Toxins- making your home a safe place

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In my earlier post "Are you aware of the elephant (TOXINS) in your room and how it’s affecting your family’s health?" published last week I delved into the most common types of toxins that we are exposed to on a regular (most likely even daily) basis. It must have been alarming for many of you to read about the level of toxic exposure that our children (and adults) are exposed to in the modern world. 

Body burden” is a key concept that we all need to grasp in order to fully appreciate the effort that we need to put in order to minimise the impact of toxins on our health. It refers to the total amount of toxic chemicals that are in your body at any given point in time. NO ONE  is exempted from this toxic load in their bodies, not even newborn babies. Infact studies have shown that babies are being born already carrying a toxic load of as many as 300 different chemicals in their bodies, and that breast milk is filled with various environmental pollutants. 

Children and babies are also more susceptible to environmental toxins since their bodies are smaller by weight and can be exposed to more toxins than adults. Their immune and organ system are still developing and their exposure to toxic chemicals puts them at greater risk for chronic disease. Health problems in both children and adults can range from cancer and diabetes to autism and infertility. 

At the same time, many people mistakenly believe that there is nothing they can do to mitigate the harmful effects of toxin exposure that happens in our homes. As a result, they do not take it into account when buying food and other products. 

One of the things that I educate my coaching clients in is to become adept at reading the ingredient list of products before buying them to check for toxic chemicals in both foods and personal care products. Focussing on the things that are in our control since we can minimise our exposure to these at home. 

However, it can become overwhelming to make all the changes at the same time so it is always advisable to start with the ones that you think will make the most difference or what is easiest to change and then build from there. 

I also created a great freebie "Creating a non-toxic home for your family" so that you can use this free resource to choose different brands of products that are available in India in various categories. You can grab that right here:

Below I have listed some of the toxins usually found in each category and what to look out for.

Reducing exposure in personal care products

Please keep in mind that what is applied to the skin may be more important than what we eat. The gut is pretty good at blocking toxin absorption when it is in good health. However, it is pretty easy for toxins from these products to readily reach the bloodstream through the skin. Check out this excellent resource from safecosmetics.org HERE 

Avoid these ingredients-

  • Lotions – Avoid all lotions and moisturisers where there are ingredients like “parfum” or “fragrance” unless they are plant based /essential oil based; phthalates, petrolatum/petroleum by-products like propylene glycol, polyethene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG); preservatives like parabens
  • Sunscreen- Oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate in chemical-based sunscreens
  • Cosmetics- PEGs, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and siloxanes in makeup/cosmetics
  • Shampoos and bathing products – Avoid all shampoos and bathing products like shower gels/soaps which have SLS and SLES (Sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate); parabens as preservatives; “fragrances” unless they are plant-based/essential oil based; petroleum by-products like propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG); triclosan as an antimicrobial
  • Baby wipes and diaper cream – Avoid baby wipes with ingredients like triclosan, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG), parabens and artificial fragrances; boric acid and BHA (a preservative) in diaper creams
  • Hand sanitizers – Triclosan is the key toxin in hand sanitizer due to its antibacterial effect; other chemicals to avoid are artificial fragrances, alcohol, petroleum by-products. Use normal soap for regular use at home
  • Mosquito and insect repellents – Some of the regular mosquito repellents contain chemicals like synthetic pyrethroids, DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide) both of which are known to cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. There are safer and natural alternatives which use the power of essential oils to repel insects naturally.

Home care and cleaning products

Other main sources of toxin exposure at home are laundry and dishwashing detergents, home cleaners and air fresheners. Check out excellent guide from ewg.org HERE.

  • Laundry and dishwashing detergentsDetergents which have sulphates (SLS and SLES- sodium laureth sulphate and sodium lauryl sulphate), which are foaming agents. They are known to be skin irritants and can dry the skin excessively. Other chemicals which are usually present are preservatives like parabens (Methyl, propyl, isobutyl to name a few), artificial fragrances containing phthalates are other chemicals which may or may not be listed at all. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets also have artificial fragrances and which are also known endocrine disruptors as well as synthetic chemicals. 
  • Toilet and other household cleaners– It should be enough for one to stay away from these products which usually give warnings on the bottles saying it is toxic and unsafe for children to use. Sadly, most of us are not aware of exactly how toxic these products are in terms of causing health issues like lung and skin irritation, infertility issues, hormonal disruptions. Chemicals commonly used are ammonia and chlorine, hydrochloric and phosphorous acid, ethanolamines to name just a few. Natural and safe alternatives are available in the market. You can also use this recipe.
  • Air fresheners, paints and polishes- All of these are major sources of air pollution inside our homes. Wherever possible choose non-toxic alternatives and avoid artificial air fresheners completely. Opt for natural, plant-based room air fresheners and/or incense sticks which have essential oils or use essential oils in a diffuser in each room. Also, use HEPA air filters in the bedroom for those living in cities and especially for those having children (and adults) with asthma. There are several brands of essential oils available for use in diffusers.  
  • In the kitchen– there is a LOT you can do in terms of making healthy choices in your kitchen. I have listed some of them below.
  • Perfluorinated chemicals like PFOA and PFTE have been linked to a range of health problems including thyroid and infertility. Avoid using  PFTE and PFOA coated non stick cookware since non-stick cookware when heated has proven to be a primary source of a dangerous toxic fluoride derivative, specifically perfluorinated chemicals (PFOAs). Switch to ceramic, glass or stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead
  • STOP giving microwave popcorn to your children. PFOA is not only present in the inner coating of the bag, but it also migrates to the oil from the packaging during heating. Make it from pop corn kernels instead
  • Remove plastic containers, cans, cling films or plastic wraps, canned beverages as they are all sources of various toxic chemicals. Even BPA-free containers contain other bisphenols which are equally toxic. Use glass, steel for storage and beeswax, parchment paper, paper foil for wrapping food instead of plastic wraps. 
  • Avoid putting hot food in plastic containers and avoid heating food in the microwave oven in plastic containers.    
  • Keep plastic out of the dishwasher, freezer, and microwaves, because both hot and cold temperatures can release more phthalates
  • Do not drink canned food products, soda or other beverages, because aluminium cans are often lined with BPA

Nutrition

  • Eat a nutrient dense diet - A combination of refined, processed foods lacking in nutrients and unprecedented toxin exposure is causing a lot of harm to us and our children. Foods like processed meat, canned foods; processed and refined food; foods with additives like artificial colourings and flavourings; refined sugar; artificial sweeteners in beverages and sodas are completely avoidable. We certainly need to pay more attention to our diet by making it nutrient dense by incorporating fresh vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins and lots of fibre. Read this article to learn more about this topic

There is a lot which can be done inside your home to mitigate the risk of environmental toxins. It can become quite overwhelming to make sweeping changes all at once. Start with what you think will have the maximum impact for your family. Start with one category by consistently making healthier choices in terms of products and continue to do so.

After all,

“An imperfect action is better than perfect inaction”

 

Are you aware of the elephant (TOXINS) in your room and how it’s affecting your family’s health?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I am writing today’s post both as a Health Coach and a concerned mother. I first became aware of the impact that toxins have on our health when I was researching for a way to heal my daughter’s severe eczema way back in 2014. Till then I had absolutely no idea how much these hidden chemicals in our environment (inside our homes and outside) impacted our health. I had no idea that by simply breathing, walking and eating we are exposed to thousands of chemicals every single day! 

When I got to know that companies can introduce chemicals into the environment without any test to show that they are safe, it took my sense of disbelief to a different level. Add this to the fact that neither is it possible to review the potential effects of all the different chemicals nor does everyone have the same detoxification capabilities and you actually start to get a sense of the real picture. It is indeed truly alarming!

Unfortunately for most of us, toxins are like the “elephant in the room”. It takes up a lot of space and has a HUGE impact on our lives including our health but we are often unaware of exactly HOW. In fact, our children are particularly vulnerable since their organs are still developing. 

I hope that by sharing this information with you I am able to increase your awareness about this really important topic and help you and your family make healthier choices to minimise your exposure.

(In the second part to this post, I will show you exactly how. I will also share a handout on some non toxic and eco friendly brands that are available in the market today.

In this post, however, I go deep into some of the toxins that are we are most often exposed to in our houses and elsewhere. Toxins are a scary word for most of us. It originally means a “poison of plant or animal origin” and for most of our history our bodies have dealt with this and we have evolved over time to metabolise and eliminate most of these toxins naturally.

However, with the advent and explosion of man-made chemicals in the 21st century, our bodies do not even recognise most of the toxins and are not equipped to deal with them. We have now landed in the midst of a global health crisis of sorts. And our children are bearing the brunt of it. 

Toxins may be ingested through food, inhaled and applied to our skin. These are substances found in pesticides and fertilisers, health and bathing products, industrial pollutants, preservatives and additives in processed food, petrochemical fuels and solvents, cookware and other plastic products used at home. Even in minute doses, many of these can wreak havoc on our hormones, immune system and nervous system. And when these build up over time they can eventually overload our detoxification system leading to various chronic health conditions including cancer. 

Infact, just as modern medicine has almost eradicated erstwhile childhood diseases like rubella, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus we are now grappling with modern childhood diseases like eczema, allergies, asthma, autism.

Does this sound familiar to you? Does your child or another child you know suffer from any of these? 

Infact, some of the common symptoms that children (and adults) can exhibit (but certainly not limited to) connected to toxin exposure are

  • Sinus congestion
  • Allergies and eczema
  • Gut issues like constipation, diarrhoea, poor digestion
  • Difficulty concentrating, attention deficit hyperactivity
  • Development effects on the nervous system
  • Sleep problems
  • Obesity in children (and adults)
  • Puffy, dark circles under the eyes

Environmental toxins can result in obesity in children and adults by interfering with the process of glucose and cholesterol metabolism thereby inducing insulin resistance. This is a direct precursor to rising rates of obesity in babies (who are still breastfeeding) and children across the world. Indeed, many toxins can and do act as an endocrine disruptor in children and interfere with their natural hormones as they are capable of mimicking those very hormones. As a result, we now see early breast development and onset of puberty in young girls especially if they are also overweight. Rising cases of allergies, asthma and skin conditions like eczema can also be at least partly attributed to higher levels of toxin exposure through inhalation and application on the skin.

But before I get into what the most common toxins are you also need to understand HOW exactly they can affect your health (Source credit: The Toxin Solution by Dr Joe Pizzorno)

  • Toxins poison enzymes so that they don't work. Since every physiological function in our body depends on these enzymes, toxin damage has a huge impact on our bodily function
  • Toxins displace structural minerals leading to weaker bones
  • Toxins can damage nearly all the organs and systems
  • Toxins damage DNA leading to premature ageing and degeneration
  • Toxins modify gene expression leading to individual health problems and that of future generations
  • Toxins damage cell membranes so that respond properly and are unable to get important messages
  • Toxins interfere with hormones and cause imbalances by mimicking, blocking and inhibiting and inducing hormones
  • Toxins also impair the body's ability to detoxify leading to further issues

A few of the common toxins that we are exposed to are given below-

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP): These toxins enter the body when we eat the foods prepared on these surfaces. These are mainly Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) like PFOA and PFTE which are found in non-stick, stain resistant and water repellant surfaces in cookware, water-resistant clothing, pizza boxes, microwavable popcorn bags, food wraps, paint and cleaning products. When non-stick cookware is heated, these toxic chemicals like PFOA and PFTE are released which are likely carcinogens, are contributors to weight gain and obesity apart from other health concerns.

BPA, BPS (bisphenols): These are chemicals which disrupt our endocrine system thus wreaking havoc on our hormones and subsequently has an adverse impact on the development of reproductive organs of children. This can cause weight gain and obesity, neurological disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity in children and other health conditions. These are usually found in storage items like plastic bottles, food cans, containers, baby bottles, soothers and plastic microwaveable plates and dishes just to name a few.

Phthalates: Phthalates are also found in a host of products like plastic food containers and children’s toys. Hence it becomes very important to be aware of the toy quality especially if the children are young and teething. They are also routinely found in cosmetic, makeup and personal care products which contain artificial “fragrances” and “parfum”.

Parabens: These are another group of chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties especially as far as estrogen is concerned. Parabens are used in countless personal care products lotions, perfumes, anti deodorants, shampoos and conditioners to name a few. It works as a preservative and inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold and amongst other health issues have now been associated with wheezing and eczema in children.

Triclosan: It is yet another endocrine-disrupting chemical and is routinely found in antibacterial soaps. These are just a few of the many thousands of chemicals that our children are routinely exposed to in the modern world. It is indeed alarming and I do not want to mince words while saying this since it will not serve anyone at all, least of all our children.

However, having said this, it is in our hands what we want to do with all this information. We can fall into despair or we can do something about this starting with our homes and immediate environment. I really hope that you will choose the latter.

As someone wise had said, “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change”.

Resources for further reading

Healing the new childhood epidemics by Dr Kenneth Bock and Cameron Stauth

The Toxin Solution by Dr Joe Pizzorno

Children and environmental toxins by Philip Landrigan

 

YOU are the “expert” on your child (especially in terms of nutrition)

Reading Time: 7 minutes

As parents and as caring family members, we all want to give the best start to our children's lives by giving them a healthy start. But we tend to underestimate how often that intention gets hijacked by other subtle forces at play. My own personal experience with a child who used to be a picky eater (we have made HUGE progress in the past year or so) showed me that none of us is really immune to those influences unless we choose to open our eyes to the way that it shapes our children's health.

As a result, both as a mother of two children and as a health professional, I am quite concerned about the nutritional value of the foods that children today are having on a regular basis. There are many things that are worth emulating the Western countries for but their modern diet is not one of them. Unfortunately, as more and more international food giants look for newer markets and launch their highly processed products along with highly refined marketing campaigns in India, it is difficult to resist the allure of what they seem to be offering us. We have the same problem with Indian manufacturers peddling their processed foods products to our children.

What do these highly processed foods seem to offer us?

Convenience- YES

Taste- YES

Affordability- YES

Nutritional Value- MAYBE (or in some cases MINIMAL and/or HARMFUL)

Should you be concerned with the impact these foods may be having on your child? ABSOLUTELY!

While childhood obesity is one of the most obvious manifestations of this worldwide epidemic, there are less obvious health issues that our children are facing today and which can all be traced back to their diet (along with other causes)

ADD, ADHD and behavioural challenges

Digestive disorders

Fatigue or low energy levels

Inability to concentrate and lack of focus

Poor immunity (having constant colds and cough) and prolonged recovery from an illness

Diabetes and kidney disease

Overfed and undernourished

Do you have a child who has weight issues?

Do you have a picky eater who refuses to eat anything apart from refined and processed foods and minimal vegetables and fruits?

Do you have a child who craves for sweet foods and has them on a regular basis?

Do you have a child who has behavioural issues, digestive issues, low energy or poor immunity?

We may not realise how critical role poor nutrition plays in all of this and as a result many children today are "overfed" and at the same time "undernourished"

As you may have realised by now, this article aims to highlight and bring awareness to one of the main causes behind the poor health of many children today- their equally poor nutritional status. Most children (at least in the urban areas) are getting the requisite calories needed daily but are NOT getting the necessary ingredients that their developing bodies need to repair, grow, maintain optimal health and have robust immune systems. As a result, we are seeing many of the "consequences" of this nutritional status in our children from a very early age. Today we have seen a massive explosion in the number of children suffering from obesity, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, other chronic conditions, neurological disorders, behavioural issues and many more.

As one of the unintended consequences, we have started normalising many of our children's health issues. Chronic health issues like eczema, asthma, recurrent headaches, allergies, digestive issues, anxiety are actually "symptoms" of underlying imbalances and one of the causes is usually nutritional deficiencies. Healthy children are pretty resilient and usually bounce back quite quickly from a bout of illness with some rest, time and proper nutrition. However, even this time taken to recover from an illness can become extended as many children today suffer from low or poor immunity. I have covered this aspect of children's health in my previous article and webinar.

(You can view my previous article on this topic "Is your child's immune system at risk?" by clicking HERE and the webinar by clicking HERE)

Even if you are not sure whether this is really the case for your child and irrespective of whether he or she has any health issues as of now, would you really like to wait to find out? 

OR

Would you like to become more proactive by taking full responsibility for your child's health and therefore her nutritional status as a parent and do what is right even if it means being sometimes "unpopular"?

Today, as parents we have become far too lenient with our children's health. We have confused being a "good parent" to being a "popular one". Somehow we have come to believe that our children should be never unhappy or uncomfortable and that it is our duty as a parent to ensure the same 24X7.

Do we all want what is best for our children? Of course we do!

Does it mean that they will be happy with whatever decisions we make for them till they are ready to take that responsibility? Not always!

A toddler or a 5 year old does not know what to eat that it is nourishing for her, yet we let them decide every meal. Even a 10 or 12 year old will not fully comprehend why they need to eat the nutritious foods that we give them, but they need to eat it anyway. So does a 15 year old for that matter, but the conversations that we have on this subject will be different and will depend on their age. (This is exactly the reason there is an age restriction when it comes to smoking and alcohol and driving, we know our children are not yet capable of making these decisions on their own, they need us as parents to guide them).

As far as food is concerned, as we have become scared of saying NO to the things that are affecting our children's health, in effect we are saying YES to processed and nutritionally depleted foods which will have long term impact on our children's health

And childhood is the time when their little bodies need the MAXIMUM amount of highly nutritious foods as their brains and other organs develop, the foods that they eat now will lay the foundation for their health for the rest of their life. This is equally true of their eating habits and preferences. So if we have not helped our child learn to develop a taste for vegetables AND other nutritious foods, learn to be adventurous in trying new foods and develop good eating hygiene, chances are that is exactly what they will still be like when they are 40 years old!

YOU are the "expert" on your child 

As parents, we need to educate ourselves and protect our children by making healthy choices FOR THEM. 

We are the "experts" on what is BEST for our children in terms of nutrition and everything else. And we simply cannot outsource that responsibility to other people, organisations and corporates!

Being the parent of a "picky" eater, for a while I lived under the illusion that my child was somehow to blame for preferring to eat fewer vegetables and unprocessed foods and prefer breads and other such refined foods. Once I realised my folly and started to take back responsibility for my child's nutrition, I started to make changes which were necessary all the while keeping the bigger picture in mind. It has not been an easy process, but we have made much progress and it all started with me realising this need to make changes.

The one other thing I would like to point out is our need to celebrate special occasions like birthdays with a menu comprising solely of what we would otherwise call "junk food". Somehow it has become acceptable that children's birthday menu reads like a fast food chain restaurant's menu. Instead of the concept of "treats" which we were raised with and looked forward to occasionally, our children are being raised on a daily diet of foods like pastries, cakes, fries, candies etc which have crowded out other wholesome and natural foods.

 

 

 

"Our bodies are hardwired for sweet"

We all need to be aware that children have a natural affinity towards sweet as a part of their nature to ensure survival when they are born. The sweet receptor as an important part of the taste system enables their bodies to make the decision of whether to accept a particular food (and hence ensure survival) and also to prepare the digestive system about the foods coming in. Sweet also acts as an analgesic towards pain and helps calm down babies and children. It is this basic biological mechanism that is being exploited by an onslaught of highly refined, sugar laded foods that are luring them to choose these foods over other healthier options that they actually need to grow.

Food is both nutrition AND enjoyment and we need to teach our children to choose options which satisfy both these needs. 

This is what I have learned over the years BOTH as a parent and as a Health Coach

We simply cannot give away our responsibility of providing proper nutrition to our child to "experts" no matter who they are!

We need to stop making excuses about what our child "likes to eat" (read junk and processed foods like pizza, soda, chips) and take back our power as a parent from the clutches of the food industry

We need to educate ourselves about the foods that we are giving our children and the impact it is having on their health, our ignorance can cause our children harm in the long run

We can choose to celebrate special ocassions like birthdays with healthier dietary options without compromising on taste 

We have to model the behaviour and preferences for a healthy life and eating hygiene ourselves; we cannot expect our children to follow something which we are not embodying at home

We owe it to our children to give them as healthy a start in childhood as we possibly can even if it means going against popular societal trends at that time and being "unpopular" at times; we are not here to win a popularity contest

And most importantly, we are not "depriving" our children by doing all of this, we are actually giving them the gift of long lasting health

Is your child’s immune system at risk? (Allergies, asthma and eczema- how it all comes together)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

There is an epidemic of chronic illnesses in the world right now and it is our children who are the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, health conditions like allergies, eczema and asthma have become only too common in our children today. In fact, the new "normal" for many children is chronic illness.

When our older child, our daughter, was diagnosed with eczema about 11 years ago, it was not very common in India. Sadly, a lot has changed since then and now it so much more common to hear of babies and children who have some kind of chronic health issue. Obviously, there is something going on here, something that is not right. As a parent of a child who had immense health issues, I know only too well the tremendous toll that any kind of chronic health issues of a child can have on the entire family. These include but are not limited to missed school for children, missed work and stress for parents, poor concentration in school and at home, chronic use of medications, hospitalisations and even social stigma. This is not the kind of life our children should be living and we need to educate ourselves so that we can become empowered to do something about it.

Contrary to what we think, genetics alone cannot explain this rise in childhood health illnesses. Genetics pretty much remains the same from one generation to the next (barring uncommon mutations) but the environment can and does have a huge impact on the expression of genes that we are born with. In fact, the foods that we eat, toxins that we are exposed to, infections and even our experiences alter the way our DNA is expressed and shape our appearance, function and overall health. That means that several factors (including but not limited to) like our environment, foods and our lifestyle are all factors that can determine epigenetic changes and determine whether we will move towards health or towards disease. This kind of change is a regular and natural occurrence and the study of this type of change in gene expression is known as "epigenetics". 

The health challenges that are being faced by our children today are driven by three major changes (there are others as well) due to which their immune system is showing abnormally high sensitivity to the environment

increase in exposure to toxins

undernutrition due to poor food choices as well as nutritionally depleted foods

poor gut health (with or without intestinal permeability)

(I have written about intestinal permeability and gut health in one of my earlier articles, you can read it here)  

Given this background, we can now appreciate the role of our immune system. The role of our immune system is primarily that of tolerance- surveillance for threats and then NOT react. Thus, most immune function in our body occurs without our knowledge. However, under fire due to the multiple forces at play, our immune system (and especially that of our children where the immune system is still developing) is increasingly overwrought and confused. This imbalance in the immune system along with the associated chronic underlying inflammation can show up as "symptoms".

Symptoms are a way of our body asking for "help". But only too often we either treat these symptoms as "irritants" (like fever, earache, runny nose, tummy ache and headache in children) to be medicated or otherwise as signs of "growing old" (like swollen or achy joints, migraines, skin rashes, fatigue, depression, digestive issues in adults). When we keep ignoring the body's distress communication, the symptoms ultimately manifest as "clinical diseases" like diabetes, asthma, autoimmune diseases and others. Ultimately, medication is not a long term solution to getting well, healing the root cause of any kind of imbalance is. 

The role of our gut in our immune system

Our gut plays a very important role as a part of our immune system. In fact, more than 2/3 of our entire immune system resides in our gut! The integrity of the gut mucosal lining is important for a balanced immune response and any damage can lead to various health challenges like protein deficiency, leaky gut/intestinal permeability and constipation. Also, a balanced gut microbiome helps to keep the immune balanced and not over-reactive (otherwise leading to allergy, asthma, arthritis and other autoimmune conditions). It is important to remember that whatever happens in the gut, affects the rest of the body. Not just as a nutrient deficiency but as inflammation! And as we know now, inflammation is at the root of many chronic conditions.

Intestinal permeability (leaky gut) can further develop in the gut aggravating the situation by triggering a strong immune response. This can be caused due to various factors like Vitamin D deficiency, antibiotics, gut microbial imbalance, gluten, stress, toxins, medications, stress and highly processed foods.

(Image source: Asian Scientist July 2014)

(I have written about intestinal permeability and gut health in one of my earlier articles, you can read it here)  

Allergies, asthma and eczema- how it all comes together

Key sources of inflammation like foods, toxins and intestinal permeability in our gut play a key role in the activation of allergies, asthma and eczema (and even other childhood diseases) but there can be other contributors as well such as

  • Birth by C section and not being breast fed
  • Low Vitamin D
  • Nutrient deficiencies (Zinc, Vitamin A, Omega 3)
  • Environmental toxin exposure and poor detoxification capability
  • High antibiotic use and other medications like NSAID (affecting gut lining integrity and the microbiome)
  • Family history

There is a loss of tolerance which shows up as an inflammatory response to a typically innocuous substance in the environment in case of allergies (food, pollen, chemical, medication etc). As a key part of the immune response, cells secrete chemicals which are either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory.

However, if the response is chronic or inappropriate (which is true for many people today), this can lead to chronic inflammation which can then be harmful. In particular, food sensitivities are an immune system response to certain foods (like wheat, dairy, corn, soy and many others) which have become a common occurrence in children today due to this type of immune system dysregulation. 

 

Asthma is a chronic airway inflammatory disease and once again the root cause of this inflammation can be toxins, infections, allergens. This may be different from the asthmatic triggers like dust, smoke, certain foods. However, the underlying chronic inflammation can make the system more sensitive to these triggers and this factor has led to a steep rise in the incidence of asthma in children today.

Similarly, eczema is an external symptom of an internal problem of an immune system which has become hypersensitive to the environment. Once again, like asthma and allergies, eczema occurs when there is an imbalance in the body's immune system and it is actually a sign that the body is inflamed from within.

In ALL of these cases then, the solution is to figure out what's wrong and lower the inflammation and not just treat the symptoms. This is what healed my daughter's extremely severe eczema and got her off all her oral and topical medications (which she had been on for 5 long years). You can read about our story here.

True healing starts from within

As you probably realise by now, we need to work along with our body and give it the full support it needs in order to heal. For our children, finding out the root cause, eliminating the triggers (foods, allergens, toxins, infection)and lowering inflammation in order to calm and balance the immune system is the key to true healing.

Some key takeaways from this article are

beware the prevailing definitions of being "normal"

our immune system and our gut are intricately linked

our "symptoms" are our body's distress signal

childhood conditions like allergies, eczema and asthma are all external symptoms of an immune system imbalance

chronic inflammation lies at the root of these (and other) conditions

lowering inflammation and finding out the root cause is the KEY to this health challenge

Watch the recording of the webinar “Is your child’s immune system at risk?”

Reading Time: < 1 minute
Is Your Child’s Immune System at Risk_

Watch the recording of the webinar "Is your child's immune system at risk?

In this webinar I covered the following-

how the new "normal" for children's health has become chronic illness
a rise in chronic inflammation in children leading to eczema, allergies and asthma
gut health and immunity
honouring the body's innate ability to heal
how to get started

WATCH THE RECORDING OF THE WEBINAR