Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by a constant pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity. This interferes severely with the patient`s functioning and development. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Resource Centre, an estimated 129 million children worldwide are suffering from ADHD. The ADHD association in Germany estimates that 4.4% of all adults carry the condition, most of them undiagnosed.
|Symptoms of ADHD|
|Inattention: Patients’ attention wanders, they lack persistence, have difficulty sustaining focus, and are disorganized.|
|Hyperactivity: Patients move nonstop, including in situations in which it is not appropriate to do so. They fidget excessively, tap, or talk constantly. Adult patients may become extremely restless and may exhaust others with their constant activity.|
|Impulsivity: Patients act hastily without first thinking about the consequences of their actions. A desire for immediate rewards or the inability to delay gratification can also be symptoms.|
In children, symptoms of ADHD can often be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems. In quiet and normally well-behaved children, diagnosis is often missed. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD can have poor academic performance, problems at work, or multiple failed relationships.
ADHD occurs more often in males than in females. Females with ADHD are more likely to have problems with inattention, while males tend to suffer from hyperactivity.
As with many other diseases, a number of factors can contribute to ADHD. These include:
Genetic components: It has been shown that ADHD often occurs in families. It is suspected that this could derive from similar dietary habits and exposure to environmental toxins among family members.
Environmental toxins: During pregnancy, environmental toxins are believed to affect brain development. In small babies and young children, high levels of lead are a severe threat to nerve cells.
Behavioral therapy is often used in ADHD treatment and involves practical assistance, such as help in organizing tasks or completing schoolwork. It teaches the patient how to monitor his or her own behavior, as well as how to praise oneself for acting in a desired way such as by controlling anger and impulsiveness.
The most common treatment for ADHD involves the use of prescription drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. Both have been linked to suicidal thoughts and personality changes. Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant and is proven to cause serious side effects including nervousness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and even psychosis.
Adderall is a legal amphetamine that is highly addictive with prolonged use. Its severe side effects include tremors, hallucinations, muscle twitches, high blood pressure, fast or irregular heartbeats, personality changes, and extreme mood swings. The 2015 documentary movie ‘Prescription Thugs’ provides shocking evidence regarding the dangers of such drugs and is well worth watching.
Given the side effects of prescription drugs, it is clear why an increasing number of patients are seeking effective natural remedies for ADHD. The beneficial effects of micronutrients in ADHD have been scientifically proven. The best treatment approach involves excluding certain types of foods from the daily diet and taking a combination of supplementary micronutrients.
The most important things for ADHD patients to exclude from their diets are sugar and gluten. Sugar is a massive problem because it can cause blood sugar spikes, which in ADHD patients result in a loss of focus when blood sugar levels spike down.
In addition to excluding sugar and gluten, it is also helpful to avoid dairy products, artificial food colorings, food additives such as monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, nitrates, caffeine, soy, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Beware of environmental poisons and buy organic produce whenever you can.
|Micronutrients that are effective in ADHD|
|Omega-3 fatty acids|
|Omega-3 supplements are hugely beneficial to ADHD patients. These essential fatty acids are critical for brain function and serve as a potent overall anti-inflammatory. Ensuring a sufficient supply to the body has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms and improve learning.|
|Children with ADHD may need extra B vitamins – especially vitamin B6 – to help with the formation of serotonin (an important neurotransmitter). Research suggests that lower concentrations of vitamins B2, B6 and folate are associated with an ADHD diagnosis, with B2 and B6 also linked to symptom severity.|
|Zinc, magnesium and iron|
|Zinc, magnesium, and iron play important roles in relaxing the nervous system. A deficiency of any of these minerals may exacerbate symptoms. Research shows that levels of these minerals are much lower in children with ADHD.|
|ADHD is closely connected to the digestive system. Taking a good quality probiotic daily will therefore help maintain intestinal health. Research has shown that probiotic supplementation early in life may reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorder development later in childhood.|
|The ‘sunshine vitamin’ is very helpful with ADHD. According to a 2018 study, vitamin D supplementation in children with ADHD may improve cognitive function.|
Research clearly supports a relationship between micronutrients and the development of ADHD. Micronutrient deficiency is common in ADHD and is seen almost universally in autistic children.
As always, if you have any questions about issues raised in this article, please feel free to contact us.