WHAT ARE ADD/ADHD
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are defined as conditions that demonstrate impulsiveness, over-active behavior and inattentiveness. These inhibit a person’s effectiveness and ability to complete a task or studies at school or at work.
HOW PREVALENT ARE THEY?
According to the latest statistics, ADD and ADHD affect 3-5% of school-aged children. This translates to about 1.3 to 4 million of the population. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. The disorder occurs more often in Western societies than in other cultures.
STANDARD MEDICAL THEORIES
According to standard medicine, the causes are not known but might relate to genetics, complications prior to or immediately after birth and neurotransmitter defects. Other evidence strongly suggests vaccines, with mercury and aluminum toxicity in the central nervous system and brain being the major contributing factors.
One of the major premises is that symptoms respond to pharmaceutical stimulants, and because these increase the neurotransmitter L-dopamine, it must be a dopamine deficiency in the central nervous system. L-dopamine is responsible for initiating purposeful movement, increased motivation and alertness, reduced appetite, increased reaction time and inducing insomnia. These are the common effects often seen with methylphenidate (Ritalin®). The above mentioned signs also are prevalent in cocaine use. In fact, research has shown cocaine and Ritalin® to be so similar, only chemical analysis can distinguish one from the other. It has been observed methylphenidate increases cigarette smoking. How many children and teens end up smoking as a direct result of having been on Ritalin®? To date no epidemiological studies have been performed to assess this. (1-4)
WHAT ARE THE USUAL STANDARD TREATMENTS?
The standard treatment in ADD/ADHD is with pharmaceutical drugs.
- Methylphenidate- Ritalin®, Concerta®, Focalin®, Metadate®
- Amphetamine – Adderral®, Modafinil (Provigil®)
- Non-stimulant – Strattera®
- Antidepressants – Wellbutrin™, Zyban™
As with all drugs, serious side-effects do occur. These can be even more disruptive to the person with ADD/ADHD. Adults diagnosed with ADD/ADHD often become addicted to prescription drugs. Studies show an increased probability of addiction to other drugs later in life.
Known side-effects include:
|Headache, Dizziness, Irritability|
|Decreased appetite, Anorexia|
|Slow growth rate|
|Emotional over sensitivity, Mood swings, Fatigue|
|Abdominal pain, Nausea, vomiting|
|Dry mouth, Increased blood pressure, Tics|
WHAT THE CLINICAL STUDIES REVEAL
Studies show allergies and cross reactions to foods, food additives, and environmental chemicals in those with ADD/ADHD. Deficiencies of minerals and vitamins are frequent. Research shows problems with effectively detoxifying environmental toxins. Abnormal thyroid function and poor digestion is common. Diet and nutrition are very important and a nutritional approach has the advantage of no dangerous side-effects caused by drugs.
When dietary changes are made, and specific food and food additives are avoided, symptoms are reduced and eventually stopped. Optimizing brain function is possible by enhancing brain neurotransmitters which come from food in the form of amino-acids; the building blocks of protein.
Essential fatty acids (from oils and fats) make up approximately 66% of brain tissue. Balancing dietary fats and oils and improving their digestion leads to greatly improved neurological function.
Introducing nutritionally dense food into a previously nutritionally deficient diet is not enough. It requires better digestion. When food is better digested, nutrients are utilized more efficiently. Improving digestion is the first step in correcting symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Often people try a gluten/dairy free diet and see some changes, though this may not be necessary using enzymes.
WHAT ARE ENZYMES AND WHY THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT
All organisms depend on enzymes for life. Movement, thought, breath, blood pressure, sight and digestion are evidence of enzymes at work. Enzymes are composed of protein and minerals. They are the fundamental “cause” of all biochemical functions in our body. All raw food contains enzymes but cooking destroys them. Cooked food still demands the body to digest it. Our immune system and other organs must give up enzymes just to digest food. This creates chronic organ stress.
Enzymes digest food in an incompetent digestive system. This is especially true with fats and oils. Fats that are not easily digested are made more difficult to make use of. Fats are essential in neurological and eye function. Dyslexia, often found in ADD/ADHD, is significantly helped when fats are better utilized.
Protein transports minerals, vitamins, and hormones throughout the body. Protein supplies Norepinephrine, L-Dopamine and serotonin which are necessary neurotransmitters that play an important role in how we feel, think and learn. Incomplete fat and protein digestion leads to deficiencies resulting in the typical ADD/ADHD behaviors.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A PARENT?
A specialized 24-hour urinalysis identifies foods that cause dietary stress. Information about dietary stress helps you modify intake of certain foods. Testing for food and air born allergens identifies an individual’s liabilities and the need to correct them. Education on food additives helps avoid those commonly used.
Tests on heavy metal, pesticides and environmental toxins are available. Knowing what one has been exposed to helps an individual detoxify efficiently.
Recommendations are based on test results and client’s medical history. Signs of improvement require time and patience. Clinical studies support the rationale for a nutritionally based program in dealing with ADHD/ADD.
Enhanced neurological function through improved digestion, effective elimination of environmental toxins and avoiding additives, offers safe, natural alternatives to drugs.
1) Is Methylphenidate Like Cocaine? Studies on Their Pharmacokinetics and Distribution in the Human Brain;
Nora D. Volkow, MD; Yu-Shin Ding, PhD; Joanna S. Fowler, PhD; Gene-Jack Wang, MD; Jean Logan, PhD; John S. Gatley, PhD;
Stephen Dewey, PhD; Charles Ashby, PhD; Jeffrey Liebermann, MD; Robert Hitzemann, PhD; Alfred P. Wolf, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1995;52(6):456-463.
2) Dopamine-transporter occupancy after intravenous doses of cocaine and methylphenidate in mice and humans;
John Gatley · Nora D. Volkow · Andrew N. Gifford, S. Fowler · Stephen L. Dewey · Yu-Shin Ding, Jean Logan;
Psychopharmacology (1999) 146:93–100
3) Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine; Brian Vastag; JAMA, August 22/20, —Vol 286, No 8, 905-906
4) Methylphenidate increases cigarette smoking; R. Rush, Stephen T. Higgins, R. Vansickel, William W. Stoops
Joshua A. Lile, Paul E. A. Glaser; Psychopharmacology (2005) 181: 781–789
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