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Supplementation May Help Children with ADHD

By Chris Brown

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder affecting an estimated 2.5 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children in America. ADHD impacts a sufferer's ability to pay attention and their impulse control. It is treated primarily with behavioral management strategies and ADHD medication, which targets dopamine regulation in the brain.

Since behavioral management strategies for ADHD work best for adults, those with ADHD children may feel pushed toward medication as a solution. But those who wish to avoid giving their children brain-altering medications may lean toward investigating alternative treatments. Some studies have shown success with various vitamins and minerals for reducing the symptoms and effects of ADHD in children.

Omega-3 - While there is limited evidence that omega-3 fatty acids directly affect ADHD, children and adults with a range of psychiatric disorders, including ADHD, regularly have low omega-3 levels. By adding omega-3 (either through supplementation or naturally in fatty fish, like salmon), parents can help mitigate some of the impacts of low omega-3s that ADHD creates. Some research has found that polyunsaturated fatty acids (of which omega-3s are one) in general show efficacy for improving ADHD symptoms, especially when formulated with eicosapentaenoic acid.

Iron and zinc - Many children with ADHD have low iron and zinc levels. Studies have found positive results at reducing ADHD symptoms in those with iron/zinc deficiencies when supplementation was added to their diets. However, the same results were not found in children without mineral deficiencies. In one particular study, which used observations and blood tests, children's level of ADHD symptom improvements correlated directly with their zinc level improvement. These results are encouraging as a partial solution for some children, although it is important to monitor mineral levels, because over-supplementation can lead to toxicity.

Vitamin D - While no studies show a direct correlation between Vitamin D and ADHD symptom improvement, studies have found that children with ADHD have abnormally low levels of Vitamin D on average. Vitamin D is incredibly important for regulating cellular functions all over the body, including the brain, so supplementing with Vitamin D is recommended.

Ginkgo biloba - Ginkgo biloba has long been known to help improve cognitive function and recent studies have revealed that it may additionally help children with ADHD. In one study, children who supplemented with ginkgo alongside their medication had a 35 percent improvement in their ability to pay attention.

If you have a child whose ADHD is affecting their performance in school, and are hesitant about deploying pharmaceuticals, altering your dinners or perusing the supplement aisle at your supermarket may be the solution. As with any supplementation for your child, make sure to receive blood work analysis and consult their primary care physician before starting a regimen. Any vitamin or mineral deficiencies may signify an easy-to-fix problem that can allow your child to thrive, medication-free.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Nampa, Idaho.

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