ADD is classified as a learning disorder and means that a child has a “developmentally inappropriate brief attention span and poor concentration” for his or her age. It is often difficult to diagnose. Often children with ADD are very creative.
Some Symptoms Associated with ADD
- Lack of concentration
- Difficulty in organising or finishing tasks
- Speech and hearing disorders
- Extreme distractibility
- Difficulty with time management
- Difficulty with problem solving
- Untidy schoolwork
- Rushed work resulting in mistakes
- In adults there can be a tendency to have trouble with relationships and jobs
Possible Contributory Factors Leading to ADD
Nutrient Deficiency: Any nutrient deficiency can be connected to poor brain function. Iron deficiency has been connected to a lack of voluntary activity, short attention spans and less purpose in children. A multivitamin and mineral is a good safety net to those deficiencies and extra needs that are not being met by diet.
Essential Fatty Acids: The body cannot make essential fats; they can only be obtained by ingesting them. Children with ADD may have a greater need for essential fatty acids therefore an essential fatty acid supplement is advisable.
Heavy Metal Toxicity: Hair analysis studies of children with ADD have shown higher than normal levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, copper and manganese. High levels of lead have correlated more with those children with learning disabilities. A hair mineral test can indicate if this is a possible factor. Spirulina and Chlorella can be effective for heavy metal detoxification. lifestream have some good combinations of these in there supplements or see Green Foods section.
Ear Infection (Otitis Media): Frequent ear infections are twice as common in children with learning difficulties. Ear infections can also lead to poor development of language, speech impairment and low intelligence. Our article “How to Boost Your Child’s Immune System” suggests ways to combat frequent infections. Our section on Immunity includes Colloidal Silver, Vitamin C, and AllicinMax, which are thought to boost the immune system and have anti-bacterial qualities.
Other Contributory Factors:
- Genetic Link
- Allergies to foods
- Oxygen Deprivation at birth
- Environmental stress or pollutants
- Artificial food additives in diet
- Low protein diet
Nutritional Supplements that may help:
Essential Fatty Acids – An EFA supplement can help to support healthy brain and nerve function (EFA’s can be deficient in ADD sufferers).
Multivitamin and Mineral – A multivitamin and mineral supplement will help support the body’s many metabolic pathways. Helping to fill in the gaps where there may be a dietary deficiency and/or a greater need for some nutrients.
Antioxidant – Antioxidants such as Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Extract Drops can help to protect brain cells from free radical damage.
Probiotics – A good quality probiotic with gut healing ingredients such as glutamine can help to support a damaged gut.
Eat a small amount of protein with each meal/snack.
Increase oily fish consumption (i.e. mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna) to increase essential fatty acid intake.
Wheat and dairy can often be a problem. Watch for signs of behavioural changes. Reduce wherever possible. Use alternatives to bread such as oatcakes or rice cakes. Alternatives to milk include nut milks and rice milk. Try to keep a food diary to watch out for reactions to certain foods.
Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses per day). A brain needs to be properly hydrated to function well. Remove sugary carbonated drinks from the diet as these can lead to mood swings. Those labelled low sugar or no sugar contain artificial sweeteners can also cause mood swings as evidence suggests sweeteners can be addictive. Natural sweeteners such as Xylitol, Stevia or Honey are a much healthier choice if you absolutely have to add a sweetener.
Do not use plastic for packaging food (especially fatty foods) as chemicals can leach from the plastic into the food. Do not use a plastic drinking bottle for the same reason. Ecotankas made from stainless steel keep your water pure and don’t damage the environment.
- Limit television and computer time.
- ADD can put a strain on the whole family – find ways to support all members.
- Boost your child’s self-esteem, as this can be low in children with ADD. Encourage those activities they have a flair for.
- Actively encourage your child’s creativity.
- Consider a hair mineral analyse to show up any heavy metal toxicities. A nutritional therapist can organise this test for you.