Alpha Lipoic Acid and ADHD

Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant found naturally in both animals and plants. Unlike other antioxidants, ie vitamin C (water-soluble) and vitamin E (fat-soluble), it is able to function in both aqueous (water) and fat environment.

Another interesting fact is that it has the potential to reactivate other antioxidants, such as vitamin C or vitamin E, after they have scavenged free radicals, and render themselves inactive.

Alpha lipoic acid plays an important role in the detoxification system. It is the precursor to L-cysteine and recycler of glutathione, which is another detoxification antioxidant that eliminated toxins from the body. It also has the ability to increase glutathione levels into the body.

How does it help with ADHD symptoms?

Symptoms of ADHD and other developmental disorders are thought to be the result of high levels of heavy metal acquired through either exposure to heavy metals or an inefficient detoxification system. The most common suspects of heavy metals are mercury and lead. Both are notorious for their detrimental neurotoxicity on young developing brains.

Small amount of mercury occurs naturally in the environment. However, with industrialization, factories are dumping of massive amounts of mercury-containing waste products in nearby lakes and rivers, and into our water supply and food chain. Mercury is also found in many processed food in the form of additives and preservatives.

Lead is found mostly in old buildings constructed with lead paint and lead pipes. As a result, children living in such buildings are inevitably exposed to it. Lead may also be found in toys made in foreign countries that do not have stringent safety regulations as the United States.

Alpha lipoic acid relieves ADHD symptoms through mitigation and chelation of heavy metal toxicity. Because it can work in both aqueous and fat medium, it can eliminate toxins from any body tissues. Many developmental disorders, such as ADHD, autism, apraxia, etc are suspected to be result of heavy metal toxicity, especially those found commonly in the mercury-containing immunization shots.

Food sources

  • Beets
  • Broccoli

• Brussel sprouts

  • Organ meats
  • Red meat

• Peas

• Spinach

• Tomatoes

Dosage for supplementation

Because alpha lipoic acid is not considered a vitamin, there is no recommended dose from the US Food and Drug Administration. No adverse effect has been reported on high doses of up to 600mg per day for adult. Dose of 50-100mg is good place to start.

As always, check with your child’s registered dietitian for proper dosage.

Possible side effects

• Nausea and vomiting, and headache with high doses or when given intravenously.

• May decrease effectiveness of chemotherapy as an antioxidant.

• May increase effectiveness of medication to control blood glucose.

As always consult a registered dietitian and/or physician who are familiar with dietary or nutritional supplements and working with children with developmental disorders. Avoid implementing trials of these supplements on your own. Some of these supplements may interact with your medication and some require closing monitoring of a pair of experienced eyes.

CHILDREN NUTRITION – BODY BUILDING ARCHITECT




Think of your child’s body like a building and you or your child is the architect. Your goal is to build a strong and tall building. To accomplish that goal you will need excellent building materials. In your case, that means GOOD NUTRITION. When we talk about good nutrition, it is not just any foods. We need good NUTRITIOUS foods.

Why? Because nutritious food has many vitamins and minerals that your child’s growing body needs. Think of these vitamins and minerals as workers at the construction site. Without these workers, the building materials would just sit there.

Vitamins and minerals along with adequate calories and protein are an integral part of children nutrition. Vitamins and minerals play very important roles in the thousands of chemical reactions in our body. Without these vitamins and minerals, many of the chemical reactions would not take place, and that many body functions would be affected. Some of the vitamin and mineral deficiencies results in malfunctions that contribute to some of the ADHD behaviors.

Children nutrition is different from adult in that we have to account for additional calories to promote growth and development. In a fully grown adult, we need just enough calories to sustain basic body functions, such as breathing, heart pumping, blood circulation, and our daily physical demands.

In children nutrition, we have to account for all of the above, and at the end of the day, we need to be sure there is left over to promote growth. To put this idea into perspective: an average healthy adult needs between 20-30 calories per kg of body weight daily. On the other hand, a newborn baby needs 100 calories per kg of body weight per day to sustain and grow. You see the different between adult and children nutrition?

WHAT ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS? CAN I JUST TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN?

The answer is “yes” and “no”.

Certainly you can just take a multivitamin to make up for what you’re missing from your diet. However, you might still be missing out on many awesome antioxidants that scientists have yet to discover. The multivitamin pill only has the vitamins and minerals that scientists know of NOW. Bottom line is there are more benefits in eating the fruits and vegetables than to get those vitamins and minerals.

A diet consists mainly of processed foods not only robs you of the precious vitamins and minerals your body craves, it also fills you body with toxic chemicals, pesticides, hormones, preservatives – things that your body has to work hard to get rid of. In doing so, your body most likely will have used up most of the good stuff you get from your vitamin pill. So you’ll still end up behind.

There will always be room for supplementation since you’re looking for an alternative ADHD treatment. Many studies have shown that children with ADHD have a few nutrient deficiencies, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, etc. This is even more so in children who are on ADHD medications, which are notorious for suppressing appetite and causing stunt growth.

Children with ADHD tend to be somewhat underweight because many of them cannot even focus enough to finish a decent meal. And some are just so hyposensitive that the hunger sense does not even bother them. When you add the ADHD medication to these, you will have a child who is at risk for malnutrition.

CHILDREN NUTRITION – IS MY CHILD MALNOURISHED?

I’m pretty sure most parents are familiar with how the growth chart looks like. To determine your child nutrition status, you need to look at your child’s growth over a period of time. In normal growth, both height and weight, should follow or parallel one of the percentile lines. A child is considered “failure to thrive” when the weight drops more than 2 percentile lines, such as going from above 50th percentile to less than 10th percentile. Stunt growth is when a child stops growing in height.

In the early stage of malnutrition, we will see the weight to drop first. As the condition worsens, height is the next parameter being compromised. If the malnutrition is not corrected, eventually the head circumference will be affected too. And at this point development will be delayed since brain growth and development is being delayed due to lack of nutrition.

Growth charts are frequently used in children nutrition to determine growth rate. Use this interactive growth chart to determine your child’s growth percentile.

WHAT DO I DO WITH THE PERCENTILES NOW?

Frequently children with ADHD have a much higher percentile for height than weight. It basically means that the child is a bit too skinny for their height. The 50th percentile line is the median. Of course, we know every child is different.

HOW MUCH SHOULD MY CHILD WEIGHT THEN?

To answer this question, you need to know your child’s current height. You need to get to the correct growth chart for your child’s gender and age group. Find your child’s height on the chart. Then move along the line horizontally until you reach the 50th percentile line. From here you can determine your child’s “height age” by going up vertically up to the age legend.

For instance, your child’s height is 80cm. We’ll be using the Girls Birth to 36 months chart. Look for 80cm on the left hand side, then move horizontally across until you hit the darker 50th percentile line. So at 80cm, your child’s height age is 18 months. This means your child’s height is that of a 18 month old. If you look at the median weight at 18 months on the chart, you will find the weight that your child should be, which, in this case, 11kg.

Related article: How Much Calories Does My Child Need?

INCREASE CHILDREN NUTRITION INTAKE

If your children need to gain weight because he or she is too skinny, there are different ways to accomplish this. By forcing your child to eat more is not one of them. The simplest and easiest thing to do is just adding oil, butter, margarine and anything fattening to everything that your child eats.

If your child is on a dairy-free diet, you can use oil (any vegetable oil) and coconut cream to add extra calories. Don’t worry about the extra fat your child is getting. If he or she is underweight, you know your child hasn’t been getting enough calories. Plus the fat will be used by the body for energy, saving the protein in the body for more important task, such as growth.

The oil that I recommend the most is flaxseed oil. It is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a major component of the brain tissue.

There are many children nutritional beverages available that you can add to your child’s diet as a supplemental source of calories and protein. Some common ones are Pediasure and Carnation Instant Breakfast. They both contain milk, but Pediasure is lactose-free and also gluten-free. For children on dairy-free diet, you may create your own fruit smoothies with a plant-based protein powder, such as soy or sprout protein powder.

If your child is on a gluten-/casein-free diet, you may try Vega Smoothie, which is dairy- and soy-free. One nice thing about Vega Smoothie is that it’s not just a simple protein smoothie, it also contains a blend of antioxidants and probiotics. Another product you can try is EO28 Splash and Neocate Jr from Nutricia, and Elecare Jr from Abbott Ross. These are all amino-acid based formula, which means the protein are broken down to their tiniest unrecognizable form. These formula are made specifically for children with multiple food allergies and severe gastrointestinal problems. They are the hypoallergenic version of Pediasure.

With improved nutritional status, you may see some improvement in your child’s ADHD behaviors. Just think of the many times that your brain feels foggy because you did not have breakfast in the morning. Our brain cannot function well on empty stomach, just as a car cannot operate with an empty gas tank. Make sure your child has a good breakfast daily to start the day.

Here is one of my recipe analysis tool that allows you to determine the nutrient content of your favorite homemade recipes.

 

 




ADHD Supplements

Dietary or nutritional supplements are gaining popularity as alternative ADHD treatment, especially nowadays when parents are more aware of the unpleasant side effects of ADHD medications. Furthermore dietary supplements are a lot more natural and cause minimal side effects. Many ADHD supplements are substances that our body already produces and/or obtain from food in the general food supply.

“Supplements”, as the word implies,”supplement” what is inadequate.

Children with ADHD tend to have many nutrient deficiencies, or higher nutrient needs that children without ADHD. Thus, the goal of using ADHD supplements is to support your child’s body with nutrients that are inadequate.

There are many reasons why a child needs dietary supplementation. Your child may not be consuming adequate amount of nutrients from their diet, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Your child may have difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients. Your child’s body can have a higher demand for the nutrients, such as sulfate for detoxification. Or there may be sluggish metabolic pathways in the body that needs an extra boost of certain nutrients to get these pathways up to speed.

Probiotics and fish oil are the most frequently used alternative ADHD treatments. Many children with ADHD have intestinal issues, such frequent abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and even food allergies. These symptoms are the result of yeast or candida overgrowth due to antibiotic treatment, formula feeding as infant, etc. Probiotics help to repopulate the intestines with beneficial bacteria, improving gut integrity and nutrient absorption.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are essential structural components of the developing brain. It is found that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, likely due to poor dietary choices.

L-carnitine not to be confused with CARNOSINE is another substance that tends to run low in children with ADHD. It helps with transporting long-chain fatty acids into mitochondrial for energy production, and may play a role in the production of acetylcholine and possibly dopamine. Both are important brain chemicals.

Then we also have other ADHD supplements that are detoxification superstars, such as alpha lipoic acid, carnosine, glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, selenium, trimethylglycine (TMG) and vitamin C.

Alpha lipoic acid helps with chelation of toxic heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, etc. Carnosine is also a chelating agent for toxic heavy metals, and it also prevents overstimulation of the NMDA-receptor by aspartate (in artificial sweeteners) and glutamate (in MSG). Carnosine, as a strong antioxidant, also helps with reducing the oxidative stress frequently seen in children with ADHD or autism. Glutathione is another detox superstar for detoxifying many environmental toxins and heavy metals. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is another heavy metal chelating agent. Its function is similar to glutathione as NAC is eventually converted to glutathione in the body.

Children with ADHD are found to have mineral deficiencies. This is another area where ADHD supplements may be helpful. Common mineral deficiencies noted in children with ADHD are calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.

If your child’s diet consists of mostly processed foods, such as chicken nugget, pizza, hot dogs, chances are your child has a few nutrient deficiencies. Many nutrients, such as precious minerals and vitamins are stripped off from the food during processing. As if the processing is not enough to kill the food, food manufacturers add preservatives, artificial flavorings, food colorings. All of these additives to make the food more appealing, but more nutritious. Not to mention that these additives also add to the already hectic workload of the body’s detoxification system.

Vitamins and minerals that are needed in almost all biochemical reactions in the body for generating energy and building materials. Unfortunately, our body has to rely on outside sources for these nutrients. The word “vitamin” means “for life”. Our body cannot make many of these vitamins. And minerals are hard to come by. Minerals are found everywhere on earth, especially in dirt where plants grow. Thus, the best food sources of minerals are fruits and vegetables, except for iron. The heme form of iron is animal products is the easier to absorb, and thus the best source. In order for our mind and body to function well, we need all body systems to be performing their jobs.

For the most part, we know how most of these supplements work and which pathways and chemical reactions they are involved in. However, individual reactions vary widely. This is why it is important to consult a registered dietitian who is experienced and knowledgeable in ADHD supplements.

Just a reminder. Even though many of the supplements discussed here are substances made naturally in our body and/or plants, it is still wise to seek medical advice before embarking on some of these supplements for your child. When using these supplements to treat a condition, the doses used are generally a lot higher than what is usually consumed through food alone. At very high doses, supplements condone therapeutic properties just like medication, and should be regard with same caution as any medication, especially if you are taking prescription medication.

Dietary and nutritional supplements are always a taboo in the medical field because there were hardly any supportive researches and studies. Of course, there are none because pharmaceutical companies do not make money promoting something they cannot patent.

However, more and more patients are looking for alternative treatments that are safer and carry a lot less devastating side effects. You may be lucky to find a healthcare provider who is interested in alternative treatment to accompany you to embark on the exciting journey to improve your child’s behaviors.

Pycnogenol for ADHD Brain

Pycnogenol and Proanthocyanidins

Most people probably have not heard of pycnogenol. But I’m sure you have heard of the heart health benefit of red wine. “Ahhh”. But, wait a minute. It’s not that simple.

Let me back up a little.

Pycnogenol is not the substance or chemical in red wine that is linked to lower cardiac disease risk. In fact, it is a US registered trademark of the maritime pine tree bark extract from France.

So, how are pycnogenol and red wine related?

Simple. The active ingredient in pycnogenol is proanthocyanidins, also known as OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). The same flavonoids found in red wine. It is proanthocyanidins in red wine that helps to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and varicose veins.

Proanthocyanidins are also found in many other plants beside maritime pine bark. It can be found in apples, cinnamon, aronia fruit, cocoa beans, grape seed, grape skin and red wines. However, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids. Cocoa beans contain the highest concentrations.

RELATED ARTICLE: Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Proanthocyanidins’ antioxidant effects are 20 times more potent than Vitamin C and 50 times more potent than Vitamin E.

Proanthocyanidins found in French maritime pine bark (or pycnogenol) and grape seed extract work directly to strengthen the blood vessel walls to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues.

In children with ADHD, this mean better blood flow and oxygen supply to the ADHD brain, which is thought to have a poor blood flow.

See also: Gingko biloba and Ginseng

It can potentially stimulate the immune system to help with detoxification, which is an area that children with ADHD needed assistance with. As an antioxidant, pycnogenol reduces oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals from the environment. These free radicals damage cells and can contribute to many diseases.

OTHER USES

Pycnogenol is also used for treating circulation problems, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, painful menstrual periods, erectile dysfunction (ED), and retinopathy.

Get high quality Pycnogenol here…

How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain?

It’s amazing all the new info recently coming out from new researches and studies are changing medicine.

I recently attended several nutrition conferences and I learned A LOT of new and surprising information.

Many of the nutrition advices that we’ve been adhering to over the years have been proven ALL WRONG!!!

I’m glad these new findings are emerging because I’ve been recommending some of these advices over the last couple of years, and finally, I have evidence to support them.

One of these new concepts were intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet.

I’m a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition. There are only 2 reasons I put patients on a ketogenic diet – mitochondrial disorder or intractable seizure control. These are the only 2 medical reasons for ketogenic diet.

These conferences opened my eyes to a whole new world about the food we eat everyday. The idea of ketogenic diet for autism, Alzheimer’s and ADHD were introduced.

One of the conferences I attended was called “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” presented by Dr. Michael Lara, who is a neuropsychiatrist.

Dr. Lara explains that ADHD and Alzheimer’s are like diabetes of the brain cells. Because of insulin-resistance, the brain cells are not able to use glucose efficiently for energy just like in diabetes where tissue cells are not able to use glucose. The alternative source of energy, fat, which bypass the defects, seems to work very well in patients with ADHD and Alzheimer’s.

When fat is used as an alternative source of fuel, ketone bodies are made. The body’s cells may be able to use ketone bodies as an alternative fuel when glucose is unavailable. Ketone bodies do not normally circulate in the body unless it has been starving for a few days, or if one is on a very low-carb diet, such as ketogenic diet. In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.

How to Start the Ketogenic Diet for ADHD?

This is actually a MODIFIED ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet that I administer on my patients are extremely restrictive and I use a keto ratio of 5:1, meaning 5 parts fat to 1 part carb/protein.

The ketogenic diet we’ll be discussing here will be temporary and intermittent. According to Dr. Lara, all you need is 12-18 hours of fasting x2-3 times a week. If you eat your last meal at 7pm, wake up that next morning and eat first carb-containg meal at say 10-11am, you’ll have fast 15 hours.

There is this doctor, who fixed her husband’s Alzheimer’s with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil twice a day. Now knowing that skipping breakfast couple times a day is actually good for you, I’ll suggest taking the coconut oil in the morning when you skip breakfast, which means no carbs.

You can facilitate the ketosis with a high fat or ketogenic breakfast. For our purpose of ADHD focus, a cup of bulletproof coffee or caffeine-free turmeric golden milk.  Both made with coconut oil.

The caffeine from the coffee will help increase focus and concentration. The fats from coconut oil and butter will push the body into ketosis along with the overnight fast, which results in ketone bodies that the brain cells would use instead of carbs.

Get the Best Bulletproof Coffee recipe for the ADHD

What’s All the Hype with Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil has become a household item because of its multipurpose uses. You can eat it and you can wear it.

Here we’re most interested in its nutritional benefits. Coconut oil is special because of its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acid profile. Coconut oil is rich in MCT oil. And there are 3 types of MCT oil in coconut oil. The one we’re most interested here is the caprylic acid because of its unique power in promoting ketosis.

By including coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid, your body will enter ketosis faster and more ketones bodies are available for the brain cells.

Get the high quality organic coconut oil here…

The Best Bulletproof Coffee Recipe for ADHD




 

The best bulletproof coffee recipe for our purpose is the one that results in the most focus and concentration.

What are we looking for?

The caffeine in the coffee help increase focus and concentration by increasing activity in the frontal cortex.

The fats from the coconut oil and butter will promote ketosis and ketones bodies to feed the ADHD brain, especially the coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid.

This bulletproof coffee recipe should be sugar-free and carb-free to maximize results, and consumed in the morning as part of the 12-18 hours fast discussed in the How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain.

Dump all the ingredients into the blender:

  • 1 cup brewed coffee (my favorite is illy for its smoothie and mild flavor)
  • 1 tbsp Kerigold organic grassfed butter
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Stevia as needed for sweetness

Blend and enjoy.

If you don’t care about the ketosis, then you can add sweeteners for taste.




The Fruits and Vegetables Story…

Fruits and vegetables feeds your body and mind

This is the fruits and vegetables story I tell kids all the time, especially the picky ones. Make sure they’re old enough to understand. Most of the time, I’d see the light bulb light up in their eyes.

Here’s my late night commercial sales pitch for fruits and vegetables…

You know why you need to eat fruits and vegetables?

Our body is a giant bag of tissues made up of living cells…37.2 TRILLION living cells in each of us to be exact.

Wow…that’s a lot of household to take care of.

These living cells are what’s keeping us alive and human.

Within each of these cells, there are hundreds and thousands of biochemical reaction happening every single seconds whether you’re running, sitting, walking, sleeping, etc.

These biochemical reactions must go on in order for our body to survive.

However, each of these biochemical reactions can only happen in the presence of either a vitamin or minerals or both. Missing any of these components, these reactions may not happen.

You know where the best sources of these vital vitamins and minerals?

Yes…fruits and vegetables!

You know how fruits and vegetables come in all different shades and color?

fruits and vegetables color wheel

What gives fruits and vegetables their pretty colors are what we call “antioxidants”. These are special cleaners for our body because our body cannot make many of them on our own.

Think of your body like a house. If you keeping bring stuff in your house everything and not clean or take out the trash, what would your house look like?

Same here with your body…if you eat junk food everyday and not have any fruits and vegetables to help clean, what would your body ends up like.

That’s why God created fruits and vegetables for human beings.

When you eat the right kind of food, meaning a lots of fruits and vegetables, you’ll have enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidant to make sure the biochemical reactions in your body function properly.

When all the biochemical reactions are function properly, that means, all your organs include your brain will function properly too. You’ll have more energy, run faster, focus and concentrate better in class, and feels happier and better mood too.

How to Start Eating More Fruits and Vegetables?

Follow a Plant-based Diet

Meditation Increases Focus & Concentration in Children




You may look at meditation as a form of “mental exercise” that alters the level of consciousness of your by mind bringing your mind inward into your inner self.

Whatever that means…basically, it means shutting down the outside and stay inside, if you understand what I mean.

To me, being in a meditative state is like being in my own “Anna’s in the Wonderland”. You’ll kind of in between being awake and asleep.

It’s abstract…you have to try it to understand.

The practice of meditation has been around for over two thousand years, originating in countries in Southeast Asia. It has always been associated with religious rituals.

It is, in some ways, like prayers or religious chants, except that it has no religious boundaries. Anyone can practice this mental art form regardless of faith or belief.

The goal is to redirect one’s attention toward one’s inner self. It is a very spiritual and personal experience. It is a very unusual and mind-changing experience. Its experience is almost like a paradox – you’re supposed to not focus on anything, but the experience itself increases your awareness of your universe, which all of us are connected to. If you have not meditate before, I highly recommend that you try it.

I remember one time I was meditating after a group yoga lesson. It was only 10 minutes meditation at the end. My father has just passed away a few months early. All of the sudden I felt a very strong feeling that I missed my father, and felt this overwhelming sadness. Tears started pouring from my eyes and I just could not stop crying. It was a very strange feeling. It seemed like the meditating somehow allow my mind to finally relax and let the bottled emotions escaped.

It has many physiological benefits, and increasing focus and concentration is one of them. Thousands of researches and studies have shown the benefit of meditation and its effects on metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes. Scientists are interested in exploring its mechanism and benefits. However, after years of scientific studies we still have no knowledge of the exact mechanism of how the practice condones all these physiological benefits.

The most fascinating thing is that meditation can alter brain waves and brain activities. Now that we know our brain is capable of remodeling or rewiring itself throughout life.

It is a very calming and refreshing experience. Many description of meditation involves some kind of mental engagement that requires a lot of focus and concentration. And focus and concentration is what many children with ADHD are lacking. However, it does not mean meditation is impossible.

Start by looking at it as “quiet time”. Even if your child can’t sit with their eyes close for 5 minutes. Have them start by being quiet for 5 minutes, not making any noise or big movements. They can play with their stuffed animals, draw, or whatever they want. You can also play some soothing music in the background.

You can also do the “quiet time” right before bed. Snuggle with your child, read a story and kiss him or her good night. Then turn off the lights. Some children have difficulty falling asleep. Be firm and tell your child he or she has to stay in the dark room and not make noise. OK night light is allowed. Most children will eventually fall asleep.

 

Get Calm meditation app for FREE

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If your child has difficulty with falling asleep at night, you might want to look into Epsom salt bath and/or melatonin at bedtime. Both of these can help children with ADHD to wind down and be ready for bed.

The Epsom salt bath can help calm the body, and the sulfate in Epsom salt helps to improve the body’s detoxification system. Melatonin is a natural sleeping aid. It is suspected that children with ADHD have a natural tendency to not produce enough melatonin at night, when they need it most to fall asleep.

When we first started trying meditation, my daughter did not like it. Just the thought of sitting down and doing nothing for 5 minutes sounds like torture to her. She was 10 years old, so it is still quite easy to persuade her to do it. She would set her own timer on her watch, which gives her some feeling of control. We try to do it everyday, but of course it’s hit or miss.

After meditating several times, my daughter did acknowledge some benefits, such as feeling calmness, refreshed, and increased alertness which helps to clear her mind for mentally-demanding tasks. Now she does not fight me as much if I ask her to meditate before she tackles her homework. Yet, 5 minutes is still what she is up for.

For starter, aim for five minutes or less, something that you know your child can easily handle. Be sure to make it fun, otherwise, they are not going to do it again. I used to snuggle with my daughter in her bed at bedtime, then I would let her put one of her favorite stuffed animal on her belly while she is lying on her back.

I would ask her to take deep breaths until she sees her stuffed animal rises and falls on her belly. This helps to teach her the breathing part of the practice. The trick is taking long deep breaths that fill up the belly. Slowly you can add the counting from 1-10 to make the breaths longer.




Detox with Epsom Salt




Epsom salt’s main component is magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). It is harvested from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. It is named after an English town, “Epsom” in Surrey, England, from which this salt originates.

Epsom salt is traditionally used as a bath salt. It has many beneficial properties, such as relieving muscle aches/pains, insect bug bites, sunburns, replenishing youthful skin and detoxification. The detoxification property of Epsom salt is what we are most interested about here for children with ADHD and/or autism.

The chemical symbol of magnesium sulfate is MgSO4. Thus, it contains one molecule of magnesium, one molecule of sulfur and 4 molecules of oxygen. When it dissolves in water, it dissociates into an positive ion magnesium (Mg+) and a negative ion of sulfate (SO4-).

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Sulfate is needed in the phase 2 liver detoxification process for sulfuration. Phenol-sulfotransferase (PST) detoxifies excess hormones, phenols, amines, and toxins produced by intestinal yeast. It facilitates the transfer of sulfate molecule from sulfate-donor to phenol compounds, resulting in a soluble complex that can easily be excreted by the kidneys.

Sulfur-containing amino acids, such as cysteine, methionine and taurine are major sulfur-donors in the body. However, children with ADHD are thought to have suboptimal phenol-sulfurotransferase system due to inadequate sulfate intake. Because of this limitation, the body cannot eliminate toxins efficiently.

Furthermore, heavy metals, such as mercury, lead and cadmium from the environment attach to the sulfur group of protein, inhibiting the release of sulfate from the amino acid complex.

Phenols occur naturally in many of our common foods, such as bioflavonoids, carotenoids (carotene, lutein, lycopene, xanthophylls, and zeaxanthin), phytoestrogen (estrogen-like substances in plants) and salicylates (salts of aspirin) in our colorful fruits and vegetables. Yeasts or candida in the intestines also produce phenol.

The inadequate intake of sulfur-containing amino acids, excessive overload of heavy metals, and excessive intake of dietary phenols, phytoestrogen and salicylates work together to sabotage the phenol-sulfotransferase system. Thus, toxic compounds build up in the system resulting in the notorious ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, lack of focus, irritability, aggression, etc.

Symptoms of PST or sulfate deficiency include reddened ears, hyperactivity, inappropriate laughter, night sweats, dark circles under eyes, excessive thirst, aggressive behaviors, head-banging, eczema, facial flushing, and trouble falling to sleep, disturbed sleep and odorous bed-clothes.

Diets limited in salicylates and phytoestrogen,such as Feingold diet, and diets that eliminates intestinal yeast overgrowth, such as Body Ecology diet or Specific Carbohydrate diet, may reduce the workload on the already suppressed PST enzyme.

FOOD SOURCES OF SULFATE

Remember. Source of sulfate for PST is sulfur-containing amino acids, such as cysteine, methionine, and taurine. My suggestion would be a healthy balanced diet with high biological value animal protein, such as animal protein. Besides, children with ADHD need to start the day with a good high protein breakfast. If you are looking for a source of sulfate, you will be disappointed because sulfate is found mostly in processed foods as additives.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Sulfur is poorly absorbed orally as supplement. The best route to supplement sulfate is with Epsom salt bath. The magnesium sulfate salt in Epsom dissolves into a solution, and is readily absorbed into the body through the skin.

HOW TO USE THE SALT?

Most people do a bath or foot soak. But I make a topical paste that works wonderfully. It saves time, energy and water. Best of all, my daughter stops having that funny smell when she sweats, and wakes up in the morning.

Simply dissolve about a 1 teaspoon of the salt with about 1 teaspoon of water enough to dissolve most of the salt. As the salt dissolves, you’ll notice the water thickens slightly. It’s okay if not all the salt is dissolved. It just means that solution is saturated with Epsom salt.

Now you can apply this solution onto the skin with a make-up brush or cotton balls. I usually do this on my daughter’s legs right before she goes to bed. It is best to do this at bedtime, I have a parent who told me that the Epsom salt makes his son sleepy. This is because magnesium helps calm the ADHD brain.

You will notice a thin layer of white salt on the skin as the water evaporates. The salt will continue to be absorbed as long as it stays in contact with the skin. You can leave that on, because the salt usually gets rubbed off during the night. The sulfate is thought to circulate in the body up to about nine hours.

If you prefers the good old Epsom salt bath, simply fill a bath tub with hot water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt. You may also add 1 cup of baking soda and some lavender oil for additional soothing effects. Soak for about 20 minutes.

You may read to your child during this time. Be sure to not leave little children unattended in the bath tub filled with water. The bath is best taken prior to bed time at night to wind down.

Some children may become agitated after taking Epsom salt bath. It is suggested that you start the bath with 1/4 cup of Epsom salt first, and then slowly increase over several weeks.

People frequently have the misconception that toxins are being drawn out of the skin pores into the bath water. Soaking in the salt bath, allows the body to absorb the magnesium and sulfate through the skin into the body’s detoxification system.

Besides a full bath, you can also do a foot bath for 15 minutes while doing homework or reading. Of course, you’ll save a lot of water and use a lot less salt.




Better Focus and Memory with Gingko Biloba




 

You have probably heard about this super herb, ginkgo biloba that helps with memory and focus. Research has shown that gingko is a powerful herb for boosting memory. However, that is just one of the many potential benefits Gingko has to offer.

Ginkgo has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is traditionally used to treat respiratory issues such as asthma, wheezing, or coughing, incontinence, and digestive problems. It helps with circulation and is also used to cure depression and dementia, as well as for inner ear problems such as tinnitus or vertigo.

Its benefit for brain function is widely recognized. Ginkgo is used extensively to treat dementia in Europe. And the American Geriatric Society has also issue a statement that “Ginkgo biloba may help people suffering from Alzheimer’s.”

GINKGO BILOBA AND ADHD

Ginkgo leaves contain substances that thin blood and improve muscle tone in the walls of blood vessels to enhance blood flow, especially to the brain. Ginkgo enhances the nervous system by increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain, which is frequently what the ADHD brain tends to lack. Ginkgo is also protects the brain against degeneration as a powerful antioxidant. Ginkgo helps to improve focus in the ADHD brain by inhibiting norepinephrine reuptake.

Ginkgo has shown good results in treating patients who have mental problems that are associated with circulation issues. These are issues such as memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It has also shown positive results in the prevention of these diseases.

There is evidence that ginkgo leaf extract used in combination with American ginseng ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) showed improvement in ADHD symptoms such as anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children age 3 to 17 year-old.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Extracts of Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides). Ginkgo leaf extract may be taken at 80-160ml twice a day. Studies have shown that ginkgo biloba is best used together with ginseng to get better results in mind clarity.

The herb is generally well tolerated, but due to multiple case reports of bleeding, it should be used cautiously in patients on anticoagulant therapy and those with known blood clotting disorders, or prior to some surgical or dental procedures.

Ginkgo may interact with medications. Please consult your physician before starting ginkgo leaf extract if you are taking any prescription medication for diabetes, blood pressure, seizure, etc.

Get your gingko biloba + ginseng supplements here…