ADHD and Nutritional Treatments

A growing body of research into the causes of Attention Deficit Disorder points to nutritional deficiencies, especially with essential fatty acids and amino acids, as a contributing factor to learning problems.

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.

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.

In 1996 Purdue University researchers found that boys with low blood levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have a greater frequency of Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD.

Attention Deficit Disorder is the most common behavioral disorder in children. At least 3-10% of children and 1-6% of adults in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD. Although not all Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD children are nutritionally deficient in essential fatty acids, statistics and studies show that a significant number of ADHD children are.

Fatty acids are used by the body to make brain and nerve tissue. They are crucial for proper growth, mental function, as well as immune system and brain development. The human body cannot produce Omega-3 and Omega-6 on its own. It can only receive these key nutrition ingredients through diet and/or supplementation.

Although the typical Western diet is high in the Omega-6 family of fatty acids (found in corn, sunflower, canola and safflower oil, margarine, vegetable oil and
shortening), most Americans young and old are highly deficient in Omega-3.

Learning specialists now believe many childhood behavior and learning problems are associated with Omega-3 deficiencies. This deficiency has a greater impact on males because their requirements for essential fatty acids are, in general, much higher than for females.

We at Chiropractic Health, Acupuncture and Diagnostic Services recommend that you include a daily supplement of Omega-3 in your family’s diet. The best natural sources of Omega-3 include Salmon, Halibut, flax seed, and walnuts. A serving of 2 tablespoons of flax seed can provide 146.3 % of your daily requirements of Omega 3 fatty acids. A quarter cup of walnuts can provide almost 95% of your daily requirements.

Physicians predominately prescribe stimulant drugs such as Ritalin to deal with the symptoms of  Attention Deficit Disorder. But, studies show that Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD children whose treatment program includes only stimulant medication remain at a high risk for vandalism, petty crime, frequency of alcoholic intoxication, and possession of marijuana. Additionally, ADHD medications can cause potentially harmful side effects. They don’t treat the cause of the problem.

These and other medical studies strongly suggest that nutrition and food should be one the first aspect of treatment to consider, as both an alternative treatment or used in conjunction with traditional stimulant drug treatment.

ADHD sufferers do best when their sugar levels are even and when there’s a lot of structure in their day. A high protein, low carbohydrate ADHD diet will help control all kinds of ADD ADHD…except one.

The exception to this rule is the ADHD Type 3 Overfocused. If you have this kind of ADD ADHD, a high protein low carb diet will make it worse. You NEED your carbohydrates! When someone eats something sugary like a cookie, your blood sugar level rises. Then the body releases insulin (a chemical made by the pancreas) to lower your sugar level back to normal, sometimes to below normal.

Carbohydrates are sugars. Some sugars are simple, and others are more complex. Sucrose (table sugar) is made of two simpler sugars called glucose and fructose. Lactose (milk sugar) is made of glucose and galactose. Both sucrose and lactose must be broken down into their component sugars by enzymes before the body can absorb and use them.

The carbohydrates in bread, pasta, rice, and other carbohydrate-containing foods are long chains of simple sugar molecules. These longer molecules must also be broken down by the body. If an enzyme needed to process a certain sugar is missing, the sugar can accumulate in the body, causing problems including aggravating the behaviors typically identified as ADHD.

Chiropractic Health, Acupuncture and Diagnostic Services has a long standing relationship with Enzyme Formulations, Inc. Founded by Fr. Howard Loomis Jr., a recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of enzyme deficiency with herbal and natural remedies. If you have any questions or would like some assistance in evaluating whether nutritional or enzyme treatments would benefit you or your child in the control of ADHD please don’t hesitate to contact us. (585) 586-7630