The Attention Deficit Disorder & Hyperactivity EPIDEMIC
Natural and Nutritional solutions
This paper was produced by Dr. Michael Wald author of, The Attention Deficit Disorder & Hyperactivity EPIDEMIC
Dr. Wald is supervisor of nutritional services at INTEGRATED MEDICINE OF MOUNT KISCO, P.C.
Dr. Wald may be contacted for consultation at
It is important that those interested in medical and naturally-oriented treatments for ADD research all of the options available. Only then should a decision be made as to whether standard or alternative therapies will be used along or in combination. The information contained herein is not meant to substitute for standardized treatments for the medical conditions discussed, but is meant for educational purposes only.
All thoughts, feelings and emotions result in immediate and profound changes in our chemistry just as biochemical alterations modify emotional states and behavior. This approach takes the stand that foods, homeopathy and nutrients are the best defense for maintaining energy, clear thinking, attention span and overall emotional health. Environmental stressors such as electromagnetic pollution, air, water and food degradation all can contribute to each and every symptom of ADD.
The main focus of this article to explore how psychological symptoms can be eliminated or dramatically reduced with vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, homeopathy, enzymes, foods and other nutritional factors. Haphazard use of nutritional approaches is never recommended. Laboratory analysis is often necessary, but is commonly neglected by health practitioners who claim to treat the underlying mechanisms of ADD and ADHD.
Few medical schools teach nutrition courses and most often these programs are minimal. As far as scientific evidence is concerned the medical literature is virtually overflowing with favorable studies regarding various nutritional compounds for improving the quality of life of those diagnosed with AD(H)D.
The scientific justification for the use of natural therapies such as herbs and vitamins for those with special needs is continually expanding. All one need do is perform a medical search on Medline. Medline is perhaps the most well known search-engine for medical abstracts regarding all health conditions and treatments. Research articles can be obtained beginning from 1966 to the present. However, it is important that the individual conducting such a search on Medline or another search engine be familiar with how to properly perform a medical search to maximize the search potential. Surprisingly, many health care providers untrained in the nutritional sciences will actually claim that no studies exist for the use of various natural compounds for those diagnosed with AD(H)D. The fallacy of this claim is easily dismissed with a search from Medline – proving that sometimes defensiveness and ignorance on the part of some health care providers may get in the way of safe and effective natural solutions.
Laboratory tests are now providing the objective evidence to support the use of various
natural therapies. For a more detailed review of some testing and diagnostic options one may consult: www.drwald.com and www.blooddetective.com or drwald.com.
How bad is the problem Getting?
- 1.3 million kids between the ages of 5-14 take Ritalin. Sales of the drug last year topped $350 million.
§ John Hopkins University School of Medicine says that the number of kids taking Ritalin has grown two an 1/2 times since 1990 - has our genetic make-up changed that much in 8 years? Other more pervasive factors must be at work (i.e. air, water and food pollution, electromagnetic radiation etc.).
Important Basic Concepts
- Boys outnumber girls 10 to 1 but the diagnosis in girls is often overlooked.
- ADD is not caused by a "drug deficiency". Drugs are the only mainstream medical approach implying that all other non-drug approaches are worthless. Currently, there is no convincing evidence that drug therapies used for ADD and ADHD are save in the longterm. In fact, scientific evidence justifying the use of medications for these conditions is weak at best.
§ ADD is purely an American phenomenon - the rate of Ritalin use in this country is at least 5X higher than the rest of the world. This fact suggests that social, nutritional and environmental stressors may be a factor helping to explain this epidemic.
§ Oftentimes high spirited, extremely imaginative children are given the diagnosis of ADD. Believe It is often parents who request the drug for their children to increase intelligence. Children are often victims of excessively rule-bound parents and teachers leading to singling-out of children who do not conform.. Officially, the diagnosis is often based on scores on standardized ADD tests.
§ In medicine "wastebasket" terms are used to label and categorize an individual sufferer. Even when the diagnosis is correct, meaning that someone fills the official diagnostic guidelines - tells us nothing about their unique experience of life or unique nutritional needs.
§ There is no single laboratory test which "gives" the diagnosis. This is certainly true of what can be learned from an ordinary blood test. More detailed tests however give greater insight regarding individual metabolic needs.
§ ADD is considered a treatable but not curable condition affecting 5-10% of the childhood population. This phrase inherently implies that their is no real hope for suffers - and this is far from the truth. To claim that AD(H)D is not curable is based on a limited paradigm of what is possible by looking beyond conventional therapies.
- Most commonly diagnosed psychiatric condition affecting adolescence and adults. The diagnosis is certainly in vogue. From a natural perspective we are not treating a diagnosis; we are attempting to affect individuals who have lives and who's
- needs go far beyond relying on medications for a "quick fix".
- AD(H)D is considered a brain disorder with a biological basis and tends to run in families. Similar defects appear to be present among some identical twins, but not even the majority of them. Non-twins rarely demonstrate the loosely associated genetic defects thought to predispose to ADD.
- Diagnosis is given when impulsiveness are predominant signs and are age inappropriate; a highly subjective statement. 70% of ADD offspring have ADD themselves.
Diagnostic Criteria for ADD
1. There are no consistent signs or symptoms present from individual to individual - although the DMS IV criteria categorizes or "pigeonholes" individuals into the ADD category of symptoms.
2. Inattentiveness must be present regardless of the other signs/symptoms to fit the official criteria as defined in the DSM IV.
3. Any or all of the symptoms that are present may vary from time to time or disappear completely depending upon the social situation.
ADD and ADHD are often misdiagnosed. Given the difficulty of accurate diagnosis it is necessary, according to DSM-IV requirements, symptoms be present in at least two social situations, most commonly school and home. Health professionals face the difficulty of diagnosing these conditions in the clinic or laboratory situation. The scientific laboratory is an artificial environment which will not reveal certain essential clues for diagnosis and/or treatment. The difficulty is that symptoms may often be absent at the time of consultation and observation and may be directly affected by the observer him/herself. Health care professionals and parents alike to work together in the assessment, treatment and recovery process.
The official medical diagnosis is given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association.For psychiatrists this accepted diagnostic criteria makes ADD a "real" condition. The general medical approach however, is still not individually focused. Generally speaking, treatment is often Ritalin or some other stimulant with little or no psychotherapy.
Definition of Assimilation and Accommodation
1. Inattentiveness: Defined as the inability to finish tasks, distracted easily and poor concentration.
2. Hyperactivity: Defined as difficulty staying still, running excessively - "always on the go"
- The assimilation and accommodation process is the way intelligence develops. Assimilation refers to the one's ability to gather a variety of stimuli such as sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste, and make sense out of their combined influences. Accommodation refers to the ability of an individual to effectively cope with these external influences upon the senses.
- Those suffering with AD(H)D may have difficulty screening out one stimuli over another. Body tension can take precedence by the NS such that cognition and thinking is blurred. Light, noise and body tension can overwhelm thinking even further by creating sensory overload.
- Those suffering with AD(H)D may have difficulty screening out one stimuli over another. Body tension can take precedence by the NS such that cognition and thinking is blurred. Light, noise and body tension can overwhelm thinking even further by creating sensory overload.
Provides only a static and partial description of the child or an adult affected
The official diagnosis requires that inappropriate attention span must be present along with at least 7 or more of the following criteria:
poor attention to details
does not listen poor follow-through poor organization
trouble keeping attention in tasks and at play avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort easily distracted
leaves classroom desk runs excessively blurts answers
interrupts or intrudes on others
Non-localized (general) neurological findings
Motor dyscoordination: i.e right and left confusion, immature coordination EEG abnormalities
Low frustration tolerance
Poor peer relationships
Perceptual motor dysfunctions: i.e copying and printing difficulties Learning disabilities
Quite often kids with ADD symptoms are often mislabeled as arrogant, irresponsible, lazy, un-focused, obnoxious or erratic. It is easy to see why those people around such erratic and unpredictable behaviors can be easily alienated by their presence.
Supportive Approaches for AD(H)D Self-monitoring and parent-monitoring techniques Cognitive behavior modification
Environmental control of visual and noise stimulation Patient training and behavior training Professional assistance
Attention, memory and reasoning evaluations Teacher proximity
Consistent parenting at home
Medications and Risks
Methylphenidate (Ritalin R), a stimulant and amphetamines are the drugs of choice. Side effects: insomnia, depression or sadness, headache, stomach ache, suppression of appetite, elevated BP and with large continuous use reduction of growth. The drug is only used while the child is in school (drug-holidays are recommended). Improvements in behavior are most often observed at a low dose.
Beta-blockers such as propranolol (Inderal) or nadolol (Corgard) may be prescribed alone or in combination with stimulants to reduce jitteriness. Tricyclic antidepressants such as desipramine (Norpramin) are sometimes given even though they often cause heart dysrhythmia. Even clonidine, a drug used traditionally to reduce blood pressure and suppress tics, is given to children.
The long-term health risks are of taking these medications. Once most kids discontinue medication their symptoms. To my knowledge, no one has studied the biochemical aberrations (negative effects) of longterm drug therapy in kids.
Standard medicine would have ADD suffers and their families believe that the condition is caused by a "drug deficiency". ADD suffers are often prescribed methylphenidate (Ritalin), magnesium pemoline (Cylert) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine); these stimulant medications do not correct to any extent the underlying cause or causes of the condition.
These drugs are started at a low dose, increased gradually based on the child's level of activity over a two week period. If a child does not respond favorable in this time the drugs will probably never work. If the drugs do seem to work many experts feel that they should be withdrawn for several weeks once every six or twelve months to assess its further need if any.lf the underlying psychological, biochemical and structural problems are not corrected then such "toximolecular' (drug) approaches will eventually be met with disappointment. It is true that many ADD suffers become less restless and irritable, even their motor incoordination may improve, but it must be kept in mind that these results are lost once the medication is withdrawn or overtime even with continued use of medications.
Dependance Upon Medication
It has also been suggested that drug addition is not a danger because suffers do not feel euphoria or develop cravings and tolerances for these and other drugs. On the contrary, if a child or adult taking these medications feels any symptomatic relief at all, and the medications are discontinued, the suffer will feel at a loss (not knowing of other options) and may in fact feel desperate and dependant on the medications. To say therefore that there is little danger of drug abuse or addition is ridiculous! Just because there is no "lifeand-death" withdrawal event occurring upon discontinuance of the medication should not imply that a sense of helplessness, despondence, depression and dependance would not develop - in fact, it often does.
Mis-prescribing of medication is a problem with ADD kids. Many of the symptoms of ADD are found in the criteria of various other mental-emotional disorders. It seems very likely that misdiagnosis and therefore mis-prescribing of medication is a common occurrence. Drugs should be used when all other safer alternatives have been exhausted. Those cases where drug therapies are the only choice, drugs should be used only to create some "breathing room" (in terms of relief or lessening of symptoms) so that more natural and safer approaches, such as nutrition, can be introduced.
Neurotransmitter Abnormalities And ADD/ADHD
It is generally recognized that ADD kids show one or more abnormalities with the normal production, release or resorption of catecholamine neurotransmitters.
The drugs are used due to their effects upon catecholamine neurotransmitters, namely norepinephrine and/or dopamine.
Among their other functions, catecholamines are necessary for various regions of the brain to allow for the regulation of attention. The drugs mentioned below either effects the brain's sensitivity to these neurotransmitter, effect their rate of resorption and/or release.
Drug holidays are recommended to reduce dependency and over-reliance upon such medications. (i.e no medications given on weekends, summer vacations, school holidays). Long-term benefit of medications are not proven. It has been shown that drugs can interrupt the cycle of aberrant behavior pattern.
All proposed theories in table 1 Dietary observation/recording Herbal supplementation Vitamin supplementation Mineral supplementation Enzyme supplementation Hormone therapy Elimination-reintroduction diet B12 shots
Cranial sacral therapy Chiropractic adjustments Acupuncture
It is important to keep in mind that over 90% of the medications used on children have never even been tested on children! This reason alone lends good rationale for parents and health professionals to consider natural, non-drug, therapies as a first and not a second choice towards finding an appropriate treatment approach.
No single treatment has been effective with all children. Psycho-stimulant medications combined with behavioral and cognitive therapies (self-recording, self-monitoring, modeling, and role-playing) have the greatest controlling effects. It is important to recognize both the limitations and benefits of stimulant medications.The overall effects of drugs like Ritalin are modest, producing only temporary effects upon inattention, overactivity, impulsivity, aggression and other symptoms.
Catecholamine neurotransmitter are essential for the regulation of attention and are produced in various parts of the nervous system. Drugs such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, Cylert, Pemoline, Inderal and Corgard are effective to the extent that they modify neurotransmitter function. Given this line of reasoning it seems quite appropriate that drugs may be useful for helping to regulate aberrant neurotransmitter function.
The opinion of naturally-oriented health care providers however is that these medications do not supply the body with the amino acids needed to produce the needed neurotransmitters. It is further believed that the continued use of these medications will only contribute to dependance on medications and remove attention from the cause (s) of bioemotional disorders focusing on symptomatic approaches only.
Holistic (Alternative) Medical Approaches for AD(H)D
Amino acid abnormalities Essential fatty acid abnormalities
Heavy metal influences/toxicity
Krebs cycle analysis Detoxification assessment Intestinal permeability testing Food allergy tests: IgG and IgE Antioxidant profile 24-hour urine profile Standard blood profile Thyroid hormone profile Darkfield (live cell) analysis
Adrenal hormone testing
Zinc tally test
Vitamin C flush
Factors which can cause or worsen the signs of ADD -Protein and amino acid deficiencies or excesses -Vitamin and mineral cofactor deficiencies or excesses
-Enzyme "inborn errors of metabolism" -Mineral (electrolyte) imbalances -Environmental pollutants (pesticides) -Food allergies and hypersensitivities -Food colorings
-Hydrochloric acid deficiency -Airborne allergies
-Gastrointestinal injury ("Leaky Gut Syndrome") -Psychological and physical stress -Gluten sensitivity
Practical Nutritional and Natural Approaches for AD(H)D
a. remove synthetic colors (such as FD & C #5)
b. artificial flavors: most flavorings are related to petroleum, vanillian is a synthetic flavoring labeled by its name.
c. Antioxidant preservatives: BHA, BHT and TBHQ (all are related to petrolium)
d. Salicylate: a chemical i some fruits and vegetables and toiletries and some
medications such as aspirin. This chemical is made by many plants.
e. After the 6 week period the salicylate products can be reintroduced one at a time,the other chemicals (a-c) are permanently removed from the diet.
(REMOVE A-D FOR 6 WEEKS AND PROCEED TO OTHER STEPS)
DIETARY AND NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT CONSIDERATIONS MUST BE INDIVIDUALIZED FOR EACH CHILD TO MAXIMIZE EFFECTIVENESS.
Nutrition - The Way Out!
Good health is not a mystery; it can be achieved by leading a life that stresses
positive health habits and reduces health risks such as proper diet and nutritional supplementation.
Human metabolism has remained virtually the same for hundreds of thousands of years. The human diet however has undergone a radical change compared to the diets of our ancestors. Medical anthropologists study the trends and mechanisms of health and disease throughout human evolution. Many anthropologists believe that if we revisited our ancient diets the disease risk would become reduced in the "blink of an evolutionary eye". What this means is that our genetics are hard-wired - by hundreds of thousands of years of genetic mutations, to recognize particular types of foods and other substances that have been present in our indigenous diets since the beginning of human-kind.
In the last 50 yrs excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates and fats has severely affected body systems not ready to accept them. Thousands of food additives have been added to our food supply and our bodies have a difficult time handling them. The price we pay is the increased incidence of chronic diseases that were extremely rare as little as 100
Establish optimal carbohydrate, protein and fat dietary composition using a three day dietary survey as a starting point. Dietary Options It is often best for a child with ADHD to consume a diet with slightly higher in carbohydrate than protein. This is not to underemphasize the importance of protein balance. Carbohydrate scan be thought of as relative downers perhaps because they raise brain levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter serotonin. Hyperactivity, anxiety and the euphoric state of bipolar disorder may therefore greatly benefit from a higher carbohydrate diet. Conditions such as depression and the depression stages of bipolar disorders may benefit from diets higher in protein content. Proteins may be thought of as downers. Keep in mind that individual responses to the dietary composition of proteins and carbohydrates will vary so individual laboratory testing is best to determine the most appropriate diet.
The types of carbohydrates and amino acid composition of proteins is an important factor for determining a favorable response to dietary changes. It is the job of the skilled nutritionally-oriented practitioner to observe the diet for several weeks if not months, and to calculate the sources and types of proteins and carbohydrates eaten. One should not forget the influence of different kinds of fats in the diet. Generally speaking, fats are downers like proteins. So if one desires to elevate attentiveness, energy, focus, alertness and mood for example it is best to eat proteins away from fats and carbohydrates or to eat more proteins than carbohydrates during the meal. Vegetables, largely water and fiber, have a relatively neutral influence upon mood unless an allergy or sensitivity to a given vegetable
Food Allergies (IgG4, IgE)/elimination diets
Allergies are known to be the "universal mimickers of illness". Any food eaten commonly can be an allergen and produce virtually any symptom. This test checks 90 foods and can help dramatically shorten the time it takes to identify offending foods. Eliminations diets should also focus on synthetic colors and preservatives as well as the common foods such as whet, soy and cows milk nd other dairy products: allergies or sensitivities to any of these chemicals or foodstuffs could cause or worsen the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Common foods are gluten grains (barley, rye, oats and wheat) or an ingredient called gluteomorphins), milk products (casomorphins)
Seafood is particularly high in the mineral zinc. Zinc deficiency is known to cause problems with mental functioning such as memory, response and concentration. Besides seafoods such as oysters, whole grains, legumes and dark turkey meat are also high in zinc. The problem with seafoods is that they are likely to contain high levels of mercury. Mercury can create its own neurologic and memory problems.
Caffeine ingestion in any form is not recommended for those with ADHD, anxiety or bipolar disorder. Caffeine in most people activates the sympathetic nervous system which is
responsible for feeling up. Another one of caffeine's "mechanism's of action" is that it mimics a brain chemical called adenosine. Adenosine has an inhibitory or dampening effect upon the brain. Caffeine fools nerve cells in the brain into thinking it is adenosine. As a result, excitation of nerve cells and certain brain centers occurs. Coffee, tea and cola should be avoided along with decaffeinated coffee due to its low caffeine content and chemicals. Herbal teas and some coffee substitutes such as Pero, Inka or Postum may be acceptable substitutes (as long as grains in general are not a problem.
Small amounts of caffeine may be o.k.
According to Harris R. Lieberman, low doses of caffeine improves mental performance, improves attention span, concentration, reaction time and accuracy with numbers. Increased concentration and faster thinking can be produced with as little a five-ounce cup of coffee containing approximately 100-200 milligrams of caffeine. Increased amounts of caffeine do not result in any further improvement in these mental functions. Caffeine in combination with a high content amino acid (protein) meal can significantly improve mental functioning, clarity of mental thinking and attentiveness. Those with special needs should not randomly experiment with either the withdrawal or addition of caffeine containing foods. Withdrawal effects often result which can worsen the symptoms of bioemotional conditions.
Many people will react oppositely to the effects described above worsening depression, ADD and bipolar disorder.
White Flour Products
Avoid including pasta, white breads, desserts and white rice. Whole grain products and brown rice may be appropriate substitutes.
Artificial preservatives like BHT, MSG, BHA, nitrates, nitrites,sodium benzoates, sulfites etc. Commonly found in cereals, breads, cured meats and on fruits (dried and fresh)
Artificial colorings are found in franks, soda and juice drinks most commonly. Artificial flavorings are found in candy, fruit pies, some ice creams.
Artificial sweeteners such as Sweet n Low can be found in diet soda's and desserts, diabetic, processed foods.
All can potentially cause or exacerbate the symptoms of AD(H)D.
A study at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York used PET scanning (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at the effects of alcohol on the brain. A number of striking abnormalities were found to be caused by alcohol including impaired memory, brain damage, loss of cells in the cerebral cortex and other structures along with a loss of metabolic activity. I would advise adults with AD(H) not to consume beer, wine or liquor. If you must consume alcohol I would recommend no more than a single glass daily. Alternatives include sparkling spring water with a twist of lemon or lime (as long as
sensitivities or allergies do not exist to citrus).
Nuts and Fruits
Boron, an element found in large amounts in nuts and fruits, beneficially effects the brains electrical activity. According to Dr. Penland of the U.S Department of Agriculture's Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, nuts and fruits improve mental alertness. All nuts, leafy vegetables, broccoli and fruits such as pears, grapes, peaches and apples contain boron. Ideal levels of boron produce more alpha and theta waves in the brain allowing for greater mental alertness.
Essential Fatty Acids
Avoid hydrogenated fats (margarine, mayonnaise, processed peanut butter, Crisco. Saturated fats may be ok but should not exceed 10% of the diet. Approximately 30% of an adults daily caloric intake should fats. Among the different types of fats essential fatty acids are the type's usually lacking. Americans consume far too much total fats approaching 125 grams of fat each day - a large proportion occurring from adulterated and unnatural fat such as hydrogenated oils, coconut oils, cottonseed oil and trans-fatty acids found in margarine. Unnatural or synthetic fats are a recent phenomenon in human history existing for around a 100 years. In terms of our genetic development, 100 years is considered a blink of an evolutionary eye. The processing of polyunsaturated fats contributes to nutritional deficiencies. Most physicians do not make a distinction between essential fatty acids as saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats - this is a crucial error.
The body contains more calcium than any other mineral. Proper intestinal function is necessary for the body to take ingested calcium and ionize it. Ionization activates the calcium so the body can use it. The most common form of calcium used, calcium carbonate, is the most difficult to ionize. Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) is responsible for ionizing calcium. Calcium citrate is particularly useful in depression because the citrate enters the Krebs cycle - an energy producing pathway in the body. Calcium balance is directly influenced by hormones such as calcitonin and parathyroid hormone and estrogen. Calcium is required for the early formation of myelin which is a fatty membrane enveloping part of the nervous system. Calcium also activates the parasympathetic nervous system potentially resulting in a coming effect. Those with ADHD, ADD, seizures may especially benefit from calcium supplementation.
Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in the body. Magnesium's main function is to turn-on (activate) enzymes. The brain contains the bodies highest concentration of magnesium. It is not difficult to understand then how magnesium deficiency can create emotional symptoms. Magnesium is abundant in natural foods, but is deficient in refined foods. Magnesium is deficient in the average American diet. Deficiency signs include mental confusion, weakness, nervousness and irritability, nerve conduction problems, muscle spasms, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, reduced energy 300 enzymes depend on magnesium for energy production), and reduced tolerance to stress. Magnesium is essential for glucose (sugar), amino acids and fatty acids to transform into sugar in a
pathway known as the Krebs Cycle. The best forms of magnesium include magnesium fumarate, citrate, succinate, malate and aspartate. Magnesium is best used when taken along with B6.
Water fasts, fruit juice, vegetable juice with or without additional nutritional support have been used to enhance liver and gastrointestinal function and to remove unwanted substances from the body (referred to as toxins). The result of detox methods may include enhanced functioning of the liver, intestines and body in general. In my experience fasts work far better once a person's particular chemical, food and environmental sensitivities have been identified.
Homeopathy is an ancient healing art based on the Law of Similars. Simply put, this law states that a substance that causes a symptom in a healthy person such as fever would be used to cure a fever. The homeopathic remedy would be administered to the patient only after a thorough history taking and examination to find the right homeopathic treatment(s). The remedy is delivered in an extremely dilute liquid preparation through a process known as potentiation (creating smaller and smaller dilutions until the original substance is no longer physically present in the solution). The effects of homeopathic remedies are believed to be primarily energetic in nature.
Tarentula hispanica (tranantula spider): Active, jumping, climbing,tapping, likes to hide, and tells lies.
Veratrum album (white hellebore): Extreme fear and violence, afraid of the dark and of being alone.
Colcynthis (bitter cucumber): Anger and indignation, offended by insults, feels unappreciated.
Nux vomic: (Quaker buttons): hard driving, competitive, extreme tension, hurried, impatient, particularly sensitive to light and noise.
Arsenicum iodatum (iodide of arsenic): A lot of anxiety, great fear over health, children are needy,whiny and impatient.
Zincum metallicum (zinc): Fidgets and restless, overactive nervous system (twisting, jerking).
Chamomilla (Anthemis noobilis): Angry and irritable, whines and complains continuously, does not seem to know what they want.
Enzymes are necessary for virtually hundreds of thousands of biochemical reactions in the
body. Enzymes are substances that drive chemical reactions and depend upon a number of vitamins and minerals as cofactor (partners). Enzymes produced by the pancreas for example, and can be taken in supplement form orally. Enzymes are necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from foods. Plant or animal enzymes can be supplemented either separately or in combination with each other. Those sensitive to citrus should not consume bromelain or papain supplements. Those with intolerance to animal products such as bovine or porcine should avoid glandular enzyme supplements.
Are a group of chemicals related to fats that are required for hundreds of thousands of reactions in the body. Some hormones allow for various thought process to occur; such as serotonin and melatonin. Thyroid hormone penetrates all cells in the body regulating metabolic rate and influence mood and behavior. Other hormones allow for growth and repair such as testosterone and growth hormone. Still other hormones regulate the aging process such as dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA). Foods such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats and nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium and essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids) are known to regulate hormone production and function.
Chiropractic philosophy and practice is founded upon the concept that the proper functioning of the nervous system is necessary for proper health. Any stress which interferes with nervous system function can cause illness, dis-ease and outright disease. Among all the healing professions doctors of chiropractic know more about the assessment and natural treatment of the nervous system. Chiropractors are often skilled in several natural techniques for assessing and treating nervous system interference.
The term nervous interference is metaphorical of blockage in the nervous system. A common analogy used by chiropractors when explaining to patients the concept of nerve interference is that of a foot-on-a-hose. If a hose is thought of as a nerve carrying nervous system electrical energy, and a foot applying pressure as causing nerve interference on the hose, then it is easy to conceptualize that interference (the foot) upon the nervous system (the hose) could result in reduced delivery of energy to any tissue the nerve goes to. In actuality, direct pressure upon nerves is a rare occurrence. This metaphor is meant only to help the patient conceptualize how a variety of stressors can affect nervous system function and therefore give rise or perpetuate a number health conditions - ADD is no exception.
Stressors which may affect nervous system function giving rise to symptoms include, but are not limited to: Environmental pollution of food, water and air; psycho-social stress; physical stress; lack of exercise; structural stress in the body (i.e. arthritis, muscle spasm, various diseases); dehydration; improper nutrition; overuse of medications and genetic factors.
Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT)
I believe that this technique used by a large number of chiropractors and other health providers deserves some special mention. Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT) basically described the relationship between the sacral bone, the occiput and how the rest of our
anatomy and physiology are influenced by movement of these bones. Imbalances between the cranial bones themselves and their extra-cranial connections can potentially impact all levels of health and wellness.
Acupuncture: The freeing up of acupuncture meridians with either traditional needles or electrical point stimulation.
Massage therapy is a healing method which reduces tension, improves blood and lymphatic flow, relaxes the nervous system and calms the mind. Massage therapy can benefit those with AD(H)D by training them to become more aware of both positive and negative body signals. Greater awareness of one's body can improve mental clarity and focus.
Biofeedback uses technology and guided personal attention to teach an individual how to control a variety of body responses. Muscle tension, brain wave patterns, heart rate, pulses and even skin temperature are all measurable and beneficially affected with biofeedback. Neurofeedback (EEG) enables a person to enhance concentration, attention, memory, emotional stability and creativity. Control of these and other physiological functions allows for greater access to physical and emotional well-being.
The multivitamin mineral should be chosen carefully and complemented with other nutrients as needed. In general, the B-vitamins are necessary for proper nervous system function, concentration, memory, clear thinking and a variety of essential physiological functions. A potent multivitamin/mineral formula should always be the foundation of an individually tailored nutritional protocol. Combined with the right diet, substantial improvements in the signs and symptoms of ADD. It is wise to consult a qualified health professional when designing a individualized diet/nutritional program.
Vitamin B12 is needed for the health of red blood cells and is important for protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. B12 is found only in animal products (but I do not encourage an increased intake of animal products). Deficiency is known to result in psychological symptoms.
All the B-vitamins should be taken together to help ensure the best effects. Most kids that I
have examined do not eat nearly adequate B-vitamins in the diet. And even if they did, many children and adults need more than what the diet can provide.
Vitamin A deficiency will potentially reduce thyroid hormone secretion and TSH secretion. Vitamin A is needed to activate thyroid hormone.
Beta-carotene should be given in addition to vitamin A in approximately a 1 to 1 ratio; 25,000 I.U of vitamin A to 25,000 I.U's of beta carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which will certainly benefit the mitochondrial membrane and other structures susceptible to oxidative damage.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is required for the conversion of tetraiodothyronine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) as the coenzyme precursor for glutathione reductase.
Ascorbic acid is needed for tyrosine metabolism. Ascorbate is absorbed in the small intestines and it is the adrenal cortex which has the highest concentration of ascorbate. The higher the intake of vitamin C the lower its absorption. Ascorbic acid is also a cofactor in the production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine - essential for regulating the stress response. Vitamin C is needed for the oxidative degradation of amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine.
Tyrosine is an important amino acid needed to form the center of the thyroid hormone molecule and for the production of norepinephrine and epinephrine.
Essential Fatty Acids
Too much saturated fats in the diet, from animal sources, can reduce overall mental functioning including impairing memory, attention span and attentiveness. All of the cells of the body, including those of the nervous system, are surrounded by fatty cellular membranes. The nervous system produces neurotransmitters which are necessary for overall mental functioning. Trans fats found in margarine and deserts and saturated fats found in animal products have detrimental effects upon cellular membranes. On the other hand, fats known as essential fatty acids produce a variety of beneficial effects in the body.
Essential fatty acids represent a group of fatty acids that must be obtained from the diet and are therefore called essential. The two major forms of essential fatty acids are omega 3's and omega 6's. These aids are the precursors which forms prostaglandins. Prostaglandins have a variety of body functions such as vasoconstriction, inflammation and anti-inflammatory effects, platelet anti-aggregating and aggregating effects. Of particular importance in conditions displaying psychological signs and symptoms is that the omega 3's form a substance called docosahexanenoic acid (DHA) which is essential for the proper transmission of nerve impulses and is a major component of brain and retinal tissue. Researchers at Purdue University measured the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in 96 boys ages 6-12 including 53 with ADD/WO hyperactivity. John Burgess, the lead
researcher, concluded that those children with the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had the highest incidence of behavior problems. Those kids with low omega-6 levels had a higher incidence of colds and other health problems other than behavioral. Low levels of omega 3 fatty acids were found in children who displayed learning and behavioral problems by the University of Purdue in West Lafaydete, Indiana. It seems that fatty acid imbalances are more predominant in those kids with the hyperactive form or ADHD.
Deficiency symptoms of essential fatty acids such as omega 3's and omega 6's include: lack of energy, reduced endurance, dry skin and hair, digestive problems, lowered immunity, constipation, frequent infections, depression, cloudy thinking, allergic symptoms, nerve and muscular symptoms, steroid and hormone production, apathy and loss of motivation. EPA or ecosanoipentanoic acid is an omega 3 fatty acid frequently used in capsule form and can be found in flax and fish oil and cold water fish (i.e. salmon, tuna, mackerel). Flaxseed oil is also an omega 3 fat containing linolenic acid. The Omega 6 fats include safflower and sunflower oil. These oils contain an omega 6 fat called linoleic acid. The body must take forms of linoleic acid (such as safflower and sunflower oil) and convert them to gamma-linolenic acid. Once having converted linoleic and linolenic acids to gamma-linolenic acid (aka GLA) and ecosanoipentanoic acid (aka EPA) the body can produce several types of long-chain fats needed for the correction of symptoms of deficiency and imbalance. Many more symptoms that may arise from essential fatty acid deficiencies.
Myelin Basic Protein
Myelin basic protein is the predominant protein moiety found in the central nervous system. Conditions involving the central nervous system such as those throughout this text, may involve some degree of myelin degeneration. Myelin is the covering which surrounds nervous tissue in the body. Loss of myelin is associated with a variety of disorders involving immunity and the nervous system. Studies have shown for example that myelin basic protein given in an oral supplement form may benefit those with Down's Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis with no side-effects. A common daily dose is between 2-4 capsules, 2-3 times per day.
NOT CURRENTLY SUGGESTED
DMG contains methyl groups which can be donated to a number of biological reactions which are vital for life. Methyl groups allow for the production of adrenaline (epinephrine) which is vital for a normal stress response. Methyl groups through a process known as transmethylation allows for normal detoxification. Considering that the body rapidly loses methyl groups they must continually be replaced. I perter to use DMG in a liquid form. This form of DMG has a larger surface area for absorption. The most common form is a DMG capsule contained in a foil wrapper. I have found far better results with the liquid form. DMG can also help increase stomach acid production which is essential for the absorption of many minerals and for maintaining a normal pH throughout the gastrointestinal tract.
Neurotransmitters, Nutrition and Mental/Emotional Health
A neurotransmitter is a chemical that is released by nerve cells that elicits a particular response when it reaches its target. The so-called target is either another nerve cell,
directly into the blood stream or an organ or gland. The brain is made up of literally billions of nerve cells. In order to communicate with one another neurotransmitters are released by these nerve cells into spaces between the cells. Visualize a series of wires one after the other with one inch of space between the wires. Neurotransmitters are released in the space known as a synapse. If the neurotransmitter is not released, or if its target (where it is going and where it needs to be recognized) cell is not sensitive to it, nerve transmission will be interrupted. Studies are beginning to show that a variety of neurotransmitter abnormalities exist in those with special needs. Those will depression for example are low in the neurotransmitter serotonin. Tryptophane and melatonin may also be useful. Neurotransmitters are formed from amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Norepinephrine, acetylcholine, serotonin, enkephalins and endorphins are just a few examples of neurotransmitters derived from amino acids. Not all neurotransmitter are made from amino acids. The amino acid tyrosine for example directly synthesizes epinephrine and norepinephrine; serotonin is made from a chemical called 5-hydroxytryptophan which comes from the amino acid tryptophane; Serotonin and 5HPTsupplementation can be very useful for those with depression and anxiety and hypertension.
Defects of proteins and amino acids in cellular membranes, contained and composing the outer covering of cells, results in abnormal neurotransmission. Improper production of neurotransmitters from inadequate dietary protein or protein/amino acid assimilation (usage) will also result in abnormal nerve transmission. It is well established that conditions such as depression, mania, anxiety, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and autism all involve some abnormalities in either the production or usage of neurotransmitters. Thus the evaluation of amino acid and protein status in those with special needs should not be overlooked.
Amino Acids & Frontal Lobe Function
Dopamine inhibits frontal lobe neurons. The major function of the frontal lobes is the integration of feelings, thoughts and sensory information which in turn influences motor function. The integration of information function of the frontal lobes allows for movement and activity from one task to another and for the completion of tasks in general. In dopamine deficiency, the frontal lobe neurons are unable to regulate the stress response and integration of senses. The neurons may have a hypersensitivity to dopamine which causes depletion of this neurotransmitter (amino acid)resulting in hyperactivity. This hyperactivity (emotional "wildness") has been shown to further be caused by serotonin depletion.
Amino acids are derived from the digestive breakdown from proteins. The two main groups of amino acids are known as essential and non-essential; essential must be derived from the diet and non-essential can be make from the essential amino acids. Amino acids are also found throughout the diet animal products being the most concentrated forms. Amino acids are required for a variety of essential biological functions. Some of these functions include the strengthening of connective and muscle tissue, the making of enzymes (which drive chemical reactions), neurotransmitters and some hormones. Amino's are also needed to maintain normal blood sugar levels, for detoxification, to generate metabolic
energy and for antioxidant functions. Amino acids may become deficient in the diet due to poor intake, inadequate absorption or assimilation (usage). A variety of health conditions may indicate the need for an amino acid profile and for supplemental amino acids either
from foods and/or a pre-made powder, capsule or tablet. The disorders outlined in the book commonly display abnormal amino acid profiles. Considering the essential and varied functions of amino acids its seems reasonable that correcting these imbalances could help
those with special needs.
Tyrosine or Phenylalanine > (the enzyme here (made from DNA) requires folic acid, niacin and iron) L-Dopa > (enzyme from DNA requires B6) > Dopamine > (vitamin C) > Norepinephrine
Optimal Nutrition Is Not the Complete Answer
General Psychotherapy Treatment Considerations
-Acknowledging that the presenting symptoms constitute a formalized psychiatric disorder
-Helping the patient identify those feelings and resulting behaviors that cause the predominant symptoms; such as aggressiveness and impulsive behavior
-Have children reflect upon what other people might feel about their behavior -Teaching kids how to think before they react
-Teach kids how to anticipate consequences to their actions; in other words, to distinguished past and future so responses and reactions can be modified
-Help children develop a sense of structure and routine
-Teach children how to break down seemingly large tasks into small, manageable tasks
-Discuss with children their specific actions, how they may have reacted differently, and discuss why people around them have reacted the way they have
-Closely monitoring children in their classroom situation or other significant social structure -Develop appropriate rewards with parents for desirable behavior
-Specific behavioral therapy for certain social circumstances
-Teach kids and parents the signs of impending family grips so that previously condition favorable reactions, rather than typical ADD behavior, can be practiced..
Metals and Mood
Vitamin C, glutathione, pycnogenol, quercetin and calcium will increase the uptake of metals helping to remove them from the body. Mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum are neurotoxin's. A variety of mental and physical symptoms may arise from the accumulation of heavy metals in the body.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEANT TO BE A COMPLETE REVIEW OF THE NUTRITIONAL AND NATURAL OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WITH AD(H)D. THIS INFORMATION MAY SERVE AS A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO SOME EXCITING POSSIBILILITIES AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WITH AD(H)D.