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Heartland Naturopathic Clinic Email Newsletter - September 2007
The following are our email
newsletters with helpful information on staying well and our
practices. They include articles on home care, natural healing,
cured cases, commentary on current issues in the field of health
care and medicine and other interesting and useful information.
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CONTENTS Black Cohosh Shows Risk Reduction for Breast Cancer
Breastfeeding, Politics and Health
Studies on Breast Cancer:
Cancer Risk Higher with Western Diet
POLITICS AND HEALTH
article (08/31/07) on MSNBC.com from the Washington Post revealed that a
few years ago the US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) had
planned an attention getting ad campaign designed to convince mothers
that their babies faced real health risks if they did not
doctors and conventional breastfeeding experts agree that the best
recommendation we can make about breastfeeding and its effect on the
health of both the mom and the baby is “exclusive breastfeeding” for
the baby’s first six months of life. There are only rare medical
conditions that create exceptions to this recommendation.
article revealed that HHS had planned an ad with striking photos of
insulin syringes and asthma inhalers topped with rubber baby bottle
nipples. The image and text of the ad linked the use of formula with
increased risk of asthma and diabetes in children. This infuriated the
politically powerful infant formula industry (part of the pharmaceutical
industry) so they hired the former chairman of the Republican National
Committee and a former top regulatory official to lobby HHS.
this lobbying effort HHS significantly watered-down the ad campaign
promoting breastfeeding. What a surprise! The formula industry didn’t
want moms to know how much risk they were putting their babies in by
feeding formula products instead of breast milk. According to the
formula industry’s own studies, following 2003 when this watered-down
ad campaign began to run, the amount of breastfeeding in the US actually
Why did HHS
originally think it was important to emphasize the risks of formula over
breastfeeding? The following are some of the known risks for both the
mom and baby of not breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6
months of the baby’s life. In other words, here are some of the risks
associated with feeding babies something other than what nature
For babies not
exclusively breastfed for the first six months, statistically there is:
the amount of severe respiratory tract illnesses.
risk of obesity.
risk of type I diabetes (40% greater!).
* 9% lower
* More ear
rates of leukemia, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome.
who do not breastfed their babies exclusively for the first six
months of their babies’ life, statistically there is:
obesity and less weight loss following pregnancy.
risk of breast cancer.
risk of ovarian cancer.
risk for unplanned pregnancy during the first six months postpartum.
does “exclusively breastfed” mean? The definition used in the
research is the baby receives nothing but breast milk for the first six
months of life. That means no water, no other liquids, no formula, no
foods, no baby foods, no pacifiers -- nothing but breast milk! The
research shows that this provides the greatest benefits.
life circumstances can prevent this ideal from being achieved. In
America today there are many obstacles to breastfeeding. It starts with
the medical system and the hospital where the baby is born. It continues
with subtle, or even overt, disapproval of breastfeeding by family,
friends and society. Then on top of that there is little governmental or
workplace safety net in place to allow moms to stay home with their
newborn infants for those critical first six months. This would be
understandable in a poor country - but in the richest country in the
world? In Germany, the government pays families to assure that the mom
can be home with her infant for the first year. Now that is truly a
family friendly policy.
six months anytime breast milk is fed to a baby instead of something
else there is a benefit, and breast milk is almost always better than
whatever the alternative would have been. However, exclusive
breastfeeding has many benefits for both mom and baby that are not
available when partial breastfeeding is happening.
vast majority of babies, the exclusive consumption of breast milk for
those first six months is the healthiest thing that you can do for that
babies’ long-term health. In a number of studies the benefits of
breastfeeding are shown to extend into adulthood. There is no lifestyle
choice that has been shown to have such a long-term health benefit.
are breastfeeding exclusively over the 24-hour day have a pregnancy rate
lower than any known form of birth control (less than 0.5%). Once a mom
starts skipping feedings (e.g., lets dad feed the baby in the middle of
the night) she is breaking the endocrine feedback loop that protects her
from starting to ovulate. Plus studies show that mom’s who breastfeed
tend to experience life’s difficulties as less stressful.
breastfeeding also leads to the greatest weight loss following
pregnancy. Show me a mom who didn’t lose her pregnancy related weight
gain following a pregnancy and odds are it is a mom who did not
exclusively breastfeed for six months.
nature intended babies to breastfeed much longer then six months. It is
now believed that it is appropriate for some breastfeeding to continue
for years, even up to ages three to seven. But the health benefits of
exclusive breastfeeding for those first 6 months are the most
after six months the baby will be ready for the introduction of other
baby foods. Ideally, breastfeeding continues while these foods gradually
grow to be a larger part of the baby’s diet. Because of the slow
maturity of the digestive tract, we still recommend against any milk or
milk products until at least a year old (that includes milk-based
say that the first feeding is really so important that nothing short of
an medical emergency should stop the baby from being put skin to skin on
the mom’s belly immediately following birth. In many cases the baby
will immediately start to look for the breast and try to suckle. This
stimulates oxytocin and helps to expel the placenta, shrink the uterus
and stop bleeding as well as stimulating milk production. This should be
done even before the umbilical cord is cut or the baby is cleaned.
that is given to the baby before six months other than the breast can
postpone breastfeeding and that can impact the success of breastfeeding
(this includes water and pacifiers). Breastfeeding on demand has the
highest likelihood of leading to a successful nursing experience for
both mom and baby. It gives the baby his or her perfect food and
maximizes the potential that both the mom and baby will get the health
benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
article on the politics of breastfeeding see www.msnbc.msn.com
and search for “breastfeeding.”
information on breastfeeding: www.llli.org
(La Leche League International) and www.babyfriendlyusa.org
(note: Methodist Hospital is the only certified “Baby Friendly”
hospital in Nebraska).
STUDIES ON BREAST CANCER:
Cohosh Study Shows Risk Reduction for Breast Cancer
recently published in the International Journal of Cancer (Int.
J. Cancer 2007 April 1;120:1523-8) showed that the use of the herb black
cohosh was associated with a 61% reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
Black cohosh is most commonly used to help control hot flashes during
The conventional medical approach to controlling hot flashes during
menopause is still hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is despite
the studies showing HRT significantly increases the risk for breast
cancer. The alternative is obviously a better first choice. Not only
does black cohosh have a significant track record for helping control
hot flashes, it is now clear that it also protects against breast
Risk Higher Risk Higher with Western Diet
recently published in Cancer Epidemiology (Cancer Epidemiol
Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jul;16(7):1443-8) showed in Chinese women that a
Western-like diet increased risk for breast cancer over the traditional
Chinese diet. The risky diet consisted of meat, fish, milk, desserts,
sweets and bread. The non-risky diet also had meat and fish but in lower
quantities along with soy and lots of vegetables. The highest risk was
in women who were overweight with a high waist to hip ratio - what we
call the “apple” abdominal weight gain pattern associated with
insulin resistance (see our website for more info: http://www.heartlandnaturopathic.com/nutrition.htm).