Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Get the Goodness of Mother's Milk Without Mom

It is really never too late to have a happy childhood, even if you are an adult! I say this because a lot of what contributes to a happy childhood is solid nutrition, specifically the nutrition that is present in mother's milk.

Mother's milk, as researcher Karl Abrams points out, "is that precious fluid created to uniquely prepare use for the long and special human journey." In other words, it's good stuff and a lot of people miss out on it early in life.

Luckily, there's a solution to this problem which doesn't involve going back in time. Instead, it's all about discovering what's so special about mother's milk, and knowing where to find these substances.

What's So Nutritionally Special about Mother's Milk?
Along with providing a great deal of nutritional and immune support as well as nurturing, mother's milk contains two specific ingredients that are very important to a happy childhood and to healthy adulthood: gamma linolenic acid and bifidobacterium. Both of these are extremely important early in life to a healthy immune system as well as for a strong sense of self-esteem. Let's take a look at each of these individually.

Gamma Linolenic Acid
Gamma linolenic acid, also called GLA, is an essential fatty acid that is critical to healthy cell membranes as well as the release of neurochemicals necessary to feel "up" and happy. Children who are breast fed get a rich source of GLA, and as such get a great "mood boost" the whole time they are nursing. Research suggests that a lack of GLA is one contributing cause of colic, nervousness, or fretfulness in babies.

In adults, just a small increase in GLA can create profound physiological changes, including:

- better mental attitude
- reduced depression
- help in weight loss
- improved skin tone
- mental clarity and alertness
- improved mood
- decreases high cholesterol levels

Although GLA is a very rare substance, you can find it in abundance in blue green algae (aphanizomenon flos aqua, which means "invisible living flower of the water" when translated from Greek). Roughly 10% of the dry weight of AFA blue green algae is GLA, which makes it a very rich source.

GLA is also found, in lesser concentrations, in evening primose oil, borage oil, and of course, mother's milk. Back in the day, GLA was probably the substance responsible for evening primrose oil being called the "King's cure-all" in England.

Bifidobacterium
This friendly bacteria, also called bifidus, is one of the biggest sources of immunity during a child's first two years of life. It's no wonder that it is present in mother's milk as well as in the birth canal during birth. This bacteria lives mostly in the large intestine (colon). In fact, in breast-fed children, 99 percent of the bacteria in the colon is bifidus.

This population of friendly bacteria decline as we age, and studies have linked this decline to a general decline in health as well. And it's no wonder. In studies, bifidus was proven to prevent the growth of certain viruses and bacteria in the body, and has even proven effective against toxic shock syndrome and nitrite toxicity. This is especially important if meat is part of your diet, since many meats contain high levels of nitrites and can eventually lead to toxicity.

On a mental-emotional level, bifidus is linked with feelings of self-esteem, as well as feeling supported and nurtured in life. Many fearful or depressed people, or people with low self-esteem, often experience a dramatic change when they add bifidus to their daily regimen. Either they did not get enough bifidus during childhood, or the stresses of living have decreased the levels of bifidus in their bodies. In either case, supplementing with bifidus can create a strong positive change, both physically and emotionally.

So now you see why mother's milk is really a special substance, and so important to a happy childhood. What's even better is that you can re-create a lot of the "good stuff" in mother's milk as an adult, by supplementing with GLA-rich foods like AFA blue green algae and evening primrose oil, as well as bifidus. What a simple solution to having a happy childhood today and every day!

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