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ADHD and Nutrition

18 February 2010 29 views No Comment
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There are many reasons that can lead to the occurrence of ADHD in children. Most of these factors have been studied in detail. One of the causative factors that have been postulated to have a profound impact on ADHD is lack of proper nutrition. A growing number of scientific studies have linked nutritional deficiencies like deficiency of essential fatty acids and amino acids has been linked to ADHD. Also, intake of some ingredients found in foods has been linked with the onset of ADHD.

If this does not convince you let us look at the results of some of the studies conducted in different parts of the world. The first study that linked ADHD with lower levels of essential fatty acids was conducted in 1981. A similar study conducted in 1983 found lower levels of essential fatty acids in children with ADHD.

In an independent study conducted in Oxford, researchers reported that ADHD symptoms improved in children who received essential fatty acids in their diet. In 1996, researchers at Purdue University reported that boys with low levels of omega 3 fatty acids had higher incidence of ADHD. It is postulated that consumption of a diet that is high in protein content helps in alleviating symptoms of ADHD.

A research conducted at the George Washington University reported that the hyperactive children who consumed a meal that was high in protein content performed equally well and sometimes better than non hyperactive children at school. Another research showed lower levels of iron in about thirty three percent of children suffering from ADHD. Another interesting observation was that lower levels of iron lead to higher severity of symptoms.

It has also been observed that children who are suffering from ADHD have a higher probability of suffering from food allergies. It is postulated that presence of allergens in foods leads to a poor absorption of essential nutrients like zinc and vitamin C. In a controlled study, when the researchers removed these allergens, the hyperactivity in children reduced. When these allergens were reintroduced in the diet, the children again started showing the symptoms of ADHD. Though this link has not been proven conclusively, there is no harm in trying this method.

It is prudent to consider nutrition as one of the first aspects of treatment, be it as an alternative treatment or used in conjugation with pharmaceutical drugs. To summarize, one should modify the diet in such a way that it contains a judicious mix of proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Processed foods and simple sugars should be eliminated from the diet. The diet should contain required amounts of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and mineral and at the same time it should be free from food allergens. This will ensure that the production and utilization of energy is controlled effectively by the body, thereby resulting in a better focus and calm behavior.

A proper diet coupled with other forms of ADHD treatments like medication and behavior therapy can offer the best results in alleviating this condition. It is important that the diet plan be drawn up by an expert. If you are skeptical about feeding drugs to your child, you can try out natural medicines for ADHD treatment. Nowadays, natural remedies for ADHD are also becoming popular though these have not been scientifically studied.

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