Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder other known as ADHD is a term used to diagnose a group of related conditions that affects a person’s ability to sit still, focus, pay attention, finish a task and control impulses. It is considered a disorder of the brain that is present at birth or develops shortly afterwards.
Types of ADHD
There are 3 different types of ADHD, predominantly hyperactive and impulsive, predominantly inattentive, or a combination of both. (Dr. Weil).
ADHD is prevalent more among boys than in girls, and was more prevalent in the South and Midwest regions as of the years 2007-2009. ADHD typically causes slower emotional development and often continues into adulthood. This condition is being treated more and more every year and medications such as Ritalin are commonly given. With a hypoallergenic, toxin and salycilate-free whole foods diet ADHD can be managed without the use of medication.
- Maternal smoking or alcohol use.
- Neonatal hypoglycemia
- Nutrient deficient: Minerals, B complex, flavonoids, Essential Fatty Acids, phosphatidylserine.
- Pre- or post-natal exposure to toxic metals, toxins, or viral infections.
- Possible genetic link: Genetic polymorphisms especially dopamine. 25% of close relatives of children with ADHD also have the condition. (Dr. Weil)
- Faulty thyroid.
- Low dopamine & norepinephrine.
Signs & Symptoms
- Trouble focusing
- Difficulty with homework
- Difficulty following through
- Inability to wait their turn
- Lose or forget things
- Makes careless mistakes
- Tend to fidget
- Easily distracted
Hyperactivity is not as common in adults but inability to organize and concentrate are commonly seen
Nutritional Support For ADHD
When managing ADHD with proper nutrient it is vital that toxins and excitatory additives are removed from the diet. Foods high in preservatives and additives cause even more excitatory actions in the brain increasing ADHD symptoms.
Consuming a hypoallergenic diet, eating small frequent meals, reading all labels, removing poor quality fats and avoiding all food additives, salicylates, phosphates, aluminum, MSG and aspartame and applying the concept of the Feingold diet when appropriate is the key to controlling ADHD and treating the condition without medication.
When fist implementing this diet it is followed by an eliminated hypoallergenic diet which eliminates many foods that are statistically shown to worsen the symptoms of ADHD in order to determine what causes a trigger. After these items have been removed they can be re-introduced one by one to test for sensitivity. The foods removed include all dairy products, corn, soy, wheat, beef, nitrate containing foods (lunch meats, hot dogs, and bacon), salicylates, MSG containing foods, caffeine and damaged oils.
What To Add To The Diet With ADHD?
Amino Acids: Will provide support for the production and building of neurotransmitters and help to calm hyperactivity and improve focus.
Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are critical for normal, healthy brain development with evidence supporting that they may be present in lower levels in people with ADHD. (Dr. Weil.)
Bioflavonoid rich foods: Bioflavonoids found in fresh colorful fruits and vegetables have potent antioxidant effects which can help to reduce ADHD symptoms. (Curtis & Patel, 2008; Kidd, 2000)
Cutris, L.T. &Patel, K. (2008, Jan/Feb). Nutritional and environmental approaches to preventing and treating autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A review [Abstract]. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14 (1):79-85. Doi:10.1089/acm.2007.0610
Friedlander, Jodi, N.C. “NC 209 Mental Health.” Therapeutic Nutrition. By Ed Bauman.
“Condition Care Guide.” Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2015. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00645/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder.html