Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined as age-inappropriate impulsiveness, lack of concentration, and sometimes-excessive physical activity. This condition is associated with learning difficulties and a lack of social skills. Because there is no laboratory or physical test that diagnoses ADHD, its diagnosis is based on a clinical history of symptoms and behavior. Since it is a subjective diagnosis, it brings up controversy as to whether the behavior is actually normal in many cases, especially for younger boys. There are three subtypes of ADHD, one of which mainly involves an attention problem and not a hyperactivity issue. Between 30 and 40 percent of children with ADHD have learning disabilities, although in many cases these children are quite bright. ADHD often goes undiagnosed, if not caught at an early age, and it affects many adults who may not be aware of their condition.
Many parents instinctively believe that the problem is connected to their children's diet. They know that children can respond negatively to sugar or other foods, and they wonder if their child is simply suffering from an extreme version of this reaction. In most cases, these parents are absolutely correct. In the last few decades, sugars, preservatives, and colorings have been added to our food at an increasing rate. Too many children consume nothing but convenience foods, like hot dogs, fried chicken fingers, and highly sweetened fruit drinks and sodas. Since children's small bodies are especially vulnerable to additives in these foods, it is not surprising that many of them have a toxic response. For some, the response takes the form of traditional allergies-say, a runny nose or hives. For others, however, the poisons surface as extreme behavior problems.
Unfortunately, Western doctors have been trained to discount the importance of diet in hyperactive kids. Instead of nutritional therapy, they will often suggest medication to suppress the symptoms of ADHD: it is estimated that more than two million children take drugs like Ritalin on a daily basis. While medications may be necessary in a few cases, parents should cultivate a healthy wariness of giving them to their children. The long-term effects of ADHD medications are not yet well known, and there are signs that the drugs can retard growth and lead to substance abuse or emotional problems later in life. Teens who take Ritalin may be tempted to mix it with alcohol, marijuana, or other recreational drugs, creating a dangerous brew with unknown consequences. And as with many conventional prescription drugs, the most compelling argument against ADHD drugs is that they fail to address the cause of the problem. Without the underlying cause being treated, children may have to take Ritalin well into their twenties.
There are many underlying reasons why a child may have attention or behavior problems. Studies show that frequent ear infections and the regular use of antibiotics, as well as premature birth and family history, are associated with a greater likelihood of developing this disorder. Holistically speaking, causative factors include food additives and food allergies, environmental allergens, and heavy metal toxicity (such as lead, mercury, and aluminum). A poorly functioning digestive system and increased intestinal permeability lead to an increase in metabolic toxins that disrupt brain chemistry. Nutritional deficiencies of essential fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, and iron appear to play a role. Finally, do not underestimate the role of emotional stress and its relationship to ADHD. The breakdown of the family unit in our culture places abnormal stresses on a child, which can result in attention and behavior changes.
If your child has ADHD, try the home-care suggestions here for at least a month and optimally for three months. Some children settle down to a normal level of activity after just a few days without troublesome foods; others will need three to four weeks before the toxins are out of their bodies. Buying and preparing natural foods can be a challenge for busy parents, but your perseverance will be rewarded with a healthier child and a stronger family. Nutritional supplements can work extremely well for most children to correct underlying biochemical imbalances.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler
Super Prescription #1 Omega 3, 6 9 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products. Take dosage as listed on container/bottle. Together these all work synergistically to help with ADHD.
Super Prescription # 2 Brain Connector & Memory Enhancer - LifeSource Product This should be taken as directed on the bottle. It will help focus and others areas of brain function.
Super Prescription #3 Lecithin / Phosphatidylserine - LifeSource Product Take 300 to 500 mg daily for three months. A maintenance dosage of 100 to 300 mg may be effective for some kids and adults. Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring substance found in high concentrations in brain cells; it helps brain cells function properly.
Super Prescription #4 Calcium / Magnesium – LifeSource Products - See All of our Cal/Mag Products. Take a combination of these two minerals, at a dosage of 600 mg of calcium and 300 mg of magnesium twice daily. These two minerals relax the nervous system.
Super Prescription #5 Dophilus Plus – Probiotics - LifeSource Product Take a probiotic to maintain good bacteria levels in the digestive tract. Take as directed on the container.
Super Prescription # 6 Vitamin B6
Give 100 mg daily for children five years or older. B6 is involved in the formation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect. High doses of this vitamin are best used under the guidance of a nutrition-oriented doctor, along with a B-complex for balance.
Super Prescription #7 Multivitamin – High Potency – LifeSource Products - See All of our Multivitamin Products. Take as directed on the container. It provides a base of nutrients required for brain function.
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- Inability to sit still
- Mood swings
- Short attention span
- Inability to concentrate
- Frequent tantrums
- Poor coordination and motor skills
- Impaired memory
- Failure to complete age-appropriate tasks
- Speech or learning disorders
- A diet that's high in sugar and additives
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor digestion and absorption
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Emotional stresses+
Nutritional therapy should be an important component of the treatment of ADHD. The strategies described here will improve behavior and promote age-appropriate concentration and stability, and they will also help keep your child free of many other diet-related disorders.
The best way to ensure that your child eats an additive-free diet is to buy only fresh foods and prepare them yourself. You don't need to prepare special meals for your child; instead, feed your entire family a whole-foods diet. Younger children will usually eat what everyone else is eating, especially if you can reserve a small portion for them before you season the meal to the taste of adult palates.
B vitamins are healing to stressed-out nerves. Good sources include brown rice, brewer's yeast (which you can add to smoothies and yogurt), and leafy green vegetables.
Many children with ADHD suffer from an excess of copper or lead. Food that's high in vitamin C will encourage the release of these toxins from the body, so feed your child citrus fruits for dessert.
Iron deficiency is linked to short attention spans and memory problems. If a blood test finds an iron deficiency, a daily tablespoon of unsulfured blackstrap molasses is a naturally sweet way to give your child an adequate amount of this mineral. Tryptophan encourages the production of serotonin, a chemical that produces a sense of calm. Incorporate soy products, live unsweetened yogurt, whole grains, and organic turkey and chicken into meals and snacks. If your child has trouble sleeping, be sure to include some of these foods at dinner, and try a snack of turkey or chicken on whole-grain crackers before bedtime.
Anyone with food sensitivities should drink lots of clean water. Children over ten years of age should have a glass every two waking hours; children ten and under should drink half this amount.
Make sure to keep blood-sugar levels balanced by avoid simple sugars and refined carbohydrates and providing adequate protein with meals (nuts, legumes, lean poultry, and fish). Also, as much as possible include vegetables with meals, as they slow down blood sugar release. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks (every two to three hours) works well. Make sure that breakfast is not skipped, as it sets the biochemical balance for the rest of the day.
Regularly serve brain-healthy foods that are rich in essential fatty acids. Examples include fish (trout, salmon, halibut), nuts (walnuts, almonds), and ground flaxseeds (1 to 2 teaspoons for children and 1 to 2 tablespoons for adults).
Foods to Avoid
If your child suffers from ADHD, it's likely that he or she is allergic to at least one food product, if not several. Follow an elimination diet and testing techniques to determine which foods may be causing behavior problems. You may already suspect that a certain food is a trigger for your child, and you should target that product right away. You should also closely examine your child's consumption of the following, all of which are common allergens: wheat, dairy, corn, chocolate, peanuts, citrus, soy, food coloring, and preservatives.
Do not feed your child anything with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. This means you'll have to eliminate fast food, as well as all junk and processed food. If you must buy canned or frozen products, read the labels carefully. Even items advertised as "all natural" may contain small amounts of additives.
Sugar is famous for making children hyper, and, in fact, excess sucrose often leads to hypoglycemia, a factor in ADHD. Obviously, candy, sodas, and sweets are out of the question, but so are most store-bought fruit juices, which usually contain added sugar, and products made with white flour. If your child has been eating large quantities of refined sugar, you may see a dramatic difference in his or her behavior within just a few days of eliminating it.
Teenagers may want to try a short juice fast to cleanse their bodies of toxins and prepare themselves for their new diets. Don't force a teen to fast, however, as you may set the stage for a future eating disorder. Never put a child on a fasting program.
For preadolescent children and teens who don't want to go without solid food, try to increase the amount of raw fruits and vegetables in the diet, so that your child is eating 50 to 75 percent raw foods for several days. This will help move toxins through the body at an accelerated rate. Kids who usually balk at vegetable dishes are often happy to eat a platter of raw crudit?s served with yogurt or a homemade bean dip.
- Encourage your child to play or exercise outside in the fresh air. Limit exposure to sedentary, passive activities, like watching television or playing video games.
- Consider buying an air filter to purify your household of environmental allergens.
- Work with a counselor to help your child with behavior modification and learning styles. Every child is different and requires an individualized approach. Emotional counseling may be necessary for healing, especially in cases of broken families or abuse.
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*Disclaimer: None of the above statements have been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As always, consult your physician before taking any and all supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
Disclaimer: All the information contained throughout this website is based upon the opinion of the founder of LifeSource Vitamins, Bruce Brightman, and the entire team at LifeSource Vitamins whose relentless research and studies have been ongoing on since 1992. Other articles and information are based on the opinions of the authors, who retains the copyright as marked on the article. The information on this site is not intended to replace your health care professional, but to enhance your relationship with them. Doing your own studying and research and taking your health care into your own hands is always best, especially in partnership with your health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have any medical conditions, always consult your health care professional before taking supplements based on the information on this site.