be almost halved if drug promotions were banned. Don’t let drug companies fool you with their R&D expense. Apparently they only spend 14% of their budget on R&D, as 90% of all drug research is done by medical schools, private research and the government that the drug companies then buys and sells…

Women, moms, whether pregnant or contemplating pregnancy, for a healthier baby your lifestyle is of utmost importance. Everything you do or don’t do, will affect the health of your baby. For fertility and a full term pregnancy and the healthiest baby; exercise, eat healthy, take your  vitamins, avoid all chemicals and toxins possible, drink lots of water, get plenty of rest and sleep. Don’t worry, be happy!

Yours in health, Birgitta Lauren www.expectingfitness.com

Resources: American Psychological Association; Prenatal-health.com ; Mercola.com; Health Day News; Nutra Ingredients Europe;  The Truth about the drug companies.  By Marcia Angell.

VITAMIN D FOR HEALTHIER, HAPPIER AND LEANER BABIES

April 21, 2009

The beginning of year 2009 through March, the National Nutrition Month, leading up to the American Diabetes Alert Day of March 24 saw many studies came out in favor of the “Happy Vitamin” D. Researchers from Bristol University, UK, found that moms who get more sunshine and vitamin D during pregnancy have taller children with stronger and thicker bones than those moms who get less. The study followed moms that delivered either late summer or early spring. Babies born in late summer were slightly taller with thicker bones. Scientist Jon Tobias thinks that anything that affects early bone development is significant in regards to preventing osteoporosis later. Vitamin D3 is produced in the body upon sun exposure and aids in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus that all aid in tissue and bone maintenance and metabolic actions. http://www.guardian.co.uk

In the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers from the University of Manchester report: – “Our study found that vitamin D is positively related to muscle power, force, velocity and jump height in adolescent girls.” supporting the above findings on the bone and muscle strengthening benefits of vitamin D.

Calcium and vitamin D have also been shown to improve insulin levels and to protect against diabetes. In the Journal of Nutrition1, Tianying Wu, Walter C. Willet, and Edward Giovannucci from the Harvard School of Public Health wrote: -” The results suggest that calcium intake and systematic vitamin D status, after adjustment for intake of dairy products, is associated with decreased insulin secretion.” Data from the Nurses’ Health Study was used showing the benefits from increased calcium and vitamin D intake. However no benefit was found when considering dairy intake. This was in contrast to earlier studies. Diabetes is growing rapidly; 19 million Europeans and 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes.

With diabetes also being connected to a high incidence of perinatal and postpartum depression in especially low — income mothers, nutritional efforts have to be addressed especially in regards to vitamin D and calcium. Omega fatty acids also play an important role in diabetes and depression. Postpartum depression has been shown to affect babies negatively and should be prevented.

Diabetes is in addition associated with obesity and a new study by the Medical College of Georgia’s Yanbin Dong and Inger Stallman-Jorgensen, presented at the American Heart Association’s Joint 49th Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, is showing that higher intakes of vitamin D again is linked with less overall body fat and especially lower abdominal fat in kids. African – American girls had the lowest Vitamin D levels and are at increased risk of osteoporosis and obesity. Vitamin D comes in 2 forms: D3 which is produced from sun exposure and the most bioactive and D2 found in foods like liver, fatty fish and fortified milk. Stallman-Jorgensen said: -“As humans, our largest source of vitamin D should be the sun. But we don’t spend enough time outdoors to get enough sun exposure and when we do, we’re often covered up and wearing sunscreen.”

Vitamin D is also according to Dr. Christine Olson, professor of nutrition at Cornell University in NY, linked to a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and is therefore associated with increased likelihood of childhood obesity and diabetes too, if mom gains too much. (More than 25-35 lbs.) Experts are warning that preventing obesity starts before conception with mom’s weight. The trend toward bigger babies is of concern to experts. Today babies are born 59% more likely to be overweight than 20 years ago. Even the child’s father’s weight can predict an overweight baby. ACOG has more on this.

Oxford-based researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada also found that Supplements of vitamin D and sunshine at ‘critical time periods’ may be key to reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis3.

With these studies adding to a growing body of science linking vitamin D-deficiency to osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, several common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases, the FDA has just allowed for vitamin D fortification of soy-based foods (Food Additives Rule 21 CFR part 172). However, your best source is still the sun so, with spring here and summer around the corner, Vitamin D will be plentiful. To safely get sufficient vitamin D Caucasians should get 10-15 minutes of daily unprotected sunshine (no sun screen). Dark skinned people need up to 45 minutes of daily sunshine to produce enough vitamin D due to the higher melanin content in their skin. The sun does dry our skin so it is always prude to protect your face from the sun while any other body part soaks up the sun.
-Birgitta Lauren http://www.expectingfitness.com

pS. i also just found some science on vitamin D deficiencies linked to autism – more on that later..

1 Journal of Nutrition 2009, Volume 139, Pages 547-554, doi:10.3945/jn.108.089920 “Plasma C-Peptide Is Inversely Associated with Calcium Intake in Women and with Plasma 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D in Men” – Authors: T. Wu, W.C. Willett, E. Giovannucci

2 JAMA 2009;301(8):842-847

3 PLoS Genetics 5(2): e1000369. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000369 “Expression of the multiple sclerosis-associated MHC class II allele HLA-DRB1*1501 is regulated by Vitamin D”, Authors: S.V. Ramagopalan, N.J. Maugeri, L. Handunnetthi, Lincoln MR, Orton S-M, et al.