My 8-year-old grandson was recently prescribed Adderall for his ADHD.
Q. Hi Terry, “My 8-year-old grandson was recently prescribed Adderall for his ADHD. Before he starts his medication I wanted to write you and see if there are natural ways to help? I don’t think he needs medication, I think he just needs some changes to his diet and some supplements. Please advise.” — Terry F., Norwalk, CT
A. Dear Terry, I believe diet is very important to help improve focus and concentration. I recommend restricting 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, it can make a real difference. Click on my healthy diet plan for more information or explore the Terry Talks Nutrition YouTube page for webinars on this topic. 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 dietary changes, there are powerful natural substances that can help with the symptoms of ADHD. Many integrative practitioners believe that ADD/ADHD may actually be a result of chronic inflammation. This inflammation prevents the neurons from communicating properly and can have adverse effects on how we process information.
The most powerful anti-inflammatory substance in the natural world I know of is curcumin. Curcumin is able to cross the blood brain barrier so it can go to work where it is needed. This means curcumin can protect the brain cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which play a role in chronic inflammation.
I recommend choosing a curcumin that features excellent absorption and has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil in a patented process. I would have your grandson take curcumin once or twice per day.
It has been frequently reported that people with ADD/ADHD (both adults and children) have an increased risk of emotional disturbances, particularly depression, social phobias, and anxiety. Whether this is a component of the trait or the excess inflammation, relieving anxiety improves mood and concentration.
For anxiety, I recommend a specialized Echinacea extract from Echinacea angustifoliae. There are compounds in this special extract called echinacosides that can trigger feelings of calm and relaxation. Dosage is extremely important because many people are familiar with taking large doses of Echinacea for immune support. However, this is a different Echinacea species and requires a much smaller dose. I would have your grandson take this special Echinacea twice daily for the first week and once daily thereafter.
I think a combination of bioactive B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, P-5-P) and magnesium are incredibly beneficial for nervous system function. P-5-P is an important nutrient for making the hormone serotonin, our “feel good” hormone. Magnesium is an extremely important mineral for nervous system function and is a great partner for P-5-P. Minerals can be hard to absorb so I recommend finding a magnesium that is available as magnesium glycinate chelate. I would have your grandson take P-5-P and magnesium glycinate chelate two or three times per day.
Additionally, I believe omega-3s could benefit your grandson. I prefer 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. I would have him take omega-3s from salmon once per day.
Terry . . . Naturally