Posted on Oct 18, 2008 in Heavy Metals

Science has shown time and time again that although children with ADD and ADHD respond most quickly to medications designed to treat their illness, placing them on a special ADD/ADHD diet can do wonders to improve their self control, their performance in school, their general happiness and, ultimately, their future-and it can do it without any of the side effects caused by today’s favorite behavioral narcotics.

A study done by physicians in Belmont, Massachusetts of twenty children with ADD and ADHD compared the results of children who were treated with Ritalin (the most popular drug on the market for the treatment of ADHD in pediatric patients) with those children treated with special diet designed to control what are believed to be “biochemical heterogeneous etiologies for AD/HD”-in other words, elements in their diet that may contribute to their disorder.

These high risk factors in a typical ADD/ADHD diet are believed to include:

* Food and additive allergies
* Heavy metal toxicity and other environmental toxins
* Low protein/high carbohydrate diets
* Mineral imbalances
* Essential phospholipid deficiencies
* Thyroid disorders
* Vitamin B deficiencies

Those children in the group treated with food supplements were given a mix of dietary supplements that included vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids, essential fatty acids, phospholipids and probiotics. Physicians conducting the study were pleased to discover that children treated with these supplements were able to control and live with their ADD/ADHD almost as effectively, if not as effectively, as those dosed with Ritalin. (Outcome-based comparison of Ritalin versus food-supplement treated children with AD/HD. Altern Med Rev. 2003 Aug;8(3):319-30.)

What we don’t realize is that our own diet is contributing to the high percentage of children in the United States suffering from ADHD. An ADD/ADHD diet focuses on eliminating the unnatural chemicals and environmental toxins that are included in our food supply and the deficiencies found in most diets, both factors believed to strongly contribute to ADHD in children.
The high abundance of processed foods on the market have been robbed of their natural nutrition, filling them with empty calories and artificial substances. Unsurprisingly, children who ate a diet high in sugar were more likely to display symptoms of ADHD. Children with ADD/ADHD have been shown to produce a decreased quantity of the hormones that help the body to process sugar, and the body’s attempts to “force” itself to produce more result in hyperactivity.

For this reason, an ADD/ADHD diet concentrates on eliminating sugar and high carbohydrate foods, focusing instead on whole grains, fruits, proteins and vegetables.

Magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies have been shown to contribute to ADD/ADHD, as have a deficiency in essential fatty acids. Incorporating those into an ADD/ADHD diet has been shown to help children function with their disease. Before self diagnosing your child with a nutrient deficiency and pumping them full of supplements, however, consult your pediatrician or family physician. Too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing, and you want to ensure that when you begin to give your child vitamins and supplements that you are not doing more harm than good!

The ADD/ADHD Diet:

* Eliminate artificial coloring and preservatives
* Minimize your food’s exposure to environmental toxins
* Get your food fresh as often as possible!
* Limit your child’s intake of sugars and carbohydrates
* Speak to your doctor about the need for nutrient supplementation, and design a daily schedule that will meet your child’s needs without excess.

For more information on surviving, treating and helping yourself and your child succeed with ADHD, check out the ADHD Survival Guide.

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