March 05, 2015

New Neuroimmunology, Part 3

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

For a third article in a row, I’m going to go back to the immunology and immunization debate.  We have gone into great detail on the subject of how your immune system responds with natural exposure to a disease versus a vaccination. 

Now, we’ll look at the starting point of your immune response. The care of the mother and the initial care of the infant play a huge role in the health of the baby. We all know that don’t we? Significant new research is showing that we haven’t known the half of it!

Would you believe the latest studies show that when a woman is pregnant, her diet, environment and care of herself affect not only her child, but her grandchildren and even her great-grandchildren? That is mind blowing! The way this is possible is through something called the epigenome. The epigenetic response is how you respond to everything that happens to you, including your environment, diet, child abuse, vaccinations, clean water or pesticide laced vegetables. Your genome doesn’t change as we age, but your epigenome changes drastically as we are influenced by our environment. That good news is that you can do something about your mother’s bad habits.

We now know that a fetus makes its own antibody responses, and does not solely rely on the mother for this. Yet, long before a woman becomes pregnant, she should be preparing for pregnancy. Quit your smoking, drinking alcohol and bad eating habits before you are pregnant. These habits are positively known to be hard on your body and negatively affect future generations as well.

The question is how does a mother give her newborn the best start possible. If you remember, 80% of your immune system is in your gut, which includes all the good, normal bacteria needed to digest food, absorb vitamins and alert systems to respond to invaders. Where does a baby first acquire these good bacteria? It is from the vaginal canal during a natural birth. That is why a vaginal swab can be done in the final weeks of pregnancy to determine if there are normal bacteria found. If there are diseased bacteria, corrective action to restore good bacteria needs to be taken. Babies born by caesarian section do not get this good start, so why are doctors pushing caesarian births these days? I’ll give you a hint.  It has to do with insurance risk and money.  It is not the healthiest option, as you can see.

The next step in starting baby off right is breast feeding from hour one. The initial colostrum from mom contains many substances that promote the immune response, it should be considered absolutely mandatory for new mothers. Yet again, what has medicine promoted for the last several decades? They say bottle formula is just as good of a nutritional start. They are wrong on another one.

Breast feeding, if at all possible, should also be mandatory on your list of great starts for baby. Formula comes close to breast milk nutritionally, but it has none of the other immune boosting properties of breast milk. Breast feeding also has another benefit for the infant. Babies literally tell the mother what nutritional needs they have through breast to mouth contact. Science has proven that cytokines (messenger cells) from the baby’s saliva are transferred to the mother through receptors on the areola. They have scientific proof that twins get nutritionally different milk from the same breast, each as the baby commands. I suppose we just evolved into that level of sophistication, right? Again, if medicine were as concerned about the true health of newborns, wouldn’t they change their message?

If science is really the guiding principle they adhere to, then whey aren’t breast feeding rates being pushed up, instead of down? Why aren’t C-sections being lowered instead of being recommended more often? Why have your never heard of this amazing research from your pediatrician? I can’t answer for them, I can only inform you and hope you will listen and pass the information to those who need it, mothers-to-be.