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Mother’s Milk – More than Nutrition – Medicine

Just as we are starting to learn about why real food is more than simple nutrition – so we are starting to see breast milk as being more than a meal too. It also sets the baby’s immune system and gut flora and may do many other things too.

“When we come out of the womb, we make our way to the breast. We enter the world knowing we’re mammals, with milk on our minds.

But even as grown-ups, we have never known exactly what’s in that milk—or, as strange as it may sound, what the point of it is. For decades, milk was thought of strictly in terms of nutrients, which makes sense—milk is how a mother feeds her baby, after all. But providing nutrients turns out to be only part of what milk does. And it might not even be the most important part.

“Mother’s milk is food; mother’s milk is medicine; and mother’s milk is signal,” says Katie Hinde, an assistant professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. (She also writes the fascinating blogMammals Suck, which I suspect is the only place on the Internet where you can fill out a Mammal Madness bracket.) “When people find out I study milk, they automatically think we already know about it, or it’s not important. And I’m like, ‘No, we don’t know about it, and it’s super important.’”

But first, a disclaimer—because conversations about lactation always seem to require disclaimers, especially if you happen to be someone who will never ever lactate. (I’m pretty sure.) In my new bookBaby Meets World, I write about how, contrary to myth, not nursing has never been a death sentence. Hundreds of years before halfway-decent formula, infants were fed gruesome substitutes for breast milk (mushed bread and beer, say)—and although many more died than those who were nursed, many also survived. So the lesson of the new science of milk isn’t that formula is some sort of modern evil. (It isn’t modern or evil.) It’s that milk is really complicated—and evolutionarily amazing.

Here’s how complicated: Some human milk oligosaccharides—simple sugar carbohydrates—were recently discovered to be indigestible by infants. When my son was nursing, those oligosaccharides weren’t meant for him. They were meant for bacteria in his gut, which thought they were delicious. My wife was, in a sense, nursing another species altogether, a species that had been evolutionarily selected to protect her child. (A relationship immortalized in the paper titled “Human Milk Oligosaccharides: Every Baby Needs a Sugar Mama.”) In effect, as Hinde and UC-Davis chemist Bruce German have written, “mothers are not just eating for two, they are actually eating for 2 × 1011 (their own intestinal microbiome as well as their infant’s)!” That’s what’s meant by milk serving as medicine, and that’s only scratching the surface.

But Hinde primarily studies the food and the signal elements of milk. “The signal is in the form of hormones that are exerting physiological effects in the infant,” she explains. “Infants have their own internal hormones, but they’re also getting hormones from their mother. They’re binding to receptors in the babies, and we’re just starting to understand what those effects are.”

More here

We think of milk as a static commodity, maybe because the milk we buy in the grocery store always looks the same. But scientists now believe that milk varies tremendously. It varies from mother to mother, and it varies within the milk of the same mother. That’s partly because the infants themselves can affect what’s in the milk. “Milk is this phenomenally difficult thing to study because mothers are not passive producers and babies are not passive consumers,” Hinde says. Instead, the composition of milk is a constant negotiation, subject to tiny variables.

For example, she notes, in humans skin-to-skin contact appears to trigger signals that are sent through the milk. “If the infant is showing signs of infection, somehow that’s being signaled back to the mother and she up-regulates the immune factors that are in her milk. Now is that her body’s responding to a need of the baby? Maybe. Is it that she also has a low-grade infection that she’s just not symptomatic for and so her body’s doing that? Maybe. Is it partially both? Maybe. We don’t know. It’s brand-new stuff.”

The new awareness of this sort of signaling is why there’s been a paradigm shift in the study of milk. Scientists have gone from seeing it only as food to seeing it far more expansively—as a highly sensitive variable that plays a wide range of developmental roles.

This new perspective should change how we look at formula, too, Hinde says. Instead of comparing breast milk and formula, we should accept how little we actually know about breast milk. “We need to go back to square one and look at all the variation in breast milk and where it’s coming from and what it does,” she says. “Because how could we possibly know what the difference between breast milk and formula is if we aren’t even keeping track of what the variation in breast milk is doing? And so the more that we understand about what is in milk, and what predicts how it varies, the more opportunity there is for formula to better emulate what breast milk is.”

Almost 150 years after the first infant formula, the splendidly named Liebig’s Soluble Food for Babies, was proclaimed to be “virtually identical” to human milk, we now know how much we don’t know about milk. It’s a deeply intimate mystery. And the scientists who study it are a lot like almost any parent gazing down at their sucking child: They too are full of wonder.

Nicholas Day’s book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World, will be published in April. His website is nicholasday.net.

 

How to avoid the flu? Bump up your immune system!

You and I have an immune system. If it healthy, then it will defend us from a lot of illness. The future of Health Care will be not a fix after we are ill but taking care so that we have the best immune system possible.

So how best to protect yourself against the flu?  Here is what taking care of your immune system looks like:

 

Avoiding a serious case of influenza is not about vaccination but more about maintaining a healthy, well functioning immune system. By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you’re far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with the flu, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health.

    • Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replacing with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet than regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.
    • Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I’ve previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency may actually be the true culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.

Ideally, you’ll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU’s a day. Be sure to take vitamin K2 if you are taking high dose oral vitamin D as it has a powerful synergy and will help prevent any D toxicity. But be sure and get your level tested as that is the only way to know for sure.

  • Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. It also can decimate your beneficial bacteria and feed the pathogenic yeast and viruses. Be aware that sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. If you are healthy then sugar can be consumed but the LAST thing you should be eating when you are sick is sugar. Avoid it like poison while you are sick.
  • Get Plenty of Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
  • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
  • Get Regular Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick. No Peak Fitness exercises until you are better.
  • Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
  • Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
  • Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
  • Use Natural Remedies. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
  • Avoid Hospitals. I’d recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.

Why the meat industry is so bad for us

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Source

The massive use of antibiotics is essential to how meat is produced today. Mass confinement and the feeding of corn to grass eating vows demands the use of antibiotics in massive quantities.

The result is that we will lose antibiotics soon AND that we will be exposed to pathogens that we have no immunity too. The meat business also produce meat that is full of Omega 6’s – from the corn – and that drives more systemic health risks.

And finally, the ethics of treating animals like this!

So what to do? Vote with your wallet. Buy local pasture raised meat. When enough of us do this, the old system will fall over.

Why dentists are such a risk

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It is increasingly clear that the health of our gut flora my be the single most important driver of our health. If this stands up, then this may be why oral health is so important too.

But a problem with oral health is how dentistry is performed today. Massive fillings with mercury and invasive root canal work set us up for more infection and contamination.

But there is good news. Just as massively invasive surgery is going away, so there is a rise in minimal dentistry. An approach that is aligned to real oral health and so to gut health and so to total health. And we too can do our own part. If we eat right, then the preconditions of dental decay and disease do not arise. We can take charge of our teeth!

“Contrary to conventional dentistry, minimally invasive dentistry, like biological dentistry, is not about “drilling and filling;” creating an endless loop of revisits and retreating the same tooth again and again.

Instead, by using dietary prevention to create a healthy cavity-fighting bioflora in your mouth; dental prophylaxis such as brushing and irrigating with baking soda, and oil pulling; combined with minimally invasive restorations starting as early as possible, you can prevent about 80 percent of future dental problems.”

The full story + video is here on Dr Joseph Mercola’s site

The best introduction to why Gut Flora is the key to your health

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Sebastien Noel is one of my favourite resources. He makes the science easy to understand and he deals with the practical aspects very well. 

It is becoming clear that the central issue for health is the health of our gut flora. Here is Sebastien’e excellent review of all that you need to know.

The goal of this article is to tackle gut and gut flora problems and what to do about it. Granted, following a Paleo diet will often provide great relief and maybe even cure whatever ailment you’re dealing with. Also, other than being very strict with the diet, complete elimination of dairy, egg whites, nightshade vegetables, nuts and seeds and limiting fruit intake should be a priority, as discussed in my articles about dealing with autoimmune diseases and about the benefits of egg yolks.

With all these tactics implemented though, some diseases or conditions related to the gut still persist and can prove to be a real challenge to deal with. This article will dig deeper into the subject and I will recommend a general strategy to cope with most gut and gut flora ailments. Note that each condition usually also requires a special approach, but the general ideas discussed here usually applies to all of them.

Here is a summary of the subjects discussed here:

Note that in case of a hard to treat condition, I would tackle the problem with a shotgun approach. This basically means that I would eliminate any possible offending foods at the same time as I would try and maximize my immune system strength, gut healing and good flora rebuilding. Forgetting a step or doing things only partially often leads to poor results unfortunately. I’ve been dealing with tough problems myself and it sometimes seems that even the stars have to be aligned to start seeing progress, so hang in there and make anything possible to regain health as soon as possible so you can laugh about it afterwards.

Here is the link to the full piece

 

Hospital in the US – One of the most dangerous places you can go to

September 1, 2011 Context, Infection, Resources No Comments

This data reminds us that Hospital is not a safe place and that going to Hospital in the US is positively dangerous. I take all of this into consideration when I think of the choices ahead of me. Will the conditions in Hospital get better or worse in the next 30 years as I get very old? What do you think?

The Hazards of Hospitals
Created by: MedicalBillingAndCodingCertification.net

Measles – Is Vaccination the key?

Fears about the safety of vaccination are causing concerns that measles may be on the way back

“In the September Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Gregory Poland, M.D. writes that ‘More than 150 cases of measles have been reported in the United States already this year and there have been similar outbreaks in Europe, a sign the disease is making an alarming comeback (abstract). The reappearance of the potentially deadly virus is the result of unfounded fears about a link between the measles shot and autism that have turned some parents against childhood vaccination.'”

The use of statistics with this kind of time scale highlight the “Risk”.

In this context it looks like vaccination is great and is behind the almost eradication of the disease. So have a look at this stats that follow Measles further back.

Oh – so using this length of time we see a different picture. This is true for all infectious disease. More here and source.

So what is really going on? First of all recall that infection is rooted in environment. If it is easy for feces to get into the water, you have cholera and no cure will help you. If there are lots of rats and fleas, the chances of bubonic plague is high. Lots of mosquitoes, and you live in Panama, you will likely get yellow fever. Poor living conditions, poor food and you are likely to get TB. If you are weak, you are vulnerable and so on.

Vast improvements in the environments helped bring down the rate of infection. Secondly, true immunity comes from having survived the disease. When Europeans arrived in the New World, millions of indigenous people died of measles and our urban western diseases that we had largely become adapted too. Over time, we adapt and our real and systemic immunity builds.

So why the outcry about vaccination? History belies the claim that vaccination is the main defense. Secondly, the immunity that you get from a vaccine is not the same as the immunity that you get from the disease or from the antibodies you inherit from parents who have had the disease. No need for a second shot or any repeats if you are truly immune.

Are there risks from vaccinations? Let’s just accept for now that there is no know link to autism. And look at risks more broadly. How well developed is an infants immune system? Not much is the answer. How does an infant build an immune system? By inheritance and from its mother’s milk. And by testing it by putting everything in its mouth. When would a child’s immune system be robust enough to be tested in a hard way? 3 – 4? When we do we vaccinate them now? From birth to 15 months!

Might there be risk in testing the infant’s immune system at this early age?

Might building a real immunity be better?

We turn to medicine first – should we? Follow the money!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Anita: Amen to this article. Too many people receive disability as...
  • matt: isn't the "sugar" in soda high fructose corn syrup? why do y...
  • Caroline Cooper: Hi Rob, Nice to see you're writing again. I have been thi...
  • Patrick Meadows: People, can and have lived solely on meat. Eskimos go months...
  • ike: Maybe you veggies need to eat meat so your brains can develo...
  • robpatrob: Of course - but we are talking much more recently here about...
  • Rob: "I come from Northern European stock. My genes are the most ...
  • Gemma: Don't forget regular exercise! Prevention is better than cur...
  • Daniel: Nothing can live on just meat. Carnivores such as cats and s...
  • robert: Your retarded, so why is it most vegans need pills as vitami...
  • Dario McNut: It is true that erectile dysfunction can be associated with ...
  • robpatrob: Google Richard Wrangham - His book is on Amazon - much more ...
  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...

What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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