Tag Archives: malnutrition

Imagine children unable to speak up for themselves

My last post and all of my posts are really about all the children – and adults – who may not be able to speak up for themselves. A magnesium bath or foot soak can be life changing with almost immediate better mood and less muscle cramps and chronic pain.

I’ve only ever had one or two close friends at a time — and I’m okay with that, I like company but I like reading a lot too. My goal in sharing information is not for me or about me but is simply about sharing my experiences in case they might be helpful for others, and actually I do write for me too, future me, so that as I read I can add notes so that I can find the information again at some point in the future. I like the internet, it is a great invention, humans are really great in many ways.

Magnesium deficiency is a widespread problem for people on the autistic spectrum but also for many other people with a variety of common chronic illnesses or who have lifestyle habits that waste magnesium. Obesity can also be a problem of nutrient deficiency which might seem unlikely but being mal-nourished in some nutrients can make weight gain much more likely. Deficiencies in vitamin D, thiamin, folic acid, iron, B12, zinc, phosphorus, B6, and potassium have been found to be more common in obese individuals. [4] And levels of vitamins A, E, and C have also been found to be significantly lower in obese individuals than in non-obese individuals. [5] [information from references 4 and 5 is from a continuing education course: 6]

Magnesium deficiency has to be very severe before it typically shows up on lab tests because it is stored within the bones and within cells more than in the blood. Calcium is more prevalent within the fluid portion of blood while magnesium is more prevalent within the interior of blood cells and other cells. Both nutrients are electrically active and provide energy for cellular functions in addition to other roles. Gastrointestinal problems can make a deficiency in the nutrient more likely however because calcium can be preferentially absorbed and magnesium can become less well absorbed.  However an early symptom of magnesium deficiency is insulin resistance which would lead to increased fat storage and increased appetite. [https://www.sharecare.com/health/diabetes/how-brain-affected-by-insulin]

The DASH diet designed originally to help reduce high blood pressure has also been found helpful for weight management. It includes more beans, nuts and seeds than many other diet plans, foods which provide magnesium, vitamin E, B vitamins and trace minerals such as zinc. [http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/]

The anti-psychotic medication olanzapine affects insulin and appetite [2] and causes significant weight gain in adults but even more so in children. Medicaid guidelines in some areas have it prescribed for children. Many children in foster care are being put on strong medications like olanzapine at great cost to their health and great cost to Medicaid. It is not inexpensive at over $300/month for the patent version Zyprexa.

“Between 1997 and 2004, Texas Medicaid spending on antipsychotics rose from $28 million to $175 million. In the months of July and August 2004, over 19,000 adolescents in Texas were given antipsychotics, even though pharmaceutical companies had not applied for licenses to market these drugs for use in minors. In 2003, Zyprexa pulled in $4.3 billion in sales in the United States, 70 percent of which came from state health insurance and other public health programs. …in 2009, research revealed that children being treated under Medicaid were four times more likely to get antipsychotics than children not covered by Medicaid.” [Pharmageddon, by David Healy, page 141, 1]

Pharmageddon,” by David Healy, (University of California Press, 2012, Berkeley). [1]

I keep mentioning Epsom Salt baths because they are inexpensive and very effective for people who are deficient in magnesium. And for those who are deficient in the essential nutrient, regular use of Epsom Salt baths might also be helping prevent chronic degenerative diseases like diabetes from developing or worsening. While the olanzapine/Zyprexa has been proven to be associated with a greatly increased risk for diabetes and significant weight gain [3] — and an increased risk for suicide and possibly for homicide particularly during withdrawal from the medication. The olanzapine may be causing long term changes in the brain by over-activating receptors involved in suicide. Do our foster children deserve to be experimented on just because they have Medicaid and Medicaid guidelines were set that cause doctors to feel that their job would be in jeopardy if they don’t follow the guideline?

Evidence based medicine can be very helpful and life-saving but it is better used as guidance to suggest a path to treatment rather than be a strict guideline that can be used to increase pharmaceutical company’s profits at the cost of children’s long term and short term health — and possibly that of people in their vicinity.

If our society really wants to stop suicide and mass killings than we need to address the underlying causes rather than worry only about controlling access to guns — guns don’t kill people anymore than knives or Hellfire missiles — people kill people.

4. Mechanick JI, Kushner RF, Sugerman HJ, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The Obesity Society, and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the perioperative nutritional, metabolic, and nonsurgical support of the bariatric surgery patient. Surg Obes Rel Dis. 2008;(5 Suppl):S109-S184.

5. Kaider-Person O, Person B, Szomstein S, Rosenthal RJ. Nutritional deficiencies in morbidly obese patients: a new form of malnutrition? Part B: minerals. Obes Surg. 2008;18(8):1028-1034.

6. Lillian Craggs, Obesity: Beyond Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes – Learn about Obesity’s Far Reach and Ill Effects in Lesser Described Conditions, ce.todaysdietitian.com.

/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./

We are what we eat.

“The cattle are as good as the pasture in which they graze.”
-Ethiopian proverb
We can build better bodies and better babies with normal healthy food. Tweaking ratios in our supplements and formulas would make it easier to get what we need but in the mean time moderate use of typical foods can feed us well. Babies would benefit from more human milk use whether from individual mothers or donated milk banks. It would help infant’s neuro-development and might help prevent some colic and sleepless nights. If infant formula is necessary than an occasional quarter teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia might prevent problems from the slightly high calcium/magnesium ratio (cow’s milk is quite a bit higher in calcium and protein than the modified formula product and is not suitable for use with young infants).
The levels of a  few nutrients in breast milk can be adversely affected by diet or health and magnesium is one of them. The average is around 30 mg/liter but the level can drop to the low 20’s and does in malnourished populations and teen moms and it can be elevated around 45 mg/liter in diabetic moms.
Young women, aka teen moms, are also more at risk for preeclampsia, as are mothers of twins. Both of these groups have increased nutrient needs – they are eating for baby plus more. These two sub-populations are linked with malnourished women in third world country studies by the unusually low magnesium levels in their breast milk. The high levels in the diabetic women suggests to me that the cell membranes are allowing too much out – that they have become leaky somehow.
We need more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans for magnesium but they also give us protein and fiber. The healthy starches are necessary for a strong protective intestinal lining. White blood cells patrol and pick off allergens, infection and other information and send it up to lymph nodes. At the lymph nodes more specialized work takes place to identify the foreign proteins and replicate defensive antibodies if needed. Nature provided us this natural oral vaccination method but healthy foods are necessary to build blood cells and make the glycocalyx jelly lining around the intestinal folds.

The United Kingdom recently released the nutrition recommendation to eat less red meat. Americans were told to eat less red meat a while ago . . . and we did, however we started eating more chicken, and cheese intake also increased — from a USDA report on 1909 to 2000 US nutrient intake. [2 -Table 32] Between 1970 and 2000 red meat use dropped fifteen percent! But chicken use increased 80 percent and cheese 150 percent. Chicken in the form of nuggets and other breaded and fried forms has become a staple that had been a special occasion food . The hidden added oil of fried chickend and the saturated fats of the cheese made “eat less red meat” a nutrition recommendation that worked and failed. We are eating less red meat than we used to in America but we are eating more cheese and chicken .

I would like to encourage a positive spin of less red meat and more beans, nuts and seeds for a protein source that also provides healthy fiber and many other trace nutrients. Having a variety of types of foods daily or throughout the week will generally provide more trace nutrients. We need hundreds of types of chemical compounds, not just ten or twenty vitamins and minerals. A few trace nutrients are considered essential for our health because our bodies can not create them out of other simpler chemicals. However other trace chemicals may become more important to consume in the diet or take as supplements if a person has a problem with some of the conversion steps necessary to make important enzymes or proteins or other more complex molecules. Eating liver and onions once a month may provide a boost to our health because it provides fully formed enzymes that can be more easily reassembled by the body after they are broken down and absorbed during digestion.

Using a variety of protein sources throughout the week or mixed in the meal may provide more variety of some of the more unusual types of essential sugars. A rich beef stock made from marrow rich bones will yield glucosamine, one of the essential sugars or glyco-nutrients. Many people use it as a supplement for arthritis pain. It can have a positive effect after taking it for a few weeks. Glucosamine is found in the synovial fluid that cushions the area between the bones of the knee and other joints in the body. A supplement recommendation is 1500 mg/day. [Synovial and plasma glucosamine concentrations in osteoarthritic patients following oral crystalline glucosamine sulphate at therapeutic dose, S. Persiani, Ph.D, et. al., Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Volume 15, Issue 7, July 2007, Pages 764–772]
Supplements may be from a shellfish source as it is frequently derived from crustacean shells so people with shellfish allergies should look for a vegetarian source.
Glucosamine is also found in the chitin of insects. The use of insects in the diet may have helped prevent kwashiokor in young children in tropical regions. The intestinal lining in some individuals, possibly those who had a recent infection, seems to malfunction in the ability to convert other sugars into glucosamine. The use of a rich broth from a bone stock might suit more people’s taste than insects. Although there are chefs presenting some appetizing dishes. . . . citations to follow when I am more awake.
Moderate use of dairy products like cheese, milk, yogurt and other calcium rich foods would benefit bone health without sacrificing magnsium absorption. Two to three dairy servings per day would provide adequate calcium. Supplements are not generally needed.
The food pyramid and http://www.mypyramid.gov is a nice start but I tend to recommend:
    • a bit less grains – swap some starchy root vegetables for the carbohydrate calories,
    • and a bit more vegetables -AICR – recommends 5-9 veg and fruit per day as anticancer medicine.
    • Juice is concentrated and limiting to 4-6 oz/day is healthy – especially for small bodies.
    • A bit less meat and dairy groups and use the calories for nuts, beans, and seeds.

/Disclosure: 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./

*2015, edit, I’m not sure why I included this chart in 2011 but I’m leaving it here for now.

 http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/                nutrient data base

Vit D IU
Vit A IU
Whole milk no added A or D
1 cup
7.67 gr
7.98 gr
276 mg
24 mg
5 IU
395 IU
Human milk, mature
1 cup
2.53 gr
10.77 gr
79 mg
7 mg
7 IU
522 IU
Infant Formula, similac
100 gr x 2.43 = 1 cup
3.3 gr
8.62 gr
124 mg
10 mg
95 IU
479 IU

**Note that the example infant formula is fortified with vitamin D at 13.6 times the amount of human milk and 19 times the amount in cow’s milk. There are more nutrients but the blog is narrow.

1.      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703293204576106072340020728.html  Marcel Dicke, Arnold Van Huis are professors of entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.  (2-19-11, The Wall Street Journal, pC3)  The Six-Legged Meat of the Future, Insects are nutritious and easy to raise without harming the environment. They also have a nice nutty taste

2. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/publications/foodsupply/foodsupply1909-2000.pdf Gerrior, S., Bente, L., & Hiza, H. (2004). Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food
Supply, 1909-2000. (Home Economics Research Report No. 56). U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
 Effect of Diabetes Mellitus on Protein–Energy Wasting and Protein Wasting in End-Stage Renal Disease, Nazanin Noori1, Joel D. Kopple1,2Article first  published online:13 APR 2010DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2010.00705.x

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19121473  Semin Nephrol. 2009 Jan;29(1):39-49. Causes and prevention of protein-energy wasting in chronic kidney failure. Dukkipati R, Kopple JD. Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Los Angeles Biomedical  Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.
 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19121477 Semin Nephrol. 2009 Jan;29(1):75-84. Nutrition support for the chronically wasted or acutely catabolic chronic kidney disease patient.
Ikizler  TA.Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Vanderbilt University School of  Medicine,Nashville, TN 37232-2372, USA.

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16129200Am J Kidney Dis. 2005 Sep;46(3):387-405. Multinutrient oral  supplements and tube feeding in maintenance dialysis: a systematic review and meta-  analysis. StrattonRJ, Bircher G, Fouque D, Stenvinkel P, de Mutsert R, Engfer M, Elia  M.Instituteof Human Nutrition, University of Southampton, UK.
 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891019/?tool=pubmed New Insights into the Role of Anabolic Interventions in Dialysis Patients with Protein Energy Wasting Jie Dong and T. Alp Ikizler1 Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2009 November; 18(6): 469–475.doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283 31489d.
 “Economic Implications of Nutritional interventions It is also important to assess the impact of nutritional supplements not only in terms of changes in nutritional parameters, but to extrapolate these observations to potential improvements in hospitalization, mortality, and cost-effectiveness. In a recent study, Lacson et al showed that a hypothetical increase in serum albumin concentration in the order of 2 g/L in 50%  of the United States dialysis population would be associated with  projections of approximately 1400 lives saved, approximately 6000 hospitalizations  averted, and approximately $36 million in Medicare cost savings resulting  from a reduction of approximately 20,000 hospital days over one year[68]. This is a reasonable estimation since 2 g/L increase in serum albumin is the average improvement reported in most nutritional intervention studies.”

***The above paper is suggesting that giving them growth hormones  and other anabolic steroids along with protein will help them to stop catabolizing. They have had success with the strategy, but wouldn’t magnesium plus protein (ideally magnesium foods) be cheaper than hormones and protein.