ADD/ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders today. These symptoms begin in early childhood and can last through adulthood as well.* Of course, most people know what these symptoms are today, but that doesn’t make them any easier to navigate yourself or for your child.
If your child has a PFS or PFAPA you may have also noticed that ADD/ADHD are a struggle. There are cross ties between these two diagnosis based on food intake, food sensitivity and more.
ADD/ADHD is characterized by difficulty staying focused, paying attention, controlling behavior and hyperactivity in some children.* As a mom of a son with ADHD, we have experienced a lot of loud noises, weird noises, repetitive loud sounds or inability to sit still like rocking in chairs, tipping, tapping and banging, weird seated positions and more. But the great news is we have had great success in curbing much of these behaviors!
The number of children being identified with these disorders has gone up over 42 percent since 2003 alone.* That means we need to look at some root causes, and natural mechanisms to help us all live a bit more peacefully. Even for our children, their habits feel like things they cannot control or stop – even with behavioral therapy at times.
What can we do about this?
The great news is that there are a lot of things that can help alleviate these symptoms and help with control over this disorder.
Behavioral therapy is a huge help for self control. Finding the right family therapist is essential to this process. This process helps your child (or yourself) find ways to redirect some of the habits to something more focused. It also helps your child refocus when focus is lost. Becoming more mindful is essential as well, and this is a struggle for ADD/ADHD. Using meditation techniques and apps like Headspace can help you, and your child learn, how to do this. Hey – and guess what? It’s GREAT for YOUR BRAIN too! I am a huge fan of meditation for anxiety control, to focus, to mental health and stress control!
3 Things You Can Do to Help Your Child’s ADD/ADHD Naturally
What this means is start to really look at what you and your child are eating. Are they a lot of foods that are packaged? Look at the ingredients – is it full of things you do not know what they are? Or can you easily envision yourself cooking with those things in your kitchen?
Many products and items we label as food today are creations from different additives chemicals and just bits of natural/real food. Want to learn more about what food is real and what isn’t – check out this post here.
These additives, colors, food dyes, “natural flavors” and more – including just plain sugar really can influence ADD/ADHD behaviors in children. On top of that they really create low level inflammation in the body which leads to digestive distress, oxidation and more. Learn more about some of the myths about the SAD (standard American diet) here.
We want to be sure we are focusing on nutrition that is rich in essential fatty acids (aka omegas, and healthy fats), rich in magnesium, zinc and iron.** These are the most common nutrient deficiencies and have been linked as deficient in those with ADD/ADHD.**
The diet adjustments can be difficult for some families because they just never knew any other way. Haven’t really learned how to season, cook or eat real foods. The struggle is real. The great news is that in nutritional therapy these are things I help with. To learn more about my services check this out.
There is a really specific diet out there that can make the difference. I can help you navigate based on your own bio-individuality – but if you wanted to learn more by reading – check out the GAPS book! This is an amazing way to start to make change. I will give you far warning this is intensive but it WORKS!
Having digestive inflammation or distress anywhere in the system will cause a lot of problems – including issues with ADD/ADHD. Our guts control many functions including immunity, but also direct access to our brains. We need to learn how to eat to increase our stomach acid so it properly breaks down our food, so our intestines can put those great nutrients into our body.
There has been a very strong relationship with food allergies/sensitivities and those with ADD/ADHD as well.** Finding these sensitivities and allergies is key in helping control the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Learn more about balancing those here. This is also something I focus on in nutritional therapy. These can also lead to sleep disturbances, which we never want in our children.
Many people and children today suffer from burning or reflux types of pain, bloating, gas and more – these are all signs of imbalance in the gut. Check out this post about the importance of good digestion. And learn more about the effects of regular use of antacids here.
Pre and probiotics are great ways to help our guts also – however – there are many strains and what you need should be determined by a professional. Some strains in the store will help for everyone with certain things but very specific strains can really target imbalance and symptoms and make a world of a difference.
Sign up for a free consult with me above and we can talk about what might be best for you. You should always speak with a nutritional or medical professional before trying any supplementation.
As stated above it is essential you work with a professional to determine supplementation but there are some things that make a huge difference with ADD/ADHD symptoms. The best way to get any nutrient and support in your body is through food. When you have great nutrient dense food, and you have great digestion you will maximize what you need to help with ADD/ADHD.
For supplements though – if you need more of a boost – here are some things to talk to your provider about:
– Pre and probiotics targeted at your specific imbalances are one. These are something that are decided upon with a practitioner.
– Some clean multi vitamins or targeted vitamin support. Many vitamins are sadly filled with dyes, sugar and other fillers. We want to get as close to just the vitamins as possible. In working with a professional for supplements this will happen. We are able to work directly with nutraceutical companies to provide clean supplements. The additives in other brands can actually aggravate ADD/ADHD.
– Grape Seed Extract – this is one to mention to a healthcare professional or nutrition expert. This is not something you should try on your own but it is worth mentioning. This is a GREAT antioxidant, and in some cases it can be combined with a pine bark extract that really help with that cell oxidation. This has been shown to be effective in helping with some ADD/ADHD symptoms.** Neither of these should be taken without the help and knowledge of a professional.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract has been shown to help with some symptoms of ADD/ADHD as well.** This is also something that should be OK’d by your healthcare professional. Some medications or other supplements may interact so talking to your provider will help you decide what is right for you.
Supplements are great in boosting a functioning system. HOWEVER, if the digestion is poor and the nutrition is poor, and not whole foods you will not get the benefit (if any) of supplements. These can be beneficial but if you are not absorbing nutrients from your digestion you will just be wasting time and money.
The great news is that at our home we have seen SIGNIFICANT results by targeted nutrition, targeted digestive balance, and targeted supplementing.
I work with kids and adults, and to learn more check out my site and programs at simplymindfulwellness.com.
*- National institutes of mental health – NIMH » Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
**- Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.