ADHD – Natural Help for Developmental Problems,  or The Young Brain on Junk

ADHDby Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

At a time when Americans are searching for causes of developmental problems, learning disabilities,  aggression and violence among children, it would make sense to consider faulty nutrition, food additives, tobacco additives, toxic metals, pesticides and other endocrine-disrupting industrial toxicants not to mention pharmaceuticals  —  all of which many U.S. children are exposed to from the moment of conception onward. adhd

As a society, we need to be aware of the impact this serious disruptive behavioral trend is having in 3 major ways:

  • The added expense to our schools, which requires the support of our ever-rising property taxes
  • The impact on correctional institutions, both from the point of view of the under-served child, and (again) the added expense to Society.
  • The impact on our Nation of declining intelligence and scholastic ability. Student achievement has stagnated or fallen in most subjects since 1970, with the largest and most thoroughly established decline occurring in basic literacy.

There are already those who charge that a bias exists in the system to “get rid of” children who need additional and expensive support systems. adhd

And in turn, this is reflected in the juvenile justice system where (while little is heard of this fact, since race and poverty are the more fashionable research options for delinquency)  developmentally challenged children are over-represented. adhd

I read an expert opinion the other day, which opined that there are two camps on the subject of ADD / ADHD: one that believes it is an imaginary disorder invented simply to sell medication, and the other which believes that pretty much everyone could benefit from treatment.There is a THIRD camp, however, which acknowledges the existence of the problem, but believes, with a great deal of evidence both scientific and empirical, that dietary and environmental factors are the root cause.

The role of improper diet HAS to be acknowledged, and proper feeding of our children addressed by (in order of probability) Parents and religious organizations, school districts, and the Government. adhd

A friend and colleague of mine, Carol Simontacchi, has written a book I cannot recommend too highly, which draws a road map of the effect faulty diet has on the developing brain  and the susceptible brain of the adolescent.  It is called “The Crazy Makers – or How the Food Industry is destroying our brains and harming our children” and can be ordered from her website here – you will need to scroll down the page to locate it: it is item #10. You will  also find outlines for successful and “do-able” strategies for the family. adhd

She has given me permission to quote the following from the book:

WHY DO TEENAGERS SELF-DESTRUCTadhd signs

“When these kids try to destroy themselves and the others around them, they are continuing down the path they started when they were born, continuing the destruction of their own brain cells … From outcome studies that compare the test scores of teenagers who eat well and teenagers who eat the typical American diet, we can assume that some physical damage has been done, or that something is not functioning correctly in the brain.” adhd

THESE KIDS WILL NEVER LIVE UP TO THEIR POTENTIAL.  WE WON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEIR POTENTIAL WAS.”  (Lynn: my emphasis)”

Even more alarming to me (bearing in mind that either aspartame, sucralose or MSG is in everything young people crave:  potato chips, pops, even milk)  is the connection being made between obesity and these foods – I use the term “food” lightly. Now we have to face the possibility that our children’s mental acuity, their weight, and even their future fertility are all being affected by these addictive taste enhancers.  http://www.dorway.com/hypot.txt adhd

Even in the face of increasing evidence of harm, junk food manufacturers have continued to deny any connection. adhd

We need to take note of these things, and work to bring about an awareness of the motives of the makers of prepared foods and the purveyors of fast foods:  motives which do not include bettering the health of this nation’s children, whatever they say – but are related to their own profits. Only when their bottom line is threatened do they make changes, and even then reluctantly and inadequately. The recent introduction of so-called “Whole Grains” is a case in point. adhd

You can read my article on Raising Healthy Children here

There is no doubt that parents today are facing monumental challenges as a result of environmental and dietary changes in our lifestyles.

If Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill, let alone Alexander Graham Bell or Louis Pasteur, had been born in this age, I wonder whether we would ever have enjoyed the fruits of their talents? They all had Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and must have been holy terrors to teach or control. adhd

Nowadays, they would have been drugged into compliance, along with approximately 3 to 4% of all American children, the percentage being higher for boys than for girls. adhd

What is more, they would be prescribed these drugs for a condition that was simply “voted” into existence, and on the basis of tests that are of dubious validity.

Learn more about this issue at http://www.adhdtesting.org/testing.htm

Dr. Peter Breggen. MD. (Director of the Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology) wrote an impassioned letter on the subject to the New York Times in May 1996, in which he pointed out that some of the other factors in play here include a “spirited, creative nature that defies conformity, inconsistent discipline or lack of unconditional love, boring and oversized classrooms, an over stressed teacher, and anxiety due to abuse or neglect. In my own clinical experience, many such children are energetic, creative and independent youngsters struggling within the constraints of an inattentive, conflicted or stressed adult environment. Thus we end up drugging our best and brightest.”  adhd

When you add an inadequate diet which causes mis-firing in the brain to the kind of nature he describes, you are going to have fireworks, no doubt about it.

Nobody will disagree with the conclusion that using Ritalin, with its many harmful side-effects and potential for abuse, is not the answer of choice. The popularity of Ritalin is to a large extent based on the fact that immediate positive results are achieved: however, there have not been many studies on the long term use of this medication. adhd

Originally ADHD was perceived as a short term problem, which would naturally disappear with age

The risks inherent in strong medication were therefore acceptable since it was assumed the drug would be used short term only. Now, we know that ADHD is not self-limiting: alarmingly, one of the only long term studies of Ritalin use shows that at the end of 8 years, 80% of the children continued to have ADHD symptoms. Not only that, but 60% of them had worsened, developing either Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder (CD), both of which are considered worse diagnoses than ADHD. Even more telling, there was NO statistical difference between the long term success/symptoms of those treated with drugs versus those who used no medications! (Am. J. of Nat. Med. Mar.1998, p. 9)

Additionally, a study published in 2007 showed that children using Ritalin for over 3 years, have their height and weight affected adversely by 1 inch and over 4 pounds. (Swanson, J.M. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, August 2007; vol 46: pp 1014-1026.) adhd

There is also an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, see details at http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/354/14/1445

Unfortunately the problem is not going to go away simply because many of us disagree with the solution. Are there other possible approaches?

Yes: this is a problem which a number of highly successful holistic therapists have been addressing for many years, starting with Dr. Feingold, and his well-known diet. He contended that many of these youngsters are reacting allergically to colorings, sugars and some substances in foods, and can be helped by removing those foods from the diet.  I have excerpted below some information by Peter Montague  from  an article called ADHD  & Children’s Environment. (see Resources for access to complete text)

“There is considerable evidence that food dyes can worsen the symptoms of ADHD in some children, but government authorities deny the evidence. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a pamphlet called FOOD COLOR FACTS which states that “there is no evidence that food color additives cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children.” The pamphlet, though published by the FDA, was actually written by the
International Food Information Council, a trade association representing many makers of food additives including General Mills, Kraft, Procter and Gamble, Pepsi-Cola, Coca Cola, Monsanto (maker of aspartame), and Ajinomoto (maker of monosodium glutamate).[2,pg.25] To make the statement that there is no evidence that food dyes cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children, the FDA had to ignore 16 double-blinded studies that have shown that food dyes do worsen the symptoms of ADHD in some children.[2] (A double-blinded study is one in which neither the participants, nor those observing and recording the children’s behavior, know which children have been exposed to food dyes and which have not, the purpose being to avoid bias.)

In 1976, a study of U.S. children between the ages of 6 and 11 found they ingested an average of 76 milligrams of food dyes per day (mg/day). Ten percent of those studied ingested twice that amount, or 146 mg each day.  Since that time, the quantity of food dyes manufactured per person in the U.S. has increased 50%.[2,pg.11]

While the possibility that confusion among some parents as to what parenting actually is, may also be part of this growing problem, and some children diagnosed with ADD / ADHD may simply be in need of more parental guidance, there is a very real danger that a “blame the parents” approach can contribute to the raw deal developmentally children and their parents receive.

The New York Times wrote a major article about this approach in 2007 – http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9506E7DC1131F931A15751C1A9609C8B63 which represents an important shift away form the “medication first ” knee jerk re-action.

Another problem that calls for tears is Autism, a tragic disorder with disastrous consequences for the children, their parents and our society.  Yet until about 2005, general  public ignorance about the scope of the problem prevails.  adhd

I quote excerpts from a letter by Anne McElroy Dachel of NAA (National Autism Association – (http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/):

“For a long time, CDC officials simply told the public that they didn’t know what the exact figures on autism were. Since it is their job to know, eventually they accepted that it might be as high as one in 166. We’re being overwhelmed with these children and the best the CDC can come up with to explain the soaring increase is that it’s due to “better diagnosing” and an expanded spectrum of autism disorders (ASDs). I’ve heard many teachers also repeat this self-congratulatory reasoning: “We just missed these kids 20 years ago. They used to fall through the cracks.” adhd

As someone who has taught for 25 years, this amazes me. You don’t “miss” an autistic student. Teachers who’ve been teaching for 40 years talk about having classrooms of more than 30 students when they first started teaching. Today, classes are much smaller, but teachers are overloaded with the demands of teaching all the students with autism, attention deficit disorder and other neurological problems. (Lynn: my emphasis) adhd

Furthermore, if it’s true that doctors and educators are just better at recognizing students with ASDs, then where are the studies on previously undiagnosed or misdiagnosed autistic people among older Americans?

The most convincing evidence points to a link between mercury in vaccines and this burgeoning epidemic.  The National Autism Association website gives you all the facts so you can decide for yourself:  this is the link to the information about thimerosal and autism.  http://www.nationalautismassociation.org

My opinion is that the actual burden of vaccinations is as much of a threat as the mercury.  The Mayo Clinic has a schedule on its site, which shows by my count, 20 vaccines by the age of 18 months. adhd

It is sad that the miracle of vaccination, which made such a difference in so many lives, has now become a threat:  However, I do not see that there can be any question about the connection between the daunting number of childhood vaccinations and the epidemic of autism.  The government is vehemently  rejecting the possibility that mercury might be  the culprit, at the same time as it recommends discontinuing its use, and as I say, it is entirely possible that simply the burden of so many viruses all at once is too much for the sensitive systems of small children. adhd

Many parents choose not vaccinate their children.Ethical issues related to the vaccination of children – http://www.newswithviews.com/Tenpenny/sherri9.htm

Renowned pediatrician Dr. Sears recommends this routine for children about to be vaccinated, to protect against the effect: http://www.askdrsears.com

Vitamin A. This specific vitamin helps with neurologic health. It also helps regulate the immune system’s response to infections. Some researchers believe it can play a role in protecting the brain from vaccine side effects. Give vitamin A once a day for 3 days prior to vaccines and continue each day for 10 days after. Infants should get 1500 IUs daily, toddlers and preschoolers 2500 IUs and older kids and teens 5000 IUs.  Another choice would be a total multivitamin liquid or chewable. A better source of Vitamin A is cod liver oil, (Lynn: my emphasis) available at health food stores. The label will say how much Vitamin A is in each teaspoon. You should be aware that overdosing Vitamin A can be toxic, so do not exceed the suggested amounts. I would suggest not using cod liver oil for any baby younger than 9 months.

Vitamin C. This anti-oxidant vitamin can help boost the immune system and may decrease vaccine side effects. Give this once a day for 5 days starting on the day of the shots. Infants should get 150 mg daily, toddlers and preschoolers 250 mg, and older kids and teens 500 mg. Vitamin C drops, chewables, and capsules are available at any health food .. store. The amount of Vitamin C in the multivitamins discussed above (with vitamin A) usually isn’t enough. adhd

However, there are also dietary connections which can help or hinder the prognosis for a child.  Salicyclates/phenols and opiates in gluten and milk are the most serious. Here is one mother’s story about her son and dairy. Perhaps the most inspiring part of this tragedy is how Mothers have taken matters into their own hands, done their own research, and in many cases achieved inspiring results.  http://chetday.com/autismdiet.htm adhd

Concerning Phenols In the Diet

Autism Awakening Diet Intervention adhd

Concerning Phenols

Of all the confusions and misunderstandings around the diet, the issue of phenols and salicylates – and which should be avoided – is perhaps the worst of all.Firstly and most simply: A salicylate is a type of phenol and all phenols are types of alcohol (though not the types that make you drunk).The confusion begins with phenol because it is both the name of a specific chemical and the generic name for a group of chemicals – “The phenols”. The specific chemical is made up of two components: A ring of six carbon atoms and an alcohol group. In chemistry, a carbon ring is often called an “aromatic” ring because chemicals of this type usually smell quite strongly. The specific phenol chemical is a liquid and was once used as a surgical antiseptic (i.e. it kills germs and bacteria). It is still used in some household cleaners and mouthwashes. It is quite toxic. No-one would ever dream of knowingly drinking it.Phenol is also used as a generic term for ANY chemical which has an aromatic ring and an alcohol (hydroxyl) group. There are countless such chemicals including tyrosine, a component of most proteins (of both animal and vegetable origin) and adrenalin. It would be impossible to avoid eating phenols. It’s not like gluten. Where there is life, there are phenols.Salicylic acid is a type of phenol. It is made up of three components: An aromatic ring and an alcohol group (like all phenols) AND something called a carboxyl group. Salicylic acid occurs naturally in certain plants and is used in making aspirin and in food additives such as dyes. When salicylic acid reacts with certain other chemicals, the resultant new chemical is called a salicylate. There are lots of different salicylates. adhd

If there is a problem for our kids in this area it is likely to be with salicylates rather than with all phenols. Why? Because in the gut, it seems that breaking down salicylates can use up a lot of sulphate and one of the problems of our kids is that don’t have much free sulphate in their guts in the first place (which is why some of us find Epsom Salt – magnesium sulphate – baths to be helpful). If they use up their sulphate to break down salicylates, they might not have enough to break down other chemicals. Plus sulphate seems to play a key role in helping to keep a healthy lining to the guts. This all makes sense because we all know that one of the problems of long term use of aspirin is that it can cause stomach bleeding because eating a lot of aspirin can start to affect the walls of the stomach. adhd

(Lynn:  This information comes from an article on autism in Red Flags (www.redflagsweekly.com/mead/2002_sept26.html) Dr, Rosemary Waring, a research scientist and physician in Great Britain has found that autistic children suffer from problems of sulfation. In other words, the body’s natural detoxification pathways, heavily moderated by sulfur, are deficient. Studies have shown that supplementation of sulfate minerals can have a dramatic effect. For instance, bathing with magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salts) can have an extremely beneficial effect. Similarly, children who get transdermal zinc sulfate also seem to do better. Sulfation is also greatly aided by molybdenum and selenium. Lastly, transdermal glutathione is an essential part of the sulfation chain. Trimethylglycine also plays a part in sulfation – see Sulfur and detoxification) adhd

As well as affecting the guts – or should that be “because they affect the guts”, salicylates have been fingered for their role in causing hyperactivity in children (eg the Feingold Diet) and also for sometimes causing skin problems such as eczema and urticaria. adhd

Feingold lists the foods which are high in salicylates as being Almonds, Apples, Apricots, Berries (all), Cherries, Chili powder, Cider & cider vinegar (apples), Cloves, Coffee, Cucumbers & pickles, Currants, Grapes & raisins, Nectarines, Oranges, Paprika, Peaches, Peppers (bell & chili), Plums, prunes, Tangerines, Tea, Tomatoes, Wine & wine vinegar (grapes), Oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate). Plus they suggest avoiding all foods which list “natural flavors” or “natural colours” as these are quite likely to contain salicylates. adhd

So should you avoid all these foods for your kids? Well, I don’t and if you look carefully at Feingold you’ll see that they don’t either. What they suggest is that you remove all of them to begin with and then re-introduce them one by one to see which have negative effects and which don’t. Remember that there are many different types of salicylates and some kids seem better at handling some than others. For example, my Calum reacts badly to several foods on the above list (e.g. blackcurrant, tomatoes and oranges). But other foods produce no noticeable effects at all (e.g. apples, grapes and strawberries). Then again he can’t eat egg yolks or prawns and they are not on the list at all. Neither are bananas which many of our kids react badly too. adhd

It’s a drag but it looks like we just have to face it: After gluten and casein are removed, almost all of us find a heap of other things we have to avoid for our kids as well. And after a year in the game I have come to the conclusion that whatever list you consult for advice, at the end of the day there’s no getting away from it: Every kid is different and will have a different pattern of things to avoid. adhd

In addition to dairy and gluten, many autistic (Lynn: and ADD/ ADHD) children don’t tolerate:

Foods high in phenols (frequently craved) include: adhd

tomatoes
oranges
cocoa/chocolate
bananas
red grapes and colored fruits
apples
cow’s milk

corn
soy
egg yolk
tomato
oranges
red grapes
colored fruits and vegetables
beef

Here is a study on a connection between L-Carnosine and autism.  http://autismcoach.com/Carnosine%20Study.htmIn fact, many of the dietary interventions, nutritional supplements and vitamins which help children with ADD / ADHD are also helpful for children with autism.A 2005  study, published in Medical Hypotheses, (2005 64, 312–315) examines 206 children under the age of 3 diagnosed with autism, and comes up with a connection between ear infections and the antibiotics prescribed for them. This is such sad information.  As a holistic nutritionist, I have been warning parents for 20 years that ear infections are not visited on their children  from above, but are almost always an avoidable consequence of improper nutrition – usually connected with a dairy intolerance.   http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/1/emw194276.htm Read my article here. adhd

Previous research has found that children with food allergies are more likely to have a “disturbed balance between beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria in the large intestine, and benefit from the addition of probiotics. adhd

An article in Gut  (July 2002;51:51-55) says definitely that “a healthy balance of gut microorganisms is essential for the normal development of the immune system.” The establishment of such a balance in infancy is thought to nudge the immune system away from allergic reactions to harmless substances in the environment.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12077091&dopt=Abstract adhd

In the above investigation, the team of researchers evaluated 21 breast-fed infants who were previously diagnosed with eczema and therefore had a heightened risk of allergies. Infants were weaned to whey formula that either did or did not contain good bacteria, and stool samples were tested for the presence of good and bad bacteria. Those who did not get the good bacteria-laden formula were more likely to have higher concentrations of “bad” bacteria. What’s more, the presence of these bad bacteria appeared to be related to immune system responses and the extent of eczema.” adhd

Lynn: It has been determined that the very same neurochemicals exist in the colon as in the brain, and therefore, incredible as it may sound, the balance (or imbalance) of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract can definitely have an influence on brain function. adhd

Dr. Leo Galland has found that food allergies are most likely to be a factor if any of these questions can be answered with a “yes”:

  1.  Does the child have eczema, asthma, hay fever, hives, or a chronic runny nose.
  2. Does the father or mother have severe allergies or headaches
  3. Does the child have a “geographical tongue”, i.e. irregular flattened patches that look like countries on a map.
  4. Does the child’s ears turn red for no apparent reason and
  5.  Does the child crave single foods – other than sweets.

I think it is important to make a distinction between raw milk and pasteurized milk.  Ever since my children were little, even now that they are grown and gone,  I have been once a week to a farmer to pick up good Jersey milk, which I make into butter, kefir and yoghurt.  This was originally an instinctive decision on my part, but if you look in RESOURCES below, you will find scientific support. adhd

Many people are finding Pycnogenol helpful in ADHD, and the possible connection may be that it helps block the allergic cascade. Dr. Packer of the University of California, Berkeley has suggested also that it has an effect on communication between brain cells. I have had parents whose children were not helped by anything else find this effective, and have been recommending it ever since I went to a conference presented by two clinical psychologists (Steven Tannenbaum, Ph.D and Julie Paull, Ph.D. of St. Louis) who themselves both suffered from adult ADD, and had experienced beneficial results from using Pycnogenol. The usual recommendation is 3 mg per 10 lbs. of body weight.A 2006 study in Germany was even more positive, finding a significant reduction of symptoms in children with ADHD using pycnogenol. Read a report on the study at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-06/mg-nsp061306.php Order Pycnogenol here adhd

Another possibility we cannot ignore is that Candida  is playing a role adhd

Many of the children who suffer from  these developmental problems had recurrent ear infections as infants, and have undergone many courses of antibiotics. This alters the balance of the entire digestive tract by killing the friendly bacteria needed to keep balance: probiotics (together with the substances needed to sustain them, such as FructoOligoSaccharides ) are needed to restore homeostasis in this very important area. adhd

SUGGESTION

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be a  common underlying cause of behavioral problems

A fasting blood glucose test will give a certain indication of this diagnoses, but symptoms themselves can give a clue: if the child is worse when hungry and improves after (nutritious) food, hypoglycemia may be suspected. Some of the drugs prescribed to treat ADHD are appetite suppressants, which may aggravate hypoglycemia, since a child often has anorexic symptoms when on the drugs. adhd

Additionally,  cravings for high carbohydrate and high-allergy foods are not only part of the allergic cycle, but can also indicate the child is low in certain macro-nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium. It is a fact that mineral deficiencies are common in people with this disturbance, and supplementing with them frequently makes quite a difference. adhd

Dr. Jonathan Wright adds new perspective to the puzzle when he points out that a majority of children with this problem have low levels of hydrochloric acid, an acid produced in the stomach and necessary for digestion to proceed normally. It is particularly important for the proper absorption of calcium (see above!). adhd

The drawback to this information is that it is not a good idea to experiment with HCL use in children. One possibility is  administering some Swedish Bitters, a mixture of bitter herbs such as Gentian, which have much the same effect: and if the result is positive, contact a Natural Health Professional for guidance on how to use actual HCL. adhd

Another approach is to us Trimethylglycine. This compound slowly releases HCL, and raises stomach acidity safely.  Bearing in mind the recent interest in Secretin as a therapeutic agent, it is interesting to note that secretin will only be produced if there is sufficient acidity in the stomach. adhd

Remember, one of the things HCL does is facilitate the uptake of calcium and magnesium.  Never underestimate the importance of these minerals for children.

Adding other digestivse enzyme for better absorption of food can also be very helpful: remember, allergies start when substances foreign to the body are absorbed into the blood stream whole from the digestive tract via the bloodstream, and perceived as invaders by the body’s defenses. adhd

Eliminating sweets, allergens and highly refined foods in favor of nutrient dense snacks and high protein meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, can go a long way towards helping control ADHD. While I would never suggest replacing healthy foods with supplements, the fact that many children absolutely cannot be coaxed or coerced into eating their vegetables makes it handy that there are now tasty chewable supplements of fruits and vegetables that can be added to their vitamins.

A study in Pediatrics (1993) reported that thyroid dysfunction is much more common in children with ADHD than in the general population. The problem seems to be almost evenly divided between hyper (high) and hypo (low) thyroid. It would in my opinion definitely be worth having a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test done. If it were my child, and a problem were detected, I would then consult a holistic M.D. to see what could be done nutritionally before resorting to synthetic thyroid hormone, since long term use of that drug can have unpleasant side effects. adhd

Some very interesting recent research points to a connection between ADHD and faulty metabolisation of essential fatty acids. Also, that cod liver oil mitigates the re-actions to vaccinations in autistic children. adhd

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found about 40% of afflicted children showed low levels of EFAs, manifesting also in such symptoms as dry skin and hair, and excessive thirst. adhd

Children who have those tiny rough bumps on the back of their arms are likely manifesting signs of that deficiency. I highly recommend the use of cod liver oil with EPA and DHA for any affected child. adhd

Ear Infections and Cod Liver Oil – http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/711 adhd

An interesting study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 1996 focused on DHA, and found a measurable effect on stress as manifested by aggressive behavior. I feel that when this information is combined with the results of a 1998 Lancet study (Aug.29th) which found that DHA and ARA  (Arachidonic Acid) caused significant improvement in an infant’s ability to solve 3-step problems, and a British study (Lancet 1992) which found an 8 point difference in the IQs of children who were breastfed and therefore received DHA, and those who were formula fed, the connection between these Essential Fatty Acids and brain function can hardly be exaggerated! adhd

DHA is available as a free-standing supplement from Algae, as well as in the form of Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil. adhd

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for the development of the nervous system and vision during the first six months of life. Lack of sufficient DHA may be associated with impaired mental and visual functioning as well as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The breast milk of American women is lacking in this nutrient, and supplementing with it during pregnancy and while nursing brings endless benefits. adhd

Considering also that it has been found to be valuable in preventing depression, it may well play a role in overcoming post-partum depression.

Dr. Jay Lombard (co-author of the book The Brain Wellness Plan, and assistant clinical professor of neurology at New York Hospital) defines ADD / ADHD as affecting “an array of neurotransmitters.  What happens … is that the brain stem area inadequately produces or delivers neurotransmitters that are involved with certain cognitive processes, or the receptors for these transmitters do not receive them effectively.”  He adds that new types of analysis  such as PET scans show actual areas of low blood supply in the ADD / ADHD patient’s  brain.   He mentions specific amino acids ( Tyrosine, GABA, Taurine, Phenylalanine, which also affect sulfation) as being helpful, and also promotes the role of 3 nutritional substances, CDP-Choline, Quercetin and Skullcap.    The first because of its role in significantly raising Choline levels in the brain, the latter two because they are phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and can increase available energy in brain cells by increasing cAMP – he states “it is my opinion that increasing cAMP is one of the most important aspects for treating a variety of brain disorders, including ADD / ADHD.”  (Interview in Natural Pharmacy, Vol. 4 No. 6, June 00) adhd

Since Amino Acids are broken down from protein in the process of digestion, and since low levels of digestive enzymes can inhibit this process, this is yet another reason to consider adding a digestive enzyme to the regimen. adhd

The connection between the brain and the stomach is affirmed yet again in the suggestion that chemical changes in the gut may affect mitochondrial CoQ10 levels, essential for the proper supply of energy to brain cells. To quote a relevant report:

“…Inflammatory bowel disease and MMR might both trigger the release of cytokines from tissues which share antigens either with products of injured mucosal cells or with the MMR vaccine. The antibodies raised against injured mucosal cells could be directed against any of the many hormones, including serotonin, or nerve elements in the inflamed gut and which are also present in the brain.” adhd

As I have said so many times before, when there are therapeutic approaches which threaten no side effects, which also have the advantage of addressing the problem rather than the symptoms, and particularly when we are talking about the sensitivity of the immature system: doesn’t it make sense to try these approaches first before resorting to drugging our children into a zombie state so that the authorities can deal with them more easily? adhd

I know this is not put with a high degree of tact, and I know that there are compelling factors on the side of those asked to face a classroom of unruly kids every day – but I feel the health of our children has a higher priority. adhd

Please, if your child is affected in this way, consider a “first strike” approach of diet, food sensitivity testing and nutritional supplements.  Ask your Doctor and your child’s teacher to be supportive for a trial period. In the unlikely event of failure, the other option, after all, will still be there! adhd

As for the potentially more serious problem of autism, knowledge and information are power.  Read the reports on the effects of mercury on the system, and consider signing the Citizens’ petition on the National Autism Associations website.  Scroll down on their page for the petition itself. Make sure the Government takes the rights steps to protect our children.  http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/petition.htm

If the future of a Nation rests on the abilities of its children, we are definitely at a crossroads.  It is fortunate that there is a growing instinctive acknowledgment of the link between children’s’ mental health and their diet: this link needs to be strengthened at every turn by informed mentors. I would challenge the National PTA to become more viscerally involved in this issue, and instead of taking a wishy washy laid back approach, (though the Food pyramid for kids 2 to 12 is a good step) to put it on the line for parents, along with a scientifically supported synopsis of what faulty nutrition means to their kids and their destinies.   How about it, PTA?

Find the recommended supplements for ADD  /ADHD here

Resources:

Health Psychology and  ADD Institute – http://www.hp-add.com/ help with non-drug approaches.  Also, some fascinating interactive tools and Games.

Addictive properties of Ritalin – http://www.chiro.org/pediatrics/ABSTRACTS/Ritalin_Cocaine.shtml

Ritalin abuse – http://www.onlineparadigm.com/archives/185-W02_A.pdf

Is your child planning on a military career?  Ritalin issues! http://www.dbpeds.org/section/fall98/adhd_military.html

Ear Infections→Antibiotics- →Autism? http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/1/emw194276.htm

Dietary Support network for parents of an Autistic Child  – http://www.autismndi.com/parentsupport/

An Experimental Intervention For Autism – Understanding and Implementing a Gluten & Casein Free Diet – http://www.princeton.edu/~serge/ll/gfpak.html

Death by Ritalin – a website with great information, and many useful links.  http://ritalindeath.com

ADHD  & Children’s Environment” –  the full text can be found at  www.chetday.com/adhdenviron.html.   http://www.chetday.com/adhdenviron.html

 Coca Pulse Test to determine allergies – http://www.toddcaldecott.com/coca_pulse.html

More information about  HCL (betaine hydrochloride)

More information about the role of gluten in inflammatory disorders  http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-09/sumc-srf092402.php

One Man’s detailed Dietary journey – an amazing testament to perseverance.   http://www.eklhad.net/adhd/

Recent reports show that ever more children are being put on these drugs at ever younger ages. For detailed information about the shaky methods of diagnosing ADD / ADHD, and about the drug used to control it, go to www.methylphenidate.net/

Source for Transdermal Glutathione – http://www.kirkmanlabs.com/products/antioxidant/l-glutathione/LGlutathione_Lotion_Spec226.html

Additives Do cause Temper tantrums! (Duh) – http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992971

Tartrazine and ADD / ADHD – http://www.feingold.org/Research/ward90.html

Helpful Groups

Interactive Autism Network – links families and research – http://ian.kennedykrieger.org/
This dynamic exchange could lead to new discoveries about causes, diagnosis, treatments, and a possible cure for this puzzling group of disorders

http://www.safeminds.org/ a private nonprofit organization founded to investigate and raise awareness of the risks to infants and children of exposure to mercury from medical products http://ablechild.org/       Parents for Label & Drug Free education

Chelation of Mercury for Autism Treatment – http://www.healing-arts.org/children/holmes.htm#wethink

http://www.unlockingautism.org/  

Hyperactive Children’s Support Group – http://www.hacsg.org.uk

Children With Attention Deficit Disorder, (CHADD),
499 Northwest 70th Ave., Suite 308,
PLANTATION, FL
33317
(305) 587 3700
www.chadd.org
Approach with caution – this organization has
 questionable pharmaceutical contacts.

Consider the possibility your child may have a vision problem – http://www.visiontherapystories.org/add_adhd_drug_free.html

A main stream study which accepts and expounds on the possibility that nutrition and ADHD may be connected – http://www.jpands.org/vol8no2/ottoboni.pdf

Pediatric Autoimmune Psychiatric Disorders – OCD, Tourette’s – http://www.latitudes.org/articles/vojdani.pdf  A compassionate assessment, and a link to Streptococcal infections

List of Foods containing salicyclates. – http://nz.lifestyle.yahoo.com/health/reference/22082008/salicylates/index.html

Related articles you may find interesting: