- • ADD without hyperactivity
• ADD with hyperactivity
• ADD, residual type.
The first two disorders are seen in children. The third disorder is a residual affect of childhood ADD that manifests itself in adulthood.
For this brief descriptive outline, I’ll be using the single term attention deficit disorder (ADD).
The characteristics of this disorder are as follows:
- • Inability to concentrate for appropriate periods of time
• Emotionally challenged
• Learning disabilities
• Poor memory
• Poor cognitive abilities
• Hearing or speech disorders
Criteria for Diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
From Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition.
- Either 1 or 2:
1. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
a. Often fails to give attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
b. Often has difficulties in sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
c. Often seems not to listen when spoken to directly.
d. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace.
e. Often has difficulty organizing tasks.
f. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.
g. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities.
h. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
i. Is often forgetful in daily activities.
2. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
- Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining in seat is expected.
- Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate.
- Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor.”
- Often talks excessively.
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
- Often has difficulty awaiting turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others.
According to statistics, Ritalin production has increased 700 percent since 1990. The U.S. consumes 90 percent of the world’s production of Ritalin. Does anyone have a Ritalin deficiency? Why are so many children (and adults) receiving a diagnosis of ADD?
A closer look at Ritalin and other amphetamine medications should cause parents and physicians to question whether medication’s short-term results outweigh long-term health consequences.
Potential side-effects associated with Ritalin include, tremors, anemia, stunted growth, insomnia, anxiety, depression, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, chest pain, headaches, cardiac arrhythmias, weight loss, lowered immunity, and hair loss.
Faced with the pressure applied by teachers, other parents, and school administrators, it is no wonder that some children are placed on medications (amphetamines) that are illegal when sold on the street. But who should we blame? Most parents only want the best for their children.
I’m a pragmatist. If faced with having your child take medication or be thrown out of school, you must choose the most logical answer. However, just like oil light that appears on the cars dashboard (signaling that more oil is needed); ADD is a warning sign of underlying biochemical or emotional disturbances. Covering-up the oil light with a magic marker does eliminate the warning sign, but it does nothing to correct the problem. At some point, the cause of the oil light must be dealt with or major problems will begin to appear.
What are some of the potential causes of ADD?
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Food additives
- Food or chemical sensitivities
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Excess sugar
- Poor sleep habits
- True depression
- Otitis media
A brief overview about the list above reveals the following:
I. Nutritional deficiencies can cause CNS dysfunction.
Deficiencies in certain nutrients including magnesium, zinc, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins B3, B6, and C can lead to behavioral changes.
Essential Fatty Acid Deficiencies
The technical name for fat is lipids. Lipids are substances that can’t be dissolved in water. The lipids include fats, oils, and phospholipids (lecithin).
Fat is made up of fatty acids. The three major types of fatty acids are:
1. Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are found in butter, coconut oil, eggs, meat, and cheese. Saturated fats consist of long, straight chains of molecules packed tightly together. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
2. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are found in almond oil, avocados, canola oil, oats, peanut oil, and olive oil. Monosaturated oils are usually liquid at room temperature, but may become cloudy or hardened when placed in the refrigerator. MUFAs have one kink or bend in their structure and this makes them more flexible than SFAs.
3. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are found in corn oil, primrose oil, flaxseed oil, borage oil, certain fish, sesame oil, sunflower, safflower, and wheat germ oil. Vegetable oils are usually high in PUFAs. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are liquid at room temperature. PUFAs have many kinks or bends in the chains of fatty acids that make them up. These kinks or bends make PUFAs soft and flexible.
Essential fatty acids are essential for our existence. They can not be manufactured by the body but must be obtained from the foods we eat. Essential fatty acids are made-up of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
PUFAs are divided into two families of essential fatty acids (EFA).
A. Omega 6 Linoleic Acid
Pure vegetable oils, including sunflower, safflower, and corn oil contain the essential fatty acid (EFA) Omega 6. Some individuals are genetically unable to convert Linoleic acid into its derivative, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). This can be overcome by taking primrose or borage oil; both are high in GLA.
B. Omega 3 Linolenic Acid
Omega 3 oils including Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) are found in flax seed, soybean, walnut, and chestnut oils, as well as some dark green leafy vegetables. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are Omega 3 derivatives and are found in most cold water fish. These fish include salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Essential fatty acids make up the outer lining or membranes of each cell. These lipid (fat) membranes determine which nutrients get into and out of the cells. They are a major component of the endoplasmic reticular detoxification membranes, nuclear membranes, and the energy producing mitochondrial membranes.
Obtaining these EFA’s from the foods we eat can be challenging. Most of our foods have undergone processing that changes the essential fatty acids into toxic hydrogenated oils. The hydrogenation of the natural oils (fats) changes them into toxic trans-fatty acids.
There are receptor sites on the membranes at which point the happy hormones (neurotransmitters, serotonin and others) attach themselves. Trans-fatty acids block the cellular membrane receptor sites. A blocked or hardened cellular membrane prevents nutrients from entering and exiting the cell. The neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) are then unable to attach themselves to the cells membrane. This can lead to depression, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, A.D.D., or any disorder that involves the brain hormones (serotonin, epinephrine, dopamine, etc.).
Long Chain Fatty Acid Deficiencies
LA (2 double bonds) is converted to AA (arachidonic acid) and finally to DPA (5 double bonds).
ALA (2 double bonds) is converted to EPA (5 double bonds), and finally to the long chain fatty acid DHA (6 double bonds).
Hunter gatherer societies had a 1:1 or 1:5 ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3. Modern eating habits have change this ratio that to 12:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. Sixty-percent of the U.S. population is deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids.
A University of Minnesota study by Dr. Ralph Holman showed that during pregnancy Omega 3 fats decrease in a mothers blood (when compared to non-pregnant females), and stayed decreased for six weeks after birth. Subsequent pregnancies made the deficiency even worse.
Holman, R.T., The Slow Discovery of the Importance of Omega 3 essential fatty acid in Human Health. Jour Nutr 128 (1998) 4275-4335.
This study demonstrates the importance of Omega 3 fats for fetal development. EFA is so important that the mother’s brain shrinks three percent in order to provide enough of AA and DHA for fetal development. “Long chain fatty acid deficiency at any stage of fetal and/or infant development can result in irreversible failure to accomplish specific brain growth. There is good evidence today that lack of abundant, balanced DHA and AA in utero and infancy leads to lower intelligence quotient and visual acuity and in larger term contributes to clinical depression and
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Broadhurst, C., Leigh, Stephen C., Cunnane, and Michael Crawford.”Rift Valley lake fish and shell fish provided brain specific nutrition for early homo.” British Jour of Nutr 79 (1998) 3-21.mino Acids
There are twenty two amino acids. Nine of these are known as essential amino acids. Essential amino acids can't be made by the body and must be obtained from our diet. Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured from within our own cells. Individual amino acids are joined together in sequential chains to form proteins. Protein, the body’s building material, is essential to every cell and makes-up our muscles, hair, bones, collagen, and connective tissue. Amino acids are also needed to make enzymes. Enzymes are protein molecules that coordinate thousands of chemical reactions that take place in the body. Certain amino acids serve as the raw nutrients for forming the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).II. There are over 5,000 food additives used by American food manufacturers.
Artificial dyes and preservatives are used in most of our processed foods. Allergic symptoms associated with these foreign chemicals include, hives, angioedema, asthma, sinusitis, headaches, anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. Many of these dyes and preservatives are in both prescription and non-prescription drugs. Asthmatics are often extremely allergic to sulfites. Some asthma inhalant medications actually have sulfites in them as a preservative! Benzoates, yellow dye [tartrazine], nitrites, sorbic acid, sulfites, Aspartame, monosodium glutamate, hydroxytoluene, and butylated hydroxyanisole are the most notorious culprits in causing the above mentioned illnesses.
Look for Aspartame in diet sodas and other artificially sweetened food products. Monosodium glutamin is often added to Chinese food, soups and stews. Pickles, jams, jellies, some sodas, and cakes contain benzoates, toluenes and butylated hydroxyanisole. Sulfites are added to salad bars, beer, frozen French fries, dried fruit, shampoos, conditioners, and some cosmetics. Nitrites are used to preserve luncheon meats, hot dogs and other ready-to-eat meats.
Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
*Aspartame, commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal, is an artificial sweetener. The body breaks it down into methanol and formaldehyde to metabolize it. Formaldehyde is grouped into the same class of drugs as cyanide and arsenic. Alzheimer’s disease is now being linked to methanol toxicity and aspartame. When the temperature of Aspartame exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in Aspartame is turned into formaldehyde and then into formic acid. Formic acid is the poison contained in the sting of a fire ant. It has been shown that methanol toxicity causes depression, brain fog, mood changes, insomnia, seizures and similar symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. There are over 92 symptoms documented from using aspartame. Systemic Lupus has also been associated with methanol toxicity. The amino acid aspartic acid makes up 40 percent of Aspartame. Aspartic Acid is an excitatory amino acid, and often times contribute to children and attention deficit disorder. I always encourage my A.D.D. patients to get off and stay off diet colas.
*Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Russell Blaylock, M.D. Health Pres 1.Health Tips and ADHD
Drink more Water
The human body is 75 percent water. The brain is 85 percent water. Your body needs a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water. Headaches, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, fuzzy thinking, allergies, fatigue, and pain are all associated with being dehydrated.
“Every function of the body is monitored and pegged to the efficient flow of water. Water distribution is the only way of making sure that...elements, hormones, chemical messengers, and nutrients…reach the vital organs.”
“Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
I recommend you drink (pure water) half your weight in ounces.
“Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, R.H. Murphree , Harrison and Hampton Publishing 2003.
Reduce Sugar Consumption
It’s estimated that America's consumption of sugar in 1996 and 1997 will have risen to 9.8 million short tons, raw value, which is an increase of over 0.2 million tons from the previous year. Sugar depletes the body of B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
Sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Three ounces of sugar in any form, sucrose, honey, or fruit juice results in a 50% reduction in white blood cell activity for up to 5 hours. The average American consumes over 150 ounces of sugar a day. A can of Coke has 9-10 teaspoons of sugar. Diets high in refined sugar can promote obesity, kidney stones, osteoporosis, heart disease, dental cavities, depression, ADD, ADHD, hypoglycemia, anxiety, and criminal behavior.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, in his book “Total Wellness Improve Your Health By Understanding The Body’s Healing Systems”
American Health Association.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 12/86, Vol.14, No.4L567-577).
Reduce Consumption of Sodas - The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged all school districts to restrict the sale of sodas.
Philadelphia Schools ban sale of sodas
From Reuters Health
Philadelphia officials have banned the sale of sodas throughout the public school system. New York City schools banned soda sales (as well as candy and sweet snacks from vending machines) in 2003.London, England.
Children who drink soft drinks are at a higher risk of becoming over weight (obese). “We found that for every additional serving per day of a soft drink …increased the risk of obesity by 50 percent.”
The Lancet (British Medical Journal)
Consuming Sodas Leads To Osteoporosis
Studies show that teenage girls who drank soft drinks were more 2 times more likely to have a bone fracture. Physically active girls were shown to be more than 5 times more likely to have a broken bone.
Between 40-60 percent of peak bone mass is built during teenage years. Consumption of soft drinks affects both boys and girls. The acidic nature of phosphoric acid in the drinks causes the body to pull calcium out of the bones to acts as a buffer.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, in his book “Total Wellness Improve Your Health By Understanding The Body’s Healing Systems”
Reduce the Consumption of Aspartame
The three by-products of aspartame are methanol, formaldehyde, and formate. Formaldehyde is grouped into the same class of drugs as cyanide and arsenic. It has been shown that methanol toxicity causes depression, brain fog, mood changes, insomnia, seizures and similar symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. There are over 92 unwanted symptoms documented from using aspartame. Aspartic Acid is an excitatory amino acid, and often times contribute to children and hyperactivity disorder. NutraSweet has had more complaints (by those suffering from adverse reactions) to the FDA, than any other food product since the start of the agencies creation.
“Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, R.H. Murphree , Harrison and Hampton Publ.2003.
*Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Russell Blaylock, M.D. Health Pres 1-800-643-2665.
*Defense Against Alzheimer’s. Dr. H. J. Roberts, 1-800-814-9800.
According to Benjamin Feingold, M.D., forty to fifty percent of hyperactive children are sensitive to the 13-15g of artificial additives (especially food colors) that make-up the average daily American diet. Feingold recommends children and adolescents avoid all artificial colorings, flavoring, sweeteners, and preservatives (BHA, BHT, and BHP). He also recommends avoiding these foods; apples, nectarines, oranges, apricots, currants, grapes, raisins, pickles, cucumbers, peaches, peppers, plums, tangerines, and tomatoes. No tea, coffee or aspirin.
In 1999 the Center for Science in the Public Interest released findings that showed 17 of 23 double blind, placebo studies demonstrated that artificial colors or certain foods such as milk and wheat, worsened the symptoms of ADHD.
A study released in 1988 by Ralph Nader’s Center for Study of Responsive Law in Washington, D.C., shows that much of the nation’s drinking water is unsafe. “Tests in 38 states found more than 2,000 toxic chemicals in drinking water since 1974. Nearly 200 of these chemicals are either known or suspected causes of cancer, cell mutations, nervous system disorders, and birth defects. At least 1,900 to 2,100 contaminants have never been tested as to their safety. Industrial and agricultural contaminants routinely find their way into municipal water and private well supplies.
So what’s in the Water?
Arsenic - a known carcinogen and poison.
Asbestos - a known carcinogen
Cadmium - causes arteriosclerosis, kidney damage and cancer
Lead - learning disabilities in children
Mercury - nervous system and kidney damage
Nitrites - possible carcinogen and interferes with body’s oxygen metabolism
Viruses and bacteria
1,1,1-Trichloroethane - causes liver damage, depression
1,1-Dichlorethylene - depressed central nervous system and cancer
Benzene - chromosomal damage in humans. Causes anemia, blood disorders and leukemia
Chloroform - causes cancer
Dioxin -extremely toxic carcinogen
Ethylene Dibromide - causes male sterility and cancer
Polychlorinated Biphyls [PCBs] - liver damage, skin disorders; GI problems, and highly suspected of causing cancer