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ADHD supplements, herbs, vitamins, natural remedy, research studies and medical treatment
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Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA)

ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. It is usually first
diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. MRI studies have provided some
insight into brain differences associated with ADHD, but thus far have almost exclusively
focused on children ages 7 years and older. Children with ADHD showed significantly
reduced caudate volumes bilaterally. Anomalous basal ganglia, particularly caudate,
development appears to play an important role among children presenting with early onset
symptoms of ADHD. [Mahone EM et, Clin Neuropsychol. 2011, Jan 1:1-20]. Children with
ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, and in some cases,
are overly active.

Signs and Symptoms
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another.
However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms
continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.

A child with ADHD might have a hard time paying attention, daydream a lot, not seem to
listen, be easily distracted from schoolwork or play, forget things, be in constant motion or
unable to stay seated, squirm or fidget, talk too much, not be able to play quietly, act and
speak without thinking, have trouble taking turns and interrupt others.

There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are strongest in the
Predominantly Inattentive Type: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to
pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily
distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to
sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or
climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who
is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate
times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with
impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
Combined Type: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.

Causes of ADHD
Scientists are studying cause(s) and risk factors in an effort to find better ways to manage
and reduce the chances of a person having ADHD.  The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD
are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Recent
studies of twins link genes with ADHD.

In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors

* Brain injury
* Environmental exposures (e.g., lead)
* Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
* Premature delivery
* Low birth weight

Research does not support the popularly held views that ADHD is caused by eating too
much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors
such as poverty or family chaos. Of course, many things, including these, might make
symptoms worse, especially in certain people.  But the evidence is not strong enough to
conclude that they are the main causes of ADHD.

It is important for parents to remember that while ADHD can't be cured, it can be
successfully managed. In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of
medication and behavior therapy. Treatment options for ADHD include medications,
behavioral intervention, parent training, ADHD and school. However, diet, nutrition, food and
certain supplements may also help.

Medication is one option that may help better control some of the behavior problems that
have led to trouble in the past with family, friends and at school.  Stimulants are the best-
known and most widely used treatments. Between 70-80 percent of children with ADHD
respond positively to these medications. Popular stimulants used in the treatment of ADHD
are methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Focalin), amphetamine salts products (e.
g. Adderall, Adderall XR), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat).
Methylphenidate (a controlled substance; e.g. Dexoxyn).  Nonstimulants may also be used
when contraindications to psychostimulant medications exist. Antidepressants, serotonin
selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and
citalopram (Celexa) - may be effective against co-exisitng conditions. Clonidine (Catapres)
and guanfacine (Tenex) may reduce excessive hyperactivity or severe insomnia in some
children with ADHD.

Behavioral Therapy
Research shows that behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment for children with
ADHD.  ADHD affects not only a child’s ability to pay attention or sit still at school, it also
affects relationships with family and how well they do in their classes.  Behavioral therapy is
another treatment option that can help reduce these problems for children and should be
started as soon as a diagnosis is made.

Natural Remedy - Foods, Diet, Nutrition, Supplements, Fish Oil etc.
Sleep disturbances are common and consequential in children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sleep problems may potentially exacerbate ADHD
symptoms, and interventions targeted at ensuring adequate sleepDiet has been found to
influences ADHD symptoms. Parents who reported more sleep disturbance also reported a
higher intake of carbohydrate, fats, and, most particularly, sugar which was also a significant
predictor of night time sweating. [Blunden SL et al, J Child Health Care. 2011 Mar;15(1):14-
24. Epub 2011 Feb 11.]

A study shows significant symptom improvement when consuming an artificial food colors-
free (AFC) diet and reacts with ADHD-type symptoms on challenge with AFCs.
Oligoantigenic diet studies suggested that some children in addition to being sensitive to
AFCs are also sensitive to common nonsalicylate foods (milk, chocolate, soy, eggs, wheat,
corn, legumes) as well as salicylate-containing grapes, tomatoes, and orange.[Clin Pediatr
(Phila). 2011 Apr;50(4):279-93. Epub 2010 Dec 2.]

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential nutrients for humans. They are structural and
functional components of cell membranes and pre-stages of the hormonally and
immunologically active eicosanoids. Recent discoveries have shown that the long-chained
omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) also
play an important role in the central nervous system. They are essential for normal brain
functioning including attention and other neuropsychological skills.In another study, after 12
weeks of consumption of a combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as
magnesium and zinc most subjects showed a considerable reduction in symptoms of
attention deficit and hyperactivity/impulsivity. [Huss M et al, Lipids Health Dis. 2010 Sep 24;

The dopamine transporter is regulated by zinc (Zn2+), which directly interacts with the
transporter protein as a potent non-competitive blocker of substrate translocation
(dopamine transport inward and outward). It seems likely that zinc supplementation in zinc-
deficient ADHD patients improves the binding status of insufficiently occupied zinc binding
sites on the dopamine transporter. [Lepping PCNS, Drugs. 2010 Sep 1;24(9):721-8.]

Mideastern trials reported significant benefit from 13-40 mg elemental zinc as the sulfate on
ADHD. A study showed that doses up to 30 mg/day of zinc were safe for at least 8 weeks,
but clinical effect was equivocal except for 37% reduction in amphetamine optimal dose with
30 mg/day zinc (not with 15 mg). Possible reasons for difference from mideastern reports
include endemic diets, population genetics, relative rate of zinc deficiency, difference in
background nutrition, insufficient dosage or absorption, or wrong anion (sulfate may be
necessary for reported benefit). [Arnold LE et al, J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2011

Other supplements / herbs may include ashwagandha herb, carnitine,
5HTP and GABA, but scientific studies are needed to prove their effectiveness.

For details about ADHD treatment, please click:
Attentive deficit hyperactivitive disorder

SOURCES: CDC 2011; Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder
(CHADD) 2011