Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lactobacillus – The Bacteria You Need (And Should Love)

Lactobacillus is a type of beneficial bacteria that inhabits the human digestive and urinary systems. Typically found in fermented foods such as yogurt and probiotic cleanse formulas, these friendly bacteria lend to a healthy, functioning digestive tract and immune system.

In the medical field, lactobacillus is used to treat a number of digestive-related illness and conditions including:

  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammation of the colon
  • Colic in infants
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) (often found in premature babies)
  • Diarrhea, especially infectious types often associated with children and tourists, as well as symptoms of antibiotic treatment
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • General digestive issues

Lactobacillus has also been proven effective in some non-digestive instances, including:

  • Boosting nutrient and vitamin absorption
  • Treating and preventing common colds and the flu
  • Preventing respiratory infections in children – especially child in high exposure daycare settings
  • Helicobacter pylori infection which often leads to ulcers if untreated
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Prevent serious infection in people on ventilators
  • Skin conditions such as eczema (allergic dermatitis), hives, acne, fever blisters, and canker sores
  • Treating high cholesterol
  • Countering lactose intolerance
  • Treating Lyme disease
  • Combating weight gain

But how can Lactobacillus be effective against such a wide array of seemingly unrelated conditions, from Lyme disease to ulcers and even weight loss? The answer is really quite simple. These bacteria are a natural part of an operative human body and are required to foster a functioning immune system. They help the human body break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off bad microbes and infections. Without a healthy level of these beneficial bacteria, the immune system suffers, leaving a person vulnerable to a myriad of conditions and diseases. With the correct balance of these microorganisms, a person’s digestive tract and immune system function at their best.

Unfortunately, the lifestyle of the modern human does not promote a healthy environment for these bacteria. We no longer have a diet rich in fermented foods and favor a highly processed diet. Worse yet, there are a number of products that claim to contain Lactobacillus, but actually do not, and may even be contaminated with dangerous “unfriendly” bacteria, compounding any digestive or immunity problems. The best solution is selecting a high quality raw probiotic cleanse formula from a trusted supplier. The cleanse should be made of all natural, organic certified products and features live microbes and bacteria that have not been genetically modified.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Possible Non Genetic Causes of Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that typically manifests in the first 3 years of a child’s life. Simply put – and Autism is anything but simple - Autism impedes the brain's normal development of social and communication abilities. Children with autism display a myriad of symptoms / behaviors at varying degrees which include, but are not limited to:

  • Demonstrate hightened sensitivity in some or all of their senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and/or taste)
  • Exhibit repetitive behaviors or rituals and show distress when routines are interrupted
  • Struggle with language and may communicate through gestures rather than words
  • Show increased or unusual attachment to objects
  • Difficulty communicating and being "social"
  • Does not respond to "normal" social queues such as smiling and eye contact
  • Struggle with empathy and concepts of the “self” versus “others”
  • Often display a very specific or narrow span of interest

Despite rigorous scientific analysis, there is still quite a bit of mystery shrouding autism. Genetics appear to be an underlying factor in the development of autism. Fraternal twins, for example, are less likely than identical twins to share the diagnosis suggesting a definite link to the child’s chromosomes. Also, families with a history of nervous system or neurological issues have a higher predisposition for autism. But science has shown that autism is likely the result of several variables – not genetics alone. Studies have suggested a strong correlation with external influences, specifically chemical exposure and sensitivity, diet, digestive tract changes, and an inability of the child’s body to properly utilize necessary vitamins and/or minerals.

Chemical Exposure & Chemical Sensitivity

It is believed that chemical exposure – either to the woman during pregnancy or the child’s direct exposure - may be a contributing factor to the development of autism. Mercury and environmental chemicals that cause oxidative stress have both been areas of particular concern. Even after autism is diagnosed, these chemicals may increase the severity of symptoms. For these reasons, it is advisable for child-minded families to reduce the amounts of chemical exposure a child bearing adult and the subsequent offspring are exposed to in the home. You can do this by using non-toxic cleaners designed for chemical sensitivities. For more information on specific ingredients to avoid, check out our past post on chemical sensitivities in the home. Install water purifiers and drinking faucets and consider treating water with ion water purification. Lastly, choose toiletries that are salicylate (SLS) free, including soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, sunscreen and salicylate free dental care.

Dietary Influences

Food additives and pesticides are another possible autism trigger. According to a 2005 Barlow studies, these toxic elements "act as an additional insult to the system and prevent the normal recovery of [antioxidant] defenses." This in turn can lead to "neurodegeneration" especially with concurrent exposures. A diet rich in these preservatives and pesticides can not only trigger autism, they have the potential to aggravate and intensify symptoms. For this reason, reducing or eliminating foods that use pesticides or are rich in preservatives is important.

Some things to keep an eye out for include:

  • Processed foods – the more processed, the more likely it will contain preservatives.
  • Sodium nitrate – often found in meats such as bacon, lunch meats, smoked fish and corned beef.
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – often associated with Asian food, but can also be used in soups, salads dressing, chips and frozen meals.
  • Salicylates – can be naturally occurring in whole foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, but can also found in sweets, condiments, oils, grains, meat, dairy, soy, processed foods, and even beverages.
  • Potassium Bromate – increasingly uncommon but still legal in the US. Used to increase volume in some bread products.
  • General “Food Coloring” – found in candy, fruit cocktail, beverages and baked treats.

Digestive Tract Issues

An Australian study discovered a significant difference in how autistic children digestive tracts metabolize amino acids and also identified notable differences in the levels of healthy intestinal bacteria in the large intestine. These digestive limitations likely contribute an inability to utilize important vitamins and minerals. If your child is autistic, ask your physician to use appropriate amino acid urine and fecal tests to help identify any issues in your child’s digestive tract. Promote digestive enzyme health with a natural probiotic cleanse, which in turn will help your child absorb necessary nutrients and stave off toxins.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Chemical Sensitivities in Children – Strategies for the Home - Part II

In our last post regarding chemical sensitivities in children, we discussed the risks posed by toxic house hold cleaning agents and over-all air quality in the home. In today’s post, we would like to examine the three other areas of potential risk in the home: water quality, food, and toiletries.


Your tap water can contain agricultural chemical runoff, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals and an array of other water disinfectant treatments often found in domestic drinking water supplies. Children who display symptoms of chemical sensitivity would greatly benefit from a purified water source. Use a tap filtration system or – even better- couple a purification system with an ionized water treatment like EM-X Ceramics for water conditioning. The magnetic quality of EM Ceramics pulls the molecules apart and separates the clusters of foreign materials. For optimal performance, treat your natural ion purification ceramics with EM-1 microbial inoculant every 6 months.


Recent studies suggest that many children are sensitive to the synthetic chemicals and preservatives found in many processed foods, as well as natural preservatives such as salicylate found in certain fruits and vegetables. Sensitivity to food chemicals can result in very disturbing symptoms including reports of:

  • Learning and concentration problems
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Sleeplessness and nightmares
  • Over-activity (primarily in boys)
  • Withdrawn behavior and lethargy (primarily in girls)
  • Crying or temper tantrums
  • Bed wetting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Eye troubles
  • Poor coordination

While many of these symptoms could easily be attributed to simply growing up, if you notice sudden and distinctive change in your child’s behavior – or struggle with many of the before-mentioned symptoms – it is worth exploring a more thoughtful, chemical-free diet. Remove processed foods that feature artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Reduce consumption of fruits and vegetables that naturally contain high levels of salicylate for approximately six weeks. You can reintroduce the higher salicylate produce over time, with careful attention to how it affects your child’s behavior. To learn more about which foods feature high salicylate levels, check out this amazing salicylate sensitivity food guide. If you discover that your child is sensitive to salicylate, be sure to also choose salicylate free tooth care products.


Everyday toiletries are also a common source for chemical sensitivity and irritation, specifically:

  • Dental care
  • Scented lotions and sunscreen
  • Scented soaps, both liquid and bar
  • Fragranced shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products

If you fear your child is exhibiting symptoms of chemical sensitivity, select products that are fragrance and SLS free. Switch your child to a salicylate (SLS) and fluoride free tooth care regimen, such as Dr. Don’s® Antioxidant Oral Hygiene products which are free of alcohol, parabens, SLS and fluoride. Avoid products with petroleum based carcinogens such as 1,4-dioxane, a substance banned in many countries yet found in a number of common toiletries in the US. While still debated in some circles, a 2008 study conducted by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that petroleum based ingredients produced cancerous tumors in mice over the course of 20 weeks, while the same product sans petroleum-derived additives did not. Your best bet is selecting gentle, organic, petroleum and SLS free products for your children.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Chemical Sensitivities in Children – Strategies for the Home - Part 1

Chemical sensitivities have been tied to a number of childhood abnormalities, from behavioral issues and over-all temperament to skin disorders and chronic allergies. According to the American Lung Association, chemical exposure in the home can also lead to asthma and even lung disease. The threat of chemical exposure in the home is very real, and can affect children and adults alike.

Things that might make your child more susceptible to chemical toxicity include genetics, a compromised immune system, a lower metabolism, nutritional issues, and stress. Oftentimes, symptoms will arise that are difficult for medical professionals to diagnose and these may be indicative of chemical sensitivities. Unfortunately, chemical sensitivity is not fully understood by the medical community because it is difficult to replicate the symptoms in a laboratory environment and chemical sensitivity manifests in a myriad of ways.

If you suspect that your child may be suffering from chemical sensitivities, it is vital that you limit their chemical exposure in the home. Thankfully, this is not as difficult as it sounds and simply requires some mindfulness and small changes to one’s lifestyle.

There are 5 primary areas we are most exposed to chemicals in our home – via cleaning agents, air, water, food and toiletries. In this post we will discuss the first two: toxic household cleaning agents and poor air quality.

Toxic House Hold Cleaning Agents

Household cleaners are the most common sources of harsh, toxic chemicals in the home. Some of the most common toxic chemicals in the home include:

  • Butyl cellosolve – A common component of popular all-purpose and window cleaners that has been linked to bone marrow, nervous system, kidney and liver damage.
  • Chlorinated phenols – A common toilet bowl cleaner that has been linked to respiratory and circulatory system damage.
  • Diethylene glycol – A common window cleaning agent believed to depress the nervous system.
  • Phenols – A common disinfectant that has been linked to respiratory and circulatory system issues.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate – A common chemical found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners that is currently banned in Europe because it biodegrades into increasingly more toxic compounds.
  • Formaldehyde – A preservative often used in deodorizers that is a respiratory irritant and possible carcinogen.
  • Petroleum solvents – These petroleum derivatives are used in floor cleaners and are linked to mucous membrane damage, which in turn compromises the immune system.
  • Perchloroethylene – Commonly found in spot removers, these toxic compounds have been linked to both liver and kidney damage.

On top of all these chemicals, many cleaning agents are also antibacterial, killing off the naturally occurring beneficial bacteria in your home’s ecosystem. The result is a dangerous, toxic, out-of-wack ecosystem... right in your home.

Rather than introducing these toxic compounds and killing off the beneficial bacteria in your home space, rely on natural, non-toxic alternatives that are intended to purify your home environment, returning it to a healthy, non-toxic state. There are a number of non-toxic home cleaners and microbial inoculant based deodorizers that will help keep your home clean, without compromising your family’s health. Products like EM-1 work exceedingly well on biologically based odors, like those found in your sink, bathtub, toilet, and even the litter box. In fact, EM-1 is more effective than any toxic chemical when it comes to neutralizing animal related smells because the beneficial bacteria actually breaks down the organic compounds rather than simply masking the odor.

Poor Air Quality

Another area of exposure that can pose a risk to children with chemical sensitivities is the air quality in the home. The EPA estimates that we spend about 90% of our time indoors and that indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted that the outdoors. If you want cleaner air in the home, start by eliminating the primary culprits: toxic chemicals, cigarette smoke, and excess moisture which leads to dust mites and mold.

The American Lung Association recommends that you limit the home’s exposure to these components by:

  • Regularly ventilating the home by opening windows
  • Installing a carbon monoxide detector
  • Incorporating a few air purifiers thorough the home
  • Never idle the car in your garage
  • Test for radon
  • Use low-VOC paint – you can even treat paint with a microbial inoculant to decrease toxic fumes and Super Cera Ceramic Powder to stop off-gassing of toxic chemicals.
  • Regularly clean/inspect your air conditioner and/or humidifier. Add a microbial inoculant such as EM-1® in a humidifier to freshen a room.
  • Avoid toxic pesticides.
  • Air out dry cleaned clothes before bringing them inside or better yet, use an eco-friendly, non-toxic dry cleaner...there are now some dry cleaners who are using EM Technology® products too!