What can I do about my baby’s cradle cap?

My eight-month-old son has cradle cap, which is quite thick in places. What natural remedies would you suggest?

Cradle cap is a form of seborrheic dermatitis and it usually doesn’t cause any discomfort. It is a very common issue in the first 12 months of a baby’s life.

There is a commonly held belief that cradle cap is most prevalent in babies with very little hair, however there is no evidence to suggest that there is any tangible link between lack of hair and the development of cradle cap.

Levels of biotin and essential fatty acids (EFAs) are often found to be lower in babies who develop this condition.

Biotin is one of the B vitamins (sometimes known as B7), of particular importance to the health of hair and nails, while aiding the uptake of folic acid (B9), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B12, and proteins.

Foods rich in biotin include raw milk, whole grains, soybeans, egg yolk, liver, and nutritional yeast. If you are still breastfeeding your son, you can supplement daily with biotin (10mg), or ensure that you get plenty of biotin-rich foods in your own diet.

You can also apply EFA-rich oils to your son’s scalp, such as evening primrose oil, borage, and hempseed. If you are breastfeeding, you can also supplement your diet with these oils.

It is a good idea to take a look at any shower/bath products that you use for your son.

Shampoo, body wash, soaps, and even toothpastes can all play a part in skin conditions. Try to choose products that are as natural as possible, preferably ones without any scent — even essential oils are over-used in many natural products.

My mother, who is 80, has been diagnosed with early stage dementia. She is still quite independent, despite short-term memory loss. Is there a remedy or supplement that would help?

Two of the more surprising markers for dementia are blood pressure and homocysteine levels, so it is a good idea to have these checked.

According to Dr Michael Valenzuela of the University of New South Wales Regenerative Neuroscience Group (and also the author of Maintain Your Brain): “The number one thing a person can do to prevent dementia is to have their blood pressure checked regularly and if it is high, take measures to bring it under control.”

Until recently, it was thought that B vitamins could help to prevent some dementia-related disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s, since the B vitamins reduce homocysteine levels effectively.

However, a series of Oxford trials involving 22,000 participants showed that, while B vitamins successfully reduced homocysteine as expected, this did not translate to a reduction in cognitive decline.

Environmental toxicity (including pollution, household chemicals, and mercury amalgams) are implicated in neurological degeneration. If possible, your mother will do best with meals made using fresh, local organic or spray-free foods and ingredients.

You should also ensure that she is using natural personal care and household cleaning products. This will certainly reduce her exposure to these toxic chemicals.

Oxygenating, mineral-rich herbs are also helpful, since there is a direct link between lack of oxygen and minerals to the brain and dementia-related illnesses.

Oxygenating herbs include gotu kola, black walnut, blessed thistle, lifeflower (breviscapini), holy basil, and damiana.

NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.