Pregnancy – What You Take and the Autism, ADHD, Asthma Connection

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Hello, everybody. Welcome to ChiroSecure’s Look to the Children show. I’m your host, Dr. Monika Buerger, and I am ecstatic to be with all of you today. Thank you, ChiroSecure, for giving us this platform, and always looking out for the chiropractic profession, and helping us to be better, bigger, and stronger.

Today, I’d like to bring you some incredibly important information that I’ve really been chomping at the bit to get out there. It is regarding chiropractic care for mom and for baby. When I’m working with a pregnant mom, I always say I’m working for two and not working for one. But I’d like to enlighten you about some considerations we want to think about in regards to what mom might be consuming over-the-counter wise and medication-wise during pregnancy. We’re going to focus specifically on one topic. This is going to be incredibly important, especially given the paradigm we find ourselves in today and with this current virus pandemic that we are all navigating through together.

We’re going to talk about how chiropractic lays the foundation for life, and what I mean for the rest of that child’s life. If we get interference by mom consuming some simple over-the-counter products, like acetaminophen, how that can lead to abnormal neurodevelopment, and to considerations like autism, ADHD, and asthma. We are going to go to the slides right now, and I’m going to walk you through the fundamentals of acetaminophen. How’s that?

First of all, let’s start with the first 1,000 days of life. This is what we call the critical window of opportunity. This is the fetal development and the first two years postnatally. This is a time of what we call developmental neuroplasticity, and where we have these critical of opportunity … meaning we need certain things to happen within this 1,000 days. Certain experiences in utero and in postnatal environment. We don’t need certain insults to happen during this critical window. When insults happen during this critical window of time, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to turn that trajectory around from that insult. Let’s take that into consideration. Again, this is going to be toxins, traumas, thoughts, and technology we need to add to the list now. I call it the T’s. Trauma, toxins, thoughts, technology. These are insults that can happen during these key windows of opportunity for neuroplastic development.

One of the things we want to focus on today is 50 to 70% of women report low back pain during pregnancy. Then we also have many that report neck pain. But for the sake of today, let’s talk about lower back pain. About 65% of women in the United States and 50% of the women in Europe report taking acetaminophen for lower back pain during pregnancy. We need to be on the forefront of educating women and other practitioners in your communities about the benefits of chiropractic care for lower back pain during pregnancy.

Last month, I had the amazing Nicole Lindsey on our show. Please, if you didn’t watch that show, go back and find the recording of it. Excuse me. Because we talked about getting out in your community and talking with other practitioners. This would be a great topic to connect with OBs, GPs, midwives, and so forth in regards to working with the pregnant population in regards to lower back pain.

Acetaminophen equals Tylenol or paracetamol. In the United States, we refer to it mostly as Tylenol. Abroad, they refer to it oftentimes as paracetamol. Please be advised that many other over-the-counter agents have acetaminophen as well, so it’s really important that we read labels. Acetaminophen is very well documented to deplete our master antioxidant, which is called glutathione. Why is this a big deal? Because glutathione kills free radicals. It kills toxins. It is our master antioxidant … which we know that one of the biggest stressors, one of the biggest prenatal stressors that will set the stage for the neurobiology of disease across that child’s life, for the rest of that child’s life, is chronic inflammatory [loads 00:06:15], infectious loads. These stressors prenatally … if mom’s carrying an inflammatory load, a toxic load, a viral load, a bacteria load, so forth, that can affect the neuroplastic development and key brain structures of that offspring for the rest of their life.

This is what is associated with pretty much all physical and mental illnesses that we’re seeing these days, especially those drastically on the rise. Tylenol, acetaminophen, will wipe out glutathione and now we don’t have that major antioxidant to kill off these free radicals, which is incredibly important. We also know that there is a link between … particularly with autism and low levels of glutathione in mom and in offspring. This does have to do with what we call the methylation pathway. A lot of people get hooked on just the gene MTHFR, but it’s much more than that. We can get into that another time. So, we have acetaminophen. It knocks out glutathione. Now, we can’t detoxify properly.

But the other thing that’s less known is that acetaminophen often acts as a COX-2 inhibitor. What COX-2 gene … what it needs to do is it needs to take this thing called arachidonic acid, and convert it to this thing called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are also needed to mediate toxic loads. They are pro-inflammatory structures to help put out the fire of this toxic load we might have going on. They need to be there to kill off the toxic load, but then they need to be gone at a certain point, so our body doesn’t say stress and in chronic inflammatory load. Bottom line is when acetaminophen blocks the ability to make these prostaglandins, we have yet another deficiency in a key substrate needed to boost our immune system function to kill off the bad dudes.

Prostaglandins are also needed for healthy brain development and healthy gut function. So, we know the tie between the gut and the brain, and the brain and the gut. If we laid down this model, that [inaudible 00:09:07] is born in a stressful paradigm, and to a toxic environment. We have two key substrates that are deficient … glutathione and prostaglandins, that are needed to detox us from those loads. And we have this key substrate, prostaglandins, that are needed for good brain development and gut development. Now we’re going to lack that gut/brain, brain/gut connection.

Chiropractic is shown to be safe and effective for musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy. We need to start getting out into our communities and spreading this message, because if we can help modulate the stress, the pain, the uncomfortableness with lower back pain, neck pain, et cetera, sciatic with chiropractic care, and avoid this toxic insult during pregnancy … the potential outcome for our neurodevelopment trajectory is huge.

We’re going to dive into now the acetaminophen connection between autism, asthma, and ADHD. Again, many, many studies looking at the connection with autism and acetaminophen. Just a couple of studies that we show right here. Boys that had prenatal exposure to acetaminophen were more likely to have clinical symptoms of autism. Particularly, they looked at acetaminophen given postnatally between 12 and 18 months. We know a lot of things can happen during that time gap. And particularly, that child can be exposed to other toxic loads during that time … circumcision is one of them … other toxic insults that oftentimes it’s recommended to give that child acetaminophen for fevers or pain associated with different procedures.

This can be a double whammy, because now we’re giving this toxic insult, or this procedure, and we’re giving something that knocks out the key thing that is going to help us detox from that exposure. It stands to reason that they saw exposure to acetaminophen between 12 and 18 months increases the likelihood of that child being diagnosed on the spectrum.

A very interesting study looked at giving the MMR inoculation during this time. They show that the MMR inoculation in and of itself was associated with autistic tendencies or autism. But if you had that inoculation along with acetaminophen, that was the connection to that child later on having a significant increase in possibility of autistic disorder. These are very interesting links that we should be very mindful of. A recent study … this was last year, I believe in 2019 this came out. When they took umbilical cord samples, and looked at the levels of acetaminophen, and show there was a significant increase in later on being diagnosed with ADHD and with autism.

I just want to whip through a few studies, just so you know this is out there in the literature. It’s in the scientific arena. It is very well known. It’s very well-documented, and we should be mindful of where we can maybe interject, and start educating our community on this. The other interesting fact is looking at poor gross motor skill development associated with the administration of acetaminophen. Children exposed prenatally, even in short spurts use of acetaminophen showed poor gross motor outcomes.

Okay. What’s the big deal? It’s huge. We look at children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and autism speaks specifically, and they are known to have poor, fine, and gross motor skills. Which by the way … excuse me, also correlate with poor language acquisition. We see a lot of kids on the spectrum that have poor language acquisition. We’re seeing more and more kids across the board that are needing speech therapy, and that are being pulled out of school because of poor language skills.

We need to look at the association with neurodevelopment from a neuromotor skill standpoint, and the interjection or exposure to acetaminophen. This slide just shows evidence with ASD across the board, and their lack of fine and gross motor skills. Fine and gross motor skills … again, we’re seeing associated with language acquisition. But the other thing we’re going to see with this is poor interoceptive development. Inner awareness, inner body awareness, particularly in complex sensory systems, decibel system, and the proprioceptive system.

Now, if we take this along the longer course trajectory of development, and of physical and mental symptoms down the road, we also know that … I’m going to skip ahead for a second. Is that poor postural control, which is due to lack of good vestibular and proprioceptive development, poor motor development, is also associated with things like dyslexia. Like scoliosis, diabetes, ADHD, and asthma. If we have that toxic insult during prenatal development, or early postnatal development, we have poor motor skills, we have poor motor control, pastoral control, vestibular and proprioceptive function. That is associated with a lot of other physical ailments, including asthma.

We have studies that also look at children with mild … This one in particular, children with mild intermittent asthma versus healthy children should be screened for balance disorders. In this particular study, they are having the child do a one leg stance. Again, if we can make that connection between good interoceptive body awareness, and brain function, and physical and mental health, that’s where we as chiropractors can interject and change that trajectory of time of long-term development. Chiropractic care … if we look at the work specifically of Heidi [Haavik 00:16:32] out of New Zealand, and looking at the impact we make on the prefrontal cortex … which is going to affect motor control. And if we allow our brain, the executive functioning portion of our brain, that prefrontal cortex, to come online, to be engaged, we will create a brain that has more awareness of where the body is in space, and how to navigate that, and better posture control … changing that trajectory of these various disorders.

Then if we go on to ADHD and we look at the use of ADHD, they looked at long-term use during pregnancy of acetaminophen and the adverse development outcomes at three years of age. These children showed a higher risk of attention, overactivity, over-excitation … i.e. ADHD behavioral characteristics. 30% were more likely at age five to have attention impairments down in children with autism and ADHD. Again, you don’t have to listen to me. This is coming from what I say ‘the Gods’ journals.’ The medical journalism, the neuroscience arena. But I wanted you to be aware that it’s out there, and how we can make those connections.

Acetaminophen has also been associated with increased risk of multiple behavior difficulties in children. We have labels like oppositional defiant disorder. This is the one that really gets to me, because a child is going to be defiant when they’re uncomfortable with their surroundings. Their external surroundings, those five far senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, et cetera, and our internal environment. We are going to want to try to control our environment so that it’s compatible with our brain. With what our brain can handle. A child’s neuro-expressive behavior is simply a window into their neurological integrity, what their brain is trying to cope with. Of course, they’re going to have behavioral issues, and we see this very much in our neuro-developmentally challenged population group. They are trying to tell you by the course of their behavior what they’re trying to escape in their environment.

As far as chiropractic care, a very interesting pulmonary study looked at one single session of a chiropractic adjustment, and the role of eye motor movement. This is simply a very initially based observation. But eye movement is a window into the brain, particularly that prefrontal cortex. The cerebellum and the prefrontal cortex, which are key structures in neuraldevelopment, especially when we talk about children with neurodevelopmental challenges. We think that with that adjustment, we can moderate these eye movements. Eye movements, visual processing, is one of the number one reasons kids get misdiagnosed of having ADHD.

We have many clinical studies that show … of course, in our practices we all see the huge benefits in attention, learning behavior, et cetera, when kiddos are under care in our practice. That would be the clinical experience, and what we’re seeing in the clinical settings. Now, if we look at asthma again, we have to make that we have to make that timeline, that trajectory between acetaminophen, poor postural control, poor fine and motor control, and that link with asthma. We also see in the literature the use of acetaminophen has increased risk of asthma and eczema.

Basically, it will be that asthma, eczema, and allergies kind of all roll in the same bucket. You oftentimes see kiddos and adults with those three altogether. Acetaminophen users were 63% more likely to have asthma than non-users. Again, it could be that because they’re wiping out their master antioxidant, they’re going to have a higher toxic load, especially in the gut. Gut issues are often associated with asthma. Of course, it’s wiping out our ability to make these prostaglandins, which is needed for good gut integrity. So, there’s that link there. And then we showed you the link between posture control and asthma.

As far as we know, as far as this research we have in chiropractic and asthma, these are mostly clinical studies that we see. But in this one, the Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association, their conclusion was that evidence suggests that chiropractic care should be a part of the protocol in those with asthma. Again, we see this clinically in our practices.

What I really wanted you to take home from this is that looking at the whole systems wide approach, starting with moms during pregnancy. If we simply take the one paradigm of lower back pain, and/or neck pain, or headaches during pregnancy, affording them relief through chiropractic care … which we know is critical, and which is very effective … minimizing or obliterating the exposure, to one toxic. Just one toxic load of acetaminophen. And the long-term potential consequences that we could intervene and interject to create a life of optimal wellness, optimal health, of optimal neurological integrity, physical and mental health as well by spreading the word in your communities about the benefits of chiropractic care.

Hopefully this tied some pieces together. I know I’ve had a lot of questions over the years in regards to all of this information. Please understand it’s more than glutathione. We have that prostaglandin [inaudible 00:23:29]. But my take home, I think, would be is when you know better, you can do better. But when you know more, it’s your responsibility to get out there and educate more, and to tell the truth on what we have to offer in regards to chiropractic care, and especially in prenatal health and prenatal development.

That’s my spiel for you for this month. Be sure to join the amazing Dr. Erik Kowalke the first Thursday of every month. I’ll be back the third Thursday of June with a surprise guest. Again, thank you ChiroSecure for giving us this platform, giving us this ability to share a message, and to get out there and change the trajectory of life and health for all those kiddos on the planet. Remember, pivot don’t panic. Change your message from pain to brain, and together we rise. I’m out. We’ll see you next month.

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