For years we all have been hearing about the rising rates of Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. I have always heard, and believed, that the reasoning behind the rising rates was because of better screenings and statistical reporting. However, a few weeks ago I came across some info about the connection between manganese toxicity/poisoning and developmental/behavioral disorders. For those of you who are unaware,
"Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills. Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably a combination of factors that lead to autism."
"Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other nervous system (neurological) problems are also more common in families with autism."
A number of other possible causes have been suspected, but not proven. They involve:
- Digestive tract changes
- Mercury poisoning
- The body's inability to properly use vitamins and minerals
- Vaccine sensitivity
(Source)What I am concerned about here are the diet related causes (the first 4 from above), since all of my research has lead me to believe that our diet is a much more important factor in our health than genetics, and, in the first 3 years, exposure to toxic chemicals. Additionally, I am also lead to believe that if the baby was not born with mental disabilities (with Autism they form in the first 3 years) then there had to be something to trigger the degeneration (or improper formation).
I'm sure there are many reasons why women choose not to (or simply cannot) breastfeed. There are simpler options... options that allow the mother to not be burdened with a baby on her ta-ta's 24/7 for months on end. I have heard over and over (since I am now if the phase of life where people are getting married/having kids) 'my baby is having problems with such and such formula...any suggestions?' Well there is a reason why your baby is having digestive issues. It is either because the baby cannot handle digesting the ingredients in the formula OR the baby is having issues with your breast milk because of what you are eating (too much soy perhaps?).
For those mothers who do not or cannot breastfeed they have 2 commercially available options: formula made with whey (milk) or formula made with soy. Either way these formulas are not actually milk (hence you have to add water) and are fortified with god knows what. You need to be a scientist to figure out what the hell is in baby formula. I tried once, and gave up after I read "hydrogenated soybean oil".
Since soy has come to be considered a "health" food in America, people eat tons of it. They even think it's okay to feed it to their babies. And get this, the people who don't like soy but still eat a lot of processed foods are still eating loads of it because almost everything has soy flour, soybean oil, or various forms of soy protein in it.
Let me break it down for you why it is so detrimental to your baby's health to feed them soy formula. The following are excerpts from The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN. She is an expert on the topic of soy and I figured she says it better than I ever could.
Chapter 21: MANGANESE TOXICITY ADD-ing it up
Manganese is a vital trace mineral, needed for growth, reproduction, wound healing, brain function, thyroid and adrenal health and proper metabolism of sugars, insulin and cholesterol. Soybeans naturally contain manganese as well as other needed macro and trace minerals. For years, investigators had concerns that the phytates in soy would block absorption of its manganese, much as it blocks zinc, iron, calcium, and copper. In fact, manganese absorption from soy formula is substantially lower than from breast milk or dairy formula.
In this case, the phytates do the infant a service, but not well enough. Infants fed soy formula take in as much as 75 to 80 times more manganese per day than infants who are breastfed. Per liter breast milk contains 3 to 10 ug, and soy formula a whopping 200 to 300 ug.
At a conference held in September 2000 at the University of California at Irvine, leading nutritionists, pediatricians, and toxicologists warned that newborns exposed to the levels of manganese present in soy formula risk brain damage in infancy that could lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit, and other behavioral disorders, even violent tendencies.
Although healthy toddlers, children, and adults who ingest excess manganese can usually eliminate most of it, infants cannot because their immature livers are not fully functional. At the same time, their growing brains and other organs are more susceptible to manganese damage. Even tiny doses of excess manganese are dangerous when stored long term in the body and brain where they do not belong. Hair mineral analysis tests of children with learning and attention deficits have revealed elevated levels of manganese compared to normal youngsters.
Scientists have known about manganese toxicity for years. In 1980, the US government set permissible manganese levels at 2.5 to 3.0 mg per day for adults; 1.0 to 1.5 mg per day for toddlers; and 0.5 to 1.0 mg per day for infants. The calculations for the "safe" levels set for infants seem to have been based on their smaller size alone and did not take into account the fact that infants with immature livers cannot successfully metabolize excess manganese. As it happened the soy industry put little or no effort into keeping manganese under the permissible- but still unacceptable levels.
Soy formulas on the shelves in the early 1980's contained anywhere from 0.2 to 2.2 mg of manganese per quart; during that same time period, scientists confirmed the likelihood of risk to newborns from manganese storage in the brain. In 1983, Phillip J/ Collipp, M.D., a pediatrician at Nassau County Medical Center, confirmed a correlation of high manganese levels with childhood learning disabilities and speculated that soy-based infant formula might determine a child's likelihood of developing Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) later in life.
Despite the alarming and consistent results of these studies, few people have ever heard of the link between soy infant formula and manganese toxicity. Now teams of connections to ADD/ADHD and other behavioral and learning problems to studies using rats, monkeys, and human subjects designed fully to elucidate cause and effect.
TRIPLE THREAT MAN
Manganese toxicity is a problem for people and animals of all ages, but represents a triple threat for infants. Newborns absorb more manganese because of their immature and permeable intestines, fail to eliminate excess manganese because of their immature livers, and are extremely vulnerable to manganese damage because their brains and other organs are still growing. By eight months of age, an infant on soy formula absorbs 1.1 mg of manganese per day above its metabolic needs and deposits about eight percent of that in the basal ganglia cells of the brain. Years later, this manganese may impair the brain's ability to make the neurotransmitter dopamine and trigger behavioral problems ranging from ADD to ADHD to violent and sociopathic behavior.
MAD BEAN DISEASE
Whether manganese enters the body by the mouth, lungs, or injection, the metal lodges in the basal ganglia. Neurology and toxicology textbooks have reported disorders known as "manganese madness" and "manganism" since the turn of the century. Until soy formula entered the picture, most cases involved miners exposed to manganese dust. Symptoms of manganism include instability, impulsivity, irrationality and hallucinations, or, with chronic exposure, the paralysis agitans of Parkinson's Disease.
The soy industry is mostly in denial about the manganese problem found in soy formula. When interviewed, John Lasekan, PhD, of Abbott Laboratories shifted the focus from manganese toxicity to manganese's role as a trace metal essential for life and claimed that deficiencies are the problem- at least for premature and low birth weight babies. Because babies are not able to store manganese until they are born, premies need manganese, but at minuscule, appropriate levels found in breast milk, not high levels that put the neonatal brain and other organs at risk.
I know I just threw a lot of info at you, but this subject is probably one of the most important I have written about thus far. Although Kaayla Daniel does not imply manganese toxicity and Autism specifically, it seems that Autism and ADD/ADHD are varying degrees of the same dysfunction. While I'm sure a small percentage of cases truely are of genetic origin, it is my personal belief that many of these cases can be prevented by breastfeeding.
This is about giving your baby the best chance at being healthy and happy. This is about knowing you did everything you could to give your baby the best food possible. This is to try to persuade you to breastfeed and not resort to soy infant formula.
It is such a devastating thing when babies are born deformed or mentally retarded or sick. It is a whole completely different level of devastation when you think your decision to feed your baby soy formula could have caused your child's Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Please, if you are preggers or just generally interested, do some more research on the health benefits of breastfeeding which is naturally the BEST food for your baby.
Breastfeeding: That's what boobies are there for
The Prevention Hit List
This Health Food's SOYld Reputation
Dr. Randy Martin
Ask your parents, your grandparents, your aunts & uncles... was Autism, ADD, and ADHD common when they were growing up? And then ask them was it more common to breastfeed or give their babies formula?
Coming next... is there anything you can do to reverse the signs and symptoms of Autism, ADD, and ADHD?