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Dec 11

Chia Seeds Send 6 Year-Old Boy to Hospital: Mother Demands Packaging Disclaimer

Six-year-old Maverick of Altoona, Iowa was rushed to the emergency room last Friday night by his parents because he was enduring severe stomach cramps. His mother was concerned because Maverick had no prior history with constipation or gastrointestinal pain. Initially she tried to relieve his pain by rubbing peppermint oil on his belly along with applying a heating pack; however, the symptoms continued without reprieve. They finally made the decision to take him to the hospital where they took an x-ray and found two blockages in his colon. After an in-depth discussion with the doctor it was concluded that the obstructions were probably due to over consumption of chia seeds!

267702-9727-31Maverick is a young lad who loves chia seeds and has been known to eat them by the spoonful. His mother thought they were a healthy after-school snack. He usually eats them in his yogurt but sometimes will consume them plain. Approximately 48 hours prior to the onset of his symptoms he ate about a ¼ – ½ cup of chia seeds and only consumed his regular intake of water. His mother was not aware, until their recent hospital visit, that chia seeds required adequate consumption of water in order to properly digest.

After spending hours in the emergency room, incurring a large out-of-pocket medical expense and watching her son in pain for hours, this mother is demanding proper labeling on chia seed packaging to ensure others don’t have to go through this trauma ever again. The mother reported, “I never thought a healthy snack could go so wrong. I thought I was doing a good thing by including chia seeds in his diet.”

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Strawberry Daiquiri Chia Smoothie

Maverick’s mother is insistent the FDA should act upon this issue soon because it bears a similar health risk as ingesting psyllium husk without the proper amount of fluids. If you review the FDA labeling guideline on foods containing psyllium husk it states that the following warning is required on the packaging: “NOTICE: This food should be eaten with at least a full glass of liquid. Eating this product without enough liquid may cause choking. Do not eat this product if you have difficulty in swallowing.” (1)

According to the FDA labeling guideline notated in the Code of Federal Regulations, in order for a similar notice to be required on food packaging, a “viscous adhesive mass must be formed when the food is exposed to liquids.” Therefore, chia seeds clearly fall under this product label requirement because they become a gelatinous mass when introduced to fluids. (1)

chia-gelMaverick is at home in stable condition but it could take weeks to clear the gummy chia seed blockages from his bowels. He is taking small doses of Miralax and his mother is watching his stools closely and monitoring any further cramping. She said it will be awhile before he can eat chia seeds again and that she will have to monitor his serving size and water intake very closely.

If you want to learn how to safely and deliciously incorporate chia seeds into your diet we have plenty of recipe resources for you here.  Remember to drink plenty of water alongside chia seeds.  We suggest limiting your daily intake of chia seeds to no more than 4 tablespoons.  Feel free to share your favorite way to eat chia seeds in the comments below!

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Mini Vegan Chocolate Lava Cake (made with chia “egg” replacer) 

 

 

Sources for this article include:

(1)  access.data.fda.gov

Photo Credits:

(1)  buzzle.com

(2)  fitbottomedeats.com

 

17 comments

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  1. Keri

    Thank you for sharing our story! Maverick is doing a little better. He still is not having regular stools like he did before. Those seeds really backed him up 🙁

    1. Jen

      Glad to hear he is slow recouping. Thank you for allowing us to share your story with others. After doing quite a bit of research I found that chia seeds are also detrimental to those with diverticulitis. It’s just another example of the “everything in moderation” principle…even superfoods can cause health issues. Hope is back to normal soon! Big hugs!

    2. JohnP

      Contacted the FDA to suggest a warning on a natural food? Come on… Why can’t some people take their licks, learn a lesson, and not make a federal case (I guess literally, here) about everything?

      What, do we need warning labels on bottles of honey to say that it might cause irritation when applied directly to the eye?!

    3. Common Sense Approach

      You might be more worried about the side effects of Miralax…

      http://gutsense.org/gutsense/the-role-of-miralax-laxative-in-autism-dementia-alzheimer.html

      http://gutsense.org/gutsense/flora.html

      1. Jen

        For sure, Miralax isn’t something I would recommend. Thankfully the mother of this young boy found an alternative with daily fresh prunes to taper off the Miralax and support his full recovery. Thanks for stopping by ExEv!

  2. Patricia. Houdek

    Always enjoy reading column. Like anything in life, moderation is everything. BUT I like many others tend to forget this. Or we just don’t know a lot of these things….that’s where your column comes in. From food, excerise and natural oils make our life easier and healthier. Appreciate it.

    1. Jen

      Thanks, Patricia! So happy to hear our site is bringing relevant and enlightening information into your life! We appreciate you stopping by and letting us know! 🙂

  3. Linda James

    I’ll be sure to let my daughter know about this because her kids love chia seeds too. Hope this little boy feels better soon.

  4. Sarah

    Boy with everyone saying chia seeds are a pure magical superfood I would’ve never thought they could be consumed wrong and cause health issues. Thanks for this information.

  5. Joan

    What are the health benefits of chia seeds? They seem to be a popular topic posted everywhere.

    1. Jen

      Hi Joan, chia seeds are loaded with fiber, omega fatty acids and protein!

  6. mark

    Do you think when you get some compensation off someone that your son will regain his health?

    1. Jen

      Hi Mark. The mother in this article has never mentioned any request or interest in financial compensation. She is simply asking that a proper warning label is placed on chia seeds. Also, he is still recovering. This was not a 48 hour ordeal.

  7. mcb

    Chia seeds are not sold or advertised as a snack. they are tiny flavorless seeds used as a health supplement. stupid parents for letting a kid consume so much.

  8. mcb

    Also a serving size is 1 tablespoon…so they don’t have to repackage or apologize for anything. just read what you are eating instead of cramming a package in your mouth

  9. phyllis arzola

    Thank you for your post, I had no idea a child would do this, please continue to post

    1. Jen

      Thank you, Phyllis, I appreciate your voice.

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