The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention.
It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD, or approximately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 25 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD.
The principal characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
One recent study suggests that food supplement treatment of ADHD may be as effective as the controversial Ritalin treatment. All children, especially those with learning difficulties, benefit from a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement with antioxidants, B complex and vitamin C. Other useful supplements to consider are the essential amino acids that support production of the neurotransmitters necessary for optimal brain function, and the essential fatty acids that promote brain development and reduce aggressive / impulsive behavior.
Studies have shown a possible correlation between the use of cigarettes and alcohol during pregnancy and risk for ADHD in the offspring of that pregnancy. As a precaution, it is best during pregnancy to refrain from both cigarette and alcohol use.
Another environmental agent that may be associated with a higher risk of ADHD is high levels of lead in the bodies of young preschool children. Since lead is no longer allowed in paint and is usually found only in older buildings, exposure to toxic levels is not as prevalent as it once was. Children who live in old buildings in which lead still exists in the plumbing or in lead paint that has been painted over may be at risk.
One early theory was that attention disorders were caused by brain injury. Some children who have suffered accidents leading to brain injury may show some signs of behavior similar to that of ADHD, but only a small percentage of children with ADHD have been found to have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
GreenAndHealthy.Info focuses on nutritional support and holistic treatments -- for more detailed information on this condition, including symptoms and traditional options, please review the attached pdf file provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Studies show that people with ADHD are low in certain types of omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA. and Magnesium. Magnesium is a vital component of a healthy human diet, and plays a part in over 300 enzymes. Human magnesium deficiency is relatively common, with only 32% of the United States meeting the RDA-DRI.
A Purdue University study showed that kids low in Omega-3 essential fatty acids are significantly more likely to be hyperactive, have learning disorders, and to display behavioral problems. Omega-3 deficiencies have also been tied to dyslexia, violence, depression, memory problems, weight gain, cancer, heart disease, eczema, allergies, inflammatory diseases, arthritis, diabetes, and many other conditions.
Over 2,000 scientific studies have demonstrated the wide range of problems associated with Omega-3 deficiencies. The American diet is almost devoid of Omega 3's except for certain types of fish. In fact, researchers believe that about 60% of Americans are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, and about 20% have so little that test methods cannot even detect any in their blood.
To add to the problem, many of the commercial foods contain man-made trans-fats and excessive amounts of saturated fats and vegetable oils high in Omega-6 fatty acids - all of which interfere which our body's attempt to utilize the tiny amount of Omega-3 fats that it gets.
- Protein: Since protein-rich foods, such as eggs, fish, lamb, legumes, skinless poultry and tofu, support alertness and concentration, they make the best choices for breakfasts and lunches. The more relaxing carbohydrates, particularly fruits and vegetables rich in carbs, are best left for dinners / evening snacks. Since organic foods are produced without toxic chemicals, they make the best choices for anyone with attention problems.
- Magnesium: Magnesium occurs naturally in: Spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and vegetables (especially green leafy ones) - Note: Refining of food can reduce magnesium substantially, however, and fertilizers use less magnesium. This has led to observations of reduced dietary magnesium intake as compared to earlier generations.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression. "If you want to prevent learning disabilities in your children," said David Horrobin, distinguished medical and biochemical researcher, "feed them cod liver oil."
- Grape Seeds / Grape Seed Extract: One of the most potent antioxidants known, with tests indicating that it is fifty times more powerful than Vitamin E. It has been used to treat varicose veins, eye problems, arthritis, allergies, heart conditions and cancer, Attention Deficit Disorder and viral diseases such as herpes.
- Food Allergies / Avoid Sugar & Food Additives: It has been suggested that attention disorders are caused by refined sugar or food additives, or that symptoms of ADHD are exacerbated by sugar or food additives.
In 1982, the National Institutes of Health held a scientific consensus conference to discuss this issue. It was found that diet restrictions helped about 5 percent of children with ADHD, mostly young children who had food allergies.
A more recent study on the effect of sugar on children, using sugar one day and a sugar substitute on alternate days, without parents, staff, or children knowing which substance was being used, showed no significant effects of the sugar on behavior or learning.
In another study, children whose mothers felt they were sugar-sensitive were given aspartame as a substitute for sugar. Half the mothers were told their children were given sugar, half that their children were given aspartame. The mothers who thought their children had received sugar rated them as more hyperactive than the other children and were more critical of their behavior.
Maria Zimmerman (certified nutritionist) recommends eliminating common allergenic foods, such as dairy and wheat for a month, then slowly adding back nutritious choices. She also suggests cutting out additives blacklisted in the Feingold diet, such as artificial colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, preservatives and salicylates.
Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.
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