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Dr. Nicole's Kid Corner
ADHD: Dietary and Chiropractic Support

ADHD is a serious health concern in today’s young generation, leaving parents feeling helpless to change the situation or settle with placing their child on prescription medications.

With a growing number of children being diagnosed with this nervous system disorder, Doctors are resistant at pointing a finger at the cause.  While every child diagnosed with ADHD will not act the same, there seems to be a pattern of behavior that is being seen more frequently, and more children are being diagnosed. In fact, in the 1990s there were about 900,000 children being treated for ADHD with Ritalin. Today that number is more than 5,000,000. It’s time to find out what is causing such a dramatic rise in the number of diagnosed cases of ADHD, so that we are able to free these children from a life on drugs.

Trying to find answers, a team of Doctors at Harvard Medical School, tested 20 children who had been diagnosed with ADHD. Ten were treated with Ritalin, the most commonly prescribed drug. The other 10 were treated with dietary supplements. The results were compared using the most popular neurological tests. The tests revealed that the subjects in both groups showed significant and essentially identical improvements.

These studies suggest that the majority of neurological symptoms ascribed to ADHD can be attributed to a wide range of food and additive allergies, heavy-metal toxicity and other environmental toxins, low-protein/high-carb diets, thyroid disorders, mineral imbalances, essential fatty-acid deficiencies, amino acid deficiencies and B-vitamin deficiencies.

Unfortunately, in today’s busy families, it’s not unusual to see that healthy meals prepared at home are the exception and not the rule. In some nutritional circles, the “fast” or “box” food has led to a “toxic food environment.” Fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole-grain products are no longer a part of the standard diet. With this processed-food approach, parents might not realize the excessive amounts of preservatives, artificial flavors and colors their children are consuming.

These findings support the effectiveness of food-supplement treatment in improving attention and self-control in children with ADHD, and suggest that food-supplement treatment of ADHD may be equally effective to Ritalin treatment.

Parents need to be educated on the relatively simple diet changes that can have major effects on their child’s behavior and growth.  Below is a list of general recommendations for “cleaning up” a childs diet:

1. Do not allow children to drink soft drinks.
These chemical concoctions contain artificial food coloring, additives and preservatives.

2. Eliminate baked products.
These items contain high quantities of bleached flour and sugar, both of which wear down a child’s immune system and overtax their digestive system.

3. Limit fast food.
The only healthy option is to avoid it all together, but if this isn’t possible, then limit it to once a month.

4. Encourage eating at least four servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit every day.
Fruit is an important part of your child’s diet, but fresh vegetables contain more of the vitamins and minerals children need.

5. Eat whole grains and protein-rich foods.
A diet that is high in protein and healthy carbohydrates will give children the energy they need without over-working and over-loading their bodies.

6. Don’t forget the omega fats.
This is vital for supporting the child’s concentration.

7. Promote all-natural as much as possible.
Avoid foods that have been treated, processed, packaged, colored, flavored or pasteurized.

Specific chiropractic adjustments also serve to regulate the nervous system. Many parents report a vast improvement in their child’s ADHD symptoms in conjunction with regular chiropractic care. My experience from a clinical perspective is that I have definitely seen the positive role that chiropractic care can play in the life of the child with ADHD.

1. McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet, Nov 3, 2007;370(9598):1560-7. Available at www.thelancet.com.

2. Alternative Medicine Review, Aug. 2003;8(3):319-30


In This Issue:
Back to School is Time to Check Child Backpacks
Kinesiotape: Treating you like a Gold Medal Athlete Dr. Nicole's Kid Corner: ADHD Dietary and Chiropractic Support
Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

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