Diet, Toxicity, and Their Effect on Children Through Adulthood: The Hormone Connection
Children are less healthy now than they were a few decades ago. I find increasing numbers of young people with a wider range of medical problems. Frequently, they are over-using prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Significant diseases in children that range into adulthood come from two principal sources. One critical area of concern is poor nutrition, especially in excessive intake of sugar. A second area of concern is chemical and heavy metal toxicity.
In my whole-system approach to health and healing, I continue to find links to a great range of health problems–PMS, endometriosis, early onset of puberty, infertility, headaches, depression, chronic stomach pains, ADD cognitive disorders, premature arteriosclerosis and more. These are all linked to poor diet, excessive sugar intake, and environmental chemical and heavy metal exposures.
Millions of tons per year of pesticides are dumped on the soil globally. This means that virtually all food and water sources are contaminated with these chemicals. What makes these chemicals especially dangerous and insidious is that they have more than one effect on the body. First, they create a burden on the liver, which has to metabolize them, so they can be removed. This process uses up valuable nutritional resources in the forms of amino acids, vitamins (especially anti-oxidants), and minerals. This leaves the body in a nutrient-deficient state.
Secondly, after the liver becomes overwhelmed, these chemicals deposit in the body, mostly in the fatty tissue. Here is where they cause the most trouble! They directly damage the tissues and they mimic the action of estrogen (a female hormone) in the body where they can over-stimulate estrogen sensitive tissues and block the receptors for the “real hormone.” Further, and most insidious, these chemicals cause “good” hormones such as healthy types of estrogen and testosterone (male hormone) to be changed into the “bad” forms of these hormones. Children have a markedly decreased ability to “handle” these chemicals.
So what does this all mean?
This means that I see younger girls with PMS, problems with their periods, endometriosis, infertility, and an increased rate of female cancers at younger ages.
For men we see prostate problems, erectile dysfunction, lack of sex drive, and finally male related cancers at younger ages.
Further, these hormone imbalances create mood disturbances, which contribute to depression, anxiety, anger, and an inability to concentrate. It is certainly not uncommon to hear that teenagers (or in some cases, even younger children) have been placed on anti-depressant drugs or birth control pills to regulate their periods and “even out” their mood.
Other Environmental Exposures
We have only discussed one “set” of chemicals. However, there are thousands of other chemicals that we are exposed to. This contamination begins in utero, with exposure from the mother to the fetus. These include chemicals from air pollution, water pollution, new building materials, new carpet, new paint, resins, glues, heavy metals (from environmental sources as well as dental materials), and personal care products. These exposures reduce the capacity and efficiency of many of the body’s systems, including the immune system. This is why more and more children have chronic illnesses such as asthma, allergies, frequent infections, and finally disease states such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. More toxic exposures, especially those that occur at a younger age, can produce problems such as ADD, learning disabilities, autism and behavioral problems in children.
I had a 12-year-old child here recently who had a parasite she couldn’t shake off. The medication made her feel sick. Even though she took it several times the parasite never completely disappeared. This child also had had a constant stomach ache since she was five years old! Six weeks into our treatment, her stomach pain is completely gone. We now have a complete resolution of her parasite condition. Kids have great systems that recover well, when we do what they need to have done.
The Sugar Connection
Add sugar to this toxic mix and you’ve got a real problem. Refined sugar plays into health problems by causing stress on several hormone systems (see box). Sugar stresses the pancreas, which puts out insulin; and the adrenal glands respond with hormones (cortisone and adrenaline) to help regulate fluctuations in blood sugar. In order to keep the blood sugars level, the adrenal glands will “steal” progesterone (a female hormone) to make cortisone, thereby creating an imbalance in hormones. Worse yet, the constant release of adrenaline causes seratonin (a brain chemical responsible for good mood) to be depleted, which creates some of the “chemical imbalance” of depression.
What Can Be Done
It is of great importance to rid the system of these unwanted toxins and to eat a healthy diet of whole foods. Also, it is imperative to take the supplements needed to rebuild and repair the system. As hormone systems wear down, other hormones can be given that are the same molecularly. These identical hormones replace the hormones you are no longer making. When this kind of comprehensive approach is taken, the overall system balances and symptoms improve and often completely resolve! Though some patients may find my regimen a challenge, I firmly believe that the results lead to a healthier, happier life.
Vitamin C and Sugar
I really have nothing good to say about refined sugar and white flour. Stevia is a good sugar substitute that doesn’t disturb the system, and some raw honey is permitted. That’s about it. I’m very strict with the reduced-sugar diet. I don’t sanction any candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream, sodas, dried or canned fruit. Only fresh fruit, and for patients with significant sugar imbalance, I take them off bananas, grapes, and tropical fruit, as well. It’s tough, but necessary for the system to be able to repair.
The answer to the craving for sugar is Vitamin C. In most instances, adequate doses of vitamin C will reduce or even eliminate sugar cravings. This dosage is very individual. Patients also find they have an increase in energy, decreases in pain, and an improved immune system.