I am looking for alternative treatments for my son who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
Q. Dear Terry, “I am looking for alternative treatments for my son who has been diagnosed with ADHD. He is not currently on any prescription medications and I would like to keep it that way, if possible. Do you have suggestions?” — Stacy D., Tampa, FL
A. Dear Stacy, If you are not doing so already, I highly recommend taking a good look at your child’s diet. Dietary restrictions would include avoiding all sugar and foods made with sugar, refined flour, and carbohydrates. That means soft drinks, sweetened and diet, crackers, candy, cookies, bread, pasta, cakes and ice cream. While I understand this takes a huge effort on the part of both the child and family, it can make a real difference. Click on my healthy diet plan for more information. For additional information, I also recommend checking out the following websites: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com and www.drperlmutter.com. You should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
In addition to modifying your son’s diet, there are some natural ingredients that you may want to consider adding to his daily regimen. Nutrients like DMAE, L-tyrosine, taurine, phosphatidylserine, black currant, rhodiola, grape seed, and specific vitamins have been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of ADHD. For instance, vitamin B, L-tyrosine, and DMAE aid in the function of neurotransmitters, which are messengers in the brain. The herb rhodiola has long been used for its ability to increase focus, concentration and memory, especially during stressful times (such as final exam testing for students). Phosphatidylserine is a specific kind of phospholipid that is important for cell membranes in the brain, as well as helping to create neurotransmitters that are important for memory, attention and focus. Each of these ingredients influences a different pathway, which is why I like to recommend them in combination.
I would also strongly recommend that you consider adding omega-3s to his regimen as they have been shown to help increase focus and attention. I prefer to get my omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients. This is the way you’d get your omega-3s by eating fish – in the natural sn-2 position, not the sn-1 position into which they are twisted when extracted in fish oil. This means a big difference in stability and ability to transport omega-3s to where they are needed most. Therefore, you only need a small amount compared to the handfuls of fish oil capsules or spoonsful of fishy tasting oils.
Lastly, you may also want to consider adding narrow-leaved coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) to your son’s regimen. Researchers have discovered that when grown under the right conditions, harvested and processed in a particular way, and taken at the right dosage level, compounds in this unique type of coneflower can help reduce anxiety as effectively as certain prescription medications, without the side effects. These compounds have been shown to attach to certain brain receptors, which helps to instill a sense of calm and relaxation.
I recommend that your son take 20-40 mg of coneflower extract twice daily. When choosing a formula, make sure you look for a clinically studied, narrow-leaved coneflower root extract that is standardized for echinacoside content.
Terry . . . Naturally