Image credit from medicalnewstoday.com

AMAZINGLY, this column has been discussing nutritional support for the brain health of children for many years. Last week, one woman fished out for me from her archive of the print version of my column the publication in this newspaper on Thursday, 9th July 2009 about 10 years ago in four months time. It was titled: BABY CHIDOZIE OGU, BRIGHT KIDS AND SMART KIDS (2). That baby must be in junior secondary school now. He was one of many babies of his time, who started life on earth off with LIQUID CHLOROPHYLL, which had just made its debut in the Nigerian market.

Giving newborns chlorophyll in Nigeria was akin to a revolution. Many mothers knew of only glucose and the other sugar-embalmed formulas said to have been vitaminised and mineralised and heavily backed with advertisements. Baby Ogu started off from a few drops in water whenever he had to be waterfed. He grew up not knowing of any of those infant infections. His bones grew big and strong. He did not know of anaemia, was an agile baby and child and did well at school. I remember other chlorophyll babies in Lagos. One woman gave her three children bottles of “green” water with little natural honey in each of them. Their teachers and minders, at a private primary school, confisticated the bottles at break time and called their mother. Apparently, these teachers and minders were used to only cans of soft drinks and assorted biscuits, not to mention other pallate pleasers.

Before I return to baby Ogu, if I will have the time, let me quickly mention some of the health benefits of chlorophyll for babies, children and adults alike, according to the practice experience of Dr Bernard Jensen, who has practised natural healing therapies for over 70 years and lectured in more than 24 countries. His testimonial on healing with fruit and vegetable juices suggests that he has counselled and taught more than 350,000 patients”, and received many prestigious health and medicine awards. In his book, Dr Jensen’s
JUICING THERAPY, which features “a comprehensive and anàlytical guide and over 100 easy-to-make delicious recipes”, including “information on juices for babies and children”, says of the health benefits of chlorophyll: “…It improves the blood clotting ability as it builds up and cleanses the bloodstream. Experiments earlier in this century show that chlorophyll has antiseptic properties and is effective in disinfecting wounds. It is also a rejuvenating factor when used with a balanced diet. Green juices are a special gift from Mother Nature in detoxifying, cleansing and restoring a polluted run down body”.

In a section of the book (ISBN No 0-658-00279-1) which I recommend for your health library, Dr Jensen says under the subtitle: REMEDIAL EFFECTS OF CHLOROPHYL:
“… (It) helps build a high blood count, counteracts toxins, helps purify the liver, feeds tissues magnesium, alleviates blood sugar problems, improves milk production, reduces or eliminates body odour, improves nasal drainage, relieves sore throat, soothes gastric ulcers, reduces catarrhal discharges, improves varicose veins, cleans and deodorises towel, soothes inflammation of some types of hepatitis, supports blood coagulation in hemophilia, alleviates symptoms of asthma, helps sores heal faster, destroys bacteria in wounds, slows nasal drip, benefits inflamed lymph organs. (tonsils, appendix, etc, soothes painful haemorrhoids, revitalises vascular system, reduces pain caused by inflammation”…
What does chlorophyll not accomplish? Ladies and gentlemen, that is why, in this column,you often read about chlorophyll and beta carotene rich plant sources as spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, papaya leaves, kale, coriander or cilantro, lemon grass powder, spinach, ewedu (Yoruba), Dandelion, beet, sparsely, cabbage, asparagus etc.

BABY OGU

The baby Ogu column of 2009 was all about the need for parents to attend to the nutritional needs of children. Many parents then, and perhaps even now, believe babies and children, should be full of life and require no nutritional supplements to support their health, especially mental health. So, they do not mind that these children eat lots of junk food in the wrong notion that “they will burn it, anyway”. Thus, adults and parents tend to look after only themselves beyond the ” dead” daily diet. Even when children are not coping well at school or are hyperactive or deviant or sailing towards criminal tendencies, these are not related to the diet. In addition to this series, I suggest that parents who are interested in the health of their children ask GOOGLE for the articles by Femi Kusa titled: BABY CHIDOZIE OGU, BRIGHT KIDS AND SMART KIDS (1) and also (2).

Bright kids and smart kids were two of the nutritional supplements for children which found their ways into the Nigerian market about 10 years ago in the expectation of their promoters that Nigerian parents were truly child-loving, given the vast sums they expend on education and junk food every year. These products appear extinct in the market now because of low patronage. Of them I wrote in 2009:

“This is the second part of this series on some health challenges of infants and children which have been found to disappear with changes in their diet and to invite attention to some food supplements for children which may help to improve their health. Among these are forever kids, smart kids, Bright brain, berrylicious super multi-yummie veggie fruities and immune zapper.

“The column welcomes the multi vitamins blend smart kids to Nigeria when it arrived a few months ago. Forever kids has long been in the market. Bright Brain is targeted at brain support and concentration.Yummie veggie fruities takes cognisance of United Nations’ requirements of three servings of fruits and vegetable servings daily for the children. Immune zapper is about boosting immunity and keeping diseases at bay. The first part named Baby Chidozie Ogu as BABY OF THE DAY because his mother cut off sugar from his diet and, in its place, gave him SPLINA LIQUID CHLOROPHYLL”

That column also mentioned nutritional deficiencies, which children often encountered and the health challenges they may cause which may affect learning and normal behaviours. Many of them are grossly deficient in (visual, skin and immunity problems),Vitamin B-complex (sore tongue, weight loss, back pain, tingling in hands and feet, soreness and weakness in arms and legs, disorientation, memory loss, stammering speech, awkward walking, loss of pain sensitivity, nervousness, numbness, stiffness, offensive body odour, hot and cold feelings, menstrual irregularities and psychotic symptoms. “Deficiency may go undetected over a five or 10year period”.

In this part of the present series, I do not think I would have more to say on chlorophyll (Dr Jensen has said it all), except to add that today, greens and chlorophyll market is better blessed with freeze dried green powders of chlorophyll-rich plant powders, which may be added to fruit juices, meals or, in the case of children, added, along with honey, to the water in the water bottle they take to school.Today, I will like to address at least, two more supplements, which may help the brains of children to function better, to which parents still pay little or no attention. By the way, it is not only children who can profit from these food supplements. After all, we are talking about SCATTERBRAIN CHILDREN AND ADULTS. What is good for the goose, we say,is good for the gander as well.
So, today, I would like to talk about GOTU KOLA, OMEGA 3 OIL and SUPER I-Q BRAIN FUNCTION, a proprietary blend in the class of such other proprietaries as BEHAVIOUR BALANCE,AND PERFECT MOOD.

GOTU KOLA

I do not wish to get involved in the controversy about whether this brain and nerve energiser and life extender really made an Asian man live up to 236years because he took it all of his adult life.There is no smoke without a fire, we know. Many scientific studies have accepted that the leaves and roots of this herb, shaped like the human brain, its function and toning signature tune, actually prolongs the lives of cells. It does this, say scientists, not simply because it is an antioxidant, protecting against the ravages of free radicals, which are found implicated in more than 200 degenerative diseases, but more because of its prowess as a circulatory herb. Gotu kola makes sure blood and nutrients are circulated to remotest cells as well as ensure that waste products of metabolism and other toxins are removed from these places.When the blood is clean, and oxygen and other nutrients are well delivered as wastes, and toxins are well removed as well, what are we to expect? I do not wish to speak about the varied health blessings of gotu kola today, but about its impact on the brain of the young and the old alike, and related matters.

Dr Robert Atkins, now of blessed memory, said in his VITA NUTRIENT SOLUTION:

“There is also some evidence that gotu kola energises the brain. Some experts have speculated that it prompts the body to manufacture CHOLINE which might explain why it can enhance brain function in mentally retarded children.

In the PRESCRIPTIONS FOR NATURAL CURES, James F.Balch N.D., and Max Stengler N.D., say gotu kola is used for “poor memory, connective tissue healing,varicose veins, burns, sarcoidis”

Dr Atkins, Dr Balch and Dr Stengler chart the pathways of gotu kola activities. Choline is a cousin of inositol and they abound plentifully in lecithin, found largely in soya products. Lecithin is not only a fat burner but a brain antioxidant and brain energiser. Connective tissue overgrowth, which gotu kola is said to check, disturbs blood circulation, just as do varicose veins and phlebitis (inflammation of the blood vessels).

Some of the new or emerging evidence that gotu kola is a mental health herb are that it…

• Promotes balanced activities or harmony between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. (Disharmony or disequilibrium impoverishes brain health and function)
• Promotes the growth of new brain cells.
• Helps the brain to produce a brain protein, a neurotrophic factor “called BDNF. (This protein supports the creation of new brain cells and protects existing ones against damage or premature aging. It helps also to make brain cells communicate faster and to store memory, almost infallibly neutralises free radicals, which may worry the brain and even damage it.

(These free radicals may include lead, aluminium, arsenic and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which has now become a popular food seasoning in Nigerian kitchens. All of these and more may be culprits in migraines and other headaches. The antioxidant power in gotu kola is said to neutralise them).

•Helps to overcome anxiety and improve mood, major concerns in many AD/ADHD children and adults. (Researchers say gotu kola reduces chronic and acute stress by about 50 per cent and induces calmness and alertness 100 per cent).
• Promotes sleep, a brain function. (Many studies suggest that lack of sleep or sleep disorders may cause mental fatigue, attention deficit, short term memory loss. In Asia, gotu kola tea, to which pure honey is added, has been used for centuries to calm tremulous nerves and induce sleep quality).

• Improves Cognition.
(In 2016, a study compared the effects of gotu kola extracts and pharmaceutical grade folic acid in stroke patients, who needed to get their memory back and sharpened. Both were found to work well.But gotu kola was reported to have more startling effects on the boosting of flagging memory).
• Helps in cases of depression, according to a 2016 report. (After taking it for two months, anxiety and depression patients noticed significantly lower symptoms of anxiety,stress and depression. One animal study claimed, also, dramatic positive impact on animals subjected to stress and anxiety).

• Makes Vitamin E more effective. For long,Vitamin E has been largely known for heart and muscle health. It has come to light that,when combined with Vitamin C, especially, their combination prevents age-related decline of cognition, minimises memory loss, dementia and many brain defects in the elderly.This may not be surprising because stress and anxiety consume Vitamin C in the body).

• Supports brain function in Alzheimer’s, a terrible neuro-degenerative disease. (Alzheimer’s patients are noted for lowered levels of acetylcholine, a neuro-transmitter or brain chemical associated with memory and learning. Doctors prescribe powerful drugs with dangerous side effects to prevent breakdown of acetylcholine. In psychiatric hospital setting in Nigeria, doctors do not like to hear about gotu kola. Yet, there is abundant scientific evidence that this herb, abundantly endowed with triterpens, a group of chemical substances, which prevent breakdowns of acetyl choline. I have seen post-hospital patients who have not had to return to hospital or become dependent on hospital drugs all their lives simply because they helped their brains after hospital sojourn, which was necessary at a time,with natural brain-health aids.Tripertenes are noted for reducing the accumulation of amyloid plaque, which is believed to be behind Alzheimer’s disease, a condition in which a patient may not remember anything, including his name or his children’s).

I can see many parents of AD/ADHD children written off as Scatterbrains brimming with hope. So can I of many adults who do not appear to be able to get their acts together.

Surely, mother nature, who teaches us the language our creator speaks to us has not left us stranded in matters of brain health. The value and usefulness of many plants in the gardens of mother nature corresponds with the shapes of organs in the body they impact upon.I was glad the day I related the black walnut to the brain as I was the day I related red kidney bean pod to the kidney and that day I discovered Gotu kola.

To be continued.