Archive for the ‘Nutrition wth Food Allergies’ Category

Sizing Up Our Children

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I recently got involved with another food allergy mom tweeting about the effects of food allergies on a child’s growth and health.

Ummm, I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and I’m still not quite sure what to write. It’s a great topic that needs discussion. So, I’ve decided to ramble on and see what comes out.

When my boys where very young, I asked our allergist, whom I respect a great deal, a similar question. He didn’t seem very concerned, and commented that in some places around the world, such as Asia, dairy is not as prevalent in the diet as it is here in the U.S. And those people are fine. They get calcium from other sources, such as broccoli. He reassured me my boys would be fine with a well balanced diet even though they weren’t eating dairy, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, chicken, or turkey, at that point in time.

In spite of the reassurance, I let them eat their cereal with fortified soy formula for years due to a lack of a fortified substitute and my concern for their nutrition. In addition, in spurts I gave them gummy vitamins to supplement their food intake.

They seem fine. The 23 year old is slightly under 6’ tall and the 20 year old is about an inch less than that. I’m 5’5” and my husband is 6’3”. He has four brothers, ranging from 5’10” to 6’5”. His 3 sisters are between 5’3” and 5’5”.

My brother is a hair under 6’ and my sister is 5’6”. One grandmother is lucky if she used to be 5’ and the other 5’4”. The granddads are 6’ and 6’1”.

I have no idea how big mine are supposed to be. I do know that I look up to both of them.

My brother has been gradually losing his hair and the men in my husband’s family have widow’s peaks. My guys do have slight widow’s peaks, but no more or less than their uncles.

I’ve worried about the nutrition topic intermittently, all the while trying to do the best I could.

I was reminded of the nutrition topic back in 1993 when my eleven year old nephew, who does not have food allergies, went for a year and a half in a body brace due to a stress fracture to one of his lower vertebrae that refused to heal. One day, per the advice of Auntie Jean, who happens to be a nurse, my sister started to give him calcium supplements. He magically healed.

Of course, I then tried to get my guys to take calcium supplements. And they did for a little while, but that routine was too much of a battle to last very long.

In 2002, my then 12 year old, who had food allergies including dairy, presented with osteopenia after 6 months on crutches due to a complicated convoluted ankle problem. After two back to back stress fractures of that same limb, the calcium pills were front and center on our kitchen table. Fortunately for all of us, he was about to start his growth spurt, so his body feasted on that extra calcium for a year, and with the help of some impact exercise his bone density climbed right back to where it needed to be.

Shortly thereafter, we got the call that he was free of his food allergies (posted on this same blog under “Outgrow Food Allergy”), so I worry less about him.

A year later, I got lax again about pushing the calcium pills, and now I find I have a bone density issue of my own. Although, I’m not sure if I can blame it on our milk free sanctuary. I’m more inclined to think the 10 years on Prevacid/Prilosec are to blame. Or maybe it’s genetic? But what do I know?

Shortly after I was diagnosed, research showed that people on proton pump inhibitors do not absorb calcium the way they should. Lucky me, a year before the announcement I had dropped the meds and simply had to add Reclast and LOTS of calcium to my routine. AGAIN. BTW, I do exercise often!

Bottom line, our bodies need certain things to grow and stay healthy. How we look on the outside does not always correlate with what we are building (or not building) on the inside. Remember, I’m not a medical professional, but I think two issues are at play here. First, do we give our bodies what they need? And second, do our bodies have the ability to absorb and use the nutrition they are given, or is there an underlying condition getting in the way?

There are so many specialists out there that it can be overwhelming to find the right one. I usually start with our primary care physician or allergist depending on the problem. I talk to friends to see who had a similar situation and found a physician with a successful solution. I listen to my parental intuition. Remember, you’re reading an article by a woman who saw three allergists in a month before she felt she had the “right one”.

I love my endocrinologist. She can test to see how much calcium is in my blood and whether or not my body is absorbing it. And when I talk, I feel like she is listening to me and I have confidence that she will not let me down. It’s my understanding that some endocrinologists deal with growth issues. This may or may not be appropriate for some readers.

Bottom line….when my parental intuition is not happy, I poke around and do research until it is.

Any comments?