Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

It took me years to understand how my seemingly unrelated symptoms of dental, digestive and respiratory issues as well as obesity were all due to parasites. Blood in the Stool It’s really frightening to have blood in the stool, especially with a family history of colon cancer. At first, I thought it was remnants of beets, and a colonoscopy showed no abnormalities, not even a tiny polyp. I eliminated wheat and dairy. No change. As my symptoms gradually worsened, I made an appointment with Pittsburgh’s “best” gastrointestinal specialist.  Gastrointestinal Symptoms The candy in the waiting room and the intake with not one query about diet should have been fair warning. “Dr. GI” requested a stool test. “I did one two weeks ago with a top lab; the results will be back soon,” I said, expecting him to be impressed. “Why’d you do that, honey?” he asked kindly. “We have a great lab down the street.” I explained that mine could…

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Increasing amounts of research (see References, below) point to a vitamin D deficiency as being linked to autism, as well as ADHD, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. What Is Vitamin D and How Do We Get It?   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally as D3 or cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) when sunlight hits the skin. Most people used to get sufficient vitamin D3 from sunlight. Today, vitamin D deficiency is rampant largely in part to increased use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, coupled with a move away from an agrarian society.   A Perfect Storm for Vitamin D Deficiency With just 10-40 minutes of unprotected summer sun our bodies produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D. The body makes what it needs, accumulating and storing significant reserves in the tissues, liver, spleen, bones, and brain; it can be then be available during darker months. Vitamin D is fat soluble, requiring sufficient “good” fats in the diet for…

Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Understanding the process of digestion is necessary before understanding what goes wrong in children with chronic disorders such as autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma. Digestion starts in the mouth. Each bite of food that enters the mouth mixes with saliva and is swallowed. A process of muscle contraction called peristalsis moves the partially digested food into the stomach, small intestines and colon, where enzymes and other juices work it further.    Enzymes, which are proteins responsible for many essential biochemical reactions, are vitally important for proper digestion. Enzymes act as catalysts, breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into simple forms that the body can absorb, burn for energy, or use to build or repair itself. As the body absorbs nutrients, toxins and other waste products finish the journey, exiting through the rectum as fecal matter.    How Long Does Digestion Take? This very complex process could take hours to days, depending upon many factors. Ideally food should not tarry too long in…

9 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Home

9 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Home

9 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Home

Good health starts in a healthy home, but toxins in the everyday products you use in your home can negatively impact your health and well-being. Some can mess with your hormones and others can have triggering reactions on your nervous system, which is especially important if you have kids with ADHD, autism, asthma or allergies. If you feel confused about the simple, practical things you can do, don’t worry. Here are some easy ways to decrease these invisible hazards. Here’s a list of nine items you want to rethink using, and how to shop smarter. Scrubbing Tile Cleaner  Put some baking soda in a grated cheese container (the kind you find at pizza parlors) and sprinkle it on bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers before scrubbing. For tough stains, make a paste of baking soda and a little water. Smear it on the spot, let it sit for half an hour, and sponge off. Laundry Bleach  Instead of bleach, try adding…

Rule Out a True Allergy

Rule Out a True Allergy

Rule Out a True Allergy

IgE Response:  A True Allergy A true allergy is defined as specific immediate reactions such as hives, congestion or swelling involving an antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Traditional scratch testing identifies IgE triggers, such as pollen, peanuts, or strawberries that can cause symptoms ranging from annoying to lethal. IgG Response:  Intolerance or Sensitivity A second type of reaction is an Immunoglobulin G (IgG) response, which is sometimes called “intolerance” or “sensitivity” rather than a true allergy because it can be delayed and is not usually life-threatening. IgG symptoms are cumulative in nature, and can appear as symptoms such as: Chronic skin problems such as eczema and thrush Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation Behavioral reactions such as mood swings and hyperactivity Headaches ELISA Method for True Allergy Testing An extremely helpful test that many health care professionals order for those with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder is the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, known as ELISA….

The Importance of Soil Microbes

The Importance of Soil Microbes

The Importance of Soil Microbes

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP Kids who live and work on farms have far less allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. Researchers theorize that this is due to exposure to a wider variety of soil microbes, both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. In today’s too-clean environment, our kids lack access to these microbes that can both train the immune system how to fight and give it the tools it needs to fight. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for the normal development and function of the immune system. An unhealthy gut is a common cause of autoimmune disorders, of which I include autism and ADHD. An unhealthy gut typically means that there is some form of gut dysbiosis, which means that the bad (pathogenic) guys outweigh the good (probiotic) guys. Common causes of gut dysbiosis include antibiotics, GMO foods, low stomach acid, steroids, birth control pills, birth via C-section, lack of breastfeeding and passage from mother to…

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Children diagnosed with developmental delays have a high rate of digestive pathology. Studies suggest between 58% and 93% of children with gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms, and slightly less than half of those without noticeable symptoms, have low digestive enzymes. While special diets, supplemental nutrients, good bacteria replacement and yeast treatment are all needed to heal these children’s guts, adding digestive enzymes may be necessary for the complete restoration of digestive function. What Are Enzymes? Enzymes are special proteins that catalyze essential biochemical reactions. There are two main types of enzymes: metabolic and digestive. Metabolic enzymes facilitate activity in the immune, endocrine and other systems. Our focus is on digestive enzymes, which are necessary to break down food. Where Do Enzymes Come from? Fresh, raw food is a natural source of enzymes. The gut lining in healthy digestive tracts also produces enzymes. Efficient digestion requires enzymes from both sources. The guts of picky eaters, damaged by the…

Immune System and Nervous System

Immune System and Nervous System

Immune System and Nervous System

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND During the summer, life has gotten better for most parents of a child on the autistic spectrum or with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) who live east of the Rockies. Approximately 60% of these children experience improvements in behavior and function. When fall starts, some of these same youngsters will lose ground again, but to a lesser degree. Parents blame teachers and schools for this downturn when the real culprit may be in their own backyards. Pollen, mold and grass activate the immune system sending signals to the nervous system that alter perception and behavior. Many people are surprised to find the immune system and nervous system are linked. When Dr. Doris Rapp first documented behavior and learning problems associated with allergy exposure, doctors criticized her observations for lacking scientific basis. Now over 20 years later, researchers have discovered the chemical pathways that explain this phenomenon. During an allergic reaction, the immune system reacts aggressively to…

Ear Infections and Autism

Many years ago, a group of parents and professionals discussed concerns about the emergence of a regressive autistic-like syndrome, later named Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is on the autism spectrum. All knew children whose development regressed following frequent otitis media (inner ear infections.) Could ear infections and autism and/or PDD be linked? The autism epidemic now claims an estimated one in 36 children. Some experts suspect the mercury-based preservative thimerosal as a major culprit, but one factor is not responsible for PDD or autism. Ear infections remain shadowy contributors. Perhaps a subgroup of children on the autistic spectrum, including those with attention deficits and learning disabilities, have a condition named Post-Traumatic Ear Infection Syndrome (PTEIS). These kids are apparently normal at birth, develop continuous ear infections and subsequent auditory processing issues and developmental delays as a result of complications from sustained damage to the inner ear from both the disease and its treatment. Why Are Ear Infections Such a…

Green Your Life

Chemicals and toxins can be found in most areas of the home. While we may be unaware of many of them, they can affect our health and especially the health of our sensitive children; here’s how to green your life. It is wise to take an inventory of your home to gauge the toxic burden, and the list below will help. If it seems overwhelming at first, try making small changes one at a time. Some of the easiest things you can do are to get fresh air, wash hands frequently and filter your tap water. Fresh Air A study by the EPA found significantly higher concentrations of 20 toxic compounds inside homes than outdoors. So, weather permitting, open your windows to circulate fresh air. Try to spend a few minutes outside every day. Exhaust fans in the bath, kitchen and attic can also help. A HEPA-filter vacuum will help remove some of the lead, fire-retardants and other contaminants found…