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The ADD – ADHD Disaster Today: How Nutrition Helps!

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A few years ago a mother brought her 5-year-old, supposedly ADHD son to see me during their holidays interstate. Without his usual Ritalin, which was required for him to attend school, he was often impossible to manage, yet his mother knew that inside was a gentle little boy who occasionally appeared.

He roared through the front door, knocked over a lamp and proceeded to terrorize my home until we took him out on the balcony. Even the most casual observer would agree that this little boy was acting as if something was irritating him, and that his behaviour was more than just naughty. He was behaving as though someone was constantly sticking him with thumb tacks, or as if he was actually wearing the proverbial ‘hair shirt’.

Concerned at the side affects of the Ritalin, a friend had suggested she pay me a visit, to see if any light could be shed on his erratic behaviour. Her friend had had personal experience with our savvy strategies on her own children health. The disastrous effects of what seem like insurmountable issues, syndromes and the like, can be as simple as dealing with three simple steps that any family cam take. 1-2-3. After all, as we say ‘Wellness, It’s Not That Hard!‘.

So what are the magical steps that can make such a difference?

First, let’s look at what panned out for this family. While every situation is different and the solutions vary, positive outcomes are often very simple to achieve.  If you pay attention to when the child’s behaviour spikes, and look for what seems to be associated with it, simply eliminating the possible offending item can make a difference, as it did in this case. That’s Step ONE!

His mother told me that he was always calm after his bath, however it started up again at bedtime, and that he usually woke up with a mild bumpy rash over his body. So that led me to suspect that there was something about his clothing and bedding that was irritating him.

Sure enough, we removed his clothes (he didn’t care, he was only 5) and within 30 seconds he calmed down, relaxed and curled up into his mother’s lap and fell asleep. When he woke 15 minutes later, he remained calm and played quietly for the next 40 minutes while I chatted with his mother about making sensible choices, so that they could have a healthier home.

Step ONE: Eliminate the offender!

It wasn’t surprising to me that, when she put his clothes back on him just before leaving, within 30 seconds he was yelling, screaming and kicking again. Can you believe it? It’s true . . . And it’s more common than you could imagine. In cases like this, reactions to soaps, the residues left by them, the fragrances or even fabric sensitivities, are not uncommon. We wrote more about it here. Discovering this could be the difference between needing or not needing Ritalin.

I have had other cases of children who suffered for years with persistent headaches, with skin rashes, allergies, and even asthma,  all of which suddenly disappeared when the mother changed their bathroom products as the chemicals used in the manufacture of most personal care products are not regulated and according to the World Health Organisation, often harmful.

It’s well known that stress, depression and the whole range of ADD / autism spectrum of conditions are on the rise (not to mention the rapid increase in all other modern diseases and syndromes). What if that is simply a result of weakened genetic potential due to our 21st century lifestyle? In our experience things such as excessive toxicity and nutritional insufficiencies are the two most common and easy to rectify issues. Could all this be so simply addressed, in the home by the family themselves?

Well, in our experience, this is often the case. Over the past fifteen years we have consistently been able to get positive improvement in almost all conditions, when these two factors are correctly addressed. Some people even claim they or their child have totally recovered. However they are usually quick to discover that when the stressors are added back in, their symptoms reappear. This proves that while they may have genetic dispositions to certain conditions, when the body is given optimal support, the individual’s best genetic makeup is allowed to prevail.

If you have experienced similar circumstance to the above story – make sure you address the 1 – 2 – 3 steps before doing anything else. So if you are looking  to provide safety-conscious formulations for things used in and around the home, make sure you contact us for more information. We do have answers. Everyone in the family will benefit and your home life will definitely improve.

I find it fascinating that the widening range of symptoms such as ADD can so often be triggered by either an allergic type reaction to certain substances in the environment of the home, as well as a direct connection to nutritional deficiencies, however the predisposition some people (children and adults alike) have to these reactions is often exacerbated by other irritations via foods when taken internally. The most common examples, in my experience, are sugar, wheat, preservatives, food colourings, and chemicals – even the chemicals in household or personal care products can cause further issues.

As well, ADD symptoms, asthma, allergies, skin issues and a myriad of immune symptoms improve when this first and important (but often overlooked) step is taken into account – that of chemical overload. But that is not looking at the root of the problem. Obviously these super sensitive children have a genetic disposition to hyper neural pathways.

Step TWO: Support the body’s natural nutritional needs

It’s been my experience over the past fifteen years, that these children ‘chew-up’ their nutrients at a much greater rate than most children, leaving them depleted and their bodies at risk of sensitivities and excessive emotional reactions. When these nutritional deficiencies are addressed, their best genetic potential is able to be expressed, and they suddenly become achievers rather than disrupters in class.

ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder is the most common behavioural and learning disorder in children. Not all Attention Deficit Disorder / ADHD children show as nutritionally deficient when medically tested, however statistics in studies show that a significant number of ADD and ADHD children are deficient in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and even basic nutrients such as found in a good quality multivitamin. The addition of these nutrients help right from conception.

While vitamins are of greatest importance, the body can manufacture quite a lot of vitamins as long as the gut macrobiotic is healthy (if not probiotics can make a big difference to a child’s behaviour). However the body cannot manufacture minerals, we must get them from our diet, and no matter how good the diet is these days, we are always lacking in some of the trace elements, if not in the macro-nutrients as well.

Minerals are required for every single cellular activity of our body and brain so a regular supplemental regime in the form of a colloidal, natural, plant-based minerals, is of prime importance. Getting a full compliment of minerals from an organic diet and from extra supplementation is an essential component of good general health, not even considering the extra needs these high performing and mentally stimulated children may have.

Another nutrient profile often overlooked, is that of the essential ingredients of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The emotional, mental and physical balancing effect of increasing the intake of essential fatty acids should not be underestimated. Using plenty of animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil could assist your child not only cope better, but it can increase their capacity to learn, memorise and retain information.

However good nutrition is more than the addition of these. Following are the seven key aspects for helping optimise your children’s health with Savvy strategies and nutrition, and articles written on each of them.

  1. Minerals – every metabolic function depends on them
  2. Antioxidants – cellular activity and protection
  3. Vitamins – a multivitamin can make all the difference, read this story
  4. Essential Fatty Acids – especially important for the baby during pregnancy and even for eye health
  5. Probiotics and how their microbiome affects your child
  6. Look after their immune function
  7. Be aware of the need for parasite cleansing

ADD, ADHD & Nutritional Studies

Check out the following series of studies, and download this Fact Sheet on Nutrition & ADD. Put down the Ritalin bottle for one minute to consider these Attention Deficit Disorder / ADHD nutrition research findings:

  • A George Washington University School of Medicine study found that hyperactive children who ate a meal high in protein did equally well, and sometimes better, in school than non-hyperactive kids.
  • An Oxford University (England) study evaluated the effects of fatty acid supplementation in average intelligence children with significant reading and writing disabilities. The ADHD symptoms in children receiving Essential Fatty Acids significantly improved over the children in the control group receiving a placebo. It even helped with significant learning disabilities.
  • Researchers first tied Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD with lower essential fatty acid in 1981. Studies examining essential fatty acid blood levels in children with behavioral problems in 1983 confirmed this Attention Deficit Disorder nutrition connection.
  • Researchers further documented the essential fatty acid deficiency tie to Attention Deficit Disorder in a 1987 study. Then, a 1995 study comparing essential fatty acid levels in ADHD boys against a control group of boys without ADHD found significantly lower levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • In 1996 Purdue University researchers have found that boys with low blood levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have a greater frequency of Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD.
  • Several studies have shown a reduction in hyperactivity and impulsivity with minerals, particularly zinc supplementation. 
  • A 2005 study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology,showed a correlation between mineral levels and inattention, behaviour and learning difficulties in children.
  • A 2004 Biochemical/Nutritional study describes the preliminary results of convincing evidence for a biochemical and/or nutritional etiology in many types of behaviour disorders.
  • One study showed that the emotional problems of aggression, anxiety, and irritability were shown to be more prevalent in children who were mine rally deficient, They then initiated an intervention program for children with behaviour disorders.
  • Trace mineral nutritional status shows up repeatedly in the literature regarding behaviour and learning problems. It is interesting that much of the research on the association between trace mineral nutrition and behavior relates to the influence of trace minerals on hypoglycaemia. Studies have shown that the trace mineral chromium is essential to normal function of the glucose/insulin system, particularly in subjects with hypoglycemia.
  • Another study showed that normalisation of the copper/zinc ratio with supplementation of zinc and other nutrients was found to improve violence-prone behaviour.

Other Suggestions On How to Treat ADD and ADHD Naturally ….

Step THREE: Support the body’s natural function

In the case of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), nutrition and foods are one the first aspects of treatment to consider, as an alternative treatment or used in conjunction with traditional stimulant drug treatment. However considering the products you bring into the home and the bathroom must be taken into consideration and are easy to rectify. Because the ingredients in these things are not only affecting the child who might be highly sensitive, they are insidiously impacting the long-term health of your whole family.

Then there is the optimisation of the body, and how it is functioning naturally. There is a new science that is radically altering how we understand how we respond to certain factors, and that’s called epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of the stable cellular and physiological heritable traits, when exposed to external and environmental factors. These are the factors that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes. Epigenetics works to see the true potential of the human, emotionally mentally and physically within the cells in our body.

If you would like to know how your child is travelling, from an epigenetic level . . . contact us for a special detailed report gained from individualised bio-markers from your child’s hair sample. This give you an inside look into how your childs body is working with it’s exposures, nutritional needs and much much more.

Here are some particularly effective methods of modifying your child’s behaviour:

  • Spending more time in nature, grounding with bare feet.
  • Avoiding processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, which may trigger ADHD symptoms.
  • Replacing soft drinks, fruit juices, and pasteurized milk in your diet with pure water.
  • Reducing or eliminating grains and sugars from your diet.
  • Moving on swings (check out the Sensory study below)
  • Working with an exercise ball
  • Lightly or deeply brushing their skin

ADHD Sensory Study

According to preliminary findings from a study of children with ADHD, sensory intervention significantly improved problem behaviours such as impulsivity, hyperactivity and restlessness.

In a study involving 88 children taking medication for ADHD, of the 88 participants, 63 underwent 40 one-hour sensory intervention therapy sessions, while a random 25 did not. Therapy techniques appealed to the three basic sensory systems: Tactile (the sense of touch), vestibular (controlling sensations of gravity and movement) and proprioceptive (regulating the awareness of the body in space).

Individual therapy sessions were tailored to each child’s needs and involved techniques that included the last three dot-points above.

Researchers found the therapy sessions put children more at ease, which helped them to better focus their attention in a noisy classroom and more comfortably participate in family activities. Changes in behaviors were seen in just six months. However remember, that the change can be almost instant, when you look at the 1-2-3 steps we teach.

Avoid The Current Popular Medical Treatment

The number of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs for children more than doubled between 1995 and 2000. The devastating consequences of this excessive medicating of our children with mind-altering drugs is a world wide problem. Children often have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), even though any medical evidence to verify such a diagnosis is lacking. They may be merely misbehaving at school for a variety of factors that can be easily remedied.

Instead of looking for physical (nutritional or environmental factors), kids are often labeled with ADHD simply for being hyper. One could say for acting like kids: fidgeting, speaking out of turn, not wanting to sit still.  certainly some children are almost impossible to control, but the reasons are often being overlooked, before medication is undertaken for an easily rectified, physical issue.

The diagnosis of ADHD is often made based on anecdotal evidence and standardized assessments from parents and teachers, without giving consideration to other potential factors like home life, diet, and environmental toxins. The end result for kids diagnosed with ADHD is almost always medications. Parents throughout the country are being pressured and coerced by schools to give psychiatric drugs to their children. Teachers, school psychologists, and administrators commonly make dire threats about their inability to teach children without medicating them.

The 700% increase in psychostimulant use that occurred in the 1990s justifies concern about potential overdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment of child behaviour problems. What’s worse is that it is now stated that there has been a 93% increase in it’s use, since then. It is concerning that between 1990 and 2000 there were 186 deaths from methylphenidate reported to the FDA MedWatch program from the long-term use of the drug, a voluntary reporting scheme, the numbers of which represent no more than 10 to 20% of the actual incidence. Do the maths!

Dr Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Director, International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology went before the Subcommittee on “Drug Oversight and Investigations Committee”, speaking in particular on the use of drugs in Education and the Workforce, in September 29 , 2000. He spoke with the express purpose of providing to the committee, parents, teachers, counselors and other concerned adults, a scientific basis for rejecting the use of stimulants for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or for the control of behavior in the classroom or home.

Now it’s true, that children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulty paying attention and controlling their behaviour. Many also suffer from sensory processing disorder, a neurological underpinning that contributes to their ability to pay attention or focus.

Experts now believe both genetic and biological components contribute to the cause of ADHD. And while treatment options typically include medication, behaviour therapy or a combination of the two, there are many researchers who believe there are effective, non-drug options for the disorder: including nutritional therapy, improving the lifestyle factors such as chemical exposure in the home as well as sensory intervention.

It’s no wonder that drugs for ADHD bring in about $1 billion in sales every year. If you’ve ever wondered why kids were rarely committing suicide or violent acts in schools when YOU were growing up, we may be able to shed some insight. Many adolescent psychiatrists report that there is a sharp increase in prescriptions for ADHD drugs when kids start the school year. Some drug companies are even marketing candy-flavored versions of these drugs.

Some believe this is a carefully timed marketing scheme aimed at selling more of these potent drugs, such as Ritalin, to your children, and the marketing works. It’s ironic that children are urged not to take drugs when it comes to the illegal variety, but are readily supplied with mind-altering medications as long as they are FDA-approved.

However, health professionals prescribe these drugs without warning parents about the severe and potentially fatal side effects (psychotic symptoms, headaches, insomnia, hallucinations, cardiac arrhythmia). Many of the drugs used to treat ADHD are not only potentially hazardous, but they are unnecessary if your child is treated appropriately.

What you need to know, and spread the word about, is that:

  • These drugs are potent (Ritalin is more potent than cocaine) and produce long-term changes in your child’s brain
  • They cause serious side effects
  • ADHD is almost always related to dietary and environmental factors, and can be cured by making the appropriate changes (outlined above).

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