Posts filed under ‘Pregnancy’

Here We Go Again!!!

Have you seen the latest “health news”?  Women should limit weight gain in pregnancy, due to an increase in obesity in toddlers!  http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20070402/pregnancy-weight-linked-heavy-kids?src=RSS_PUBLIC

PLEASE!!!  In the first place, we’ve heard all of this before.  In the 1970’s, the American obstetrical community became concerned about women gaining too much weight during pregnancy.  Some pregnant women were even put on diets!  The result:  A dramatic increase in retardation in newborns.  It took only about 5 years for that recommendation to die a much-deserved death.

But now, we’re at it again.  From what I read, no one has considered that overweight mothers feed their families diets that contribute to weight gain.  Besides which, the standards for obesity are the already discredited Body Mass Index figures.  Unfortunately, the fact that they are discredited is not widely known.  (see my article  “Body Mass Index Invalid”, under the heading Blog on this site)  Instead, we have invalid standards being imposed in ways that are potentially dangerous.

My recommendation:  Worry about your weight after your baby is born.  Make sure that you eat a well-balanced diet, plenty of protein and take high-quality, mercury-free fish oil supplements, as well as a good quality pre-natal vitamin.  When your baby is born, breast-feed and continue your supplements.  This will give your baby the best start in life and will help you to lose weight naturally.  Finally, feed your family a well-balanced, whole food diet.  Avoid processed foods and soda and you will be miles ahead of the average American.

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April 2, 2007 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment

Estrogen & Cancer/GERD Meds/Fish Oils & Pregnancy — At Last!!

This last couple of weeks (December 2006) have presented me with an interesting (and unusual) experience.  After 20 years in practice — validation from medical research!  And, not just on one issue — but, on multiple issues.  Usually, I feel like a lone voice, crying out in the wilderness!  So, pardon me if I crow a little.  Also, I’d like to share these important issues with you.

The first issue:  Estrogen and cancer risk.  It’s been almost a year since the initial announcement that estrogen therapy increases a woman’s risk of cancer.  This is true even of bioidentical hormones, which many doctors have turned to as an alternative to Premarin®.

A new analysis of federal cancer statistics, presented Thursday, December 13, 2006 at a scientific conference called the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, revealed a 7.2% drop in breast cancer over the last year as women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy.  www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16206352/

This most recent announcement came as no surprise to me.  I remember in the late 1980s and early 1990s doing presentations on the risk of estrogen therapy.  At one event at Whole Foods Market, an audience member challenged me by asking, “Don’t you have any more recent data?”  I explained to her that human physiology hasn’t changed in 10,000 years.  So, the age of the data was not a factor.  Now, we have hard evidence that estrogen is extremely carcinogenic.

Unfortunately, the medical profession has no alternatives to offer menopausal women.  I have studied this subject in depth and have a variety of herbal alternatives.  These herbs are not estrogenic.  More importantly, as a woman I appreciate the fact that herbal medicine treats each of us as individuals.  And, what works for one woman may not work for another.  So, at the RFHC, we customize a program for your individual metabolism.

If you have an interest in a non-hormonal approach to menopausal relief — including insomnia, hot flashes and vaginal dryness — you can schedule a consultation at the office.

The second issue:  Prilosec®, Nexium® and Zantac® (and other similar drugs used to suppress acid production in your stomach) increases osteoporosis, and the risk of hip fracture.  (JAMA, December 27, 2006) www.seniorhealthweek.org/osteoporosis.htm This finding is a “duh!”  You may have heard me carrying on about using Tums®  (an antacid) for calcium supplementation — which is a complete joke!  You cannot absorb calcium in an alkaline environment.  So, anything that decreases stomach acid inhibits calcium absorption.  Ipso facto, osteoporosis!

I will reiterate what I have said hundreds of times — actually, I feel like a broken record — supppressing stomach acid is exactly the wrong approach to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).  For the stomach to empty, you need a pH of 1 or 2 in the stomach.  That’s a LOT of acid.  When you have inadequate stomach acid, pressure builds up in the stomach and the upper, esophageal sphincter opens because it is the weaker of the two valves — resulting in heartburn.

In some instances, problems in the lower gut — yeast overgrowth, allergies, and parasites — cause excessive peristalsis in the gut and upward pressure that causes the reflux.

The key:  finding out what is causing you to have symptoms, and then addressing them.  For some, a bowel cleanse program is the key; for others, it’s a simple matter of taking digestive aids.  At the RFHC, we can determine what you, personally, need.

And, I predict that the next problem with these drugs will be a documented increase in stomach cancer.  Low stomach acidity is a known risk factor for stomach cancer.  I just think these drugs — which have the highest sales volume in the U.S., followed closely by pain killers — are dangerous.

And, finally, the third issue:  Fish oils during pregnancy!  This is a huge win for all pregnant women and their babies.  FINALLY, it has been demonstrated that babies born to women who take fish oil supplements in the last trimester of pregnancy have better neurological development.

The study (performed in Australia) found a significant advance in hand-eye coordination among toddlers whose mothers took fish oil supplements during the second half of pregnancy compared with those who did not. http://www.oilofpisces.com/pregnancy.html

There was also improvement in brainpower and vocabulary among children exposed to fish oil supplements in the womb, says the study published on Thursday online in the medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.  And, as an added benefit, mother’s who took fish oil supplements had lower blood pressure and a lowered incidence of post-partum depression.

I have only been giving fish oil supplements to pregnant and nursing mothers for 20 years!  Two caveats, however:  Do not take cod liver oil for this purpose.  Cod liver oil is higher in vitamins D and A than in Omega 3 oils, which are what are needed for brain development.  And, be certain of the quality of your fish oil supplements.  The product should be certified mercury-free.  The products we carry at the RFHC meet stringent quality requirements.

Happy New Year!  I hope 2007 will be even better for you and your family than 2006!

January 21, 2007 at 9:06 am Leave a comment

Vitamin E and Asthma Risk

I have been very interested in work that is being done in Scotland by Dr Graham Devereux, of the department of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Dr. Devereux and his team studied over 1,250 women who were pregnant and attending neo-natal clinics in Scotland between 1997 and 1999.

They published 2 articles, one in April of this year, and the latest, in September in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study involved maternal diet from conception through age five, tracking the children’s risk of asthma and respiratory disease. Their findings certainly offer food for thought. They found that low intake of vitamin E during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk among offspring for developing persistent asthma, beginning during the first two years of life and continuing to at least until age five. In fact, children born to mothers rated in the bottom 20% for prenatal vitamin E intake were more than five times more prone to asthma than children born to mothers in the top 20% of intake. Youngsters born to mothers with relatively poor vitamin E intake during pregnancy were also at higher risk for developing persistent wheezing in their first 5 years of life, the Scottish researchers reported.

It makes sense, since vitamins E and A are vital to the development of the skin and mucous membranes. And, fetal airways are fully developed during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. It appears that a child’s diet at age 5 has little impact on asthma. Dietary sources of vitamin E include eggs, whole grains {not processed or refined; ie, wheat germ, not white bread}, and soybeans. Vitamin E is added to some oil products to preserve freshness; however, not in large enough quantities to be therapeutic. Refined flour has become so widespread in the American diet that many people no longer tolerate the taste of whole grains and won’t eat them. And, of course, eggs are “taboo” because of cholesterol! That restriction is particularly unwise during pregnancy when the fetus requires cholesterol to build every cell membrane. I would add my clinical experience to this finding. I find that exposure to a number of environmental chemicals, particularly pesticides, markedly increases respiratory problems in young children. There are at least two facets of this study that I find of interest:

  1. It has not received wide attention in the American press. In fact, the week it was published, the lead on all the news programs was about “obesity.” {Please refer to my blog from April 27, 2005 “Body Mass Index Invalid” for another piece of suppressed “health” news.} Yet, the information about vitamin E could actually benefit both you and your children! Trouble is: Vitamin E isn’t a drug, and no one can patent it.
  2. The article I referenced went on to say that “more study” is needed and no one should take vitamin E! Please!! Vitamin E, especially natural vitamin E containing all of the naturally occurring isomers, is essential  to red blood cell membrane integrity {vitally important when exposed to cigarette smoke, or smog!}, skin health, heart health, and is a vital anti-oxidant in eliminating free radicals.

The problem we have, especially in America, is that we have invented an entirely new category of “science.” “Food science.” This discipline — and I use the term loosely — is most concerned about taste, mouth feel, shelf life and customer acceptance. Nutritional value isn’t on the list.

So, we increasingly process and massage our “food.” Moving ever further away from the field and the tree, creating a host of unintended and unpredictable, consequences for ourselves. At my clinic {see www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com}, I routinely provide my patients with nutritional programs based upon their blood chemistry profile. And, yes, vitamin E is one of the foundation items it seems almost every person needs. {See my article “Vitamin E and Heart Health” from November 10, 2004 for the differences in the type of vitamin E}.

Remember one very important point: Human physiology hasn’t changed much over the last 10,000 years. Yet, food fads come and go. It’s very important that we provide our bodies — which are, after all, biological machines — with the essential fuel they have required for the last 100 centuries! Repeatedly, researchers discover that there are good reasons why our foods contain the vitamins and minerals that they do. And, I find that the programs I have prescribed for years are repeatedly validated as “science” catches up with common sense. If you are interested in learning what, if any, nutritional deficiencies you have, contact me through my web site and have a nutritional blood chemistry analysis prepared.

December 22, 2006 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment


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