Tag Archives: calm

Carnosine and ADHD

Carnosine and ADHD




Carnosine is a dipeptide molecule composed of the amino acids, histidine and alanine. It is found in high concentrations in the skeletal muscle, heart muscle, skin, stomach, nerve tissue and brain. It is produced by the body naturally by the enzyme carnosine-synthetase.

How does it work?

As an antioxidant, it protects neurons (nerve cells) from free radical damages, especially ideal for autism, ADHD, seizures and Alzheimer’s disease. It also acts as neurotransmitter, chemical messenger in the nervous system.

Carnosine may be used to mitigate excessive activities and/or stimulation of the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors caused by excitotoxins such as aspartate in artificial sweeteners, and glutamate in monosodium glutamate (MSG) and its derivatives.

It is also a good chelating agent of heavy metals, which potentially cause toxicity resulting in behaviors seen in children with ADHD and/or autism. It is able to chelate copper, zinc and other heavy metals by binding to them, then removing them from the body.

Carnosine is well-known for its anti-aging property and is considered to be a longevity nutrient. It protects body cells against free radical damage as an antioxidant, inhibits glycation and reverses the damages.

Glycation or non-enzymatic glycosylation is the reaction between glucose molecules and protein or fat molecules, resulting in advanced glycating end-products (AGEs). Oxidative stresses, frequently seen in children with special needs, accelerate the production of AGEs.

AGEs interfere with molecular and cellular functions throughout the body, facilitating the aging process, resulting in an array of chronic diseases and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancers, peripheral neuropathy, cataract formation and hearing loss.

Carnosine helps protect body cells from radiation damages, such as during cancer treatment and accidental radiation exposures by reversing the oxidative damages.

Athletes have long used carnosine to improve their performance. It enables heart muscles to contract more efficiently through enhanced calcium receptors in heart tissues

Dosage

100-200mg before breakfast and at lunch for children with ADHD.

Caution

Excessive intake may result in irritability, hyperactivity and insomnia.

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 any supplements on your own, especially when your child has other medical conditions and/or taking prescription medication. Even though many supplements are natural in a sense, but when taken in high doses, it has therapeutic effects as medication. Thus, supplements may sometimes interact with medications and some require close monitoring of a pair of experienced eyes.




How magnesium calms the ADHD brain?

How Magnesium Calms the ADHD Brain




Magnesium (chemical symbol Mg) is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body. It is essential in the proper functioning of the muscular and nervous system.

Mg is well-known for relaxing the mind through its role in neurotransmitter synthesis, such as serotonin. Serotonin plays significant role is calming the mind and provoking a sense of well-being. Low level of serotonin is associated with depression, mood swings and irritability.

Some signs and symptoms of Mg deficiency includes sensitivity to loud noises, insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, restlessness, panic attacks, salt craving, and both carbohydrate craving and carbohydrate intolerance.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Magnesium is needed to activate the enzyme, delta-6-desaturase, that converts dietary alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main components of brain cell membranes. It is suggested that children, especially boys, has a deficiency in delta-6-desaturase, which leads to DHA deficiency frequently seen in children with ADHD. Supplementing with Mg may help faciliate conversion from ALA to DHA by increasing activity of delta-6-desaturase.

Magnesium calms the nerves by interfering with the release of acetylcholine (an excitatory neurotransmitter)at the neuromuscular synaptic junctions.

Mg also interferes with the release of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla, thus, calming the nervous system. Psychological reactions and/or environmental stressors, such as excessive noises, intense light, etc may increase blood catecholamine levels. Catecholamines, such as norepinephrine and adrenaline, are neurotransmitters responsible for the fight-or-flight response, by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels, getting the body into an excited state.

Magnesium is needed for the production of myelin sheaths that insulate the nerve cells in the nervous system. The myelin sheaths act in a similar manner as the plastic casing on electrical wires. This protective layer prevents nerve impulses from misfiring, which can result in seizures.

Mg activates glutamine synthetase, which is responsible for the combination of glutamate with ammonia to yield glutamine. Glutamine synthetase is present predominantly in the brain, kidneys, and liver.

In the brain, glutamine synthetase participates in the metabolic regulation of glutamate, the removal of brain ammonia, uptake and release of neurotransmitters. In the brain where glutamate is used as a neurotransmitter, glutamine synthetase is not subject to the same regulatory system as in kidneys and liver. Brain glutamine synthetase is found mainly in astrocytes, which plays important roles in regulating neurotransmitters and synaptic transimissions, and ion concentration in nerve cells, and maintaining maintaining the blood-brain-barrier.

Mg deficiency is associated with the impulsiveness and hyperactivity in ADHD more so than the inattentiveness. Lack of Mg is related to muscle spasms and over-excitability. However, the combination of vitamin B6 and Mg complement each other to tackle both the hyperactivity and inattentiveness of ADHD.

Mg and vitamin B6 has a co-dependent relationship. While treatment with Mg is most effective when combined with vitamin B6, which boosts absorption of magnesium into the cells, Mg is required for the proper functioning of alkaline phosphatase, which facilitates the absorption of vitamin B6 into body tissues.

Vitamin B6 is required in both the synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan and activation of kynurenase that breaks down by-product of tryptophan metabolism. Both vitamin B6 and magnesium are essential for the enzyme kynurenase to breaks down kynurenine, a waste product of tryptophan in the kynurenine pathway. Deficiency in vitamin B6 may result in a suboptimal functioning of kynurinase, resulting in high levels of kynurenine, which are associated with disturbed balance of brain chemicals, such as serotonin, gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA). An imbalance of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, especially gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine, is associated with behaviors seen in ADHD and other cor-morbid conditions.

FOOD SOURCES

Mg is plentiful in green vegetables, cereal, grain, nuts, legumes, and chocolate. Food processing and cooking may deplete magnesium content. Typical western diet composed of mainly processed foods, which obviously is not able to supply the needed Mg. Furthermore, the metabolic stress from the foods further put the body’s detoxification system in overdrive trying to rid the body of the harmful substances in processed foods.

A diet high in fat, phosphate and calcium may reduce Mg absorption.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Oral Mg supplements are available in various salt preparations. Multivitamins and minerals generally contain Mg oxide, which is less bulky and inexpensive to manufacture. However, it is not soluble in water, which means it is poorly absorbed by the body. Mg hydroxide in milk of magnesia is another example of insoluble Mg salt.

Magnesium aspartate, chloride, lactate, citrate and glycinate are more soluble, thus, easily absorbed in the intestines. Magnesium taurinate, glycinate or elemental Mg is the preferred form that is less likely to cause diarrhea.

SUGGESTED DAILY DOSING

The typical dose for children is 200 mg of Mg and 10 to 20 mg of vitamin B6.

Age 3 years and under: 40-80mg

Age 4-6 years: 120mg

Age 7-10 years: 170mg

Adolescent and adult male: 270-400mg

Adolescent and adult female 280-300mg




Vitamin B12 and Your Brain

Vitamin B12 and ADHD Brain




Vitamin B12 (B12) is a water-soluble vitamin with key role in facilitating normal functioning of the brain, nervous system, and formation of blood cells. It is involves in DNA synthesis and regulation, and also fatty acid synthesis and energy production.

There are several forms of vitamin B12 – cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form, and methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the physiological or active form. Cyanocobalamin does not occur in nature. It is commonly found in supplements due to its stability and cheaper cost of manufacturing. Theoretically, cyanocobalamine is readily converted to the active forms, methylcobalamine and/or adenosylcobalamin in the body.

VITAMIN B12 AND ADHD

B12 helps with ADHD symptoms through it’s involvement in many of the brain functions, especially in the production and maintenance of the myelin sheath (the protective coating on nerve cells), essential fatty acid metabolism and energy production.

B12 is involved in the synthesis and integrity of the myelin sheath that covers all nerve cells. Think of the plastic casing on electrical wires. These myelin sheath serve the same purpose. Vitamin B12 is the cofactor for the enzymes, L-methylmalonyl-CoA mutase and methionine synthase.

L-methylmalonyl-CoA mutase needs adenosylcobalamin to convert L-methylmalonyl-CoA (MMA) to succinyl-CoA. If this reaction is not working well, too much MMA will result. Too much MMA will make the myelin sheath unstable or not effective in doing its job. The extra MMA may also be added in place of fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acid, into myelin sheath. This will result in fragile myelin sheath that is not able to support normal brain functions. The precise mechanism(s) are not fully undertood at this time.

B12 also affects in the myelin formation process in another way. Methylcobalamin is a cofactor of methionine synthase, which catalyzes the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Our body can also obtain methionine through diet. Our body needs methionine to make S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe), which is needed for methylation of myelin sheath phospholipids. Methylation is the transfer of the “methyl” group. Methycobalamin provides the methyl group for the transfer. That is how methylcobalamin is involved here. Although our body does not need B12 to make SAMe, methionine synthase helps to provide additional methionine to boost SAMe production. SAMe is also involved in the production of certain neurotransmitters and catecholamines, which help with mood.

BODY STORES

Vitamin B12 deficiency is rare because the liver can store several years’ worth of B12. However, deficiency does happen. Certain medical conditions and/or medication may interfere with absorption or increased it’s metabolism in the body. The total amount of B12 stored in body is bout 2–5 mg in adults. Around 50% of this is stored in the liver.

SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY

Deficiency is usually the result of poor intestinal absorption due to GI surgeries and/or GI disorders, or inadequate dietary intake, such as vegetarian or vegan diet, which restrict animal products. Occasionally, certain medication may increase its metabolism in the body.

Signs and symptoms include weakness or fatigue, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat and breathing, pale skin, sore tongue, easy bruising or bleeding such as bleeding gums, stomachache, weight loss, and diarrhea or constipation.

B12 deficiency may result in megaloblastic anemia, which is due to an defective red blood cell production. The resultant red blood cells are larger than normal, which make is difficult to transport nutrients due to size constraint.

Other signs and symptoms are tingling or numbness in fingers and toes, difficulty walking, mood changes or depression, memory loss, disorientation, and dementia, which are results of nerves damages from vitamin B12 deficiency.

FOOD SOURCES

Neither plants nor animals can produce B12. Only bacteria have the enzymes required for its synthesis. Animals are good sources of B12 is because of the bacteria living in the intestines, which makes the vitamin.

Vitamin B12 is found in any foods that come from animals, such as fish and shellfish, meat (especially liver, where the vitamin is stored), poultry, eggs, dairy products. The body absorbs B12 from animal sources better. Plant foods are not considered to be reliable sources of B12.

Vegans, people who do not eat any animal products including eggs and dairy, are more likely to develop B12 deficiency because of their restrictive diets. Ovo-lacto-vegetarians usually consume enough B12 through eggs and dairy products. Vegans obtain their B12 from dietary supplements and/or fortified foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soy products, fortified energy bars, and Brewer’s yeast.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Cyanocobalamin is the most common form of B12 found in supplements. It contains about 2% of cyanide or 20 micrograms cyanide in a 1 mg cyanocobalamin tab. This amount may seem minute. However, children with ADHD, as you have read so far, have an inefficient detoxification system. Even minute amount of cyanide may accumulate over time, causing neural damages.

One of the functions of B12 is methyl donation. Supplementation with cyanocobalamin would not serve this purpose. In fact it would need donation of methyl group in the body to be converted to the active form.

Sublingual and spray methylcobalamin are supposedly much easier to absorb because these routes bypass the intestines, which can be an issue for people with GI problems. Besies methylcobalamin is the active form, which means the body can put it to use right away without any further conversion. Besides, children with ADHD just seem to have very different metabolic requirements.

Methylcobalamin supplements are usually more expensive and available mainly in health food stores. Despite the cost and probably a little extra drive for some, it is still a better choice not only because it is the active, but it is also a “cleaner” form. The methylcobalamin supplement you find in health food stores usually are free of additives, preservatives, artificial colorings, artificial sweeteners, etc. So you are definitely paying for quality for your money.

DOSING

General recommendation of B12 is between 0.4 to 2.4 mcg (micro-grams) daily depending on age. Generally, for the purpose of treating ADHD, you may start with 1,000 mcg. Toxicity is rare since Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, which means our body can easily get rid of the extra.

Couple years ago, I developed tingling sensation on my hands and feet after some medication adjustment. After doing some research, I discovered that the tingling is related to B vitamins deficiency. I started with B-complex, then later added B12. The tingling disappeared, but I was not falling asleep at night. Then I realized it’s the high dose of B12 I was taking at night. That’s what keeping me up at night. And that’s also when I realized the power of B12 vitamin. It does give you an energy boost, but without the hyper feeling of caffeine.

Now I take a 2,500mcg B12 vitamin tablet in the morning. While I started taking the B12 vitamin, I also noticed that I am less irritable and anxious.

My daughter takes a 1,000mcg tablet daily before school to help her focus. She also takes 1.5mg melatonin at night to help with her sleep. Interestingly, after taking the melatonin, she told me that her brain feels clearer and she can organize her thoughts better.




Keep Calm and Drink More Coffee




Keep Calm and Drink More Coffee

Can Coffee Help ADHD?

Coffee has long been known for its ability to increase alertness, reduce daytime tiredness and improves mental focus and concentration. Caffeine is the main chemical compound that gives coffee its special power.

Of course, it’s a “stimulant”.

Caffeine is probably one of the most consumed drug in the world — more than alcohol, and more than tobacco. About 90% of adults worldwide consume it daily.

Most of the caffeine is consume in the form of coffee (think Starbucks), and tea consumption is trailing right behind coffee. And caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks are growing popularity among children and young adults.

The average American consumes about 280mg a day, equivalent to about two cups of brewed coffee.

So, what does caffeine has to do with ADHD treatment? Doesn’t coffee or caffeine cause more hyperactivity?

Well, caffeine is a potent stimulant, just like the stimulants used to treat ADHD/ADD. It may not be as powerful as the amphetamines and methylphenidate (Ritalin), but it sure can help people with ADD/ADHD to function and focus better at work, in school, and in society.
Caffeine has been studied for ages as a potential treatment for ADHD. But its use as a “therapy” is not widespread because research studies show that it is less effective than the common stimulants used. However, one could have argued that the caffeine doses used in these studies were too low to have a consistent effect. And, of course, if caffeine is shown to be more effective or just as effective, pharmaceutical companies would lose a lot of customers to Starbucks.

How many people do you know drinks coffee every day...like their lives depend on it?

Interestingly, anecdotal evidence suggests that many people are already using caffeine to self-medicate themselves or their children.
Many adults with ADHD symptoms are already using coffee daily to help them stay focus on task and get through the day. In fact, some can’t do without it.

I used to have a boss who drinks 2 liters of Mountain Dew a day. And recently I learned that one of the doctors that I work with consumes about 10 cups of coffee a day.

Ok…caffeine may not be as strong as the prescribed ADHD stimulants, but continuous oral infusion likes these makes up for it.
As opposed to common notions that caffeine makes you hyper, many people find coffee to the calming and soothing. Some even become sleepy with coffee consumption.

Let’s take a look at how coffee or caffeine helps in ADHD.

Caffeine, or 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, affects our brain chemistry by blocking the adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a central nervous system neuromodulator that binds to very specific receptors. When adenosine binds to its receptors, neural activity slows down, making you feel tired and sleepy.

As a consequence of blocking the adenosine receptors, caffeine also affects other major neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and, in high doses, on norepinephrine too. 

The activation of numerous neural circuits by caffeine also causes the pituitary gland to secrete hormones that in turn cause the adrenal glands to produce more adrenalin. Adrenalin is the “fight or flight” hormone, which increases your attention level and gives you an extra burst of energy.

By affecting these other neurotransmitters, caffeine is able to deliver a major boost of energy to mental alertness even when we are well-rested.   By increasing the transmission of dopamine, caffeine improves our mood and may protect brain cells from age and disease related degeneration.  By increasing the activity of acetylcholine, caffeine increases muscular activity and may also improve long-term memory.  By raising and adjusting serotonin levels, caffeine relieves depression, makes us more relaxed, alert, and energetic, and it also relieves migraine headaches by causing constricting blood vessels in the brain.

Why Drink Coffee to Treat ADHD?

First of all, it tastes better and it’s a lot cooler be seen drinking a cup of latte, Cappuccino or Expresso than seen taking ADHD stimulants.
Many people with ADHD function well enough with just caffeinated beverages to make it through life. Cost of coffee is more affordable compare to expensive ADHD medication. Not to mention all the side effects of these medications - anorexia, weight loss, loss of appetite, somnolence, sleep disturbance, zombie-like…

The use of caffeine does not have to be supervised by a health professional because it is not a dangerous controlled substance. Did I mentioned that one possible side effects of ADHD medication is ”suicide ideation”?

No, thank you…I rather have a hyper and inattentive child than a suicidal one.

And for some, they just don’t want to have to carry the burden of the diagnosis of having a "mental" disorder. Some occupations exclude candidates with any kind of mental disorders.

Both caffeine and Ritalin are absorbed into the bloodstream within about 45 minutes and wear off after 3 or 4 hours.

Caffeine certainly appears to be beneficial for some adults and children with ADHD. But just because it is easily accessible without a prescription, it is still a drug and does have side effects. Overconsumption and/or abusive use of anything (even if it’s good) can be dangerous.

How to Incorporate Caffeine into Your Daily Routine to Help You Focus?

The best and most natural way to get your daily caffeine is from coffee or tea.

A combination of caffeine-and-fat is the most effective for kids, teens and adults with ADHD.

Start with adding small amount of instant organic coffee powder or Starbucks microbrew with coconut cream in the morning. The caffeine, as we know by now, would provide the focus and concentration you need. The fat, specially medium chain triglyceride (MCT), in coconut cream will provide a sustained level of energy for the brain. The fat in the coconut cream also helps to absorb the caffeine better, which is soluble in fat.

A diet free of dairy, wheat, processed foods, processed fruit juices, food dye and any artificial food additives would complement nicely to better mental focus and concentration.

Monitor the amount of coffee taken. 100 mg of caffeine is equivalent to the low therapeutic dose of 5 mg of Ritalin.

An 8-oz cup of brewed coffee has about 135 mg of caffeine, black tea 60 mg, green tea 30 to 40 mg; and most caffeinated sodas have 35 to 55 mg and Red Bull energy drinks have up to 80 mg.