Added/Modified on August 26, 2013
Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that affects around 5-12% of children, under the age of seven years. It is marked by hyperactivity and an impulsive nature, with kids being more talkative, outgoing and energetic than normal kids. Medications used to treat ADHD aim at improving the functionality of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. However, they can only help to ease the symptoms of this psychiatric disorder, without necessarily being able to treat the root cause of the problem, thereby providing only a temporary relief from the discomfort and pain associated with ADHD.
The potential long-term effects associated with medications like Ritalin, Adderall, etc., used to treat hyperactivity range from mild side effects like weight loss to more severe ones like depression and mood disorders. Hence, a holistic approach involving dietary changes, lifestyle changes, certain home remedies and the love and support from family members can contribute together for treating this developmental disorder.
Whole grains comprising of the entire grain including the bran, seed and endosperm and are enriched with magnesium, with the highest percentage of magnesium found in barley, buckwheat flour, oats, brown rice and wheat flour. Experts have reported that 95% of patients suffering from ADHD have been found to be deficient in magnesium, a natural tranquilizer required by the brain.
The primary reasons for the deficiency of magnesium include excess stress in today’s life and the consumption of unhealthy foods like junk, refined sugar and processed food. With innumerable stressors existing in our lives, a constant rush of adrenaline, requiring high amounts of magnesium for its release has become one of the most common phenomena that we experience in our day-to-day life.
Besides, the lack of proper nutrition in the current foods, which is enriched with high sugar diet, preservatives, food additives, etc., can also drain the body of magnesium by stressing the nervous system through constant blood sugar fluctuations, which in turn, uses magnesium for counter-acting the effect, thus promoting relaxation of the mind.
Magnesium is known for its ability to enhance the production of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which governs the emotional well-being of an individual, thereby helping patients suffering from ADHD deal with the episodes of hyperactivity, irritability and mood swings.
It also helps in relaxing muscles, thereby preventing constant spasms and sudden contractions of the muscle fibers that keep both the body and the mind relaxed. Most importantly, it acts as a powerful anti-oxidant and prevents the neurons from getting damaged due to the accumulation of harmful free-radicals in the body.
The daily recommended dosage of magnesium varies with age, falling in the range of 80 – 240 mg and can also be obtained from other dietary sources like dark green vegetables, almonds, cashews, avocados, oats, peanuts, tofu, etc. Start with a lower dosage, since an over dosage of magnesium can cause loose stools and diarrhea.
Meat like beef, chicken, turkey and fish are considered to be excellent sources of vitamin B-6, which has been proven by studies published in 2004 and 2006 by Mousain-Bosc to be responsible for an improvement in neurobehavioral disorders and social interactions and a reduction in physical aggression in children suffering from ADHD.
Researchers conducting studies by administering vitamin B6 supplements along with magnesium supplements have reported a considerable amount of reduction in anxiety levels, hyper-excitability, aggression and an improvement in concentration, focus and attention in the treated group.
Most of these studies have found a daily intake of 6 mgs of magnesium and 0.6 mgs of vitamin B6 per kilogram of body weight to be effective enough for fighting the symptoms of ADHD. Hence, besides meat, regular consumption of other dietary supplements of vitamin B-6 like nuts, oats, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, etc., provides you with enough vitamin B6 that helps in keeping the symptoms of ADHD at bay.
Enriched with many essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid, soluble, fiber, manganese and calcium, bananas serve as one of the most effective remedies for improving the functionality of the brain. It stimulates the production of “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine, which drastically lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, thereby enabling patients with ADHD to effectively deal with the day-to-day stressors and stay energized.
Its vitamin B6 content maintains adequate levels of magnesium, which is most often lacking in ADHD patients. Vitamin C acts as a co-factor of norepinephrine, whose levels have been found to be consistently low in ADHD patients. Potassium is the most essential ion required for propagating a nerve impulse, which when disturbed, leads to agitation, anxiety and restlessness in ADHD patients.
Beef and dairy products
Beef and dairy products are enriched with a compound called carnitine, which is essentially required for the oxidation of fatty acids and is one of the most important nutrients required for the metabolism or utilization of omega-3 fatty acids by the brain, which play a critical role in suppressing aggression, depression, hyperactivity and other symptoms of ADHD. Moreover, carnitine plays a major role in the synthesis of docosahexanoic acid, a key nutrient, whose deficiency has been strongly linked with the presence of ADHD and Autism.
Well, the most surprising findings reported by a Dutch study stated that raising the levels of carnitine in the blood plasma could very efficiently mitigate the symptoms of ADHD in children who are unresponsive to the conventional and powerful pharmaceutical and behavioral therapies. Studies have shown that the consumption of carnitine supplements or its dietary sources like chicken, turkey, fish, avocados, spinach, etc.,
considerably reduced aggression, hyperactivity and impulsive nature in patients suffering from ADHD. Being a powerful antioxidant, it protects the cell membrane of the neuron from free radical damage. Carnitine also helps in the treatment of ADHD by offsetting the deficiencies of acetylcholine and dopamine and improves blood circulation to the brain. Moreover, besides improving memory and attention, carnitine also aids in reducing the risk of toxicity caused by many psychiatric medications.
Packed with catechines, the phenoloic compounds that act as powerful anti-oxidants, green tea helps to prevent free radical damage caused to the membrane of nerve cells due to oxidative stress. It is also rich in an amino acid called L-theanine, which produces a soothing effect in the brain by elevating the levels of Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that serves as a natural pacemaker of the brain. GABA keeps a check on the constant firing of the neurons, thereby preventing hyper-excitability, which leads to hyper-activity and restlessness that marks the presence of ADHD.
Most often, the bottles of pharmaceutical drugs given to treat ADHD leaves the patients unsatisfied, thus forcing them to seek out for natural alternatives that are devoid of any side effects. Hence, considering the escalating rates at which children today are being diagnosed by ADHD, it becomes imperative for parents to understand its possible triggers and include a healthy diet for the children, especially incorporating those foods that are required for the proper functioning of the brain.
This article aims at familiarizing you with the natural alternatives for treating the condition of ADHD but at the same time emphasizes the importance of informing your doctor about these additional supplements to avoid any supplement-medication interaction that can sometimes lead to lethal consequences.
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)