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.
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!
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!
The food diary is complete and I am suddenly aware of just how much red meat and pasta we eat as a family! But I will let the Nutritionist be the judge of what’s good and what’s bad…
…Chris and I went to the first appointment together as I wanted him to understand from someone else who is a ‘food/nutrition professional’ that he can’t live on sausage rolls, crisps and biscuits! The first meeting lasted an hour and the lady we saw was very knowledgeable and helpful about what changes we should make to improve Chris’s diet.
The key changes she suggested were:
- Chewing each mouthful of food x20 chews (the more you break down the food in your mouth, the less work your body has to do to release the nutrients!)
- Change to coconut oil for cooking and add a splash of water if cooking with olive oil
- Increase the quantity of vegetables
- Reduce the amount of red meat
- Eat oily fish 2-3 times a week
- Try to include gluten-free grains
- Use home made ‘bone broths’ for soups, casseroles etc
- Try to reduce refined sugar
We also discussed doing a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
This is an effective way of checking whether you have the right levels of zinc, calcium, selenium, potassium, chromium, niacin, thiamine… the list goes on, in your body. It shows how well the body is functioning on an intracellular level without requiring invasive medical tests – through simple testing of your hair.
Measuring the mineral content of your hair apparently gives a wealth of information about your levels of key nutrients and their ratios and whether you are unknowingly storing harmful substances in your body.
It is a simple test to do – we just have to send off a sample of Chris’s hair and wait for the lab results to come back. This seems a good idea as it will tell us whether anything is missing or out of balance in his minerals and then we can use supplements and diet to make any necessary adjustments.
The hair test our nutritionist recommended is £59 so we are going to do it…now I just have to collect the hair sample from around the base of his skull and neckline and send it off!
My next area of research is on whether diet has any effect on Scoliosis. I believe it must have – particularly when dealing with a child or teen who is still growing. One of the first books I read focused on diet as a key factor in Scoliosis: Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment by Dr Kevin Lau. He spends several chapters explaining the importance of diet in the prevention and treatment of Scoliosis. I’m not going to attempt to summarise it here other than to say I now share his view that diet is important.
A growing body must have the right balance of vitamins and minerals to support growth. With this in mind I have decided to contact a Nutritionist and find out whether they think they can help in any way. We are lucky to have an excellent centre for complementary medicine near to our home and they have a Nutritionist there…
…OK phone call done and appointment made. She is sending me a health questionnaire to complete about Chris and we have to keep a food diary for a week before we meet her. That should be really interesting as he will have to own up to all the sweets/crisps/chocolate etc he eats at school or walking home from the bus! And I am going to have to look at what meals I am feeding him at home.