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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): Nutritional Remedies


Oriental, Indian, and Native American Indian healing systems incorporate three essential beliefs. They are (1) that wellness is a state of balance between spiritual, 

physical, and mental and emotional “selves”; (2) imbalances of forces in the body cause illness; and (3) herbal and natural remedies, when used in conjunction with nutrition and exercise, can correct this imbalance. 

An inadequate intake of nutrients can result in deficiencies in neurotransmitters that are important for the brain to function well. A disruption of acetylcholine activity (a neurotransmitter) may play a part in ADD/ADHD. Many people in America and other developed countries have serious nutritional deficiencies based on eating mostly fast foods that have little nutrition. By changing one’s diet through the consumption of healthy foods and herbal supplements, a person with ADD can create substantial benefits to their overall well-being. 

By adjusting their diet and nutrition, many people have experienced beneficial results towards helping manage the symptoms of mental illness. Therefore, it is no surprise that many researchers have hypothesized dietary links to ADD/ADHD. Clinical studies have shown that by eliminating certain products (such as milk and wheat), there are a number of effects that can be mitigated, including symptoms of hyperactivity. Several studies conducted by the American Dietetic Association indicate that most children’s diets do not meet the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) designated for them. A study conducted in 1997 found that only 1% of children met the RDA standards for vegetable intake, and most of these consumed just one vegetable: potatoes in the form of French fries. 

Studies have revealed that the same glycemic index dietary principles that are good for weight loss can have a major positive effect on ADD/ADHD patients. Iron, zinc and magnesium deficiencies have been linked to the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. These can usually be alleviated by taking a daily multivitamin. General poor nutrition such as a Western diet with high sugar, high saturated fats, food additives and without omega-3 fatty acids seems to aggravate the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Therefore, it is recommended that people and children with ADD avoid sugary, fatty and artificial foods, and instead eat whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

Symptoms of attention deficit closely resemble those of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, and further research has shown that in some cases omega-3 supplementation (specifically with EPA and DHA) may be helpful for ADD/ADHD patients. A fish oil supplement with at least 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids is recommended. Be sure to only use omega-3 supplements that contain EPA and DHA since these are the best omega-3s.



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