My son has ADD and I am looking for something to help him focus.
Q. Dear Terry, "My son has ADD and I am looking for something to help him focus. Is there anything you would recommend? Thank you!" — Audra D., Raleigh, NC
A. Dear Audra, 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 ingredients that you may want to consider adding to his regimen.
There are many studies showing the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for increasing focus and attention in children. 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 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.
I would also recommend narrow-leaved coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia). Researchers have discovered that when taken at the right dosage level, the compounds in coneflower have been shown to attach to certain brain receptors, which help to instill a sense of calm and relaxation. I recommend taking 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.
You may also want to consider nutrients like DMAE, L-tyrosine, taurine, phosphatidylserine, black currant, rhodiola, grape seed, and specific vitamins that 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.
Terry . . . Naturally