September  2018 Newsletter 
Hormesis:  Good for Children?
We've all heard the expression "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." It's the principle behind hormesis: the biphasic dose response to an environmental agent with a beneficial effect at low dose and toxic effect at higher doses. Not a concept that helicopter parents are going to go near!
On a subcellular level, however, hormesis makes good sense. Environmental stressors in small doses snuff out weaker mitochondria (called mitophagy) which stimulates the synthesis of new, healthier energy factories. On the cellular level, this snuffing out is called autophagy (the consumption or turnover of dead or dying cells) or apoptosis (programmed cell death).
What sort of "environmental stressors" are we talking about here? There's plenty: exercise, fasting, exposure to cold or to heat, and exposure to the sun or other forms of radiation. Also, some chemicals (even ones found in vegetables and grains) can have a hormetic effect.
What are we getting at here? It's part of the art of parenting: allowing our children to experience a certain amount of "environmental stressors" such as those listed above - enough to actually produce a positive health effect - but without going overboard and causing harm.
A good example is the so-called "hygiene hypothesis." There is reasonably good research now showing that exposing children to dirt, allergens, and microbes (again within reason) has a beneficial effect.
Vitamin A & Autism
Earlier this year, one of our clinicians, Jen Lown FNP, discovered a very low vitamin A level in one of her autism patients. This led us to take a look at the literature on this matter.
Last years, researchers in China noted that in a group of 64 children with autism and low vitamin A levels, a single 200,000 unit dose of retinol was associated with an improvement in gut dysbiosis

Then earlier this year, this same group reported that vitamin A supplementation not only reduced elevated 5-HT levels in children on the spectrum but also produced actual clinical improvements in symptoms.
We all know that kids with autism tend to gravitate toward the "white diet" (chicken nuggets, French fries, pasta, and white bread) - which is obviously going to be low in carotenoids. To this point, we haven't been too consistent about checking vitamin A levels in children with autism - but that is going to change.
Should Kids Drink Green Tea?
No - unfortunately not the kind you can buy ready-made and pre-sweetened with high fructose corn syrup!  We're talking home-brewed, with a little lemon and honey....that's a different story. 
After all, green tea is an excellent source of a catechin commonly referred to as EGCG. This polyphenol or flavonoid is a potent anti-oxidant.

Not too surprisingly then, researchers in Japan, in a study published in 2011, found that school children that drank green tea were much less likely to contract influenza that kids that refrained.
Moreover, green tea extract has been shown effective against the human papilloma virus. Indeed, there's even a prescription green tea ointment called Veregen that, applied topically, clears genital HPV.

Green tea is also a great source of theanine, an amino acid that converts into GABA (a calming neurotransmitter).  So even though it does contain a little caffeine, the overall effect tends to be relaxing rather than stimulating. 
Does Fluoride Cause Acne?
Apparently yes! On a recent episode of the very popular Wellness Mama podcast (1.2 million members, 200 thousand podcast listeners), guest Melissa Gallico (former FBI intelligence analyst and author of The Hidden Cause of Acne and F is for Fluoride) revealed that, particularly in her case, fluoride is a significant cause of acne.
Although the association has been recognized for some 70 years, most doctors (including us!) have not heard about it.
Could it be a factor in your household? Certainly it's an experiment worth trying - although it's a bit harder than it initially seems. Bone broth, for instance, especially if obtained from poultry, often contains fluoride unless 100% organic farming principles were used. Even kombucha, which we normally associate with beneficial probiotics, often contains black tea which may be laced with fluoride.
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