Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not someone who has “too much energy” or misbehaves. Considered a neurodevelopmental disorder, ADHD is associated with abnormalities in dopamine neurotransmission. Diagnostic criteria include deficits in reward processing, and its underlying neuro-circuitry, including the ventral striatum, a part of the brain related to the limbic system that is a vital part of the circuitry for decision making and reward-related behavior. Remember this; it is essential below.
Generally speaking, what we ingest will always make a difference in our ability to thrive.
Several studies suggest that food additives adversely impact children with ADHD. Some studies indicate that artificial coloring (AFCs) and flavors, as well as the preservatives, can make even some kids without ADHD hyperactive. Although they may not be the leading cause of ADHD, AFCs may contribute significantly to some children, and may push a child over the diagnostic threshold.1
Other studies have looked at various nutrients that are commonly low in those experiencing ADHD. The following four nutrients were the most common among studies: VITAMIN D: necessary for every brain function and body system. D3 is in charge of activating over 3,000 genes associated with healing. ZINC: imperative for immune function, neurotransmitter production, and cognitive function. MAGNESIUM: critical for the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin; this helps us feel happy and calm. IRON: essential for physical and cognitive growth.2
Bonus tip: studies show that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can improve symptoms in some children experiencing ADHD. Also, always look at your child’s gut health.3 A 2019 study found a nominal increase in the Bifidobacterium genus observed in ADHD cases.4
Keep in mind your child may have more deficiencies than this; however, this is an excellent place to start. There is a plethora of information out there about this topic, more than we can cover in an IG post. Do your digging to learn about the ins and outs of these nutrients, what pathways they impact, and with other nutrients in which they have relationships. For instance, zinc is necessary for B6 to metabolize into its active form, so if you or your child are low in zinc, you very well may be insufficient in B6 as well.
ALWAYS be sure to test from a cellular level, NOT circulating nutrients. For instance, you want to test B vitamins using organic acids (urine). Reach out to me to learn more about how to get the best nutrient testing.
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