Nutritional needs are determined by a few key factors. First, the overall stress burden on the body, second the digestive ability of the body and third previous exposure to diminished nutrient quality. People living with cerebral palsy have an increased need for adequate nutrition because of the increased stress burden of the body and because the multiple interventions common among people with this condition create an environment of diminished digestibility ability. Essential nutrition must begin at birth and then be considered a critical part of all ongoing care. There are five basic rules of optimal nutrition that can be paired with four basic supplementation guidelines and the use of acupuncture that will magnify and improve overall health, energy, inflammatory response and quality of life in most people living with CP. The guidelines do not vary much from the optimal nutritional needs of all people; however, when there is a greater need in the body, it is essential for good nutrition to be applied with great care. If deficiencies of basic nutrients develop, or digestive infection sets in, it is harder to treat when multiple problems present at one time. Applying good nutrition from birth prevents having to conduct consequences later and will provide essential inflammatory control.
The shortcomings associated with CP are often static, but additional problems can develop when malfunction of one area affects another part of the body, this is where nutritional support is essential. Common areas of increased stress and therefore increased need are adrenal glands, large intestine and the immune system. As the stress burden grows, so does the nutrient need, and then the cycle just grows. Childhood nutrition greatly impacts lifelong health factors.
Children function best with breastfeeding but that is not always possible. In situations where breastfeeding can not be done, making formula by following the guidelines of the Weston Price foundation will provide the most significant advantages for any child. Traditional store bought formula often contains sugars, processed fats and additives that are detrimental to digestive function and may set up a pattern of digestive inflammation and impaired nutrient absorption that can later lead to increased sensitivity to foods.
Digestive infection is the result of long term ingestion of foods that the body has difficulty digesting. Often the symptoms of inflammation are masked as other conditions and get misinterpreted but generally can be classified as food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are different from food allergies as they are more of an inflammatory response to a food that occurs with mild symptoms that can then grow into large scale tissue inflammation. The most common sensitivities are milk, egg, wheat, soy, corn and peanut. Once sensitivities set in, infection results which can generate a condition called leaky gut. Leaky gut occurs when the cells lining the digestive tract become inflamed and as a result, the junctions between cells expand and food particles pass into the blood stream before being fully broken down. These larger particles cause an immune response because the body perceives them as it would be a virus or bacteria. This immune response produces inflammation. If this process occurs everyday multiple times per day, the result is chronic low level inflammation that can lead to digestive symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion. Other parts of the body can also have symptoms that relate to this such as behavior problems of anger, easy frustration, bed wetting, sleep issues, frequent colds and infections, allergies, fatigue and diminished muscle function and strength. In order to maintain adequate digestive function, the right foods must be eaten, and proper nutrition nutrients must be used.
In order to maximize nutritional absorption, foods consumed must be close to their source, produced with very little processing and high quality. All food consumed must still resemble what it comes from, such as an apple or an egg. Foods should be free of preservatives and additives as most compounds used to preserve foods have been linked with adverse effects on the nervous system and brain. Organic foods are always better than nonorganic in order to minimizeize exposure to chemicals and pesticides used in large scale commercial farming. Although guidelines will vary depending on the individual body chemistry and needs of an individual, the basics remain the same. Protein should be from either vegetable source like beans, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds or animal sources not treated with hormones and minimally processed. Eggs are an essential source of good quality fats and cholesterol needed to produce hormones. Good quality eggs should have an orange yolk of a vibrant color. Fats are the cornerstone of long term health; the most ideal fats are raw coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil, and butter from organic milk, full fat raw milk and lard from pasture raised animals. Fats that will perpetuate inflammatory cycles and disrupt health are vegetable fats like canola and corn oil. Carbohydrates in the diet should ideally come from vegetable sources and when grains are used they must be in their entirety unbleached form and ideally sprouted in origin. Nutrition is about chemistry, the way that nutrients interact, their levels, and how they get into and become incorporated into cellular function are all key to them impact the body. For most people supplementation is essential and when applied properly greatly improves overall health and digestive function. A few properly applied nutrients can make a significant difference.
There are four key categories of supplementation essential to everyone. First, a good quality multi, that is easily absorbable, supports cellular function and antioxidant status. Second, an essential fatty acid such as fermented cod liver oil, third a probiotic idealally containing HSO, soil based organisms, and fourth an antioxidant support formula with specific attention to increasing glutathione levels. Incorporating good quality supplements from these four categories will provide basic support and enhancement long term health and inflammatory control. As proper nutritional routines are implemented, adding acupuncture will magnify and increase efficiencies in controlling inflammation and enhancing digestive function.
Acupuncture dates back to the Stone Age. It originates in China and can be used to treat all types of health conditions. Acupuncture works by stimulating better organ, nervous system, muscle, and hormonal function by using points on energetic pathways called meridians. Meridians are well defined energetic pathways that relate to organ and nervous system function. On each meridian there are numerous points, with very precise locations where in treatment treatments are inserted. Each point has a set of functions and when combined with other acupuncture points produces an effect changing body function. In the case of chronic inflammation as the result of nutrient deficiencies, acupuncture helps to eliminate inflammation, restore normal digestive function and increase nutrient absorption. Acupuncture treatments can also be used to improve muscle tone and strength, nerve conductivity and balance emotional responses. Typically, the effect of acupuncture is achieved through multiple treatments, however, each person is unique and treatment plans will vary.
Properly applied nutritional and acupuncture therapy will make dramaticatic improvements to any health plan. People living with CP have certain functional challenges, but poor nutrition and uncontrolled pollution could turn functional challenges into global dysfunction. Proper nutritional support prevents system stress from becoming dysfunction and disease and improvements life quality.