Vitamins and Supplements

Gummies Vitamins Beware (Pedcast)

Hey, hey, and welcome to another installment of docsmo.com. I’m your host Dr. PAUL SMOLEN I want to thank you for joining me today and for making this blog such a success. You and your children are the reason that I put so much effort into this blog and let me tell you, it has been a very rewarding experience. This blog is beginning to catch on fire. In August 2014 we had 135,000 pages opened in just that month… fantastic. So here we go with another edition. Your free pediatric education continues. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t see a child who takes gummy vitamins. In my practice it is the norm. Why, I don’t know but it just is. These things are incredibly popular and why not, they taste great so the kids love them, and the moms feel like their doing something that’s helping their child’s health. And there is the rub which we are going to talk about more today.  Let’s break that down a little bit and let’s see if we are really doing something good with the gummy vitamins.

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The China Study (Book Review Pedcast)

Help support DocSmo.com by buying this reviewed book using this affiliate link. You get Amazon’s best price and DocSmo.com earns a small affiliate marketing fee.  Thank you.

The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health

 

Feeding your children the healthiest diet possible is the goal of every parent but exactly what is a healthy diet? Answering that question is the reason that we at the DocSmo.com blog thought a book review of a major new book on nutrition might be helpful to parents.  The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, is a cumulative work based on the findings from  careers in nutritional research and medicine.  A myriad of research is discussed in the book but the core conclusions are derived from a longitudinal (20 year) study called “The China Study” in which researchers from Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine collected data from 65 counties in 24 provinces in China, comparing diet, lifestyle, and disease characteristics in this huge population.  (The New York Times called this data “The Grand Prix” of epidemiological studies when the results were first published in the early 1990s.) The father and son team of Drs. Campbell digest the China study data and a wealth of other scientific observations. Their main conclusion is that populations consuming the most animal-based foods are afflicted with the most chronic Western diseases. The China Study therefore advocates for a diet that consists exclusively of whole plant-based foods as well as discussing the science behind this conclusion, barriers to its introduction in the American diet, and lifestyle tips for readers ready to transition to this nutritional mindset and lifestyle.

Similar to many books on nutrition, the authors start with an overview of the problems related to childhood and adult obesity and chronic disease in the United States. This highlights the general confusion that many feel with an overwhelming amount of  health and nutrition information. This book may provide a useful guide for providing better nutrition for their children. Their goal is to clarify confusion by referencing sound scientific data, instead of providing the latest sensation in rapid weight-loss. They seek to demonstrate a strong connection between eating animal protein and the high incidence of chronic disease plaguing Western societies; cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.  The authors continue with manageable chapters about the nutrition science and mechanisms of disease.  The authors believe that the consumption of animal protein trigger breast and prostate cancers, cause obesity that is at the root of adult onset diabetes, and contributes to diseases of the heart and blood vessels.  The book  highlights the correlation between nutrition and disease, citing a wealth of scientific evidence.

In our opinion, the useful sections in the book are right in the middle, where the authors list eight principles of how to rethink nutrition and provide an eating guide for parents and children. Aside from eliminating all animal products and minimizing added vegetable oils such as peanut or olive oil, he encourages plants and whole grains. The authors are especially harsh on added supplements, believing that a sound diet should provide individuals with everything they need, except for a nod to vitamin D for children and adults who spend the majority of their time indoors and vitamin B12. The last third of the book discusses with the barriers to adopting this way of eating, exposing some startling realities of powerful lobbying groups and their influence on formulating government dietary recommendations.

Overall, this book highlights the important relationship between nutrition and chronic disease. If the authors are right, our health and the future health of our children depend on us adopting a plant-based diet, now.  It promotes a whole-grain, plant-based diet in order to avoid chronic disease, and reverse them once they have developed.  This book presents sound scientific data based on decades of biochemical research and explains the science behind the studies in a clear and manageable way. As the authors say, they take us where the data leads.  To be clear, this book is not a weight-loss solution or another fad diet.  It is a scholarly look at decades of research illuminating the connection between poor nutrition and incidence of chronic diseases. Despite its length and complexity, we would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in diet as it relates to your children’s long-term health. The authors believe that not only can diseases like cancer, heart disease, and adult onset diabetes be prevented in our children with a plant-based “vegan” diet, but that these diseases can be REVERSED with food after they have developed.  The Dr. Campbell father/son team challenge traditional nutrition teaching which advocates a diet rich in animal based protein and dairy foods, vitamin and mineral supplements, and often diets with an imbalanced nutrient profile such as the “Atkins” diet.  The authors claim that a completely plant based diet is the key to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Time will tell us if they are right.  Pass the broccoli, please. We give this book 4 out of 5 DocSmo stars.  Until next time.

Written collaboratively by Angela Solis and Paul Smolen M.D.

From the Desk of DocSmo: Your Child and the Natural World

When you stop and think about it, it’s not hard to find examples of how the natural world influences the health of our children and us. We are an integral part of our environment, and our environment is an integral part of us. Weather, air quality, water quality, radiation levels, the presence or absence of light: these are just some of the environmental factors that determine the health of you and your child.

Like with most things, it is useful to look at extremes cases to try and define the more subtle affects of environmental factors.

Let’s begin with sunlight. Too much sunlight, especially when your child is young, and they get skin burns immediately (and skin cancers and cataracts in the long run). Some believe that light exposure to children at night can cause common vision problems like nearsightedness and astigmatism. Clearly too much sun is not good for your children. On the other hand, too little sunlight can give a child vitamin D deficiency along with its associated health problems both immediate (a metabolic bone disease called rickets) and long term (possibly multiple sclerosis, breast and prostate cancer, and adult onset diabetes).

Let’s also consider radiation exposure like that from the sun, the earth (in the form of discharges. Large amounts of radiation do very bad things to us just like visible light does. Occupations where people work near radiation are associated with premature illness and death. Examples of these are radiologists, nuclear power plant workers, and pilots and flight attendants. Naturally occurring sources such as radon gas, medical exposures (like those from a CAT scan), and pollutions exposures (nuclear wastes and, in my generation, above ground nuclear testing) to radiation can also be a negative influence on your child’s health. How about a lack of radiation? Could it be possible that we need a small amount of radiation to stimulate certain biologic processes in us just like light does with Vitamin D? I really don’t know, but I suspect so.

Finally, let’s consider our relationship with the microbial world. Traditionally in medicine, we have concentrated on the microbes that we know cause disease like Salmonella stomach infections, Strep Pneumonia (which causes so many lung infections), and Staph Aureus (which causes invasive wound infections). In the past 10 years, researchers have realized that the vast majority of microbes on and inside us are absolutely necessary to our health! We cannot be healthy without these little creatures. Furthermore, the very artificial and sterile world that we have created for ourselves may be causing a lot of disease! The point is that too many pathogenic bacteria are clearly bad for you and your children’s health, but equally harmful may be a lack of healthy bacteria that we cause by being too clean and sterile. Antibiotics for the treatment of disease, food irradiation, soil depletion, etc. may be robbing us of essential “health sustaining” microbial life.

Finding the balance with the natural world is a constant struggle as our species takes over and dominates the earth. I certainly do not advocate going back to the cave, but I feel we need to pull back and find a more natural balance with our surroundings. My approach is the minimalist approach. Any time I can replicate what I call a natural life, I will. That means walking or riding a bike whenever possible, being outdoors whenever possible, eating locally grown food, even from your backyard when possible, opening those windows and turning off the A/C system, handling and using complex chemicals such as pesticides and solvents as little as possible, living with animals, slowing down the pace of life with less media and more human interaction. Our relationship with the natural world is one of the great challenges facing us and our children.

Dr. Kilbane on “Winterizing” Your Children (Pedcast)

Integrative pediatrics is all about disease prevention and wellness.  Listen to a conversation with our very own integrative consultant, Dr. Sheila Kilbane, when she tells parents how to reduce their children’s chance of getting sick this winter.

 

SmoNotes:

1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing/HQ00407

2. http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/5/1255.full

3. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind

4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing/HQ00407

5. http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/5/125

6.http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheet/vitamind

7. Weizman Z, et al, Pedaitrics (205)115:5-9: Effect of a probiotic infant formula on infections in child carre centers-comparison of two probiotic agents.

8. Rennard, et al, Chest October 2000 vol 118 #4, pg 1150-1157: Chicken Soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro.

9. Urashima, et al, Am J of Nutrition, May 2010 91:5,  1255-1260: Randomized trial of Vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren.

10. Chest, vol. 118, 2000 Drs. B. Rennard, Ertl, Gossman, Robbins and S. I. Rennard.
Store-bought chicken soup (listed in order of presumed effectiveness):
Knorr’s Chicken Flavor Chicken Noodle
Campbell’s Home Cookin’ Chicken Vegetable
Campbell’s Healthy Request Chicken Noodle
Lipton’s Cup-o-soup, Chicken Noodle
Progresso Chicken Noodle.
Other brands, including some of Campbell’s, were less effective.
Here’s the recipe. More work of course, but you can cut the excessive use of salt found in store-bought types:

1 5-to 6-lb stewing hen or baking chicken,
1 package of chicken wings,
3 large onions,
l large sweet potato,
3 parsnips,
2 turnips,
11 to 12 large carrots,
5 to 6 celery stems,
1 bunch of parsley,
salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the chicken with cold water, and bring it to boiling. Add chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots. Boil about 1 1/2 hours, removing fat regularly. Add the parsley and celery. Cook all about 45 minutes longer. Remove the chicken, which is no longer used for the soup. Put the vegetables in a food processor until chopped fine or pass them through a strainer. Add salt and pepper
Enjoy!
Doctors Test Chicken Soup for a Cold – Don’t Laugh Bibliography

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