Breast milk is best for baby – and for the workplace, healthy infants > fewer sick days

A pair of substantial mammary glands have the advantage over
the two hemispheres of the most learned professor’s brain
in the art of compounding a nutritive fluid for infants.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes (todo.7) (Substantial isn’t necessary, small but fully mature breasts can make plenty of milk for baby too. – Enough food in well balanced amount for mom is still essential however.)
Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act,
but it is also an art that is learned day by day.
It is almost always simply a matter of practical knowledge
and not a question of good luck.
– La Leche League (todo.7) (Moms and babies both can use a little guidance from someone who has experience with the mechanics of positioning and suckling – like riding a bicycle mom has experience with the second and later children but even then the babies still may have difficulty and some guidance may be helpful even for an experienced mom. La Leche League is a volunteer group dedicated to helping promote and help successful breastfeeding relationships between mothers and their infants.)
When we trust the makers of baby formula
more than we do our own ability to nourish our babies,
we lose a chance to claim an aspect of our power as women.
It is an act of female power,
and I think of it as feminism in its purest form.
– Christine Northrup (todo.7) (Infant formula is a blessing for those who are unable to make sufficient breast milk or for babies who don’t tolerate it well or need other specialized nutrition support but there are immune and autoimmune factors that help the infant that only mom herself can make. Human milk also has factors that support a healthy intestinal microbiome (good guy bacteria) and phospholipids which can help promote a healthy appetite and positive growth rate in the infant. While chocolate has a tiny amount of caffeine, its source cocoa beans also have a good supply of phospholipids, choose a lower sugar, lower fat dark chocolate or use Baker’s chocolate and make your own chocolate treats to maximize the phospholipid and other antioxidant content. Pomegranate seeds also contain a good supply of phospholipids, (pomegranate seed oil analysis, P.14) cardamom spice, (P.15), and dark green leafy vegetables and herbs such as oregano, basil, and rosemary are also good sources. Phospholipids are found in membranes and are more plentiful in nuts, seeds and other leafy vegetables. Pumpkin seeds are a good source. (P.8 , 9, 10)
Pumpkin seed kernel oil is being investigated as a medical treatment and was found to be more effective for wound healing in an animal study than the standard wound care ointment or no treatment control groups. (P.11)
Pomegranate seed oil has been investigated as a dietary supplement in an animal based study and found to positively affect fatty acid balance. The discussion suggests consideration as a dietary alternative source for the beneficial fatty acid CLA, Conjugated Linoleic Acid. (P.16)
To do – write this up in more detail for the effectivecare.info website, initially intended for the gender discrimination section 11 of the policy part but additional information on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds /the food information was added to the home page, I still need to do the additional breastfeeding section though/ – to explain the (todo.footnotes). The reference list below includes notes to expand on at a later time.
In the meantime – pumpkin seed kernels are the inner green part that have been shelled. Their texture is similar to sunflower seed kernels but their oil content has a more health promoting nutrient balance than the oil content of sunflower seed kernels. Ideally shop for raw pumpkin seed kernels that are not salted. Salted, roasted pumpkin seeds may also be labeled Pepitos and the salt content may be excessive if eaten in much quantity. An 1/8th to 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seed kernels, 2 to 4 Tablespoons might be a reasonable serving size of the unsalted type or lightly salted and roasted types. Roasting the seeds increases the phospholipid content but also increases some more negative oxidation chemicals which would decrease some of the benefits of the oil. (P.12) For freshness of the roasted snack, the raw pumpkin seed kernels can be lightly pan roasted for a few minutes with a dash of oil until they puff a little. Toss with a sprinkle of salt and let cool on a paper towel to absorb extra oil. Store any extra in an airtight container to retain crispiness and prevent further oxidation.
(Oxidation of seeds or nuts: spoilage of the oils due to contact with oxygen from the air. Storing all nuts and seeds in airtight containers in a cool or even freezing temperature extends their safe eating shelf life. Rancid oil has a recognizable odor and bad taste and nuts and seeds should be discarded rather than eaten if they have gotten too old and turned rancid as the oxidized oils can be unhealthy, especially if eaten in a larger quantity. One or two wouldn’t be a problem but once the off-taste is noticed throw away the remainder of the package or possibly you might be able to return it to the store if it was a recent purchase. (P.13))
I discuss pumpkin seed kernels as a prenatal healthy food that might help prevent high blood pressure problems on the home page of the website effectivecare.info. It is still a work in progress, un-peer reviewed and draft version in some sections but potentially life saving information is something that I feel deserves to be shared, even if in draft version. The more life threatening type prenatal complication that can include high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia is also discussed in more detail on that website, Preeclampsia and TRP Channels, based on information that has helped former prenatal clients I’ve helped and with more recent information and ,medical hypothesis research posted online by others.
/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./
  1. Liz Ryan, Ten Things Never, Ever to Wear to Work, a Q/A article which also discusses the value in more flexible policies based on regular conversations during office hours rather than punitive, gotcha breaking the policy reprimands that go into an employee record. forbes.com Oct. 30, 2017 https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/10/30/ten-things-never-ever-to-wear-to-work/?nowelcome=1#938e2af4d9bf (P.1)
  2. What does feminism have to do with breastfeeding? Breastfeeding Medicine, 6/12/2010 https://bfmed.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/what-does-feminism-have-to-do-with-breastfeeding/ (todo.2), Discusses the value of breastfeeding and the issue of class and choice. Women have to be able to afford to have the time off work to be able to breastfeed for the recommended six months, best for baby. If work place policies were more supportive of all women being able to breastfeed, or pump at work, then there wouldn’t be a class issue rich can afford and poor can’t, or seemingly antifeminist, Stay at Home Mom versus Working Mom.
  3. Kara Stiles, The Unsettling Truth about Women and Retirement, forbes.com, Dec. 7, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/karastiles/2017/12/07/the-unsettling-truth-about-women-and-retirement/#2b0070991b63 (todo.3) discusses the grim reality of caregivers being primarily women and that the choice or need to be a stay at home mom also means less accrual of Social Security weeks of work over the career lifetime and less accrual of retirement plan savings. Also mentions the difference in life expectancy between men and women and that women living longer are also having more medical expenses to pay on average, over the longer average lifespan.
  4. Brooke Hauser, I Shared a ‘Real’ Parenting Photo on Social Media—And the Response I Got Shocked Me, health.com, July 5, 2017,  http://www.health.com/family/real-parenting-photo-gloria-steinem (todo.4) Real life story of a working mom who breastfeeds and has two children preschool age or younger. also touches on the increased number of roles women have in our social media and progressive, protest era with a cameo of Gloria Steinem and hat-tip to her role in opening the door to working women who are also mothers.

  5. Caroline Bologna “If Men Breastfed” Video: Shows a Very Different Experience for Working Dads; Women deserve better, HuffingtonPost.com, 12/6/2016 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/video-imagines-what-life-would-be-like-if-men-could-breastfeed_us_5845d89de4b02f60b0246f7b (todo.5) a hat-tip to Gloria Steinem’s 1978 essay “If Men Could Menstruate,” in an ad for a breast pump company’s introduction of a breast pump, advertised to be an improvement on the currently available models (which are fairly bad, imo, unless you have money for a better electric model or high quality handpump, hand expressing actually works well or better for some women – warning the five minute model in the humorous video would be impossible if not dangerous or dangerous if not impossible.)
  6. Medela, How to Manually Express Breastmilk, the Marmet Techniquehttps://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/tips-and-solutions/130/how-to-manually-express-breastmilk—the-marmet-technique (todo.6) How to tips, and safety, avoid these motions guidance, with illustrations. Medela is a long established lactation supply company with high quality electric and hand breast pumps and educational materials for women.
  7. Cherie, Natural Mama, NZ, My favorite breastfeeding and feminist quoteshttp://naturalmamanz.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-favourite-breastfeeding-and-feminist.html (todo.7)
  8. Zh.Y. Petkova and G.A. Antova, Changes in the composition of pumpkin seeds, (Cucurbita moschata) during development and maturation, Grasas Aceites 66 (1): e058   http://grasasyaceites.revistas.csic.es/index.php/grasasyaceites/article/viewArticle/1523/1657 (P.8) Most phospholipid content was present in the seeds 30 days after flowering, and the amount diminished at 60 and 90 days. Other nutrient content also tended to diminish in amounts except for an increase in starch and fiber content.
  9. Bhalchandra P Vibhute, Dhiraj R Bhide, Vijay Y Karadbhajne, Anand S Kulkarni and RR Khotpa, Fatty Acid Profile of Pumpkin and Bael Seed Lipids of Central India Region, Research & ReviewsISSN: 2320-0189 RRJBS | Volume 2 | Issue 2 | April – June, 2013  http://www.rroij.com/open-access/fatty-acid-profile-of-pumpkin-and-bael-seed-lipids-of-central-india-region-1-3.pdf (P.9)
  10. Tri Joko Raharjo* Laily Nurliana, and Sabirin Mastjeh, Phospholipids from Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata (Duch.) Poir) Seed Kernel Oil and Their Fatty Acid Composition, Indo. J. Chem., 2011, 11 (1), 48 – 52 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.917.3544&rep=rep1&type=pdf (P.10) this is a longer article which goes into more detail about types of phospholipids and mentions a few health benefits. The research team found 1.03% dry weight phospholipid content in pumpkin seeds including three types: “a) phosphatidylcholine (PC); b) phosphatidylserin (PS); c) phosphatidylethanolamine (PE).”
  11. Sana Bardaa, Nihed Ben Halima, Fatma Aloui, Riadh Ben Mansour, Hazem Jabeur, Mohamed Bouaziz, and Zouheir Sahnoun,

    Oil from pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seeds: evaluation of its functional properties on wound healing in rats, Lipids Health Dis. 2016; 15: 73. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827242/ (P.11)

  12. Vesna Vujasinovic, Sonja Djilas, Etelka Dimic, Zorica Basic, Olga Radocaj, The effect of roasting on the chemical composition and oxidative stability of pumpkin oil, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, Volume 114, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages 568–574, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejlt.201100158/abstract (P.12)

  13. Sheela Prakash, How to Store Nuts and Seeds, Kitchen Confidence, food52.com, Sept. 17, 2014, https://food52.com/blog/11275-how-to-store-nuts-and-seeds (P.13)

  14. Zahra Amri,  Houda Lazreg-Aref, Manel Mekni, Sinda El-Gharbi, Olfa Dabbaghi, Beligh Mechri, and Mohamed Hammami, Oil Characterization and Lipids Class Composition of Pomegranate SeedsBiomed Res Int. 2017; 2017: 2037341.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546132/ (P.14)

  15. Arlen Frank, Chemistry of Plant Phosphorus CompoundsElsevierJun 3, 2013, Chapter 4, Phospholipids, page 247,   https://books.google.com/books?id=6btpFSV1T2YC&pg=PA247&lpg=PA247&dq=cardamom+seed+phospholipid+content&source=bl&ots=14OEP3GnC6&sig=r4Ga99NGKjp2PfB2TVs4jQDxuJk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKlNPttpLYAhUG1oMKHczmDc0Q6AEIPzAG#v=onepage&q=cardamom%20seed%20phospholipid%20content&f=false (P.15)

  16. Agnieszka BiałekAgnieszka StawarskaJoanna Bodecka,   Małgorzata Białek, Andrzej TokarzPomegranate seed oil influences the fatty acids profile and reduces the activity of desaturases in livers of Sprague-Dawley rats.

    Prostaglandins & Other Lipid Mediators, Vol. 131, July 2017, pp 9-16, ScienceDirect.com http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1098882316301654 (P.16)

Other links:

Limonene: Terpenes 101

Formaldehyde: Health risks, and Environmental and Dietary sources.

I mentioned in my last post, (a long time ago – I’ve been busy spring cleaning), that I would discuss oxidative stress next – some background information first:

(“Formaldehyde is a cause of oxidative stress.” LMGTFY: 1,450,000 results.)

Formaldehyde:  formaldehyde is a chemical that can be produced within the body as part of metabolism, it is toxic however and the body would continue to break it down further for removal from the body in conditions of normal health. Formaldehyde is found in the environment from a variety of sources and is produced in the body or in food products as a metabolite (a chemical produced from the digestion/metabolism of a larger chemical) of some alternative sweeteners (G.48) and other dietary sources including fruit juices and artificial and natural flavorings. ((G.49, (p476, G.50)) (G.56)  “Formalin” is chemically very similar and may cause similar health symptoms. (G.42(G.25Formalin is used to induce pain in lab animals for experimental purposes and it was determined that the pain was due to activation of the TRPA1 channels. (G.86)

Environmental and dietary sources of formaldehyde include, (G.56):

  1. First and second hand smoke, (G.44); The formaldehyde content of some types of E-Cigarette preparations used for “vaping” instead of smoking the volatile gases have been found to vary significantly. Skipping to the last point on this list may provide the explanation – fruit flavoring based on fruit juice and essential oils from fruit and other artificial “flavorings” are frequently chemicals from a group of chemicals called aldehydes. They can break down over time into smaller chemicals which can include formaldehyde or other toxic types of aldehydes. (G.49) So if you are “vaping” in order to avoid toxins in cigarette smoke then it may be advisable to skip the “chocolate or fruit flavoring” and use an E-Cigarette product that just has the natural tobacco flavor instead. (Yes, tobacco is an herb and it has a flavor and nicotine can have some health benefits, however formaldehyde does not. The nicotine patch provides a steady dose of nicotine without any volatile toxins.)
  2. Poorly ventilated air or smog; (G.45)
  3. Vinyl and PVC plastic products off-gas formaldehyde and other volatile chemicals at levels that can make a sensitive person feel ill. (G.45). A poorly ventilated room would increase the risk of the gases accumulating to more toxic levels. The wax refinishing treatments used to clean and shine vinyl flooring are also sources of formaldehyde and other toxic gases. One re-waxing session can produce as much volatile chemicals from the chemical products that are used to strip off the old layer of wax polish and add a new layer, as the vinyl floor itself would off-gas throughout all the years of its installation. So making a choice about which type of flooring to install is also making a choice about the  type of cleaning products that will be needed to maintain the floor. (G.46) A Cleaning Product Fact Sheet is available from the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board: (G.47). Types of flooring and other building materials are discussed in extensive detail in a review article regarding sources of Formaldehyde in the Indoor Environment: (G.45).
  4. Metabolites of the breakdown of the alternative sweetener aspartame and Neotame include menthol and formaldehyde. (G.48)  
  5. Older packages of fruit juice also may contain formaldehyde in amounts that can continue to increase as the product ages. The formaldehyde is produced as other chemicals become unstable over time and metabolically breakdown into a variety of smaller chemicals which include formaldehyde. The food preservative method of ionizing radiation has been found to increase the chemical breakdown of larger aldehydes in apple juice into formaldehyde and other chemicals with toxic properties. (p476, G.50)
  6. Before leaving the topic of formaldehyde, the symptoms of toxicity with workplace exposure to formaldehyde have been reported to include allergic type symptoms including: “sneezing/airways-related symptoms, itching and watery eyes.” (G.51) Formaldehyde exposure may also be a cause of systemic allergic contact dermatitis, (G.52, G.53, G.54), possibly even with symptoms of rash occurring on the eyelids.(G.55) A diet designed to avoid formaldehyde intake may be helpful for alleviating the eczema like rash. (G.52)

A summary, in reverse order;

Formaldehyde might be accumulating from several sources, (G.56):

  • Workplace exposure; Workers more at risk might include health professionals, (G.51); and hair stylists or nail salon technicians, (G.58); and funeral directors may be more at risk for developing the paralyzing chronic disease ALS, (G.59); some industries such as the garment and textile industry may have formaldehyde exposure, (G.63);
  • Aseptically packaged juices, the amount may collect in older packages as the product ages, ionizing radiation methods of food preservation have been found to increase the amount of toxic aldehydes including formaldehyde and therefore is not a recommended technique for the juice industry, (p476, G.50);
  • Nutrasweet (aspartame) and Neotame, alternative sweeteners. (G..48)
  • Vinyl flooring, cleaning products, and other PVC type of plastic products. (G.45, G.46, G.47);
  • Poorly ventilated air or smog. (G.45); *Note, lighting large numbers of decorative candles may be increasing volatile chemicals in your air supply. Also air fresheners and cleaning products may contain chemicals that break down into formaldehyde. (G.60) Lifestyle choices besides smoking cigarettes can negatively affect health. Try a fern for air freshening instead; give it a nickname and you might get some emotional benefits in addition to other physical health benefits. Plants can be useful household decorations because some types can clean the air of formaldehyde and other toxins. The original research was by a NASA scientist for use in keeping the air fresh in living environments for astronauts. For the most effective air cleaning ability, the plant does need to be watered and misted as its particular type requires, because the chemical removal of formaldehyde from the air is dependent on the roots and leaves access to water. (G.61); a mechanical problem with the furnace or water heater and ventilation system may be leaking toxic chemicals into the building’s air supply; increased efficiency of insulation and other building materials have created rooms and buildings that are too good at preventing air circulation, which makes maintenance and cleaning of ventilation systems and fans important – otherwise everyone working or living in the space might start feeling some symptoms of “sick building syndrome.” (G.62)
  • Smoking cigarettes or other products, and flavorings in “vaped” E-Cigarettes may also be a source of formaldehyde. (G.44, G.49)

Fact Sheets regarding Formaldehyde, Environmental Safety and Health:

  • The Centers for Disease Control provides a fact sheet for further guidance regarding risks and precautions regarding formaldehyde: What You Should Know About Formaldehyde, (G.57)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency provides a fact sheet on sick building syndrome: Fact Sheet: Sick Building Syndrome, (G.62)
  • The Cleaning Products Fact Sheet, by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board provides guidance regarding safer cleaning products: (G.47)
  • The National Cancer Institute’s Fact Sheet: Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk includes research on occupations that may be at risk for formaldehyde exposure and provides a list of organizations that might have more information or other help to offer. (G.63)

Sick Building Syndrome: Symptoms that may occur due to breathing air that contains too much formaldehyde may include sore throat, cough, scratchy eyes, and nosebleeds according to the fact sheet by the Centers for Disease Control. (G.57) So if everyone working in a building, or many workers or family members are all experiencing allergies or a slight cold that just doesn’t seem to want to go away – then bad air may be a problem. See the fact sheet on Sick Building Syndrome by the EPA for more information. (G.62)

Eczema: The eczema symptoms reported in medical research may occur with more chronic long-term exposure to formaldehyde and/or in individuals who also have more difficulties metabolically with detoxifiying formaldehyde – we don’t know all the answers. I have personally experienced skin rashes off and on all my life and was startled to develop it on my eyelids in my more recent past – and then was more startled, or more relieved to learn of the possible cause – formaldehyde exposure (G.55) and systemic allergic contact dermatitis, (G.52, G.53, G.54) Poor air quality was a problem at the time in part due to water heater mechanical problems, and also first and secondhand smoke were contaminants in my air supply – I cleaned up and changed habits somewhat and my eyelid rash got better – yeah science! To me that seems like an example of effective self care and effective use of evidence-based medical research even if I had to read it on my own.

Other health risks include cancer and neurological conditions: The link between cancer and formaldehyde may be less strong than for neurological disorders such as ALS in funeral home directors, (G.59), or autism in a child whose mother had prenatal exposure to formaldehyde, (G.56), however research has found some cancers associated with occupational exposure to formaldehyde. The National Cancer Institute also has a fact sheet on the topic of formaldehyde and it includes a convenient list of addresses and websites for organizations that might have more information for workers concerned about exposure risks such as OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,. (G.64) See the National Cancer Institute’s Fact Sheet: Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk for more information and resources regarding formaldehyde and occupational safety: (G.63)

Houseplants can help offices as well as astronauts:

If you are looking for a hair salon that is likely to have less formaldehyde and other volatile toxins in the air then look for one with lots of healthy ferns and other tropical low light houseplants. (G.61) If you are a hair salon or other business owner interested in improving the air quality in your establishment with the help of ferns and other houseplants, then hire a staff member who knows and loves plants because they do require some consistent care that can vary quite a bit depending on the type of plant – or buy the book by the NASA research scientist and have an employee learn how to care for your indoor air-cleaning garden.

The scientist, B. C. Wolverton, organized what he learned to help astronauts in an easy to use plant guide that lists the species of plants which were found most effective at cleaning air. The book, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office, includes guidance for caring for each species and also lists them by the types of volatile chemicals that they were able to remove from the air. (G.66)

Large urban areas may have office plant services available where a greenhouse or florist shop supplies and maintains lovely office plants for a subscription or rental type of payment. An employee of the plant business has a route of subscribing businesses to visit each week in order to water, mist, and trim plants of any dead leaves, even a healthy plant will look sad if it is covered in a layer of dust and has a few dead leaves. Plants that are sick are simply returned to the greenhouse for care or recycling and the empty spot is filled with a replacement by the plant business employee.

Ambius is an example of an office-plant company with service locations available in many urban areas in both Canada and the United States. See the Ambius website for more information and service locations: Ambius.com.

Disclaimer

References:

A U.S. Congressman is seeking a DOJ investigation of glyphosate

The U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu has called for a Department of Justice investigation of the chemical glyphosate used in the herbicide Roundup. There may have been collusion by an EPA worker and Monsanto to suppress investigation of the chemical’s health risks. It has been labeled a likely carcinogen.

“New questions about the safety of Monsanto weed killer Roundup are deeply troubling. I worked on the glyphosate issue last term and I believe consumers should immediately stop using Roundup, whose core ingredient glyphosate has been labeled a likely carcinogen and has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. We need to find out if Monsanto or the Environmental Protection Agency misled the public.”

-U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu,  “US Congressman Calls for DOJ Investigation into EPA-Monsanto Glyphosate Collusion” Mar 17 2017 – by Sustainable Pulse

Read more: http://sustainablepulse.com/2017/03/17/us-congressman-calls-for-doj-investigation-into-epa-monsanto-glyphosate-collusion/#.WMv1yjvytPb

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Mental health and nutrients; TEDx talk by Julia Rucklidge

A TEDx talk by Julia Rucklidge, PhD reviews the risks of long term psychiatric medications for the mental health of young people and the benefits found with supplementing with a wide variety of micronutrients.

Supplementation for a community that experienced trauma was found to reduce the frequency/severity of PTSD in the individuals of the community.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.