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

Pre-eclampsia, oxidative stress, and Celiac sprue

Pre-eclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy which can become life threatening to the mother and baby. High blood pressure and severe swelling of the lower legs and face are symptoms of pre-eclampsia. If the condition worsens it is called eclampsia and seizures may be the life threatening risk. The swelling can become severe enough that toxin removal by the kidneys is reduced.

What causes pre-eclampsia is not yet well understood. Providing IV solutions of magnesium sulfate just prior to delivery helps reduce risk of seizures and usually delivery of the baby causes the rest of the symptoms to resolve. However people who’ve experienced IVs of magnesium sulfate shared with me that it feels like fire running through their veins. Background information — magnesium is an electrically active mineral that during normal health is kept in a very narrow range within the blood and is largely found within the interior of cells and within the bones. Calcium is also electrically active and it is in higher concentration within the blood than within the interior of cells.

Skipping ahead, oxidative stress prenatally has been shown to be involved in pre-eclampsia and it causes an increase in calcium flow in the placenta. [1]

While looking for more information about pre-eclampsia I found a Celiac Sprue forum [2] that included questions and comments about whether anyone else with celiac gluten intolerance had also experienced pre-eclampsia or HELLP complications of pregnancy and if so any ideas why they might co-occur. HELLP is a blood coagulation problem which I didn’t look into but Celiac sprue and pre-eclampsia may be likely to co-occur because both involve oxidative stress:

Hi, I’m a dietitian with an autoimmune condition and previous work experience with prenatal health. I’ve been researching why the advice I gave when I was working helped so many women at the time worked – but isn’t in the mainstream medical treatment yet. Increasing magnesium rich foods such as beans, nuts, and seeds helped women that had a history of preeclampsia or high blood pressure to have a normal pregnancy.

In a nut shell – oxidative stress causes the placenta to increase flow of calcium. Too much calcium can cause other cellular reactions and fluid changes. And oxidative stress can be caused by gluten exposure when there is an underlying celiac autoimmune condition or probably other autoimmune conditions.

Re oxidative stress, and calcium channels in the placenta: Reactive Oxygen Species Inhibit Polycystin-2 (TRPP2) Cation Channel Activity In Term Human Syncytiotrophoblast [1]

Re Celiac Sprue and oxidative stress, “long chain omega 3 fatty acids, plant flavonoids and carotenoids” were suggested as antioxidants that may help reduce the “oxidative stress, gene expression & production of inflammatory mediators”:  Celiac disease, inflammation and oxidative damage: a nutrigenetic approach.   Carotenoids include beta-carotene from carrots. Orange, red and dark green fruits and vegetables are generally good sources of carotenoids and plant flavonoids are also found in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish oil supplements or salmon, tuna, sardines – limit as a mercury source however during pregnancy or child bearing years. Vegetarian sources of a precursor omega 3 fat include flax seed meal (ground is digestible, whole flax seeds aren’t really), walnuts, and hemp seed kernels.

Sesame seeds, or tahini, sesame paste, has been shown in sports research to help reduce oxidative stress. The trial subjects ate 2 tablespoons per day of the seeds. Effects of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) Supplementation on Creatine Kinase, Lactate Dehydrogenase, Oxidative Stress Markers, and Aerobic Capacity in Semi-Professional Soccer Players.

Dark chocolate has also been shown to be beneficial antioxidant source.

Best wishes to any Celiac sufferers – I avoid gluten due to intolerance, initially for fibromyalgia like symptoms, and later autoimmune thyroid  antibodies were found but not antibodies for Celiac Sprue.

A dietitian can help work out more balanced diets when major food items have to be excluded for health purposes. A professional organization offers a search feature for helping to find a Registered Dietitian eatright.org/find-an-expert

~~

One more link that didn’t make it into the comment, magnesium deficiency in combination with elevated calcium levels may be involved in increasing oxidative stress: Magnesium deficiency and oxidative stress: an update, 2016,  [3]

Who am I? What is my purpose? I am a sick person, with professional health experience, who reads and writes about sickness for my own health and for other sick people — they are the ones who realize just how valuable health is and who may appreciate information whether it has a large price tag & an expensive office — or is shared freely out of love and concern. Pain hurts.

One more link because they’re so informative, the inflammatory system seems to be connected to both pain receptors and other nerve receptors so inflammation, (which leads to oxidative stress) activates pain receptors (nociceptors) – /speculation/ which could be part of the reason fibromyalgia and other inflammatory conditions cause pain – they may simply be causing pain receptors to be over-active due to inflammation: Neurogenic Inflammation – The Peripheral Nervous System’s Role in Host Defense and Immunopathology [4]

The inflammatory process causes oxidative stress: Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer. [5]

Adequate oxygen intake and flow to all the cells throughout the body is also necessary to prevent oxidative stress. Obesity can make it more difficult for oxygenated blood to reach all cells. [6]

Moderate exercise and deep breathing relaxation exercises may be helpful for improving oxygen intake and blood flow.

A previous article I wrote regarding magnesium and pre-eclampsia also includes information from a research hypothesis suggesting that intrauterine pressure itself may also be a trigger for worsening pre-eclampsia symptoms. [7] Not included in the hypothesis was why — which is likely to be due to the fact that physical (osmotic) pressure can cause TRP ion channels to open. TRP channels are a large group of specialized proteins which control flow of minerals such as calcium into the interior of cells. TRP channels include the ones that were shown to be dysregulated by oxidative stess in the placenta which allowed an increase of calcium to enter, which is described in the research article: Reactive Oxygen Species Inhibit Polycystin-2 (TRPP2) Cation Channel Activity In Term Human Syncytiotrophoblast [1]

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.

  1.  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5435874_Reactive_Oxygen_Species_Inhibit_Polycystin-2_TRPP2_Cation_Channel_Activity_In_Term_Human_Syncytiotrophoblast
  2. https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/55927-pre-eclampsia-celiac/
  3. A.A. Zheltova, et al., Magnesium deficiency and oxidative stress: an update, Biomedicine (Taipei). 2016 Dec; 6(4): 20.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112180/
  4. Isaac M. Chiu, et al., Neurogenic Inflammation – The Peripheral Nervous System’s Role in Host Defense and Immunopathology,  Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jul 26; 15(8): 1063–1067.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3520068/
  5. Khansari N, Shakiba Y, Mahmoudi M., Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2009 Jan;3(1):73-80. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19149749
  6. N. Netzer, Hypoxia, Oxidative Stress and Fat., Biomolecules. 2015 Jun; 5(2): 1143–1150.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4496714/
  7. http://transcendingsquare.com/2011/02/19/preeclampsia-magnesium-deficiency-or-grass-staggers/