The Biochemistry Behind Parenting
(Or, Say Hello to
What traits makes a great parent? In
my book they include patience, fairness, flexibility, firmness and
unconditional love. As a single mother, I know how just how hard
it is. I remember my pediatrician told me when I was particularly
exasperated when my son was going through the terrible twos that
the only difference between a loving parent and a child abuser was
we thought about it but they actually did it.
In addition to the psychological component, there is a physiological
component to good parenting. It is the trace mineral manganese. Long
called "the mothering nutrient", manganese levels provide telling
biological clues about your feelings toward both your children and
Aminal studies have deprived mice of manganese until they suffered
a deficiency. This biochemical imbalance severely impaired their
reproductive ability. What's worse, the mice who did have litters
totally ignored and refused to nurture their young. But, when their
manganese levels improved, they took more interest in mothering.
In humans, a manganese deficiency causes defective ovulation and
ovarian degeneration in females and testicular degeneration in males.
Increased infant mortality occurs when the mother lacks manganese
Quite a few of my customers have a manganese shortage when I look
at their Tissue Mineral Analysis results. (The TMA is a clinical
lab test performed by a federally licensed lab that charts 35 trace
elements and heavy metals. Meltdown sells this test, performed by
one of 13 chartered labs in America.) When I talk to them about their
children, a whole lot of them are either not particularly interested
in their children's welfare or seem overwhelmed by the whole parenting
You can have too much manganese and be a bad parent, too. Mild manganese
toxicity causes insomnia, mental excitement and compulsive actions.
I'll guarantee you the Milwaukee father who severely beat his son
last year because he was bothering him while he watched the Dallas-Green
Bay game on TV was real short on manganese.
Alcoholics are more prone to manganese toxicity than others. And
people with excessive manganese levels also tend to be toxic with
iron, too. Too much iron can cause volcanic, irrational rages. I'll
bet OJ had too much iron and manganese on that fateful night.
Interestingly, some people have none of these symptoms yet are toxic
with manganese. When I visit with them, I discover many had some
disastrous emotional event with a parent. In addition to abuse, a
singular event can cause the toxicity.
In one case, a father gave a mortgage free house to his daughter
and her husband as a wedding present. After a few years, he and his
daughter got into a minor quarrel. He then sold the house even though
he didn't need the money, even though the couple was about to have
their first child and the husband had just been laid off. Not a real
good time to be put out on the street. The daughter was quite angry
about this and it caused her manganese levels to rise and remain
After a couple years of therapy, she was able to resolve the situation
in her mind. She was strong enough to repair her relationship with
her father. Thereafter, the couple miraculously found a fixer-upper
in Los Angeles that was perfect for them and bought their own home,
one that no one (but the bank!) could take away from them. Soon after
they moved in, her TMA showed a marked decrease in manganese.
How do you fix a manganese deficiency or toxicity? Each is easily
fixable (assuming the problem is not emotional) becaus tissue manganese
levels are directly related to the substance's availability in the
diet. Fresh vegetables are high in manganese. However, a vegetarian
diet does not necessarily improve manganese levels.
Meat, on the other hand, is not a good source of manganese. But scientific
studies have found that subjects eating a high protein diet have
a healthier manganese status than those eating a diet low in protein.
That's because meat enhances the bio-availability of manganese. Therefore,
eating meat -- or any lean protein (fish, poultry without the skin,
eggs, white meat pork) with fresh vegetables ensures that the body
will be able to absorb enough manganese.
Although tea is rich in manganese, it is unavailable for absorption
because of the tannin content of the drink. Alcohol, on the other
hand, increases the liver's manganese level and apparently doubles
Nutrition has a very powerful effect on emotions. If you have children,
you have a strong responsibility to eat yourself patient! Get that
manganese in the zone.
Freud once said ignorance is no excuse for dumb behavior.
In the Meltdown interpretation of those words, ignorance is a
choice we make to prevent ourselves from making difficult changes
in our lives even though we really know better. Now you have
no excuse not to get healthy!