ADHD Treatment Blog

What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut…

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut, as the words suggest, is describing a “HOLEy” intestine.

By the way, leaky gut does have a fancier scientific name – “increased intestinal permeability” or “intestinal hyperpermeability”.

In a normal healthy intestine, the cells lining the intestinal walls are glued very tightly to each other. In fact, the joining point of the cells are called tight junction, so we’re reminded that they’re tight.

The intestine is the body’s first line of defense against the outside world. No matter how clean you wash your hands, utensils, cook your food or raw food. There’ll be unwanted guests being ingested the same time.

This is where our intestines save our lives everyday as our shining armor. The intestine wall is supposed to block out everything that is harmful to our body, and selectively allow what our body needs to pass through into the circulatory system or lymphatic system. Just like a bouncer at the club entrance. No entrance if you’re not on the VIP list.

For reasons we’ll discuss shortly, the intestine lining gets challenged and the integrity of the tight junction is being sabotaged, resulting in a compromised defense mechanism and the intestinal wall become less selective of what’s allowed to cross the barrier into the blood stream.

This can be dangerous, as we already mentioned, God knows what else is in the food we eat.

With the not-so-tight junction now, anything that can fit through the gap, will enter. That means, partially digested food now can get through without being thoroughly digested. Bacteria, virus and fungus can enter into the bloodstream. Toxins from liver and bile generated from the body.

The not-so-tight junction is now free for all.

These uninvited guests trigger autoimmune reactions, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.

Leaky gut results in hepatic dysfunction and pancreatic insufficiency, which further impede food digestion and toxin accumulation, and making the gut more permeable, creating a vicious cycle of food allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic distress.

So…what happened now?

First we need to figure out why our gut becomes leaky or “holey”.

There are many possible causes of leaky gut. Definitely, anything that’s harmful to the intestines, such as chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) therapy, cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

And here’s a list of medical conditions that are associated with leaky gut

• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Infectious enterocolitis
• Spondyloarthropathies
• Acne
• Eczema
• Psoriasis
• Urticaria
• AIDS/HIV infection
• Cystic fibrosis
• Pancreatic insufficiency
• Hepatic dysfunction
• Irritable bowel syndrome with food intolerance
• CFIDS
• Chronic arthritis/pain treated with NSAIDS
• Alcoholism
• Neoplasia treated with cytotoxic drugs
• Celiac disease
• Dermatitis herpetiformis
• Autism
• Childhood hyperactivity
• Environmental illness
• Multiple food and chemical sensitivities

Leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen disorders such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

And I would be wary of any diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome if you don’t have Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or asthma.

How do you know if you have leaky gut?

Having one of the above medical conditions make you at higher risk of have leaky gut. Having one of the symptoms below should increase your suspicion for leaky gut.

SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LEAKY GUT:

• Fatigue and malaise
• Joint and muscle pain
• Fevers of unknown origin
• Food allergies and intolerances
• Abdominal pain and distension
• Diarrhea
• Skin rashes
• Toxic feelings
• Cognitive and memory deficits
• Shortness of breath

If you have one or more of the medical conditions associated with leaky gut along with a few of the symptoms above, it may be wise to consider the possibility of leaky gut.

There are tests that can confirm your diagnosis of leaky gut. Or you can just start treating your leaky gut empirically with a clean nutrient dense plant-based diet that is free from toxins and filled with antioxidants.

I would suggest the second option, if you don’t want to bother with the testing and wait.

The treatment of leaky gut generally does not involve any big gun pharmaceuticals that are loaded with toxins and dangerous side effects.

To find the right treatment, we need to first understand the causes. Otherwise, we’re just keep putting bandaids on the symptoms.

So…what causes leaky gut?

Leaky gut syndrome is generally not recognized by conventional physicians. If you ask your general physician if you have leaky gut, chances are you’ll get a funny look like he/she does not know what you’re talking about.

On the other hand, a functional medicine doctor may consider runny some tests to look for clues to confirm leaky gut or bacterial dysbiosis.

Related articles: Testing for leaky gut

The leaky gut is the manifestation of the vicious cycle of allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic stress.

Each problem feeds into the next and the cycle just keep going and your symptoms continue to get worse.

The relationship between food allergies and sensitivities and the leaky gut is complicated. The leaky gut or intestinal that is “holey” is a cause of food sensitivities because it allows anything to past through. Then, when the intestine is exposed to all kinds of allergens, the immune system is activated, mast cells are deployed and histamine is released. This immune reaction makes the gut even leakier, then more undigested food past through, then more allergic reaction. And it keeps going, and going, and going…

Now with damaged epithelial cells and really leaky gut, nutrients are not absorbed properly. As a result, malnutrition happens, which further aggravates the structure, integrity and function of the epithelial cells in the intestines.

Under normal conditions, intestinal epithelial cells dies and regenerate every three to six days. This is a very demanding task that requires lots of energy and nutrients. The malnutrition, which is the result of poor nutrient absorption from the leaky gut, would hider epithelial cell repair and regeneration. As a result, the intestinal wall continues to get weaker and weaker because the body cannot catch up with the demand to regenerate new cells.

With nutrients not being absorbed properly, the microbiota in the gut will be affected. You can imagine overgrowth of all kinds of bacterial, fungus, other organism out of proportion leading to bacterial dysbiosis. These guys are supposed to be living in harmony with each other and with our guts. When certain one species grow too fast, they overcrowds the other. Even if it’s the good bacteria that is growing too fast. Too much of a good thing is not always better.

Related article: Bacterial Overgrowth/Dysbiosis

This results in disruption of the intestinal harmony and with the now bigger organism population, we also have a waste control problem.

The liver in people with leaky has to work extra hard to remove the unusual guests that enters the leaky gut, and get rid of the toxic waste generated in the crazy overpopulated gut microbiota.

The situation is putting the liver in stress.

Cytochrome P-450 oxidase is induced and the liver starts making more free radicals. The result is damaging to the liver cells. The liver dumps the toxic free radicals into the bile, which is excreted via the intestine.

The problem does not stop here. This is just the beginning.

While the toxic bile is traveling in the intestine towards the colon and hopefully, out of the body, some of the toxin is being reabsorbed back into the system. Remember from physiology class, our body normally reabsorbs some of the bile back.

Yikes…

Not only that, the toxic bile is damaging to the bile duct, intestinal wall and it can also reflux into the pancreas, affecting nutrient digestion.

This whole scenario just feeds further into the leaky gut, making the intestine more permeable to intruders.

And the cycle keeps going.

Now that we have a better understanding of the etiology of leaky gut.

Now let’s break the cycle, patch up the HOLES and heal your leaky gut.

Symptoms of ADHD

Does Your Child Have ADHD?

Well, the signs and symptoms of ADHD are pretty self-explained – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – lack of attention (or focus) and hyperactive (cannot sit still).

You know how we often jokes about ADHD when one of our friends keeps forgetting things while multitasking.

Of course, you don’t get the diagnosis of ADHD just for being forgetful occasionally.

A child has to show that he/she has at least 6 items from that category to be classified as inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive. And the child must show to have these behaviors for at least 6 months, and the behaviors are creating significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning or relationships.

A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is given when hyperactivity and impulsivity are not present. But, in general, ADHD and ADD are used interchangeably.

ADHD or ADD is usually diagnosed in childhood. We all know young children have short attention span. But if his/her attention span is unusually short-spanned for his/her age, that warrants some concern. Or an older child who is not able to stay put in his/her chair and behaves more like a toddler wandering around the classroom.

Let’s look at the list below and see how many you have.

Inattention

■ fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
■ has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
■ does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
■ does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
■ has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
■ avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
■ loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
■ easily get distracted by extraneous stimuli
■ forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity

■ fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
■ leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
■ runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
■ has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
■ “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
■ talks excessively

Impulsivity

■ blurts out answers before questions have been completed
■ has difficulty awaiting turn
■ interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

I’m sure we all can find a few of these behaviors in ourselves at one point in time. And that’s normal.

Remember, every child is different and we all learn differently. If your child’s teacher raises a concern, take the time to observe and get a proper diagnosis. Don’t jump to conclusion right away to put a label on your child.

Related article: ADHD Symptoms or Something Else?

Specific Carbohydrate Diet




The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is another diet that aims to eradicate intestinal yeast infection by carbohydrate restriction. Elaine Gottschall introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in her book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet”.

It was originally introduced to treat many severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, etc.

Over the years people have also find other uses of the Special Carbohydrate Diet, such as treating autism, ADHD, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, speech and language delay, etc.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet suggests that many body ailments, such gastrointestinal diseases are caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast/Candida in the intestine. These harmful residents thrive on carbohydrates that are not completely digested.

Complex carbohydrates in our diet take longer to digest, and end up further down to the large intestines where bacteria and yeast lives. These undigested carbohydrates provide a good source of nutrients for these harmful bugs.

The more yeast are in the body, the more toxins the yeast produces, which are the causes of many of the behaviors we see in children with ADHD, autism, and other developmental disorders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet works by eliminating all complex carbohydrates and polysaccharides (multiple-molecule sugars, such as lactose, sucrose, starch, etc) to minimize any undigested carbohydrates from entered the lower portion of the intestines where these harmful bacteria and yeast reside.

In the SCD only monosaacharides, which are single molecule sugars, such as glucose, fructose, galactose are allowed. It is speculated that these single-molecule sugars, because of their simple structure, are easily absorbed in the upper intestine, leaving no undigested carbohydrates that would enter the lower intestine to be used by harmful bacteria or yeast/Candida. As a result, starving the harmful organisms to death and putting a stop to toxin production.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet emphasizes on carbohydrate restriction to eradicate the harmful toxin-producing organisms in our intestines. At the same time, good beneficial bacteria is introduced through SCD’s homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheeses.

Hallmark of the Diet:

1. Avoid all polysaccharides, such as lactose, sucrose, and any complex carbohydrates. Polysaccharides are molecules made up of two or sugar units. These require special enzymes to break down the chain into single sugar units.

2. Allow only monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and galactose. Monosaccharides are single unit molecules.

3. Only carbohydrates from fruits and non-starchy vegetables are allowed.

4. Honey and saccharine are the only allowed sweeteners. Saccharine is an artificial sweetener.

5. Only meats in pure unprocessed form are allowed.

6. Homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheese are allowed as a way to introduce good bacteria into the intestines. As you know dairy products are good sources of lactose, which is a two-molecule sugar (galactose and glucose). However, the fermenting processes breaks up the lactose molecules into one unit each of galactose and glucose, both of which are monosaccharides, which are allowed on this diet. Recipes are provided in the book.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

When starting this diet, you will not feel great instantly. In fact, you will start feeling really sick, which is a good sign. Yes. That’s right. “It’s a GOOD SIGN”. This is a sign that the diet is working because the yeast/Candida is dying.

Remember there is an excessive amount of yeast in your body, so when they die, all the toxins from the yeast are being released, and that’s what’s making you sick. This is called “toxic die off“.

Besides, the fact that you’re missing your sugar and carbohydrates can make you feel cranky too. Expect some ADHD-related behaviors or symptoms to worsen during “toxic die off” and there may be regression in younger children. Don’t be discouraged. After the yeast/candida and their toxins are eradicated, you will discover the improvements.

For people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein, the goat’s milk may or may not be well tolerated. Be cautious about following the Specific Carbohydrate diet if you are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. There are alternatives yogurt that can be made from non-dairy beverages, such as coconut or rice milk.

Saccharine is an artificial sweetener that some of you may avoid due to its synthetic nature. You may use honey instead.

WARNING

This is a very restrictive and regimented diet to follow. What I have here is just the surface of the diet. There are more to this diet than just avoiding sugars and carbohydrates, and eating yogurts. You’ll probably need some kitchen skills to maneuver around with some recipes.




Calm and Relax…Chamomile Tea




We are all familiar with chamomile as a bedtime tea to relax you so you can fall asleep faster. This same property of camomile as a sleeping aid is also beneficial in children and/or adult with ADHD. It not only helps with the sleep problem frequently seen in children with ADHD, but the anxiety as well.

As it turns out camomile has been used thousands of years by many different cultures as medicine. Its use can be dated back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. It has been used, both orally and topically, to treat many conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, colds, sore throats, abscesses, gum inflammation (gingivitis), psoriasis, acne, eczema, minor burns, stomach ulcers, diaper rash, colic, and chickenpox. However, chamomile today is more well-known for its calming effects.

There are two common types of camomile – German chamomile and Roman (or English) camomile. German camomile is the more commonly used type. Although they belong to different species, they are used to treat the same health problems. They are both used to calm the nerves, soothe gastrointestinal problems, relieve muscle spasms, and soothe skin irritation and mild skin infections.

There are not many studies on camomile whether it works to treat these conditions. Therefore, many of the uses and benefits of camomile were passed down by generations of uses. Animal studies have shown that German camomile reduces inflammation, speeds wound healing, reduces muscle spasms, and serves as a mild sedative to help with sleep.

Camomile contains a flavonoid called chrysin, the same active substance found in passion flower that provides its calming effects. Chrysin has been shown to reduce anxiety and is believed to be a good sleeping aid. There is some evidence that suggests camomile is an effective treatment for anxiety. Chamomile capsules have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety in people with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

HOW TO USE CHAMOMILE

Camomile is a very versatile herbs, that you can use in any form, not just for drinking. The while and yellow flower may be dried and made into teas or capsules or extracts or even topical ointment.

* Tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 – 3 heaping Tbs. (2 – 4 g) of dried herb, steep 10 – 15 minutes. Drink 3 – 4 times a day between meals.

* Tincture (1:5, 45% alcohol): 30 – 60 drops of tincture 3 times per day in hot water.

* Capsules: 300 – 400 mg taken 3 times per day.

Children under 5 should not take more than half a cup of tea per day. When using camomile in young children under 18, I suggest using half of the adult dose. To relieve colic: 1 – 2 oz. of tea per day. Your doctor may recommend other preparations.

As some of you maybe thinking – sounds good but my child would not drink the tea. My experience is make lemonade. Kids love lemonade. Make it with honey and fresh squeezed lemon. Have your child help with the lemon squeezing. They’ll love it.

Capsules are good options too. However, I prefer the more natural approach with camomile as it is readily available as a beverage. We need to teach our children the joy of wholesome food and beverage. Not everything should come in a processed form.

CAUTION

German camomile is considered generally safe. However, camomile may make asthma worse, so people with asthma should not take it. If you are allergic to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, you may also be allergic to camomile.

Pregnant women should avoid chamomile because of the risk of miscarriage. Camomile may have estrogen-like effects in the body, so women with a history of hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast or uterine cancer, should ask their doctors before taking chamomile.

Too much camomile may cause vomiting. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking or drinking chamomile as it may also cause drowsiness.

Stop taking camomile at least 2 weeks before any surgical or dental procedures due to increased risk of bleeding.

OTHER USES

* Add 1/4 lb of dried flowers or add 5 – 10 drops of essential oil to a tub of water for a soothing bath for hemorrhoids, cuts, eczema, or insect bites.

* Add a few drops of essential oil of camomile to hot water (or use tea) and breathe in the steam as breathing treatment to calm a cough. * Gargle with cooled camomile tea as often as desire to sooth sore throat. You may also add 10 – 15 drops of German camomile liquid extract in about 3 ounces of warm water.




Stay Calm and Relax with Passion Flower




 

Passion flower was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia.

It is a woody vine with flowers which reminded early pilgrims of the passion or suffering of Christ. The plant produces small fruit called granadilla or water lemon. The aerial parts of the plant are gathered during fruiting season and then dried for future processing.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

It is not known exactly how passionflower works, but it has been suggested that, chrysin, one of the flavonoids in passion flower, calms the nerves and reduce anxiety (one of the co-morbidity of ADHD) by increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

GABA calms your nerves and makes you feel relaxed by suppressing the activities in parts of the brain. It is the main inhibiting neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and controls the excitability throughout the nervous system.

GABA is made the brain, but it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. It is made from glutamate in the metabolic pathway called the GABA shunt. The enzyme involved in this conversion is L-glutamic acid decarboxylase, and pyridoxal phosphate, the active form of vitamin B6 is the cofactor. The GABA shunt converts glutamate, the principal “excitatory” neurotransmitter, into the principal “inhibitory” neurotransmitter (GABA).

DOSAGE

Long-term use of passion flower may potentially cause fatigue and mental fogginess due to depression of central nervous system. Start with a low dose several times a day and increase as you learn how you respond to passionflower.

The following are general guidelines for use by adults. I strongly encourage you to speak to your primary care provider for more specific recommendations:

* Tea: Steep 0.5 – 2 g (about 1 tsp.) of dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and cool.

For anxiety, drink 3 – 4 cups per day.

For insomnia, drink one cup an hour before going to bed.

* Extracts (1:1 in 25% alcohol): 10 – 20 drops, 2-3 times a day

* Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol): 10 – 45 drops, 2-3 times a day

No studies have examined the effects of passionflower in children, so do not give passionflower to a child without a doctor’s supervision. Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child’s weight.

CAUTION

Passionflower is generally considered to be safe when used in moderation. However, it should not be used by pregnant women or children under the age of two due to lack of studies/research in these population. Do not take passion flower if you are already taking prescription medication for anxiety or depression, as excessive sleepiness has been reported. Please consult your primary care physician before using passionflower.

Get your passion flower extract here…




Ginseng for ADHD




Ginseng has many functions and benefits to our body and mind. However, we’ll be focusing only on its benefit in stimulating immune function, and, improving memory and symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children when used with Ginkgo biloba.

Panax, such as Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefoliusare, is an adaptogenic herb. It is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides. There are many other plants also known as ginseng, such as American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Japanese ginseng (Panax japonicus), crown prince ginseng (Pseudostellaria heterophylla), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). However, only American Ginseng and Panax ginseng contains ginsenosides. Although they are all called ginseng, each has its own very distinctive functions. True ginseng belongs to the Panax genus.

Ginsenosides, the active ingredient, in panax ginseng is most abundant in the leaves. However, the root of the ginseng plant is the most valued form. Ginseng is noted for being an adaptogen, one which can, to a certain extent, be supported with reference to its anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties.

In traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), which also contains ginsenoside, is considered to have a cooling property while Panax ginseng is warming. Japanese ginseng, though the same species as ginseng, is thought to have cooling properties.

HOW IT WORKS?

Individuals with ADHD is often chemically characterized by deficits in this pathway, which typically include reduced dopamine levels in the regions between neuronal cells throughout various key regions of the brain that are responsible for attention span, screening out irrelevant stimuli, and impulse control. As a result, children with ADHD frequent have inadequate dopamine in key regions of the brain, and norepinephrine as well.

Imbalances between dopamine and norepinephrine children with ADHD result in disruptions of physiological processes such as attention span, complex cognitive processes, auditory processing delays, and motor behavioral dysfunctions.

It is believed that ginsenoside may help alleviate some ADHD-related symptoms by boosting levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in these key brain regions, several of which are affiliated with ADHD. Herbal extracts of ginseng is shown to target the brain’s dopamine pathway and exhibit neuro-protective benefits for these pathways.

Interestingly, many stimulants used to treat ADHD also work by boosting levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.

Panax ginseng (Chinese/Korean Ginseng), abundant in ginsenosides Rg1, is shown to improve spatial learning and increase hippocampal synaptophysin level in mice. It is also shown that ginsenosides Rg1, extracted from Panax ginseng is able to mitigate the effects of the oxidative stress in the liver of exhaustive exercised rats.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Dried and peeled American ginseng is available in powder, capsule, extract, candies, or tea forms. These can easily be found in most Asian food stores. American ginseng maybe used in conjunction with gingko biloba.

For children, I would suggest not giving ginseng is a concentrated form, and give only half of the suggested serving on the container.

You may try making lemonade with honey and ginseng tea. The lemon and honey will mask the taste and smell of ginseng. Ginseng does have a very strong peculiar fragrant, especially when cooked or brewed.

You may use ginseng tea powder or granules, or brewed your own with sliced ginseng root (raw or dried).

Also, ginseng is not recommended for long-term daily use. Take ginseng in cycles of 15-20 days, with 2 weeks break between cycles. When I was little, my mom would make chicken and ginseng broth for us – only once in a while.

Ginseng may increase the effects of caffeine, antipsychotics, blood pressure drugs or steroidal medications. Please consult your physician before taking ginseng.




Stay Calm and Chill with Zinc




Zinc (chemical symbol Zn) is an important nutrient in the human body because of its role in many different cellular functions. It binds with a wide variety of molecular compound to form complexes, and participates in the metabolism of RNA and DNA, signal transduction, and gene expression. It also regulates cellular self-destruction. It is estimated that about 10% of human proteins are bound to zinc.

It helps with wound healing. It is also a very effective antimicrobial agent even at low concentrations. Zn supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms of gastroenteritis by direct antimicrobial action on the gastrointestinal tract.

The human body has about 2-4 grams of Zn distributed in the brain, muscles, bones, kidneys, liver with majority of it in the prostate and eyes.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF Zn DEFICIENCY

Zinc deficiency may result in poor or loss of appetite, diarrhea, impaired immune function, poor or retardation of growth, delayed sexual maturation, eye or skin lesions, delayed wound healing, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy. These signs and symptoms are not specific and maybe associated with other health conditions. Therefore, it is important to seek medical advice if your child is showing any of the above signs and symptoms.

Copper and Zn compete to be absorbed in the gut. Poor gut function or in the case of leaky gut, more copper is being absorbed, thus, limiting Zn absorption. This resulting Zn deficiency may limit the body’s ability to eliminate toxic metals, as Zn is a part of the metallothionenin detoxifies toxic metals in the body.

HOW DOES Zn WORK AS PART OF ADHD TREATMENT?

In a recent study, children treated with a daily dose of 40mg of Zn as Zn sulfate for 12 weeks showed significant improvement in scores on hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and impaired socialization scales than the children given placebo, while free fatty acids level increased as well.

In the brain, Zn is stored in the synaptic vesicles of the glutamatergic neurons, modulating brain excitability and synaptic plasticity, which means it helps with learning. However, Zn can also act as a neurotoxin. This conflicting role of Zn in the brain suggests zinc homeostasis is important in the function of the brain and central nervous system.

WHEN TO SUPPLEMENT?

It is difficult to assess Zn level in the body as most blood tests are inaccurate. However, if your child has frequent or chronic diarrhea, chances are he and she is losing Zn from the diarrhea. You might try a Zn supplement of up to 20mg per day. I have used Zn lozenges for my daughter, who is super picky and sensitive with taste and texture. The zinc lozenges provide about 20mg of Zn per tablet. This is a great start.

Besides replacing Zn loss during diarrhea, Zn also helps with improving appetite by stimulating the taste buds. This is quite interesting when I started giving my daughter the Zn lozenges. She loves it initially. It is lemon-flavored. But after couple of weeks, she started complaining of a metal flavor of the lozenges. So when the Zn level has improved, it shows by having a metallic flavor. So now we stopped giving her the Zn lozenges, and she appetite is still great.




Why Artificial Food Coloring Matters?




What do Allure Red, Carmoisine, Sunset Yellow and Tartrazine all have in common? Some fancy names huh.

YES! You guess it right. They‘re all names of food colorings. One more thing they are in common, which you might not know…

You commonly see them in food packages or beverages labels…but did you know these food coloring that our children are consuming everyday are banned in parts of Europe.

The University of Southampton reported a study commissioned by the British Food Standards Agency that linked consumption of food dyes and sodium benzoate to increase in hyperactive behaviors in children and possibly lower IQs.

The additives tested in the research were:

§ Sunset yellow (E110) (FD&C; Yellow #6)

§ Carmoisine (E122) – Red coloring in jellies

§ Tartrazine (E102) (FD&C; Yellow #5)

§ Ponceau 4R (E124) – Red coloring

§ Quinoline yellow (E104) – Yellow coloring

§ Allura red AC (E129) (FD&C; Red #40)

§ Sodium benzoate (E211) – Preservative

On April 10, 2008, the Food Standards Agency called for a voluntary removal of the six food colorings tested, but not sodium benzoate the preservative. The European Union (EU) began requiring products that contain artificial food dyes to have warning labels that state “consumption may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

Wow, the Europeans are serious. We have warning labels on cigarettes because tobacco causes cancer. But warning labels on candies? That’s serious.

Out of the six food colorings banned in Europe, four are still currently approved for use by the FDA in the United States. They are Sunset yellow (E110) (FD&C; Yellow #6), Carmoisine (E122) (FD&C; Red #3), Tartrazine (E102) (FD&C; Yellow #5) and Allura Red (E129) (FD&C; Red #40).

Check out the list of food additive ingredients approved for use by the FDA.

What is the United States doing?

Despite Europe’s tight stance on food dyes and the numerous clinical studies showing the increased risk to children who consume them, the FDA continues to support the idea that there is not enough evidence and has been reluctant to address the issue until now.

In a recent statement, FDA staff admitted: “For certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, the data suggest their condition may be exacerbated” by substances in food including artificial colors. According to the FDA, Americans were consuming five times more artificial food dyes in 2007 than in 1955.

What are US companies doing?

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have pledged not to sell products with synthetic food colors. And Starbucks doesn’t allow food dyes in its beverages or pastries. However, Starbucks still ended up in trouble with its vegan customers for one of its natural food colorings that originated from bug juice.

Other companies have reformulated their products to meet the regulations in Europe. Kraft and McDonald’s have stopped using artificial colorings abroad while they continue to sell foods with the undesirable ingredients in the U.S. market. How rotten business people are.

Kellogg’s strawberry Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars sold in the U.S. contain Red No. 40, Yellow No. 6 and Blue No. 1. But the “supposedly” same Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars in the U.K., contain natural colorings, such as beet root red, annatto and paprika extra.

What Can You Do?

Arm Yourself with Knowledge. Learn to read the ingredient labels on food and beverages containers. Don’t forget about medications too. Food dyes are frequently found in medications as well.

Here is a list of Natural Food Color to get know:

§ Caramel coloring (E150), caramelized sugar

§ Annatto (E160b), a reddish-orange dye from the seed of the achiote.

§ Chlorophyllin (E140), a green dye made from chlorella algae

§ Cochineal (E120), a red dye from the cochineal bug. This coloring recently got Starbucks in trouble with its vegan customers.

§ Betanin (E162) from beets

§ Turmeric (curcuminoids, E100)

§ Saffron (carotenoids, E160a)

§ Paprika (E160c)

§ Lycopene (E160d)

§ Elderberry juice

§ Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius), a green food dye

§ Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea), a blue food dye

Click here for suggestion on an natural alternative food colors for your next baking project.




Feingold Diet for ADHD




Feingold Diet for ADHD

It is interesting that the Feingold Diet is the diet that is specifically targeted toward ADHD symptoms and it’s been around since the 1970’s. However, it is also the most ignored diet for ADHD getting a lot less attention than the fancier Body Ecology diet or Specific Carbohydrate diets.

But the Feingold diet waits patiently to be discovered. Besides, many of the principles of this diet is being incorporated in many more popular elimination diets today.

The diet was introduced by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in 1970’s. Dr. Feingold discovered that by eliminating certain food additives, such as food colorings, preservatives, etc many of his patient’s behaviors also improved. He noticed and improvement in hyperactivity, impulsivity, compulsive actions, attention span, cognitive and perceptual disturbances, skin problems/hives, and sleep problems.

Did I mention that Dr. Feingold is an allergist? He was not a psychiatrist. He made this discovery by accident when he was treating his patients for food sensitivities.

The Feingold diet has 2 phases. During the first phase, chemical additives in food and foods containing salicylates are eliminated. Salicylates occur naturally in many plants as a natural pesticide. Salicylates are also found in man-made chemicals used in artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives and aspartame. In the second phase, that’s when you’ll re-introduce food with salicylates, but not the chemicals.

Phase 1

The Feingold diet elimination list:

Artificial food colorings – Sunset yellow (E110) (FD&C; Yellow #6), Carmoisine (E122) – Red coloring in jellies, Tartrazine (E102) (FD&C; Yellow #5), Ponceau 4R (E124), Quinoline yellow (E104), and Allura red AC (E129) (FD&C; Red #40). These food colorings are banned in parts of Europe 4 years ago. Unfortunately, FDA is the United States still considered these as safe food ingredients.

Artificial flavoring – examples are imitation vanilla flavoring or “vanillin” might originate from the waste product of paper mills.

Artificial preservatives – BHA, BHT, TBHQ, sodium benzoate – made from petroleum.

Artificial sweeteners – only aspartame is eliminated.

Corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and corn sugar – in soft drinks and other sweetened foods

MSG (monosodium glutamate, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate) and HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which contains some glutamate)

Sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate (in luncheon or cured meats) – affects brain development in young children.

Calcium propionate (in baked goods)

Salicylate-containing foods: almonds, apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cloves, coffee, cucumbers, currants, grapes, nectarines, wintergreen oil, oranges, peaches, peppers (bell and chili), pickles, plums, prunes, raisins, tangerines, tea and tomatoes.

Phase II

After elimination of most of the items in Phase I for several week, AND with some noticeable improvement, you may embark on Phase II.

In phase two, foods containing salicylates may be added back one at a time. Keep a food journal to help keep track of all food and beverage intake, and any reactions to food. Children who are sensitive to salicylates response well to the elimination period with significant improvements in symptoms.

As with any ADHD treatment, there is an adjustment period. Don’t feel despair if you don’t see improvements right away. In some children, you may even see a period of regression, which means your child is responding to the treatment. So, be patient.

My Suggestion

While doing the Feingold diet, you should also add fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid in form of supplements. Start with 2,000mg and up to 4,000mg a day of fish oil. This should be enough to get in at least 500mg of DHA.

Yes, I know eating fish is a good way of adding omega-3 fatty acid. But the amount is usually not enough. And breaded fish sticks do not cut it.

Fish oil is one of those well-studies and well-researched nutrients. And obviously you’ve seen the explosion of fish oil supplements everywhere.

Recently, I am surprised by seeing many children with ADHD being “prescribed” a pharmaceutical grade fish oil manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline called Lovaza, which is an omega-3-acid ethyl ester. The reason I’m surprised is that Lovaza is approved for use to manage high blood fat level. But these psychiatrists are able to prescribe these for treating ADHD.




Parenting ADHD Children




Kids with ADHD often lose track of their things, have difficulty staying on top of homework and seem generally scattered when attending to chores or assigned tasks.

The impulsivity makes them little defiant devils. They know what to do but they don’t do what they know. They can get easily overstimulated and overreact to frustration or challenges.

Poor parents are completely lose and confused as to whether to be firm or be patient, while trying to strike the delicate balance of believing in your child’s abilities and protecting him from the pitfalls of ADHD.

Kids with ADHD may have “hair-trigger, fight-or-flight reactions to stress,” which can make the already challenging task of parenting even more so. Parent ADHD children is not that much more different than regular parenting, just more patience, persistence and consistency. Fortunately, there are many effective strategies and rewards.

Here are some strategies to answer some of questions you have about parenting ADHD children:

1. Stay calm and set limits on your own behavior.

First of all, it is important that parents stay calm. You can’t put out a fire by keeping pouring fuel in it. We have the tendency to over-react to our children unexplained tantrum or nonsense outburst. Remember, these kids just get frustrated easily. You just need to be patient with them to figure their frustration. It could be some very minute issue that can be easily fixed. So pay attention to yourself if you have a tendency to over-react.

Arguing with your child won’t get you anywhere. Try to understand his/her frustration, and then guide them toward a better solution.
The key is to support and patience, and let them know you’re there for them.

2. Create structure and routine, set limitations, and be patience.

Create structure. Use star charts for young children, calendars and planners for older ones, and set clear rules and routines. Structured routine helps the child to feel safe and he/she would know exactly what to expect, instead of fearing loss of control or the unknown.

Create a schedule for homework and playtime. Help your child understand and follow the schedule. Same for bed time routine – you take a bath, brush your teeth, use the potty the last time before bed, bedtime story, then lights out.

Set your time limit for bedtime story. I have a family where the parents told me they would spend over an hour reading bedtime story to their daughter at night, and they would both ended up falling asleep before their daughter falls asleep.

3. Help your kids to make wise choices and focus on his/her strengths.

Provide many opportunities for your child to respond and make decisions. Give your child two predetermined choices that steer him/her in the right direction. Basically, you already made the choices for them. But to your child, they feel they’re making the choice, and are more likely to go with the result.

For example, “Do you want to do your math or your science assignment next?” or “Before we can go, your room needs to be picked up. Do you want to start with the clothes on the bed or clear the top of your desk?”

Focus on your child’s resourcefulness, creativity and individuality. The same self-determination and stubborness that are driving us nuts today will serve your child right tomorrow. Picture him as a tireless entrepreneur, attorney, or doing any work he feels passionate about.

In my opinion, some children diagnosed with ADHD because they’re different. It’s not really because there’s something wrong with them mentally. Children with ADHD children are very creativity and intelligent children who learns and perceive the world differently, and we should honor and respect that difference.

It’s the parents’ responsibility to provide a nurturing environment to help your children thrive and succeed in his/her strengths and talents.

Think of yourself as a coach. Your job is to coach your child to successful socially, emotionally and academically. My only advice for your to patience, and a lot of love. Don’t get discouraged if you have to repeat yourself over and over again.

Sometimes I feel like pulling my hair out. But, at the same time, I’m glad that she has a strong personality, which will serve her well in the future.

Forget about the competition, and don’t compare your child to other children. ADHD children are sensitive to tension from competition. Encourage them to compete against themselves from yesterday.

4. Use reasonable consequences for rule-breaking. Tackle one issue at a time.

First of all, rules should be clear and understandable. Always write is down and all parties involved should agree to the rule.
I tape my daughter’s house rules and chores list to her bathroom mirror, so she sees it everyday, and if there’s argument later, we can always go back to the list.

Create and consistently enforce positive consequences for positive behaviors and negative consequences for negative behaviors.
Ask your child what should the reward/consequence be. This creates commitment from your child, and if they do break the rules, they’ll more likely abide by THEIR chosen consequences. On the same token, they’ll get exactly what they want if they demonstrated the desired behaviors.

Remember, not everything has to be fixed or perfect. You need to choose the best batter to fight. Some battles are just not worth the energy to deal with when you have other more important issues at hand. Don’t stress the small stuff.

5. Expect rule-breaking, and realize that your child isn’t misbehaving on purpose.

Children are programmed to break rules, with or without ADHD. That’s kids. Maybe it’s meant to be no rules?

When your child misbehave or break a rule, correct him/her right away the same way a police officer gives you a ticket. He doesn’t take it personally or groan or yell, “I can’t believe you did that again! Why do you do this to me?” Like the officer, be respectful, consistent, and matter-of-fact.

Parents in general subconsciously assume their children is misbehaving to get attention or to get the parents upset. In reality, children are very goal-oriented and do what they do with the hope of obtaining an outcome they seek, which may not necessarily be the same outcome that we wanted, such as avoiding homework, chores and bedtime.

Every time your child refuses to do what you asked them to do, ask them for a reason. Honor their independent thinking and consider what part of it you can compromise, but insist that your child respect your rules while respect her independent thinking and logic.

You’ll need more trials and exposure to consistent consequences with children with ADHD in order for them to learn. It’s not that they didn’t learn from the last time, but they’re constantly challenging you and hoping that you’ll give in to their demands. You have to be consistent and persistent with your discipline.

6. Advocate for your child when appropriate and avoid muting a headstrong child.

Certain accommodations might be necessary for your child because of his or her ADHD. However, you still want to encourage kids to cultivate their abilities.

Palladino gives an example of finding this tricky balance: “… stand up for his right for an accommodation like talking books, but encourage and expect him to learn to read fluently, giving him time, attention, a tutor, and most especially, your belief that he can.”

One of the mistakes parents can make is trying to turn a spirited, willful child into one that never questions authority and accepts all that is said ‘just because I said so’ as a parent.

Instead, he suggests that parents accept that some children will protest and talk back, and parents must set a limit that on the one hand realizes that children need at least some way to express their frustration, while still enforcing reasonable standards and rules.

7. Educate yourself about ADHD and attention.

Knowing how ADHD symptoms affect your child is essential. You might think that your child is being stubborn or behaving a certain way on purpose, but these actions may be symptoms of ADHD.

Kapalka suggests parents also educate themselves about ADHD’s causes and child development. (You can refer to books on ADHD or talk to a therapist who specializes in ADHD.)

The other important part is educating yourself about attention and learning when your child is at his or her peak of productivity. Knowing when your child can concentrate best helps you chunk assignments into manageable steps, allow breaks to decrease tension, alternate interesting and boring tasks, and keep his adrenaline-based brain chemicals pumping with a steady stream of just the right amount of stimulation.

8. Help your child adjust to change.

Children with ADHD have difficulty transitioning to a new task, or any new changes, especially if they’re hyper-focused on the present activity or are used to a certain routine.

It’s important for parents to understand this and give your child enough time to mentally process the upcoming changes. Help your child to identify the emotion and let them know it’s okay to feel that way. Kids behave badly when they are upset, sad or afraid.

This is important, unless you don’t mind dealing with a crying and whining child on supposedly fun family vacation, visit from guests or a new babysitter. Even small changes, such as transitioning to a new task or activity, can turn into an ordeal easily.

9. Cut yourself some slack and celebrate being a parent.

Raising a child who is impulsive and defiant is one of the most challenging tasks any person will ever attempt. Accept your child’s uniqueness and live with it. Celebrate that your child is special and talented in his/her own way.

Trust me, every family has there issue. Our’s maybe a difficult child. But do you really want to trade your special child for other people’s nastier issues?
We all love our children, and that’s all it counts. Let your child be him/herself. Make sure they’re well fed, have a safe and nurturing environment to thrive. Spend some time each day with your child with your full attention. Look them in the eyes, touch them lovingly and listen closely to what they have to tell you.

Among all those frustrations of parenting, don’t forget to celebrate being a parent. Many couples out there struggle to have their own child. And we’re all blessed here with our unique bundle of joy.

Every child is special…embrace their individuality.