Evolving Health

Monthly Archives: November 2009

The gut’s immune system is ultimately responsible for maintaining a healthy gut free of infection or infestation. It must accomplish this task while at the same time being unresponsive to food and helpful bacteria (1). Gastrointestinal inflammation etiology is largely infection such as via parasite. However, modern lifestyles have increasingly been harassed by new chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis (1). These are associated mainly with genetic mutations or… Read More

Nutritional and energy needs for a child differs profoundly from that of an adult because of a child’s continual growth and development. A child is in greater need of nutrient-dense foods–although not to the extent as infants–and requires more energy for basal metabolic rate, physical activity and thermic effect of food. Energy needs are highest during rapid growth and expansion of lean mass. Each individual child is best understood by first dividing… Read More

Protein status is assessed by evaluating both somatic and visceral protein status. Somatic protein status is a measure of the protein in skeletal muscle while visceral protein status is a measure of all other proteins (organs, viscera, serum, blood cells, white blood cells). Evaluation of somatic protein status can generally be performed using muscle circumference or mid-arm muscle area. However, because no single indicator is completely accurate biochemical measures can help better… Read More

The infant, despite whether healthy term or high-risk, will require energy for BMR, thermic effect of food, physical activity, maintenance, growth and for energy lost in feces and urine. There is also energy needed just to maintain body temperature until the early extrauterine period passes. The newborn requires approximately 108 kcal/kg for about six months followed by 98 kcal/kg for the next six. The high-risk newborn will have the same energy requirements,… Read More

One interesting detail I came across while researching teratogens is that a protein-deficient diet may enhance the effects of xenobiotics in general. For example, dietary protein deficiency along with exposure to inorganic arsenic through injection in mice was found to increase risk of birth defects, possibly because of lack of methyl donors for arsenic methylation (1). Also, high-dose caffeine teratogenicity is increased when in combination with protein deficiency (2). Other xenobiotics such… Read More

I was shocked to learn that FDA in 1980 had determined that caffeine in amounts exceeding 300 mg could potentially be teratogenic (1). Teratogens are agents that cause fetal malformations or birth defects. Good thing caffeine does not harm the fetus when taken in smaller amounts, despite evidence in rats to the contrary (1-2). However, after digging deeper, I found that the researchers did find that caffeine potentiated teratogenic effect of smoking… Read More

Cannabis sativa’s psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has not been established as a human teratogen (1), but there is a history of teratogenic effects linked to use by expectant mothers (2). The perinatal exposure is thought to interfere with neurodevelopment and affect neurobehavorial outcomes (1-2). Although the teratogenicity of marijuana is not as catastrophic as other illicit drugs such as cocaine, it’s harm can still lead to problems such as disturbed sleep and attention… Read More

Nutritional needs soar when you have a multiple pregnancy. According to Barbara Luke from University of Miami, the mother has a “greater nutritional drain” on her body. Because of quicker glycogen depletion that might slow fetal growth rate, Luke suggests a diabetic regimen with caloric ratio of 40% carbs, 20% protein, and 40% fat. In addition, she suggests supplementation with iron, calcium, magnesium and selenium for preventing “complications and improvement of postnatal… Read More

Eggs, considered a nutritional powerhouse, is an excellent food to recommend to these women during pregnancy. According to Niva Shapira of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, eggs can provide various nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are also found in human milk and that support peak brain development (1). If those eggs are also produced in such a way as to contain high levels of DHA, then they become even more supportive to the… Read More

On July 17, 2008, a study was published (1) that I believe should change how nutritionists and dietitians would look at the current Dietary Guide for Americans, the Food Guide Pyramid and the whole concept of a “heart-healthy” low-fat diet as recommended by the American Heart Association. The paradigm-shift study was a 2-year intervention trial in The New England Journal of Medicine in which weight loss was compared among moderately obese subjects… Read More