Tag Archives: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Adhd

Herbal Adjuvants in the Treatment of ADHD

It is a matter of concern for parents and medical professionals alike that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become increasingly prevalent among children.

The most recent report by the CDC based on parent interviews shows that about 4.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. From the children who were diagnosed by a physician, about 2.5 million of them are currently on medication.

Pharmacological treatment of ADHD is still a controversial topic due to its troubling side effects. For this reason, more and more parents are turning towards alternative treatments instead of standard medication for their children.

The most common ADHD medications prescribed today are methylphenidate or amphetamine. They are both stimulant drugs. While they have been proven to be effective in most of the children, they also have a high risk for abuse and have many side effects.

Side effects listed as frequent are weight changes, appetite changes, insomnia, and nervous tics not previously present. It is a fact that the number of children on these drugs is alarmingly growing and the total production of methylphenidate and amphetamine has increased by up to 2000% since 1991. Half of the drugs used for the treatment of ADHD are being prescribed by pediatricians.


Due to the significant side effects of these medications, many parents are now looking into alternative options for effectively dealing with ADHD. Research on herbal treatments has shown promising benefits while keeping the type and severity of the side-effects to a minimum.

Caffeine has been the focus of a lot of attention as a potential remedy because of its stimulant properties. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine is beneficial to children with ADHD.

Although it seems to help manage some of the symptoms, the benefits from caffeine are not nearly as good as those seen with pharmacological treatments. The many potential side effects from caffeine consumption in children are also a source of concern to parents.

There are a few herbal remedies that have shown some promise with hardly any side effects. They are ginkgo biloba, brahmi, siberian ginseng, gotu kola and green oats. All of these herbs enhance alertness without caffeine and appear to help those dealing with ADHD.

Ginkgo biloba leaves show promise because they increase blood flow to the brain and act as an antioxidant to nervous tissue. This herb is indicated for other brain ailments particularly in the elderly.

Brahmi also acts as an antioxidant and has been shown to facilitate learning and cognition.

Siberian ginseng, when used as part of a long term treatment, appears to increase brain activity in general and boosts work output.

Gotu kola is a mild adaptive, with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is a gentle sedative and most importantly, a cerebral tonic. Also known as centella asiatica, it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety.

Green oats are known as a nervine and general brain tonic and demonstrate a stimulating effect over time. On the other hand, they have a positive short term effect in treating sleep problems.

The use of herbal remedies for ADHD shows great promise. Parents are trying to employ natural treatments in order to ameliorate the risk of abuse found in medications as well as possible side effects.

As always, enlist the help of an expert in the field. An herbalist may recommend other supplementation and dietary changes in addition to herbs for the treatment of ADHD.

For those who prefer a simple solution, there is an herbal formula for ADHD on the market. It is made by Native Remedies and it is called Focus Formula.  It contains extracts of the above ingredients and many others that are proven to help concentration and to provide balance to the nervous system and the brain. We highly recommend the product. To learn more click here.

References:

NaturalNews.com, “Use Herbal Remedies for ADHD” http://www.naturalnews.com/026081_adhd_remedies_herbal.html Accessed November 15, 2011

Rethinking Physical Activity for ADHD

Even now, there’s not much known about the chain of events that results in the symptoms indicative of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Excessive impulsivity, chronic inattention and inability to remain still are the trademark symptoms first noticed by parents and teachers.

Thankfully, more and more research now suggests that it might be related to a deficiency in the production of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that helps regulate behavior, mood, and controlled movement.

In the treatment of ADHD doctors currently tend to prescribe stimulant medication such as Ritalin because it has been shown to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain.

However effective stimulants carry risks that are unavoidable. Many parents are left wondering if a natural alternative to chemically increasing concentration and attention span actually exists.

This topic is certainly controversial since most medical experts agree that there is no “cure” for ADHD and that the condition requires sustained management.  While medications can be used to control symptoms and learned techniques can improve attention, most patients with ADHD continue to exhibit signs of the illness even later in life.

A number of experts have lately begun looking at something rather new called “Brain Exercise Therapy” (BET). The therapy is comprised of mental and physical workouts that they claim build brain mass and neural pathways.


It seems quite promising that, given the brain’s plasticity, engaging in activities that require new skills and problem solving allows patients to stimulate neuron growth. The connections that are created in areas of the brain that are deficient in neurotransmitters, advance overall brain function and heal specific deficits in the ADHD brain.

We all know adults who are successful in the relationships and careers, but their lives are very disorganized. There’s no clear direction or consistency to their daily lives.

Dr. Gimpel, a board-certified psychiatrist, neurologist and director of the Brain Power Clinic in Jerusalem agrees that any activity that requires new, challenging ways of thinking can help this type of chronic disorganization.

BET games such as juggling and chess are essential for teaching strategy, memory, and planning skills.

Dr. Gimpel uses an effective analogy to explain what games can do for your brain.

“In each brain cell, we have a little fuel tank, much like in a car”, he says. “The trouble with ADHD patient is that this tank of fuel has holes, so you don’t have enough fuel to allow for effective stimulation between brain cells. When you do these activities, you are creating new cells and with each one comes more fuel.”

However, it is important to remember that much like one visit to the gym won’t build muscle mass, these changes in the brain do not normally occur until after 50 to 70 hours of BET. Fortunately, many of these activities are fun for everyone, not just those with ADHD and the whole family can and should participate.

References:

Health.com, “Brain Games and Exercise: A Drug-Free Treatment for ADHD?” http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20252861,00.html Accessed November 11, 2011

candies with food dyes

Effects of Food Dyes in ADHD Patients

candies with food dyesThere is an alarming trend among pediatric patients that has recently made front page news. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed 73,000 children and concluded that one in every 10 has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

This is an upsetting 22% increase since 2003. Although there is still quite a bit of controversy regarding the causes and treatment of ADHD, research has confirmed that a toxic food supply and unhealthy lifestyle patterns are the chief contributing factors for this disorder.

There seems to be a consensus among researchers in considering chronic ADHD as a sign of mild brain damage. When certain regions of the brain remain chronically inflamed they fail to function in a proper way. Inflammation inhibits frontal lobe function, which in turn is responsible for concentration and emotional stability.

Other more “primitive” or basic regions of the brain go on overdrive establishing a pattern of poor responses to otherwise mild stimuli. In short, it leads to poor concentration, emotional outbursts and an exacerbated sense of frustration.

There seems to be a strong link between ADHD and a diet that causes inflammation. The main culprits are food additives and other chemicals that are neurotoxic. They are present in every conceivable food item in the market, sometimes in combination with other toxic substances.

A recent study published in The Lancet, concluded that food dyes along with the common preservative sodium benzoate cause many children to become significantly more hyperactive and distractible. This study also concluded that food additives and dyes can do as much damage to children’s brains as the lead in gasoline.


There are also some digestive problems that can dramatically affect brain function and development. A common factor among patients with ADHD is a weak digestive system and the presence of food allergies.

Often times a fungus infection can be present which could be producing more toxic substances that further disrupt the brain‘s proper function. It is wise to address any underlying intestinal problem in order to heal it by avoiding allergens and supplementing with high quality probiotics.

The most common food allergens to avoid include all dairy products and gluten containing grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut, & spelt. Soy products are a typical culprit, as are some nuts and eggs.

An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are highly recommended for a steady improvement from this condition. Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system. To effectively eliminate inflammation from the tissues, it is key to completely avoid precooked foods, sugars, and trans fats.

Children, teenagers and adults with ADHD symptoms do very well to incorporate to their daily routine a regular exercise program. Many hyperactive kids are naturally drawn to activities such as bouncing and jumping on a trampoline as well as balance sports such as skating, surfing and snowboarding. All of these balance based activities powerfully enhance the correct functioning of the brain and play an important role in the overall well being of the patient.

Is The Food Supply Contributing to the ADHD Epidemic?

It seems to be quite obvious that the old adage “You Are What You Eat” has become more and more true in recent decades.

We are all more or less familiar with the concept of foods that are good for us and also with the idea that certain other foods can be detrimental to our health.

What most of us do not know is that the US food supply is chock-full with petroleum-based substances, artificial food dyes and even synthetic chemical pesticides. These are man-made additives that are introduced into our food in order to alter its natural qualities and, most commonly, to extend the shelf life of the products in question.

Startlingly, extensive research has shown that many of these additives are linked to many diseases and troubling conditions. In fact, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral problems in children seem to be among the most prevalent of conditions linked to an adulterated food supply.

Parents are the only ones standing between their children and these common additives already present in many common foods. For those wishing to avoid them, purchasing organic foods seems to be the safest alternative.

Ironically, it was a 2007 study conducted by researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK that prompted a study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into the safety of artificial food dyes and a variety of pesticides. That study found a direct correlation between the habitual consumption of artificial additives and a spike in ADHD rate among young children.


Barely a year later, in 2008, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) chose to  petition the FDA to ban nine specific color additives that had been the focus of the above mentioned UK study. The CSPI has not always shown adherence to the natural health movement and to some these recommendations came as a welcome move towards a safer, healthier food supply worldwide.

A different study published in the journal Pediatrics also found that sustained exposure to common organophosphate pesticides is strongly connected with higher levels of ADHD in children.

This study prompted the 2010 US President’s Cancer Panel Report to offer advice to consumers that urges them to avoid conventionally grown foods and to instead choose food grown without the use of chemical pesticides, growth hormones and other synthetic additives.

Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director and CEO explained in response to this advice:

“Organic food production and processing represent the only system that uses certification and inspection to verify that synthetic food dyes and chemicals are not used. Those seeking to minimize their exposure to these chemicals can look for the USDA Organic label wherever they buy their food.”

These facts are a sobering reminder that ADD is not just genetic, as many would have us believe. There are significant environmental factors that can increase a person’s risk of being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

There are entire industries that wish to cover up this information. In this case, conventional agribusiness has a vested interest in the suppression of facts.

It is critical that the word gets out allowing parents to protect their children from chemical exposure wherever it may occur.

References:

FDA, “Quick Minutes: Food Advisory Committee Meeting March 30-31, 2011” http://www.fda.gov/advisorycommittees/ Accessed October 12, 2011

MedPageToday, “Food Dyes and Preservatives May Make Junior Act Up” http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/ADHD-ADD/6610 Accessed October 12, 2011

Organic Trade Association, “Organic foods offer alternative to foods containing food dyes, pesticides linked to raising children’s risk of ADHD” http://www.organicnewsroom.com/2011/03/organic_foods_offer_alternativ.html Accessed October 12, 2011

CNN, “Study: ADHD linked to pesticide exposure” http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/17/pesticides.adhd/index.html Accessed October 12, 2011