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My 10-year-old son has anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Q. Dear Terry, “My 10-year-old son has anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s very difficult for him to focus because of the ADHD and anxiety. He’s really smart, but school has been really difficult for him. What recommendations do you have for him?”– P.M., Burlington, VT

A. Dear P.M., I think diet is incredibly important when it comes to focus and attention. I would start by removing dairy products (with the exception of cream, butter, and eggs), sugar, soft drinks, and all grains from your son’s diet. While I understand this takes a huge effort, it can make a real difference. Some additional diet resources include: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com, www.drperlmutter.com, and www.dietdoctor.com. You should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.

I believe omega-3s are necessary for proper brain functioning. Omega-3s have been shown to help increase focus and attention. I prefer to get my omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids and bioactive peptides, 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 – which means a big difference in stability and ability to transport omega-3s to where they are needed most. I would have your son take an omega-3 phospholipid peptide complex twice per day, either 214 mg of a capsule or 292 mg as a tablet.

I believe a combination of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids is essential to promote focus, calm, and emotional balance. These nutrients help support the function of neurotransmitters, which are messengers in the brain. For example, the herb rhodiola has long been used for its ability to increase focus, concentration, and memory, especially during stressful times. I would take 5 mg of vitamin B6, 100 mg of DHA, 50 mg of DMAE bitartrate, 30 mg of phosphatidylserine, 25 mg of rhodiola (standardized to rosavins and salidroside), 25 mg of tannin-free, French grape seed extract, 25 mg of L-tyrosine, 15 mg of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and 15 mg of L-taurine. Each of these ingredients influences focus and concentration from a different perspective, which is why I like to recommend them in combination. I would have your son take these ingredients two to three times per day.

Whether your son has occasional or frequent anxiety, I recommend adding narrow-leaved coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) to his daily regimen. Researchers have discovered that 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 affect certain brain receptors, which helps to instill a sense of calm and relaxation.

For children ages four through twelve, I recommend 20 mg once or twice per day of the coneflower extract. This ingredient is safe enough to be taken daily to help prevent anxiety as well.  Make sure you look for a clinically studied, narrow-leaved coneflower root extract standardized for echinacoside and an alkamide profile in the right ratio to reduce anxiety.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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