Wow – the nutritional supplements arrived today…and by recorded delivery! Chris will now be taking tablets for the next 4 months to try to reduce his Copper levels and rebalance other key minerals in this body.
He will take 3 tablets in the morning with his breakfast and a further 3 in the evening with his dinner.
I don’t want to list his supplements in detail here as it is important for everyone to be individually tested – what is right for Chris might be damaging for another teen with AIS who has a different mineral profile. For those of you who are interested I bought the supplements from the company who did the hair test.
If you would like to know more about the nutritionist we saw, or the Hair Mineral Test Analysis please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you.
We have now been doing the Schroth exercises Debs taught us for a month. I say ‘we’ because although Chris is the one actually doing the exercises, either me or my husband (Mr DIY) always watch and help him. He has definitely grown stronger over the month and can now do the Long Hang and St Andrews Cross very well. He still dislikes a couple of the other exercises and we have to nag him to do them, but he generally gets there in the end.
So that we can track his progress over the coming months and years I am taking a photo of his back every month and also recording his height. When we measured him we were surprised to find he had grown 1cm in just 4 weeks. I don’t know if that is because he is starting to straighten out a bit, or just that he is entering into a growth spurt…but either way I am very glad that we are supporting his spine with exercise at this key time.
I thought it would be helpful if I added some more information about Copper and Scoliosis. Chris currently has a raised copper level of 4.2 micrograms. The normal reference range shown on his report is between 1.0 and 2.1 micrograms. This was addressed in the written report that accompanied his hair mineral analysis results and I discussed it at my meeting with our nutritionist. I have also done some research of my own online and discovered that there has been research into the relationship between key minerals and Scoliosis and one study conducted in 1976 found that the hair Copper level of a sample of AIS children was significantly higher than that of the controls. See the Abstract of this report below:
“Hair samples were collected from 74 patients with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis and from 25 control children and were analyzed for content of the following minerals: copper, sodium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, cadmium, calcium, and manganese. The hair copper level of the scoliotic children was significantly higher than that of the controls. The scoliosis mean was 6.5 micrograms/dl and the control mean was 3.6 micrograms/dl, P less than 0.025. There was no correlation between the amount of hair copper and the severity of the scoliosis. The authors suggest that copper may be a factor in the development of scoliosis since it is part of the lysyl oxidase enzymes that are required for cross-linking of collagen and elastin. Another connection is that postpubertal girls have higher copper levels than boys and also have a greater severity of scoliosis.”
This abstract comes from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. This is the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7394662
I also found the following websites of interest when I researched further into Copper and Scoliosis.
The articles on copper I found were:
We have now acted on the advice given and ordered a range of supplements for Chris to try to reduce his Copper levels and to balance out the other key minerals. He has to take these for 4 months after which we will repeat the hair mineral test and see what effects the supplements have had on him.
This time I went on my own to see the Nutritionist as it easier to talk about Chris when he’s not sitting next to me!!
We went all through the results of his Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis in detail and discussed what changes he would accept to his diet and what he would find a step too far. I am always conscious that I can’t push him too hard for fear that he will just say “I’ve had enough – I’m not doing this anymore.”
The dietary changes are not very different to our first visit but I need to do more still to:
- Reduce cured meat (bacon/sausage/salami) and red meat to twice a week
- Increase vegetable intake
- Reduce gluten intake
The most difficult meal for me at the moment is his breakfast. He will eat cereal – but without milk – and that’s got no real food value for him at the start of a school day. He will eat a slice of toast – only white bread – with a thin spreading of margarine. Again, no real food value. So, I been giving him a cooked breakfast every day – omelette with peppers and mushrooms; a bacon and egg roll; bacon with egg and baked beans on toast etc. But now I have to reduce the bacon and replace it with something that is high protein and low fat…
Oh and the other important change I need to make is to cut out or drastically reduce his chocolate consumption as chocolate contains high levels of copper. Now there’s a challenge…
He then needs to take a range of supplements to reduce his copper levels and balance out the other minerals. It means he will be swallowing a lot of tablets for the next 3-4 months, so I hope he will be ok with that.
After 4 months we will repeat the hair test and see what his mineral levels are like. So, I’ve got 4 months to really improve his diet, get him to give up chocolate and get him to swallow a load of tablets.
It’s lucky he loves fish as I think that is going to be on the menu a lot more often in our house!
I have just discovered this amazing website for a clinic in Beijing, China. It has some very interesting articles and such a strong argument for taking positive action when Scoliosis is first diagnosed.
I particularly liked the article: “When is the Golden Time for Scoliosis Treatment?” The answer is simple…The ”Golden Time” for Scoliosis treatment is the moment it is found.
The website is: www.non-surgicalscoliosis.com
Here is a link to the “Golden Time” article:
It also talks about the importance of diet and nutrition and the use of traditional Chinese herbs – something else for me to think about! Happy reading!!
Click on the link below to see another Schroth success story.
Exercise restores Halesowen teenager’s dance dream
The results of Chris’s Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis arrived in the post today and were really comprehensive, I was very impressed. I can’t say I understood it all, but we have another appointment with our nutritionist to go through it in detail!
The one result that really stands out is that Chris has a higher level of Copper in his body than the ‘normal’ range. There are also imbalances in other key minerals such as Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium.
They have also identified his “Metabolic Type” – which is Slow. This apparently means his metabolism is functioning below normal which means conversion of nutrients from foods to energy will become inefficient…so I guess we have to try and speed him up! Linked to this is an increased desire for sweets and refined carbohydrates. This is absolutely Chris – all he wants when he’s hungry is quick fix sugary snacks. The report also suggested that slow metabolisers are prone to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and we need to watch his intake of fruit juices, dairy products and foods high in fat content.
It’s all very interesting and I will know more when we have seen the nutritionist again!
Today Steve and I attended a seminar at Southampton Hospital organised by the Scoliosis Association UK. The focus was very much on surgical intervention for the treatment of severe cases of Scoliosis but it was really good to meet other people living with Scoliosis and to share experiences.
I went to the seminar with a strong aversion to surgery but by the end of the day my views had changed. The work the surgeons do is incredible and they have a particularly expert team at Southampton, led by Evan Davies. I managed to chat to him in a coffee break about Chris and what we were doing with the Schroth exercises. He was supportive of our efforts but said the lack of clinical trials for Schroth meant he could not endorse or recommend it. But he did say that exercise and strengthening the muscles in the back to restore muscle balance was a very good approach to take…that was enough of an endorsement for me!
We came away determined to carry on with the Schroth exercises but I also felt comforted in the knowledge that if, despite all our efforts, Chris has to have surgery I know the team at Southampton are experts in correcting Scoliotic curves.
We also decided that we would prefer Chris to be seen by Evan Davies so I will ask my GP to write a referral letter for us so that we can have our future review consultations at Southampton.