Paavo Airola - Health Forum - Vegetarian Times - July 1983 Index

The Diet of Infants

Q. In the November, 1981 issue of Vegetarian Times, you answered a question regarding colicky babies. I would like to relate my experience with my two sons. My first son was started on Similac. At the suggestion of a doctor, I switched him to a soy formula, which seemed to make his colic worse. Then I happened to see Adelle Davis' Let's Have Healthy Children. I followed her suggestion, making my son's formula using torula yeast. Results: no more colic! My second son was breast-fed until the age of three months. During that time, my diet included plenty of lecithin, torula yeast and wheat germ. No colic. Still no colic when I switched him to the homemade formula. Perhaps this will help other mothers.

May I suggest that B vitamins should be obtained from natural sources whenever possible in order to assure a good balance. I do not always agree with Adelle Davis, and I am sure you don't either, but I did learn one thing from her books: too much of one B vitamin can make you deficient in the others. My experience seems to bear this out. Whenever I take yeast which is fortified with only some of the Bs, I get poor results, including breakouts of acne and eczema. Again, wheat germ and brewer's yeast together will clear it up.

Another thing, perhaps it is true that children who are allergic to milk would be better off if they drank only raw milk. - K.H., Tuscon, Arizona

Thank you, K.H., for your wise words of advice. May I add that there is much evidence that in a breast-fed baby, colic may be caused by the baby's allergy to certain foods the nursing mother eats. The quality of the mother's milk is affected by her diet. Some babies are extremely sensitive to the changes in their mother's menu. Certain foods bring immediate reactions in the babies in the form of gas and digestive distress. According to Lendom H. Smith, M.D., a famous pediatrician, the most commonly-offensive foods in this regard are garlic, onions, cabbage, beans, chocolate, fish (especially tuna), eggs, corn and wheat. Some mothers reported to me that broccoli, cauliflower, and citrus fruits can also give babies colic-indigestion. This sensitivity of the baby to certain foods in the nursing mother's diet explains why at a certain time of the day he is perfectly happy with breast milk, at other times, he is not. When the baby is nursed after the mother ate the meal which included the offensive foods, the milk will contain the substances that are disagreeable to the baby's digestive system. One nursing mother told me that when she took B-complex vitamins, her baby cried with colic every day for two weeks. She discontinued taking the vitamin and the baby's crying stopped immediately. She tried B-vitamins again and the colic returned within six hours.

Bottle-fed babies are often allergic to some ingredient in the formula, usually to cow's milk. Changing formulas and using either goat's milk or soy milk may be helpful in solving the problem. The infant may be sensitive to vitamin drops or even to a specific sugar in the formula. Lactose or milk sugar is usually the best-tolerated sweetener. The reason breast-fed babies suffer less often from digestive disorders and colitis is that mother's milk contains several protective factors that help prevent gastrointestinal disorders in infants. Recent studies show that breast milk contains secretory IgA, as well as other substances which may protect infants from enterocolitis and other intestinal disorders. None of these protective factors are found in formulas, of course. Lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme, is present in appreciable quantities in human milk and may produce a bactericidal effect. The bifidus factor in breast milk, a group of polysaccharides, promotes the growth of the beneficial bacterial flora in infants' intestines, particularly Lactobacillus bifidus, which lowers the pH of the intestinal tract and, thus, inhibits the growth of E. coli, yeast and Shigella. Lactoferrin, which is also present in human milk, inhibits the growth of Staphylococci and E. coli.

The combined effects of all the above-mentioned protective factors in mother's milk are responsible for the fact that breast-fed babies are not as likely as bottle-fed babies to be colicky.

Questions on Yeast!

Q. Recently I have begun using brewer's yeast as a food supplement. I have read how yeast is rich in B vitamins and is supposed to be good for the nervous system and skin, and for iron deficiencies. I would like to know:

  1. Is debittered yeast as nutritious as non-debittered?
  2. What, if any, are the nutrient differences between torula and brewer's yeast?
  3. Must brewer's yeast be refrigerated?
  4. What other foods or vitamins must I take for the proper assimilation of the yeast?
  5. What kind of yeast is most nutritious to use for baking of breads, cakes or cookies?
  6. Can yeast be used as a supplement indefinitely, or are there long-term harmful side effects from it?
  7. Does brewer's yeast turn rancid?

-B.A., Tucson, Arizona

A. Since your questions about yeast are of general interest, I will answer them in the order asked:

  1. For all practical purposes, yes.
  2. Their B-vitamin and protein content is very similar. But brewer's yeast contains selenium, zinc, chromium, iron and many other trace elements which torula yeast lacks.
  3. If nutritional powdered yeast is kept in a sealed container in a cool, dry place, no refrigeration is necessary.
  4. Yeast is best digested and assimilated if taken on an empty stomach with some sour fruit juice, preferably pineapple or lemon juice, diluted 50-50 with water.
  5. You don't bake breads with nutritional yeasts - you use baker's yeast, a yeast sold in every supermarket specifically for baking. The nutritional value of baker's yeast is of no real significance since such a small quantity is used, but if you are concerned with improving the nutritional quality of your bread, you may add brewer's yeast or any other nutritional yeast to the flour about 2-3 tablespoons per loaf.
  6. If you use large quantities of brewer's yeast as a dietary supplement, you should take extra calcium, since yeast is low in calcium and rich in phosphorous. To balance these two minerals, you should add about 2-3 teaspoons of calcium lactate powder to each pound of yeast.
  7. Brewer's yeast is quite stable in terms of rancidity, and does not turn rancid or stale for months, even years, if kept in a cool dark place.

Causes of Ridged Nails

Q. For many years, I have had ridges in all my fingernails running from the cuticle right to the tip of the nail, with the result that my nails always break when reaching a certain length. I take the following supplements daily: vitamins A, B, C, E and B-complex, and also calcium pangamate, brewer's yeast, dolomite or bone meal tablets, zinc (50-100 mg.), and kelp. Can you tell me what causes these ridges and what I can do or take to eliminate this problem ? = M.H., London, Ontario

A. Longitudinal ridges in fingernails, are considered to be symptomatic of anemia. Low-grade anemia in women is common, even though nutrition seems to be adequate. Vitamin A is important for fingernail health. You didn't mention the dosages of the vitamins that you take. You should take 25,000 units of vitamin A daily. Brewer's yeast is also important. Make sure your digestion is effective and that you have sufficient hydrochloric acid to properly digest and assimilate nutrients, especially minerals. I personally think that unexplained persistence of longitudinal ridges may indicate that an individual had anemia, perhaps drug-induced, sometime in the past, although he may be perfectly healthy at present - yet the ridges continue because the growth pattern of the fingernails has been permanently altered, possibly by drugs.