Dr. R. L. Wysong
October 1998
    One of life's pure pleasures can be having children.  The joy of procreation is not by accident.  If having children were just a moral responsibility or a job, our species would have long since vanished from the face of the earth.  Procreating is less a choice than a biological imperative.  There is little in life that is not somehow linked to sex or child rearing.  It can even be argued that we are nothing but disposable packages of immortal genes.  Our genes continue on through our children, but we grow old and die.
    Originally, long ago in primitive times, having children was just a result of instinct.  Creating families has also had its practical side, such as when farmers needed more hands.  It has also been a mandate of sorts with some religious beliefs and political agendas.
    But now, with the dissolution of the extended family, the small farm, changing religious imperatives and a push worldwide toward democracy, it has become more of a form of recreation.  Having children is seen as a personal right to enjoy what appears to be a pretty neat thing.   There's ego involved too, feeling the world just would not be right without our personal genetic packages continuing on.  More often than not, children are not planned, but are a by-product of passion.
    They do help to cement a bond between man and woman – creating a common focus of shared interest.  But children are an endless responsibility, too.  Regardless of their age you never really break the cord, (not that you necessarily want to, just that kids are a never-ending proposition).
    We have no good understanding of what we're getting into until we live the experience.  We may think we do but we have no real idea.  Particularly is this true when children reach the teens or early twenties.  It is also a mistake to think you know what having children is all about when you just have infants, toddlers or youngsters.  Parents enthralled with the thrill of cute babies often just keep it up thinking that they might as well multiply the fun.  It should be a requirement that before anyone has children they must have raised children through and into the adult years.  An impossibility, of course, but nonetheless a good idea to give would-be parents true insight.
    Okay, I'm rambling a little.   Here's the problem.  You have a baby.  It's cute and cuddly beyond your wildest dreams.  It's the apple of your eye and you're quite sure there has never been another quite like it.  You find out what deep familial love is all about.   You feel protective to the degree that you'd give your life for this little creature you've created.
    At the same time, the genetic miracle comes to love you with its whole being.  It's a real love-fest.  As it grows, you get to relive childhood and innocence through its experiences.  Watching it learn and develop makes you bubble with pride.  Its first steps, first words (or facsimile thereof), first potty alone, etc., are marvels and further convince you that what you've created is one-of-a-kind.  You see the opportunity to shape and mold a being into perfection, just like you.
    The sensory delight can be overwhelming.  Moms who nurse never have an equal experience of intimacy.   Bathing them, holding them, sleeping with them and listening to and smelling their pristine breath, feeling their soft succulent skin and kissing their drooling sweet lips – (if you were to open a baby's head and peer inside - now I'm not recommending you do this - you would find one giant drool gland) – are not equaled by any other life experiences.
    While the work and attention required by infants is all-consuming and you may look forward to them at least being potty trained or feeding themselves, you also hate to see this pass.  It's one of those can't live with it and can't live without it deals.  But they grow and you lose the infant.  They still have you, but you don't have the infant anymore.  How is that fair?
    Now your infant is a toddler.   This presents a whole series of developmental adventures.  Watching their thrill with new toys, their play with others and their endless cute antics and amazement of discovery is constant entertainment.  You are even more convinced now that what you have created is destined for something really great.  Their absolute dependence upon you has the effect of catalyzing the love bug infection.  They are still a lot of work, even a pain in the butt at times.  But you dread them getting older too.   Can't live with it, can't live without it.  But regardless of what we want, they grow and become a young child.      Your infant is gone; now your toddler is too.  How is that fair?
    Now you have a school-aged child, precocious to be sure and certainly smarter and cuter than all the rest.  You beam with pride at school conferences.  They become a little more independent, but still have you as the center of their life.  All is well and the love affair continues.  But you miss the infant and toddler and they do not come back.  No problem.  You've got lots of pictures and videos to capture all the magic moments.
    The shocker is next.  Your totally dependent child passes into puberty and develops a real independent spirit.   They don't even want to be seen with you in public.  Not that they don't love you, but it's not cool.  You can't pick them up anymore (no more "uppy me daddy") and hugging and kissing become uncomfortable for them.  They spend more time with friends than you and seem to use you more for just food, clothing, shelter and play money than as the central being in their life.  You realize they must become independent, grow and mature to face the world, but why now?  Why so soon?  It was only yesterday they were spitting up on you or peeing in your eye when you changed their diaper.  It was just a few moments ago they were underfoot constantly and you were their omnipotent, omniscient god.
    But that's gone.  That infant, toddler and youngster are gone forever.  Your pubescent teenager now doesn't even remember all you've done and the love you've shared.  It's embedded within them, but not an active memory like it is with you.  They're different now, but you're the same – complete with all the vivid memories and the same feelings.  Their feelings have changed, however.  They are preparing to leave the nest and they would never do it I guess if the intensity of their dependence and absolute consuming love for you were to continue.
    You long for the touch of their soft skin, the smell of their sweet infant breath, their cries only you can comfort, their cute tantrums and endearing specially coined words and phrases.
    No problem.  You've got the pictures and tapes and recordings.  So, you dig them out to re-experience what you have lost.      But the vivid recollection does not do for you what you thought it would.  It does not make you content or sate your longing.   It does not bring them back.  It only amplifies the pain by making the loss so real.  Back the memorabilia goes.  It hurts too much.
    It's tough to see your children grow up and away.  It's like having to live through a series of deaths.  Each stage, each incarnation of your child "dies" – to be replaced by another until they are all gone and fully apart from you.  They are now creating their own nest; you have an empty one.
    I know (intellectually) that this is what life is all about.  But I still have a lot of trouble with the loss of my babies.  It's just too hard a dose of life's reality sometimes.
    All I can say is enjoy your children to the full.  It passes so very quickly.  There is no solution other than to continue to shuck out a never-ending stream of progeny – which is certainly not wise nor appropriate given that population looms as the number one problem facing humanity.  Anyway, you can't do it forever and you would be not only just forestalling the inevitable, but multiplying it as well.
    I know that I should simply not look back but it isn't possible for me to always do that.  Right now is a tough time since my youngest are now passing into the teen years and their new desire for independence is a reminder every day of what I have lost.      I love these new creatures too and would not trade them for anything, but I also love the ones that have left, the toddlers and infants, which will never return.  (I'm sure you empty nesters out there know what I'm feeling.)
    I also know that this is just life, moving forward, a series of passages with endings and beginnings.  I know that happiness requires that we always keep a sense of future, and challenge ourselves with new goals.  But moving on, living the moment and looking forward can be tough when you have loved so much those who are leaving you behind, can't it?
    (If any of my children read this, consider it a love letter from Dad to you and all your past molts and incarnations.)
    It is commonly believed that high protein diets will accelerate the loss of bone mineral density (osteoporosis).   This may be true for protein in excess, but does this mean that an extremely low protein diet such as a vegan (totally vegetarian – no meat, eggs or dairy) diet would be the best guarantee against osteoporosis?
    Evidently not, according to a study of 258 postmenopausal vegan Taiwanese women.  In this study it was found that strict vegans receiving very low protein intake had the lowest bone mineral density, whereas those who just intermittently were vegans or short-term vegans had higher bone mineral density.
    Since the matrix of bone is composed of not just minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, but also of important protein matrix materials, it stands to reason that protein would be important in the diet.
    Veganism is something that appeals to me emotionally, but not rationally.  As I have discussed in previous issues of the Health Letter,  natural foods are those foods which we are able to digest raw exactly as they are found in nature.   Veganism is a modern invention made possible only by food processing and agriculture.  Turned loose in the wild to feed our families we would indeed be meat eaters just like every primitive society ever studied is found to be.
        Calcif Tissue Int, 1997;60:245-249
    Prebiotics are short-chain sugars, oligosaccharides, made up of repeating units of mannose or fructose.
    These oligosaccharides have the ability to enhance friendly micro-organisms in the digestive tract and inhibit pathogens.   For example, the mannose in mannanoligosaccharide will bind to the surface of pathogenic organisms, which inhibits their attachment to the cells of the digestive tract.   As a result they are in effect removed from the body with the passage of the feces.
    These prebiotic oligosaccharides also have the ability to stimulate the immune system as demonstrated in a variety of studies on different species.
    The advantage of prebiotic short-chain sugars over antibiotics is that they selectively enhance beneficial bacteria and inhibit the bad guys.  On the other hand, antibiotics are not so discriminating and tend to wipe out the good along with the bad.  This is not to mention the other down side of the continuing use of  antibiotics, which is that organisms are increasingly developing resistance to these pharmaceuticals.
    Prebiotics not only enhance immunity and decrease the potential of disease, but can positively impact growth and development.  For example, in turkeys it was demonstrated that those supplemented with the oligosaccharides had not only an advantage in weight gain, but a 15 point improvement in feed efficiency.  It doesn’t take a whole lot to do a  lot either.  Two grams of the oligosaccharides – there are 454 grams in one pound – given to calves not only helped overcome respiratory problems, but gave the calves a weight gain advantage over those not receiving the supplement.
    In pigs which were susceptible to diarrhea, those given the oligosaccharides recovered from diarrhea just as if potent antibiotics had been given.
    Wysong animal foods and supplements contain these prebiotic oligosaccharides both of the fructose and manose variety.  Additionally, the Probiosin™ supplement for humans and several other Wysong supplements and foods contain prebiotic sugars.
        Feeding Times, Vol. 3 No 1. 1998:8
    Some 216 infants who were at high risk of developing allergy due to a family history were studied with various types of infant foods.  The most effective diets in preventing allergies, upon follow-up at 5 years of age, was that of those who were breast-fed and those who were fed a partial whey hydrolysate formula (“Good Start”).
    There is no question but that breast-feeding is the best thing a mother can do for a child.  However, if breast-feeding is not possible (that does not mean just inconvenient) then the formula of choice to help prevent potential allergies according to this study would be whey hydrolysate.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 1997;24:380-388
    The Nurse’s Health Study, consisting of over 66,000 women, was used to determined the relationship between certain dietary factors and risk of heart disease.  During 10 years of following this group, some 587 women were diagnosed with coronary heart disease and dietary relationships were examined.
    After adjusting for age and various risk factors it was found that the level of omega-3 fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid, was inversely related to risk.  In other words, the more of the omega-3 fatty acids that were consumed, the less the risk of coronary heart disease.
    This is corroboration of evidence I have reviewed again and again in the Health Letter relating omega-3 fatty acids to cardiovascular health.  As I describe in my book, Lipid Nutrition - Understanding Fats and Oils In Health and Disease, we were intended to receive far more omega-3 fatty acids in our diets than we do.  Modern processed diets have reversed the ratio so that today we receive far more of the omega-6 fatty acids than the omega-3.  This discordancy with what we are intended to eat brings the inevitable consequence of disease.
    To increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, increase the consumption of a variety of fresh vegetables, tree nuts, wild meats, cold water fish, and cold pressed omega-3 rich nutritional supplements such as the Wysong EFA™ supplements in the Foundation Formula Program.
        Am J Epidemiol, 1997,14S:8
    Forty patients with chronic hepatitis C were given a variety of treatments including enzymes, alpha-interferon, vitamins and minerals.  Best results were achieved by those receiving the enzyme treatment.
    The exact mechanism by which oral enzymes are capable of exerting this beneficial effect is not known, but it would certainly be worth using in any form of liver dysfunction since the use of such enzymes is virtually without side effects.  Wysong Panzyme™ is an excellent broad spectrum oral enzyme supplement that could be used for this purpose.  Hepticine™ is a specific Nutrient Support Formula targeting the liver which should be taken in conjunction with Panzyme™.
        International J Tiss Reac., 1997;19:97-98
    In a recent study of men who experienced problems with recurring calcium oxalate kidney stones, vitamin C was tested to determine its effect.  Instead of vitamin C causing calcium oxalate kidney stones, as is promoted by many who are antagonists of vitamin C supplementation, those men receiving the vitamin C supplement had a restoration of normal urine acidification and no increase in urinary oxalate levels.
    In another recent study it was found that men who consumed 1500 mg per day of vitamin C had 22% fewer kidney stones than those who consumed less than 250 mg per day.  Some now believe that previous evidence indicating a relationship between vitamin C and calcium oxalate was due to vitamin C converting to oxalate in the urine collection jug, not in the body.
        Townsend Letter, May 1998:43
        Urol Res, 1997;25:49-58
    Patients receiving Cisplatin chemotherapy were studied to determine the effects of concurrently taking 4000 mcg of selenium per day, compared to no supplementation. 
    Those receiving the selenium had significantly fewer side effects such as lowered leukocyte counts, and decreased need for blood transfusions.  Other studies have shown that selenium can also decrease nephrotoxicity, bone marrow depression and diarrhea – and all of this without compromising the drug’s antitumor effects.
    Selenium at this level is virtually without side effects and the upside benefits, if one is being subjected to chemotherapy, would certainly be worth this inexpensive supplementation.
        Biol Trace Elem Res, 1997;56:331-341
    Helicobacter pylori is commonly associated with gastric ulcers.   Another helicobacter, H. heilmannii, is often found in animals, but only infrequently in humans.
    A dentist who was having chronic stomach problems was diagnosed with 10 ulcers.  Microbiological studies showed the presence of H. heilmannii.   The specific strain of bacteria was found to be identical to that in one of the man’s two cats, and it was believed to be the source of the infection.
    I always wonder about such findings, since cats so often receive the blame for human illness.  In this case, it may have been that the man transmitted the bacteria to the animal and not vice versa, although the infrequency of the bacteria in humans may indeed indicate the opposite.
    Nevertheless, good hygiene should always be practiced when caring for companion animals.  Be careful when changing litter boxes, cleaning up feces in the yard, and when smooching your cats who have H. heilmannii.
        Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 1998;36:1366-70
    In a study of 145 men and women between the ages of  68 and 90 it was found that almost 50% were deficient in vitamin B6 and about 80% were deficient in riboflavin.
    These two vitamins are particularly important in the body’s antioxidant defenses that require glutathione.   Since oxidation is believed to be one of the fundamental catalysts to the aging process, a deficiency of these vitamins in the elderly is extremely significant.
    The low levels of these two vitamins were not directly related to nutrient intake, but are believed to be due to the increasing inability of the aged to absorb or metabolize nutrients.
    This is yet another piece of evidence proving that a so-called balanced diet or mere minimal RDA supplementation are not sufficient.  This applies not only to the elderly but to the young, the ill, the stressed, the athletic, the pregnant and the nursing.
        Br J Nutr, 1997;77:225-242
    A dose of 400 mg of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) daily for three months will decrease the frequency and number of days of migraine headaches.  Although it may not decrease the intensity of the headache when it does occur, studies indicate that it will decrease the frequency.
    These effects begin to occur after about one month, but three months of this dosage are required to receive full benefit.
    This would certainly be worth a try since riboflavin at this dosage is virtually without side effects.
        Neurology, 1998;50:466-70
    In an Arizona Cancer Center study of the effect of selenium supplementation on skin cancer, it was discovered that there was a clear benefit to men in reducing the rate of prostate cancer.  There was a 63% lower risk, as well as a decreased chance of developing lung and colon cancers and a lower mortality from all cancers.
    It is for this reason that selenium is incorporated into the Foundation Formula, Optimal™, which should be taken in conjunction with Prostase™ for those men attempting to optimize nutrition for the prostate gland.
        Br. Jour. Urol., 1998;81:730-34
    Itchy, reddened skin characteristic of atopy and eczema are immunological chronic skin conditions that can be very frustrating and difficult to treat.
    Usually a trip to the dermatologist will result in the application of immunosuppressant drugs such as corticosteroids.  These may also be injected under the skin or prescribed orally in more severe cases.  These hormone-like compounds can often give dramatic temporary relief, but the long-term potential consequences are not worth the risk.
    As an alternative, first off be very careful what you are using by way of soaps and lotions.  Convert to more natural products such as castile soap and Wysong shampoos and lotions.  Use gloves when washing the dishes using commercial dishwashing soaps or when doing any household chores using cleaners.
    The most important thing nutritionally is to increase the consumption of essential fatty acids.  (See my book, Lipid Nutrition - Understanding Fats and Oils In Health and Disease, for a list of a variety of foods that are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.)  The essential fatty acid supplements as a part of the Wysong Foundation Formulas can also be used, but often must be given at higher doses for benefit to occur.  For example, instead of taking 1 EFA™ capsule 3 times a day, double, triple and even quadruple that dosage.  Be sure you are also taking the antioxidant supplements in the Foundation Formulas along with this increased level of essential fatty acids since these fatty acids are very susceptible to oxidation.