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ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder that affects about 3-5% of the world’s population.  It typically presents itself during childhood but is becoming more common in adults. In addition, approximately 60% of childhood sufferers retain the condition in adulthood. 

ADHD and the related condition Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are characterised by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, impulsivity, and distractibility. Both disorders can severely disrupt a child’s education and socialisation process, incurring life-long effects.

The disorders seem to have a strong genetic link, although one-fifth of cases are estimated to be caused by trauma or toxin exposure.

No cure is currently available so treatment usually involves symptom-modifying medication.

Diet and lifestyle therapy can provide an excellent natural alternative to life long medication, as well as supporting long term health.

Symptoms

  • Disorders of speech and hearing
  • Distractibility
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Procrastination
  • Problems organizing ideas and belongings
  • Tardiness
  • Poor planning ability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Emotional instability
  • Co-ordination problems
  • Short attention span
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Impulsiveness
  • Specific learning disabilities

Not all people with ADHD exhibit all symptoms. It is common for sufferers to only display symptoms when they are doing tasks that require excessive, prolonged, or elevated levels of attention or are placed in environments that are too distracting. Once stimulus is removed they function normally but, in many cases this is not possible so intervention is required to help them cope with these stimuli.

A helpful link about safety in the home and ADHD can be found here

Underlying causes

  • Poor diet – A diet high in sugars, refined foods and additives can make us feel great one minute and really low the next. This can lead to uncontrollable mood swings, irritability and emotional instability. Balancing out these highs and lows through a healthy diet can be a key step in managing behavioural symptoms. For realistic help in addressing any dietary changes that may be necessary Book a Consultation.
  • Nutritional deficiencies – Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1 and Calcium may be implicated in ADHD. In addition, studies have shown that ADHD sufferers are highly prone to zinc deficiency, having up to 50% lower levels than those without the condition. A NutrEval – Health MOT gives a very comprehensive overview of nutrient status and can be used to target key problem areas that may be exacerbating the condition. NutrEval – MOT Health Test.
  • Essential fatty acid deficiencies – Studies suggest that  ADHD and ADD may be associated with a deficiency of essential fatty acids like omega-3’s EPA and DHA. Luckily these deficiencies can quite easily be corrected with the help of a nutritional therapist, so you may want to consider having an essential fatty acid Analysis to find whether this is a contributing factor for you or your child. Fatty Acid Analysis.
  • Heavy metal toxicity – A developing young brain is vulnerable to harm from exposure to toxic heavy metals. Mercury and Lead are two of the commonest toxic heavy metal agents. Common sources include pollution, pesticides, mercury fillings and tap water. According to research, a definitive link exists between the numerous behavioural problems and heavy metals. Toxic metal accumulation can be tested via a hair mineral analysis. A nutritional therapist  will then be able to analyse the results and advise you on the best steps to take to reduce exposure and detoxify the body. Hair Mineral Analysis.
  • Imbalanced brain chemistry – The brain uses multiple chemical substances for operation, regulation, and communication. These are called “neurotransmitters”. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) appears to be related to deficiencies of certain types of these important brain chemicals. Neurotransmitters are made from nutrients called amino acids. Testing the levels of these important building blocks can give an insight into any brain chemistry imbalances. This can be done via an amino acid screen. SMart Nutrition could then use the results to help optimise both diet and the brain’s ability to make all its essential messengers. Amino Acid Screen.
  • Food sensitivities – According to research, people with ADHD are seven times more likely to suffer from a food sensitivity than the general population. Common culprits include artificial colourings, flavourings and additives, wheat, dairy products, corn, yeast, soya, citrus, chocolate, peanuts, eggs and foods containing salicylates. Often, when food sensitivity is the underlying cause there are associated symptoms such as nasal problems, excessive mucus, ear infections, tonsillitis, digestive problems, bad breath, eczema, asthma and headaches. If you think a food sensitivity is a contributing factor in your or your child’s case then you should consider having A Food Intolerance Test.
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome – Leaky gut syndrome is also known as intestinal permeability.  A normal healthy gut lining allows certain molecules to pass across into the bloodstream such as vitamins, minerals and digested foods.  It also acts as a barrier to prevent entry of larger damaging molecules, foreign particles and bacteria.  When there is damage to the intestinal lining it can open up slightly and this allows these larger particles to enter into the bloodstream. A ‘leaky gut’ can predispose the sufferer to food allergies. It can also lead to incompletely digested protein particles called peptides crossing into the bloodstream. These can trigger hyperactivity in some individuals. A leaky gut test is a quick and easy way to find out whether this syndrome is a factor in your symptoms. Leaky Gut Test.
  • Polypeptides – Incompletely digested protein particles (peptides) from the intestine may cross a ‘leaky gut’ and trigger hyperactivity in some individuals. These polypeptides are later excreted via the kidneys so they can be detected using a urine sample.If polypeptides are found to be a contributing factor in your case of ADHD then a nutritional therapist will be work with you on improving digestion and gut integrity to reduce the problem and prevent reoccurance. Urine Polypeptides Test.
  • Digestive function – Imbalances in the levels or friendly bacteria in the gut, a parasite infection or a yeast overgrowth can lead to leaky gut and nutrient insufficiencies that can exacerbate ADD and ADHD symptoms. Such imbalances are often accompanied by digestive symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, abdominal cramps or problems with bowel movements. Digestive efficiency can be tested using a stool test. Comprehensive Digestive Stool Test and Parasitology.