Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Slogan of Illusion

Why do we use the slogan, "the risks of not breastfeeding?" What does that mean? If there are risks of not breastfeeding, then there must be risks of breastfeeding. Relatively speaking the biological use of our bodies does create some risks. We use our legs and can walk. Therefore we risk falling down and getting hurt or dying. We can walk into traffic and die. Ultimately, walking isn't really risky. Nor is it really a choice, although we can refuse to walk and we can die while walking. Would we discuss, "the risks of not walking?" There is no need to discuss it. Walking is our normal biology. Likewise, breastfeeding is our normal biology.

What is the strategy behind the slogan of "the risks of not breastfeeding?" We avoid the real discussion of the risks of artificial baby milks/infant formula. Avoidance of issues, reminds me of the codependent behavior of families who are dealing with addictive behavior. Codependent behavior avoids the discussion of the reality of addiction. Daddy wasn't drunk last night, he was just sleepy. Mommy isn't addicted to painkillers, she just popps them alot because she is in so much pain. It is the refusal to see the reality and the refusal to talk about that reality. Aren't we, the lactation profession, dealing with an addiction? Aren't the dealers the infant formula industry? The freebies to get ya started, just one bottle. Society blames the victim/the mother for weakness, for giving into the one bottle. And there sits the dealer/the industry wealthier and more powerful than ever. And there sits the victim, poorer and powerless. She feels "guilty" because society would rather blame the victim than speak "truth to power."

The issue is quite simply, "the risks of artificial baby milks/infant formula. "
Infant feeding becomes a choice because industry is creating that illusion for a purpose, for a society of their choosing. The patents on human milk components shows that the illusion is to support the ownership and monopolization of infant feeding by the corporate world. Infant formula feeding is the risk.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Imitating human milk, genetic equivalency?

How does one imitate life? Can we make infant formula genetically equivalent to human milk? Will the industry find every component of human milk to engineer? And will industry create the research and the policy to make each component required substances in baby milks? Seems like they are already moving down that road. DHA, genetically engineered is a good example of funding the research, creating support through breastfeeding organizations, and then persuading governmental institutions to rubberstamp its necessity.

How for example is a genetically engineered amino acid like L-glutamic acid equivalent to the L-glutamic acid in human milk? How can we suppose that a fermented and mutant bacteria can create the same substance as human milk? Just as we seem to suppose that DHA made by some fermented mutant algae can create health. Or a fermented mutant yeast can create the ARA of human milk?

The new, improved infant formulas created to imitate human milk is beneficial to who? If human milk is the gold standard, then the race by industry is to imitate it and "improve" it.
But maybe the premise of industry is the ultimate illusion. The reality is that humanmilk is more than its components. The complexity and the synergy of breastfeeding is that the system creates health for the giver and the receiver. It creates a physical need, the presence of both mother and infant. One cannot easily imitate such a system.

Should human milk be the gold standard of baby milks? Isn't the reality that nothing can be created by man that imitates this system? The reality is that all baby milks are risky. Mothers and babies risk their health by buying into the industry's illusion that somehow man can create an imitation of a system that meant the survival of babies but also the survival of mothers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

L-tryptophan tragedy 1980's

In 1989, a variety of persons around the world became very sick with severe muscle pain and high white blood counts (eosinophiles). Some people died but the exact number of people affected was never certain. At the time no one knew exactly what the disease was or how it spread. Eventually it was traced to L-tryptophan supplements. It was called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome. Contamination of the supplement was traced to one manufacturing company. I remember reading about it but I never saw anything written that discussed the fact that L-tryptophan was being genetically engineered. It was traced to a company that had genetically engineered the bacteria to produce greater amounts of L-tryptophan. In "Seeds of Deception," Jefferey Smith devotes a chapter to this tragedy.

One cannot help but wonder if the contamination of powdered infant formula with e.sakazakii is related to the genetic engineering of L-glutamic acid or other amino acids. I read another patent owned by Archer Daniels Midland Co. called "Production of tryptophan by microorganisms" patent # 5939295 filed in 1996 in which the suggested mutated microbes included enterbacter. How do we know if the production of L-glutamic acid or L-tryptophan through mutated bacteria is safe? Safe for adults? Safe for children? Safe for infants? Save for preterm infants? Many of the specialty formulas are used on preterm infants. For instance Neocate is an amino acid based formula. If all your amino acids are genetically engineered, what bacterias are being used in production. Is it possible that the mix of these amino acids might in some cases produce a more potent bacteria, resistant to antibiotics? How do we know they are stable? How do we know that the gut doesn't absorb them? Where are the studies? Are we presuming the safety of these components without testing? We are certainly presuming that the consumer or should I say the buyer of the product should remain clueless to the contents.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

e.sakazakii, intrinsic contamination?

Manufacturing amino acids is done through the use of mutated organisms, genetic engineering. L-tryptophan and L-glutamic acid are produced through these methods. One company in Japan, called Ajinomoto has a US Patent called "L-glutamic acid-producing bacterium and method for producing L-glutamic acid," #6331419, filed in 1999. This particular patent discusses the use of bacterium from the genus Enterobacter, including enterobacter sakazakii, in the production of L-glutamic acid. Ajinomoto supplies amino acids for the infant formula industry(they have a US office in North Carolina).

How stable are these mutated organisms? Is stability dependent on whether they are within a powdered form or liquid form? According to Jefferey Smith's book, "Seeds of Deception" :

"Scientists who genetically modified yeast to increase its fermentation were shocked to discover that it also increased levels of naturally occurring toxin by 40-200 times."

Is anyone studying this situation?