March 5, 2011

028 ADHD and Nutrition [8 Sept 2009]

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a major problem in the homes and schools of North America. Current estimates of ADHD in school-aged children in the United States (likely similar in Canada) range from 5 to 12 percent. Boys are 3 to 4 times more likely than girls to have this disorder.

A common solution is a prescription of a neuro-stimulant narcotic such as Ritalin.  These drugs however are not without serious side effects. What can be done to help these children nutritionally?

There is a lot of information available on nutritional approaches to ADHD. I have 8 different books in my store on this topic. The following was gleaned from a 2000 interview with Dr. Lendon Smith on the Dr. Mercola website.

Smith has found that children with ADHD can be helped nutritionally with:
·   Calcium (1000mg) and magnesium (500mg) especially if the child has muscle cramps and is very ticklish
·    Omega 3 EPA and DHA Essential fatty acids, especially if there is eczema or other skin conditions
·    B6 (50mg) if the child has poor dream recall
·    Avoiding milk if the child had chronic ear infections as a baby
·    Reducing simple carbs (sugar and white flour) to keep blood sugar even, if the child has severe mood swings
·    Finding and removing food allergens from their diet – eg milk, wheat, corn, chocolate, eggs, citrus (often their favorite food!). One sign of allergies is dark circles under the eyes.

More nutritional/environmental ideas from other sources:
·    Avoid food colourings and additives – a 2007 British study found artificial food colourings significantly increased hyperactivity in children
·    Specific amino acids like Tryptophan, 5HTP, Tyrosine and GABA –  these are required for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine
·    Ester C (500-2000mg) – this form of vitamin C is used effectively by Jeffrey Bland in his protocol for ADHD
·    Removal of toxic metals like lead, cadmium and aluminum – this has helped many with ADHD and other learning disorders
·    Limit television and computer time – a 2004 study found a correlation between hours of TV viewing at ages 1-3 and later development of ADHD

Nutritional approaches don’t just mask the symptoms; they seek to remedy the root of the problem. If your child has behavioral problems, you owe it to him or her to explore these ideas. Your child will thank you – and so will the rest of the family, and his or her teacher!

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

1 comment:

  1. I had an ADHD child in the 1980s & 90s and put him on the "Feingold diet" - which eliminated food color and preservatives and ASA (Acetylsalicylic Acid). There was a huge difference in the boy's behaviour. For those with hyperactive children, I would give *serious* consideration to reducing the ADHD child's intake of these irritants.