ADHD


 My child has a mild case of ADHD.  I want to treat her with all naturl meds.what can I give her.

 

One of the most well researched natural products for ADHD is fish oil.  DHA is one of the active components of fish oil and comprises 40% of the fat contained in the brain.  It is extremely supportive to the neurological system and brain in general.  Pleasant tasting liquids and capsules are available on the market for easy administration. 

In addition to fish oil there are some other key nutrients to consider.  B-vitamins play a crucial role in helping to supply the body with the energy needed to focus.  It helps to stimulate proper brain function and aids the body in handling stress.  B-complex is an important part of almost every protocol geared at supporting brain function.

There are two key amino acids to consider and these are tyrosine and taurine.  Tyrosine is a precursor to several important neurotransmitters such as Norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine all of which are thought to play a significant role in focus and concentration.  By taking supplemental tyrosine you can help to naturally support optimal brain levels of this important brain chemical.  Taurine is an amino acid that can help to activate receptors in the brain that support a calm alert mental state.  Both amino acids are very safe and very well tolerated in oral supplementation.

Theanine is a caffeine free, specific extract from green tea and has an excellent ability to calm the mind without sedating effects. This can be very useful for over-stimulated people suffering from ADHD and can also be very useful for both children and adults with anxiety.

DMAE is a unique compound that is used in several different applications in the natural health market.  Topically it is used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and is often found in high end face creams.  However, when taken internally it has a very specific action related to improving focus and concentration in those who suffer from ADD and ADHD.  This is a very valuable nutrient to consider when addressing ADHD from a natural perspective.

Two other compounds that are closely related called phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl serine play a key role in optimizing the health of the cell membrane.  By optimizing the health of cell membranes, cell to cell communication is enhanced allowing brain neurons to stimulate each other more effectively.  They have various applications for a variety of different health concerns but usually rise to the top of the list when considering any type of therapy for the support of the brain and mental function.  Remarkable results in the realm of brain related disorders have been seen with the use of these nutrients. 


Minerals are also very important to supplement.  Zinc is a key nutrient for optimal health and seems to have some role in ADHD.  Chromium is a micronutrient that is best known for its ability to stabilize blood glucose levels.  This can be particularly useful in children because an elevated blood sugar (say from drinking juice or soda or eating candy or sweets) and low blood sugar (the after effects of an elevated blood sugar) can both impair the ability of the brain to focus.  This is why diet plays such an important role in working with children and adults with ADHD.  It is a must to have your child eat good quality protein (chicken, fish, turkey, nuts or nut butter) with every meal to ensure blood sugar levels stay stable.  Avoid as much as possible all foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.  You can also consider the wheat-free, casein-free diet.  These are the protein structures found in wheat and diary products.  It has been documented that up to 80% of children with ADD/ADHD can have significant improvements in symptoms if the only thing they did was eliminate wheat and diary products from the diet.  Check out www.gfcfdiet.com  This is an entire website devoted to helping figure out how to easily make this dietary change.  It may seem like a big task at first, but once you get the hang of it you will realize how easy it can be. 

Lastly, many of these children have a very difficult time falling asleep at night.  If a child is not rested, good focus and concentration will be almost impossible.  Often times I will suggest the use of a small amount of melatonin to help a child wind down at night and fall asleep easier.  Once better sleep routines are established and the child is getting more restful sleep often times daytime alertness will improve.  In children only very low doses are needed (800mcg to 1mg) given 5-30minutes before bedtime.  Melatonin is non addictive, non sedating and has an excellent safety record in both children and adults.  It is truly a wonderful tool for those children that have moderate to severe difficulty falling asleep at night. 



Back to all Questions     View More by Dr. Kevin Passero

Lead Medical Director

As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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