I have been quiet on this blog this year – not publishing anything since April’s “thumb banging” video, which quite a few people told me “made a wrong, somewhat ‘crazy’ impression about ABR”.
Apologies for that but since the end of June – I’ve been mostly in a self-reflective mode doing more of the inside digging rather than the outside expressing.
On June 25th at 1 am my sister and I were driving back home after visiting a family friend and whilst idly waiting at a red light our car was smashed from behind and jammed into the side of the lorry that was making a left turn. The guy behind us was driving well over a 100 km/h and … he … just freaking fell asleep. He didn’t even press the brakes. His SUV literally flew into ours. Our car was completely destroyed… however, absolutely miraculously, both I and my sister weren’t hurt at all – a couple of bruises – and that was it. At the same time surely it was a major shock – my body was shaking for nearly 2 hours with waves of myofascial tremors and jerks rising intermittently from every major bone in my body – in a very weird tone resetting symphony of sorts. Well, one really learns a lot about the myofascial connections and about the anchoring role of the bone this way … (Not that I am wishing on anyone to go through such an experience…)
Although I wascompletely intact physically – this accident made a lasting impression on me. I really can’t look at such accidents as “just accidents” – I’d lie if I’d say that I take those as a mere overlap of unfortunate probabilities. I can’t help but look for a meaning behind those omens.
And that really bothers me – am I doing something wrong? – Maybe with all the discoveries that I’ve been handed I am somehow screwing up and underperforming, so it has been a warning of sorts… Or am I doing something right – so I survived this fault line of overlapping probabilities so unbelievably smoothly because I still have some value left in me... Well, I do not know... and that bothers me really badly…
When I started counting all the ifs – what if he hit us a second earlier or a second later (because we hit the lorry transporting the semi-loose metal rods in the only safe spot that it had for us); what if he hit us a few centimeters off the center; what if weren’t sitting in a 2.5 ton car which managed to absorb this massive blow without flying too far forward? … All that gives you goose bumps… I really don’t know the answer to all these questions – so I spent the last few months either frantically working “in the field” or quietly self-reflecting – I don’t know whether it is called a depression or just an intense re-evaluation of one’s life … but that’s where I am at right now… not being much in a writing or a teaching mode for a while …
So that was a long preamble to the question that I wanted to address today – the matter that makes my blood boil so much that I can’t remain silent about it even at this reflective point of my life.
Today’s blog post is about the Detox scams and the supplements overload.
Unfortunately the parents of children affected by cerebral palsy are easily misled and fooled by the zealous and unethical practitioners in the detox and nutrition field who seem to be everywhere nowadays.
I am aware that most of the ABR families are following some kind of nutritional supplements program, and even though in my opinion these attempts to “fix” the digestive flora by adding the “missing” substances into the mix are most often misled – so far I never really paid too much attention to these matters until the troubling situation that the team of ABR Denmark faced in Spain this week.
There is a large group of families doing ABR in Spain and our return sessions are usually quite cheerful ones – kids progress, parents report and share all sorts of improvements from physical to metabolic to cognitive to emotional – so I am always happy to hear what’s going on.
However, this time on the very first day we had two families returning after the summer who were worried, concerned and ending up reporting the deterioration of their kids despite the solid ABR work hours that they delivered over the summer.
One child, a milder one, experienced constant abdominal pains as well as a sharp increase in seizures and their intensity. The other child – a more severe one – looked really wrecked: dehydrated ‘baked’ tissues, continuous abdominal discomfort, overall stiffness etc.
When we started digging deeper it turned out that in the Home Report form those parents wrote that their children were diagnosed with ‘intestinal disbiosis’, ‘candida’, and tons of other “wrong” bacteria as well as long list of missing enzymes in their digestive tracts – all of that being topped over with the alleged intoxication by heavy metals.
And what were the treatments for those harsh diagnoses? – First of all – the “detox” procedures that included the regular ingestion of salt wateras well as the enemas (‘colon cleansing’) with a combination of salts and adsorbents.
Parents were very convinced that those procedures ‘cleansed’ the toxic agents together with the ‘wrong’ bacteria and then were given loads of supplements that ‘introduced’ & ‘supported’ the new healthy flora.
Unfortunately, none of them linked these assaults on their kids’ digestive system with the reported signs of deterioration that those children experienced. The parents were made so frightened by all these toxic diagnoses that they missed the most obvious – in one of those cases the alarming evidence really screamed loudly and clearly – a huge spike in seizures occurred in exactly the same time when the particularly intense sessions of detoxification were taking place…
What are the lessons and warning signs that all of us have to draw from these troubling experiences:
The very, veryfirst point – the axiom for all of you – always remember one basic thing: the kids affected by cerebral palsy and its typical phenomena of spasticity, rigidity, flaccidity etc. – do not respond to the internal interventions into their metabolic systems in the same way as healthy children do. Cerebral Palsy children are DIFFERENT in all the aspects – not only in the movement disorder domainbut in their metabolic strategies and body tissuescomposition.
Secondly, let’s clarify why this response to metabolic intervention by cerebral palsy kids is so different:
A short reminder in the beginning: At ABR we always bring to your attention the fundamental issuethat comes in a package with your child’s cerebral palsy:
The entire connective tissue network of your child doesn’t function healthily. That includes both the fibrous connective tissue (fascia) but more importantly (in the metabolic context) the ‘liquid’ connective tissue of the interstitial fluids organized as the hydrogels.
In cerebral palsy the ability of the fascia to retain its liquid base internally and to compartmentalize the interstitial flow is completely different from a healthy child – it is either excessive (‘baked’, crystallized, stiff, spastic and rigid elements) or deficient (flaccid, paretic, weak elements).
As a result whatever salt or absorbent or whichever other metabolic or detox supplement you introduce into the digestive and intestinal mixes of your child’s body – the response that they cause in the surrounding tissues in the cerebral palsy scenario differs dramatically from a healthy person’s response.
To understand why that happens – let’s recall some most basic chemistry.
Everyone nowadays loves talking about nutritional components, calories, enzymes etc. – but before getting into the long list of the specific molecules and substances that pass through the human body we shall remind ourselves one basic thing about our body’s chemistry: We humans are electrolytes:
- All the tissues have a liquid base (recall the famous fact that the human body is 70-75 % consists of water)
- The concentration of the chemical elements either dissolved or suspended in this liquid base defines the electrical conductivity of the tissues. Typically a rise in concentration leads to the increase of electrical conductivity, which in turns causes the overload of the nervous system, which leads to cramps, spasms, seizures and all other dangerous events. That’s why dehydration is so dangerous.
- Why dehydration? – Because the changes of concentration of those dissolved elements first and foremost depend on the liquid content. It takes a long and arduous journey for a given molecule to arrive from a digestive tract to a given tissue. But the water can leave a local area – almost at an instant. That’s why the changes in the water base have such fast and dramatic effects.
But we humans are not simply ‘electrolytes’ – we are the composites that consist of multiple different electrolytes divided into compartments separated by partially permeable membranes. Every time such a division in compartments is lost even a little bit – bad things happen… seizures, spasms, collapses etc.
That’s why we have to recall yet another piece of basic chemistry – the process called ‘osmosis’. I’m sure you’ve all studied it back at school – so all you need is a brief reminder.
Think about this situation: if one compartment is water rich (saturated) and the other one is water poor and they are separated by a permeable membrane – what’s going to happen? – Correct, the liquid will flow from the water rich to the water poor one until a balance is reached. If one puts salty water near the fresh one – then salty water draws the water molecules of the fresh one into it until the mix is evened.
Empowered by these basic recollections of chemistry – let’s see how the “detox/ cleansing” and “supplement addition” affect a cerebral palsy child unfortunate enough to have a weakened connective tissue.
1. So-called Detox (intention to “flush” and absorb the “accumulated waste”)
What happens when one introduces “detoxifying” salty water into the digestive system or into the intestinal one? – Well, obviously the internal fluid leaves the cells and the interstitial spaces where it was located and rushes towards the compartments where there is a high content of salt… leaving the internal compartments this water normally belongs to badly dehydrated and thus creating within the cells and the fascia the internal over-concentration of the substances that are normally diluted. What was a physiologically a diluted electrolyte – now becomes highly concentrated and very conductive… Bad things start happening.
Exactly the same osmotic effect that drains the cells and extracellular matrix occurs when you introduce any other adsorbent (not only the salty water).
That’s exactly what happened in the case of those two kids who were exposed to those “cleansing” detox procedures – selective internal dehydration in the tissues which had weaker compartment separating membranes.
And that’s where we come back to the matter of weak fascia.
All the detox procedures are designed for healthy people when these hidden osmotic factors are not so vital. When a healthy person ingests some salt water or gets an adsorbent flushed into the intestinal system via the enema – the endodermal walls that protect the physiology of your internal space from such osmotic invasions are strong – hence the osmotic dehydration effect is small and indeed some true detox might occur – let’s call it for lack of a better word “a healthy flush”. But for a child affected by cerebral palsy whose fascia composition is so weakened and irregularly distributed – the osmotic protection of the gastrointestinal walls are not strong enough to regulate the internal water rush with necessary effectiveness.
That’s what why these kids from Spain ended up with such devastating consequences following the detox attempts– one child responded to the rise of her internal electrolyte concentration with higher excitability of the nervous system – hence the dramatic spike of her seizures; and another child –who is much weaker in general simply became ‘crystallized’ at the muscles level and completely flaccid at the level of fascia connections between the skin and the muscles.
Please! Don’t do such experiments on your kids!
Whenever somebody reaches out for you with a clever sounding explanation of how messed up is the internal flora of your child’s gastrointestinal system and how intoxicated is your child with all sorts of wrong bacteria and sediments – run away!
2. Supplements and additives
But besides of these extreme examples of the detox gone wrong via the osmotic dehydration – we also have to take into account the milder and more widespread phenomenon – the enthusiastic adding of nutritional supplements – both the mineral substances and the enzymes – into your child’s daily nutritional plan.
This matter is a lot more complex and full of finer shades of grey – however, I’d like to issue the word of caution and draw your attention to a simple thought: whenever we (humans) try to play God – we always fail miserably.
There are thousands of homeostatic variables to be considered that are finely connected with each other at different timings,-rhythms, locations and most peculiar logistics. Thinking that some nutritional expert “knows better” and can externally fine tune the internal interplay of even half a dozen nutritional supplements … is an absolute delusion.
Yes, sometimes there is an initial euphoria: “We found the right mix!– if we combine substance A and add the enzyme B and then mix it with C and then occasionally sprinkle a bit of D and just a tiny fraction of E & F – then we got it!”
But in the long-run – we can’t win this way. There are too many variables. The internal processes realign to their state of multivariable balance – and even though for a CP child this balance might be quite far from a theoretical optimum of a healthy child … still we have to be humble enough to accept the simple fact – the body knows best.
We might consider having the role of a gentle help – yes; the role of helping with the reduction of unnecessary overloads and restrictions – yes; but we should never fall for the delusion of the external regulation for the internal processes.
Consider a simple principle – it is well known that any more than 3 medications put together produce completely unpredictable effects. Same is true for the supplements. Remember – a nutritional supplement is what its name implies – a supplement (not asubstitute).
As an extreme example of nutritionist playing God – let’s get back to those kids from Spain that I talked about earlier.
When ABR Denmark team started interviewing parents further – the horror only grew.
One child ended up having a nutritional prescription that includedabout 30 supplements and almost 70 enzymes prescribed for taking in at once! I guess some are daily and some are less frequent – nonetheless this extreme example illustrates that the so-called nutritional experts become completely blinded by their ‘formulas’ for what they call the “optimal nutrition”.
Remember! – digestion is an internally regulated process. Digestion precedes nutrition. Your child might be in real need of 1 -2- 3 ingredients – that’s realistic. Being in a desperate need for 10 really necessary supplements?! – Nonsense!
The same is true about the tests that are worth making – standard tests that show the gross losses or excesses – are the only one you ever need.
All the “finer” metabolic testing that lists hundreds of parameters and attempts to analyze all of them – is a completely misleading information set.
The problem is – the more tests you make your child take – the more data out of what you receive is murky, unclear and border line. But the more data you are going to end up with from the testing – the stronger will be the temptation of a professional nutritionist to act upon this data even though it is completely impossible to account for all the possible interactions.
So let’s make these simple conclusions – if you child now is taking more than 3-4 supplements—change your nutritional supervisor.
Now you might ask me this question: “Ok, I see that the benefits of the long list of supplements are not very clear – but are there any negative consequences? After all these nutritional supplements are all tested to be safe? ”
My message to you in that regard is very simple – the more variable you introduce into the digestive mix – especially the ones that come in the form of processed powders, minerals etc. – the more of the osmotic uncertainty you create.
Remember – your kids are osmotically vulnerable and fragile. Any changes in the osmotic parameters that these added substances and bacteria create whilst they are processed within the gastrointestinal tube (and then later and further when they are within a blood stream and interstitial flow) – increase the risks of aggravating the osmotic imbalances that your child already has.
If you are being told about any deficiencies or about some abnormal bacterial flora in your child’s digestive tract – don’t go for carpet bombing with all those endless supplements that the market and the nutritionists want to shove into your child’s body – be smart and careful. Go one by one and avoid making those mixes too complicated.
And obviously – any natural ingredient in its original form is better than the one that has been “rectified” and “enriched” at a factory.
And of course, the final thought to consider within this post – even when it comes to the nutrition and digestion: think mechanically first and foremost.
Every child benefits from better tone of the internal smooth muscles; from improved peristaltic; from reduced conflict with the diaphragm; from better segmented abdominal compartments; from digestion more independent from breathing; from reduced gas traps; from improved coordination of the sphincters and so on.. These are just a few examples of how many mechanical parameters we can improve in order to help your child’s nutrition, digestion and absorption without any fancy fiddling with the metabolic unknowns that all too often you end up doing under the pressure from the unscrupulous members of nutritional profession.
I hope this helps – and I hope that the kids that I started talking about in the beginning of the post regain their tissue quality damaged at the osmotic minefields soon with good ABR hours and consistent hydration.
P.S. Questions, likes and shares are welcomed by the returning bloggers :-)