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The New Childhood Epidemics

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In today’s developed, and industrialized cultures epidemics such malnutrition and common childhood infectious illnesses are almost a thing of the past, thanks to technology, hygiene and improved nutrition. Unfortunately this same technology and industrialization is also contributing to a new range of childhood conditions such as Autism, ADD/ADHD, Asthma and allergies which are fast becoming if not already the new epidemics for our time.

 In the US over the past 20 years autism has increased 1500%, ADD/ADHD 500%, asthma 300% and allergies 700%. Autism affects 1 in 150 children in the UK, 1 in 166 in the US, and 1 in 125 in Australia. These are almost unbelievable statistics that get very little attention but require serious explanations.

 Even though on the surface all these conditions may look different they are in fact intrinsically linked together by a similar underlying mechanism: a genetic vulnerability which developed in the womb, which is then triggered by some environmental factor or factors. This genetic vulnerability has upset the child’s ability to be able to detoxify which then means their bodies become storehouses for the increasing amount of toxins to which they are exposed to. These toxins include many different types of chemicals and heavy metals which are not only destructive to the neurological system but also to the immune system. Let me remove any confusion here; the cause of these conditions is not genetic alone, but a combination of genetics and environment. Genetics alone don’t cause epidemics as they are essentially constant from one generation to the next. However epidemics occur when genetic vulnerabilities are affected by environmental changes. If we think about it we all know at least one child with one of these conditions and everywhere we look the numbers seem to be increasing.

 Many people believe that autism, ADD/ADHD and other behavioural conditions are psychological disorders; this could not be further from the truth. These conditions along with asthma and allergies are all disorders of the gastrointestinal, immune and nervous systems. It can all start with one of these systems not functioning properly and then affecting the other ones which then starts a vicious cycle whereby none of the systems are doing their job and are actually harming one another even further.

 Research shows that heavy metals such as mercury and lead as well as some toxic chemicals can increase Th2 cells which form part of our immune system. Th1 and Th2 cells need to be in balance for an immune system to function normally. If the Th2 cells become elevated and the Th1 cells become suppressed then this can result in allergies occurring as well as repetitive colds and infections. The new childhood epidemics are all characterised with this immune imbalance.

 Chronic inflammation (coming from oxidative damage as a result of impaired detoxification) also plays a role in these conditions. The key to resolving the inflammation is to look for the cause and driving force behind it. One of the more common causes of inflammation is “leaky gut syndrome” were there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria causing separation of the gut wall cells. This then allows partially digested foods, toxins, bacteria, and other micro-organisms to cross the gut wall, interact with the immune system and enter the blood stream.

 As you can see these conditions are complex and cannot be effectively treated with a single tablet or medication. Certainly the symptoms may go away or improve but that is ultimately just a band aid solution. The earlier that these conditions are treated properly the easier it is to reverse them. If a condition such as Autism for example has developed after birth then it is known as regressive autism which means that child has been exposed to something in his or her environment which has triggered the disorder. This also means that because it has happened after birth that it can be reversed and there is research to show this.

 When treating these conditions there are a number of areas to focus on such as: – improving the diet by removing the foods which are making the situation worse, supplementing with certain nutrients some of which are zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and glutathione, and improving the detoxification pathways to help rid the body of toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals and bacterial overgrowths.

 When applied carefully, patiently, and systematically these conditions begin to improve noticeably. Our children are growing up in an ever increasing toxic world; and those who are unable to handle this exposure are the ones who will suffer the most. There is hope for them however and there is more and more evidence and research coming out about effective treatments for these conditions. As a parent myself I want the very best for my family and that is why I am so passionate about helping children improve their health and go on to live normal happy lives.

In further articles I will be explaining some of the issues I have mentioned here in more detail such as; heavy metals, the gut brain connection, diet modification, vaccinations and immune health, supplementation, and detoxification.

For further information please contact Nick Eager.

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