Natural Supplements for ADHD
Studies show that nutrition can improve symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) such as inattention, hyperactivity, anxiety, aggression and increase working memory. Studies also show that many children and individuals diagnosed with ADHD are deficient in essential nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can be caused by digestive issues which often go undetected by parents and doctors. Focus Packs are natural ADHD supplements for kids, adults and toddlers, packaged together to work synergistically and holistically to balance and repair with targeted nutrition.
Our holistic Focus Program is designed to use with our Focus Packs. It has and has three simple steps and takes a natural approach to ADHD and ADD. Is your child struggling at school, are you struggling at work? Wouldn't it be great to improve focus, behavior, mood and physical health without the dangers and side-effects of medications? If the intended individual for this program is currently taking prescription medication, speak to a doctor before making changes to medication or dosages. Call to speak with a Focus Program specialist for free or schedule a phone-consultation with a doctor at ADHD Naturally, (602) 469-5730.
STEP 1 - Eliminate
Eliminate all foods causing allergic responses from your child's diet. ADHD children often have food sensitivities that their parents and doctors are unaware of. These allergic responses can create problems in digestion as well as imbalances in brain function and even hyperactivity.
A. Eliminate all foods causing intolerance and allergic reactions. These foods can cause disruptive immune responses in the body. Click here to order your take-at-home food sensitivity test
B. Eliminate all foods and skin products containing synthetic or artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners. Studies have shown food additives to trigger hyperactivity. For help identifying these synthetic additives, Click to visit our Food Additives Quick-List.
STEP 2 - Focus Pack
Balance and replenish with our Focus Pack supplements. Imagine your human mind and body as a complicated car that runs on thousands of different fuels and fuel combinations. Removing just one of these fuels would be devastating and your complicated car would break down and not work properly. If the body's digestion is not functioning at 100%, it cannot process the nutrients it needs from your food. A compromised digestive system also creates unhealthy environment for destructive bacteria and yeast to populate, then digestion, absorption and biochemical synthesis all begin to decline. Click to expand the image below and see the complexity of all the metabolic pathways that must take place for your brain and body to function properly, imagine what would happen by removing just one ingredient.
A. Supplement with vitamins & minerals. Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks for every function in the human brain and body. Studies show that supplementation of vitamin B6 and magnesium alone improve behavior, decrease anxiety and aggression and increase attention. Click here to view vitamins and minerals
B. Supplement with probiotics. These beneficial bacteria occur naturally in the human digestive tract and attack yeast and unwanted destructive bacteria. Probiotics can create a positive environment for efficient digestion to take place. Click here to view probiotics
C. Supplement with omega-3 DHA and EPA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is the primary structural component of the human brain. It is found in mother's milk and fish oil. Low levels of DHA are associated with poor reading, memory, behavioral problems and more. Studies have shown the potential of treating depression with EPA and it is a powerful antioxidant. Click here to view omega-3 oils
D. Supplement with amino acids to balance neurotransmitter levels. Neurotransmitters are the little messengers of the nervous system and allow the brain to function correctly. They are essential to a positive mood, sense of calm, focus and memory. Click here to view amino acids
STEP 3 - Repair
In this final step we observe the changes and healing taking place and give the body and mind time to repair. Pay attention to positive changes in your child's behavior, performance at school, interactions with others and changes in your own personal relationship with your child. Look for positive developments in your child's overall health, an improved immune system and better digestion. Look for visible problems such as aggression, hyperactivity, fatigue, lack of focus, rashes, constipation, diarrhea, bed wetting, headaches, belly aches and others should go away. This is a process change and discovery. You may find that modifications to your own or your family's lifestyle are necessary to accommodate your adapting child.
An important part of this step is also to reflect on the things that your child or you are good and maybe even great at. There are many positive traits and abilities that ADHD individuals possess that others do not. Nurture these traits and abilities, use them to your advantage, they can be a great tool for encouragement. Visit our About page to read about several of these positive traits.
At any point, choosing to ween your child from prior drugs or medications should be done slowly and under the supervision of a doctor or health care physician.
Read the in-depth description of this ADHD Focus Program below. For children with more acute and extreme conditions that cannot be fully resolved by our three step Focus Program, please visit our Advanced Program page.
Natural ADHD Focus Program - In Depth
Here we describe our drug-free, natural Focus Program in depth. First, it is important to understand and nurture the positive qualities associated with ADHD. For example, a "deficit in attention" may not be the best way to describe these individuals and children. Typically, they can be easily side-tracked but, posses an ability to focus very intensely on things that capture their attention. While their minds wander, they pay attention to smaller details often overlooked by other individuals. This could be a wonderful ability for someone's future career or job but, unfortunately it may cause trouble in the classroom. Read more about positive ADHD traits on our About page. This program is designed to keep you or your child's best traits and super abilities intact while improving other areas in health and behavior. Individuals diagnosed with ADHD may have underlying health issues that doctors and physicians often overlook. Studies show that children and individuals with ADHD often have nutritional deficiencies, digestive disorders, detoxification issues and neurotransmitter system imbalances. Pharmaceutical medications do not cure these issues, they often mask unfavorable behavioral symptoms and come with a host of negative side-effects. The Focus Program is not just a bunch of ADD natural remedies, not a singular supplement nor medication but, a holistic, all encompassing protocol that focuses on the whole ADHD health picture. The goal of this program is not to treat ADHD but to help an individual diagnosed with ADHD return to human homeostasis. Homeostasis is when your brain and body are functioning at their fullest potential despite factors such as stress, environmental toxins, pesticides, nutrient-poor foods, vaccines and the unique physiological needs of an ADHD individual.
STEP 1 - Eliminate
A. Eliminate Foods Causing Intolerance and Allergies
Our digestive tract is the gateway to the environment that surrounds us. Through eating and drinking we absorb most of all the nutrients to make our complex body operate. After food is processed in our intestines, these nutrients or fuels break down into thousands organic and inorganic chemicals and compounds to run all of our body's systems and functions. It is a complex symphony of bio-chemical pathways like a highly organized mess of dependent and codependent relationships. If we remove just one of the many ingredients such as an amino acid, these relationships can fall apart. This is essentially what happens when there is a digestive issue. Our digestive tract can no longer function properly and therefore cannot correctly process all the nutrients to support all of the other functions in the body including brain function.
ADHD kids almost universally have food intolerances/sensitivities and these sensitivities easily go virtually unnoticed by their parents and doctors. Food intolerances create inflammation in the gut and ultimately lead to digestive issues characterized by stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, anxiety, behavioral problems and yeast overgrowth. The digestive tract can no longer absorb and process nutrients correctly. This leads to nutritional deficiencies in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients needed for the mind and body to function correctly. It is a cycle that only spirals downward if not identified and resolved. Common foods that children have sensitivities to include dairy, gluten, soy, eggs and nuts. It is critical for your child to take a food sensitivity test and identify these silent irritants to his or her system.
Digestive enzymes will aid and assist your child's digestion and can also be very helpful in the case of food sensitivities.
Click here to order a take at home food sensitivity test. You're test order will include a consultation with a doctor to help you read and interpret your results.
B. Eliminate Artificial / Synthetic Food Additives
Your child's hyperactivity may be one of the most simple problems to control. There are close to 15,000 chemical food additives made in laboratories that food manufactures put in our food to improve taste, appear more fresh, be more colorful and last longer. Some of these chemicals include colors made from coal-tar and petrochemicals, flavors made from petroleum and paper factory waste, gasses to stop fruit from ripening and countless other carcinogenic preservatives. These synthesized additives are legally permitted to be contaminated with byproducts including lead, mercury and arsenic.
The result is simple, these foreign substances in the human body cause allergic reactions. One of the many reactions is, you guessed it, hyperactivity. A great place to start is by reading labels on food at the supermarket. Remove these things from your child's diet and watch their progress. Remember that it is not only the food but everything that comes into contact with their skin like their cherry red toothpaste, blue shampoo or even vitamins that you buy at the drug store.
As a good rule of thumb, eliminate all artificial colors. These are typically designated by a color followed by a number such as Red No.2 which was banned after a large controversy and tests showing that it caused cancer and stillbirths in rats. Dyes like Yellow 5 have actually been banned in Austria, Norway and other European countries but is still legal in the US and packaged in American foods.
Eliminate artificial flavors which will typically be designated as such, artificial flavor. Sometimes a dead give away will be the front of the box that will state, artificially flavored.
The third major group to eliminate is preservatives. Here are a few of the most common, BHT, BHA and TBHQ.
You would also be wise to eliminate artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol, saccharin and sucralose as studies have shown them to be neurotoxins. Here is a quick list of some of the symptoms associated with food additives aside from hyperactivity: fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, eczema, headaches, thyroid disfunction, dizziness, hallucinations, estrogen imbalance, high cholesterol, liver, heart, testicle and kidney damage, obesity, stroke, difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, incontinence, tumors and cancer.
The first step to eliminating these dangerous additives to start reading the labels on food, skin products, cleaning and hygiene products that you buy and use. For more information and help about how to identify and eliminate these additives, please visit our Food Additives Quick-List. You can also visit the following links.
STEP 2 - Focus Pack
A. Vitamins Minerals
The importance of vitamins & minerals simply couldn't be overstated. They are the fundamental building blocks for everything. They form our bones, tissues and bio-chemicals. There is nothing more basic. Your child must be on a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Below are examples of some vitamins and minerals that are specifically important for ADHD.
- Vitamin B-Complex
- Vitamin B3 - Niacin, is crucial for metabolic reactions as well as nucleic acid synthesis. It can help relieve anxiety, irritability, depression as well as poor concentration.
- Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, is essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters which promote a positive mood, mental focus and a sense of calm. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin and GABA. Some studies have shown Vitamin B6 to improve memory. It is also fundamental for the production of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin which are necessary to maintain energy levels and concentration.
- Vitamin B9 - Folate. You may have noticed that none of our supplements contain folic acid. The reason is that folic acid is actually a synthetic folate and is poorly utilized by the human body. Folate is one of the most important nutrients required for mental and physical functionality. It is found naturally in uncooked leafy greens and the word folate itself is derived from the Latin word folium which means leaf. A substantial percent of the population have a genetic mutation that inhibits their ability to convert synthetic folic acid or folate into the usable form, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate also known as 5-MTHF. 5-MTHF is critical to many functions in the body such as the production of neurotransmitters and detoxification. We know that both neurotransmitter function and detoxification are critical to individuals with ADHD. 5-MTHF can be found in all of the multivitamin supplements that we carry. To learn more about 5-MTHF and this genetic mutation, please visit http://mthfr.net.
- Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin is essential for memory and cognitive function. It is also a fundamental part of the methylation cycle which helps detox heavy metals, regulates gene expression, RNA processing and neurotransmitter production. B12 could be considered one of the best vitamins for focus.
- Vitamin C - Ascorbic acid aids in the synthesis and catabolism of tyrosine to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Altered levels of dopamine are associated with ADHD, attention, behavior and working memory.
- Vitamin D - This vitamin is needed for the absorption of magnesium and zinc. Together with omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D is also essential to the synthesis of serotonin which regulates mental skills, attention and social behavior.
- Magnesium - Studies have shown that magnesium reduces hyperactivity in children diagnosed with ADHD. It can relax muscles, build strong bones and is one of the most highly required minerals by the human body.
- Zinc - This mineral is required for the catalytic activity of roughly 100 enzymes. It plays a role in DNA synthesis, wound healing and proper immune function. Zinc along with magnesium are needed to make and regulate melatonin which synchronizes the body's circadian rhythms for sleep. Studies have also shown an improvement in ADHD symptoms in individuals taking zinc along with magnesium and calcium.
- Antioxidants - Individuals diagnosed with ADHD are believed to have more oxidative stress than those without the diagnosis. Antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, glutathione and others help mitigate the damage done by destructive free-radicals in the brain and body. Herbal remedies can also help with issues of toxcitity.
Right now your intestines are teaming with trillions of bacteria. We need these bacteria to help us digest food and protect our body against invading pathogens. Unfortunately these healthy bacteria are under constant attack.
Yeast or candida is a fungus and is one of the destructive organisms that populate in your intestines when your digestive system is under stress from food allergies and bolstered by the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics target the negative types of bacteria that cause infections that we human are sometimes exposed to. Unfortunately, antibiotics do not discriminate between types of bacteria and also kill the positive, beneficial bacteria that naturally occur and lives in your digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria aid and assist with digestion and maintain a healthy environment for digestion to take place. When your system is under stress or the beneficial bacteria die off from antibiotic use, suddenly there is room for new organisms like yeast and unwanted, destructive bacteria to populate. This begins a downward spiral of digestive issues including malabsorption, increased food sensitivities and any of the problems discussed earlier. Yeast has been linked to behavioral problems, ADHD and even autism. Signs that your child has yeast includes antibiotic use, irritability, mood swings, bed wetting, headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, eczema, rashes, cradle cap, red ring around the anus, thrush, peeling feet, discolored nails, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
It is absolutely critical to stop the growth of yeast and rebalance your child's digestive tract. The best way to do this is by taking probiotics to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria. This "good" bacteria will gobble up the yeast and "bad" bacteria to eliminate them from the body and create a positive environment in the digestive tract once again. This process can take time. Remember the digestive system is the gateway to all other systems in the body. In many cases the use of dietary fiber supplements is helpful when used in conjunction with the probiotics. It will help move debris and toxic build-up through the intestines where it eventually be eliminated in stool. Digestive enzymes can also be very helpful in cleaning up the digestive tract. In extreme cases of yeast overgrowth you may need to get a prescription for anti-fungal drugs from your child's doctor.
DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid (oil) that is the primary structural component of the human brain. It is found in mother's milk and fish oil. Clinical studies have shown it to decrease heart rate, improve memory and improve learning. Studies have also shown Omega-3 supplementation to decrease symptoms of inattention in children. Individuals with higher levels of DHA have been observed to perform better on tests of nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary. Tests have shown that children diagnosed with ADHD have lower levels of these fatty acids in their blood than children not diagnosed with ADHD. In a recent article, Time Magazine wrote about a study done by Oxford University that found that when nine year olds with the lowest level reading skills supplemented their diets with Omega-3 oils, they were able to excel their reading skills and development at even a faster rate that the kids at the top of the class. Double-blind placebo-controlled studies also showed Omega-3s to increase working memory, improve parent-rated behavior and reduce aggression in children. Studies in mice have even shown DHA to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. To maximize you child's mental acuity and cognitive function, supplement their diet with DHA.
D. Amino Acids
Imagine a plethora of little messengers called neurotransmitters delivering messages throughout your nervous system and brain. Without them, your nervous system simply wouldn't work. Neurotransmitters are made from the amino acids found in the meats and proteins that we consume. Sometimes the levels of these neurotransmitters can become out of balance and all of your brain's messages don't get delivered. You can imagine what can happen if your child's brain is no longer sending and receiving the proper messages. A whole host of things can happen but, most importantly poor brain function, mental focus, memory problems, learning delays. ADHD children may have more requirements for amino acids to manufacture these neurotransmitters. From a neurological standpoint, ADHD is typically associated with with altered function of two neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. In the brain, dopamine plays a role in attention, cognition, motor skills, motivation, pleasure and reward among other functions. Serotonin is responsible for memory, learning and a positive mood. Dopamine is synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine and serotonin is synthesized from 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). It is essential to balance your child's neurotransmitter levels by supplementing his or her diet with amino acids.
STEP 3 - Repair
After implementing Steps 1 and 2 you should begin to notice positive changes in your child at school and at home. Some of these changes should occur very quickly and some of these changes will take time. Nevertheless, be ready to adapt with your child. This is a time for the body to repair, for the mind to build and for personal relationships to mend.
For individuals with severe and acute conditions we have devised an Advanced Program. Our Advanced program contains options for further testing, herbal remedies for detoxification and more. These individuals should first and foremost follow our Focus Program. The Advanced Program is a number of tests designed to help identify potential causes of ADHD symptoms.
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