ADD & ADHD Learning Support…

learning

 

“I can’t stop squirming.”   “I can’t pay attention.”  “Why don’t people like me?” “Why is my teacher always upset with me?” “I just want to be normal, mommy.”

As parents and children drown in what feels like anguish, the only answer seems to be powerful drugs that calm and quiet, too often with unpleasant side-effects.  So it begs the question is there anything else we can do for our children with behavior and learning struggles?

There is more and more research coming to light showing a common thread between learning, behavior, concentration and “ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS.”

Kiddo’s diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia often have lower levels of key essential fatty acids when compared to their more fortunate counterparts.  Adding these “good” fats into the diet of these children can make a real difference they can feel.  Even adults with learning issues can benefit.

Essential Fatty acids coupled with antioxidants for optimal brain and visual performance seem to be a key team player here.  We call these “fatty acids” Essential because they must be provided in the diet as the body cannot consistently make them.  Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a derivative of essential Omega-3 fatty acids.  Less well known but also important are the omega-6 fatty acid derivatives, like gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA).  When they are added to the diet of some hyperactive kiddo’s they seem to calm right down.  It’s an amazing transformation!

Dr. Jacqueline Stordy, a noted researcher has had much success with a combo of fish oil and evening primrose oil.  She notes that children who take sources of both essential fatty acids become calmer and their reading skills improved.

Researchers at Purdue University have also shown that children who are hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive, may have low levels of essential fatty acids, especially DHA.  Their experiment involved 53 boys who suffered from ADHD compared to 43 matched controls.  Analyses showed that the boys with ADKD had significantly lower levels of essential fatty acids in their blood.  They concluded that, although more research was needed, supplementation with missing fatty acids could be a very useful treatment for hyperactivity. Many of these children in the experiment also were displaying other symptoms that go along with essential fatty acid deficiency, like

*dry hair

*dry skin

*excessive thirst

*frequent urination

*asthma

*more prone to ear infections

SO WHY ARE SOME CHILDREN DEFICIENT IN DHA?

Some children get enough of the shorter chain omega-e and omega-6 fatty acids, but they have difficulty converting them into the needed longer chain fatty acids like DHA and AA.  Factors that inhibit the conversion of essential fatty acids to their healthful metabolites are trans fatty acids in the diet (these are fats produced when hydrogen atoms are added to unsaturated fats for improved shelf-life; this process destroys the nutritional value and even makes them harmful over long tern usage), viral infections, even stress can inhibit the proper conversion.

DHA is mega important!!!!

DHA’s importance starts in the womb.  It is a major player in the brain development of the growing fetus and a primary fatty acid in breast milk.  In fact, DHA comprises as much as 60% of the fatty acids in the retina of the eye.  Another notch in the benefits of doing all you can to breast feed your babies.  A study in the January 1998 issue of Pediatrics showed that breast-fed infants may have higher intelligence and greater academic achievement that formula-fed infants.  This was an 18 year study comparing the IQ measurements and rates of high school completion in 1000 children.  After all factors were taken into account, breast-fed babies were 38% more likely to graduate from high school.  DHA may be that missing link.

Now to new moms and expecting moms, to make sure that your breastmilk is rich in DHA, exp0ectant moms and nursing moms should place high importance on supplementing with a good source of essential fatty acids.

Dr. Stordy was particularly interested in dyslexia because in her own family many were dyslexic.  She noticed among her family that those who were breast fed the longest were the least affected by dyslexia.  “My research on young adults with and without dyslexia showed that dyslexics have poor dark adaptation, which is a function of the DHA-rich rod cells of the retina.  However, supplementation with a high DHA fish oil restored dark adaptation to normal.  Synapse membranes the junctions between nerve cells contain high concentrations of DHA and AA, and these fatty acids are important for efficient conduction of messages from one nerve cell to another.”

DHA – AGGRESSION IN YOUTH

There were some researchers who wanted to determine if DHA would have any affect on aggression in young adults. At the start of summer vacation 41 students were given either DHA rich oil capsules or placebo.  These students tool psychological tests at the beginning and end of the study.  The study began during summer vacation and ended during final exams, a very stressful time.  In the control group aggression against others was “significantly increased at the end of the study as compared with that measured at thee start, whereas it was not significantly changed in the DHA group… thus, DHA intake prevented extraggresion (aggression against others) from increasing at times of mental stress.”  We are seeing more and more aggressive behavior in our youth, and diet has a huge impact, as does what appears to be an overwhelming amount of stress that our youth are dealing with.  Many of these young adults are juggling schedules that most adults wouldn’t be able to keep up with.

PROTECTING THE FRAGILE ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS FROM OXIDATION

This is important as these essential fatty acids once they become oxidized fail to present the proper benefits.  So you want to have some superior antioxidant protection too.

So to improve the learning factors for your children and even yourself, by providing the missing nutritional link can possibly be a beneficial addition for both helping parents and children.

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Some of the products as a Practitioner that I recommend:

Super ORAC Antioxidants:

Benefits:
Provides key nutrients to neutralize free radicals while combating the effects of cellular oxidation
Powerful antioxidant profile
How It Works:
Antioxidants are the body’s natural defense against free radicals. They scavenge them, “mopping up” free radicals before they have a chance to harm cells. Super ORAC combines eight powerful ingredients known to quench free radicals. Green tea contains polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. EGCG is considered the most active polyphenol. It appears to help protect brain cells from damage. Mangosteen xanthones are potent antioxidants with a special affinity for supporting the circulatory system. One such xanthone, mangostin, helps the body battle the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Resveratrol protects both the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. Turmeric contains curcumin, a polyphenol with wonderful health benefits for the immune, circulatory and glandular systems. In studies, curcumin has been shown to inhibit oxidative DNA damage. The açai berry contains powerful anthocyanins—water-soluble compounds with potent antioxidant actions. This fruit also helps protect against superoxide and peroxyl radicals. Other ingredients offer similar antioxidant benefits.
Ingredients:
Green tea leaves extract, mangosteen pericarp extract, turmeric root extract, quercetin dehydrate, resveratrol, apple fruit extract, açai (acai) berry concentrate and selenium.
Recommended Use:
Take 1–2 capsules twice daily with meals.

Krill Oil with K2:

Benefits:
Supports cardiovascular system and brain function.
Provides joint and skin support.
Is a natural source of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant carotenoid.
Provides omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
May support already-normal-range cholesterol levels.
How It Works:
Antarctic Krill provides a highly bioavailable source of EPA and DHA, essential omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are vital to the health of the cell membrane and also contribute to cardiovascular, brain and structural system function. They provide joint and skin support and may help support cholesterol levels already within the normal range. Krill is also a natural source of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant carotenoid. Krill oil also contains phospholipids, which bind to the omega-3 fatty acids, improving their absorption in the body. These phospholipids provide strength and elasticity to the cell membrane, helping to keep toxins out and let nutrients and oxygen in. Vitamin K2 provides added support for the cardiovascular system and bone health.
Ingredients:
20 mcg vitamin K (25% of Daily Value), plus krill oil, fish oil, EPA, DHA and astaxanthin.
Recommended Use:
Take 1 capsule with a meal one or two times daily.

Focus Attention:

Benefits:
Provides important nutrients for normal brain-stimulating levels.
Helps modulate brain activity and energy levels.
Supports the nervous system nutritionally.
Encourages restful, balanced mental activity.
Supports blood circulation and neurotransmitters in the brain.
How It Works:

Focus Attention is a special formulation of herbal nutrients that help protect the body from undesirable side effects caused by drugs or exposure to toxic chemicals, food additives, pesticides, etc. Focus Attention combines powerful nutrients required for quiet, balanced mental activity.
Slippery elm aids nutrient absorption and is used as a soothing and cleansing herb for the digestive system. The amino acid l-Glutamine supports healthy brain activity and mental ability. DMAE is a biodynamic nutrient used for memory and learning enhancement. It also quenches damaging free radicals. Lemon balm leaves have been approved by the famous German Commission E for their ability to soothe the nervous system. Grape seed extract is high in proanthocyanidins—highly active compounds that can readily neutralize brain-damaging free radicals caused by toxins or over-stimulated brain metabolism. Ginkgo biloba is well known for its support of brain and circulatory health.

Ingredients:
Slippery elm bark, l-glutamine, DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), lemon balm leaf extract, grape seed extract and ginkgo leaf extract.
Recommended Use:

Over 12 years:Take 2 capsules with a meal twice daily. Age 6–12 years:Take 1 capsule with a meal twice daily. Under 6 years:Consult your health care professional.

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For the Kiddo’s:  I recommend

Sunshine Hero’s Omega-3/DHA soft chews:

Benefits:
Provides essential nutrients
How It Works:
Sunshine Heroes Omega-3 with DHA is a uniquely formulated dietary children’s supplement that provides omega-3 fatty acids. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are essential fatty acids found almost exclusively in fish that live in deep, cold water. These fatty acids are key building blocks in every cell in the body. DHA and EPA are recognized for their health benefits in all life stages and are essential components as the body grows and develops. DHA is critical for the optimal development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system during infancy and childhood. Further, DHA is a major structural fat in the brain and eyes, representing approximately 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93% of all omega-3 fats in the retina.
Ingredients:
Fish oil, DHA, EPA and the Sunshine Heroes Protector Shield blend.
Recommended Use:
Chew up to 4 soft chews per day as a dietary supplement. Chew carefully and thoroughly before swallowing

Focus Attention powder:

Benefits:
Provides important nutrients for normal brain-stimulation levels.
Helps modulate brain activity and energy levels.
Supports the nervous system nutritionally.
Encourages restful, balanced mental activity.
Supports blood circulation and neurotransmitters in the brain.
How It Works:

Focus Attention is a special formulation of herbal nutrients that help protect the body from undesirable side effects caused by drugs or exposure to toxic chemicals, food additives, pesticides, etc. Focus Attention combines powerful nutrients required for quiet, balanced mental activity.
DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) is a biodynamic nutrient used for memory and learning enhancement. It also quenches damaging free radicals. Lemon balm leaves are approved by the famous German Commission E for their ability to soothe the nervous system. Grape seed extract is high in proanthocyanidins—highly active compounds that can readily neutralize brain-damaging free radicals caused by toxins or over-stimulated brain metabolism. Ginkgo is well known for its support of brain and circulatory health.

Ingredients:
Provides 50–130% of the Daily Value of thiamin, riboflavin, niacinamide, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid, plus flax seed powder, DMAE, lemon balm leaf extract, bacopa leaf extract, grape seed extract, ginkgo leaf extract, natural raspberry flavor, fructooligosaccharides, grape skin extract, lo han fruit concentrate, eleuthero root, malic acid, stevia leaf extract, biotin, inositol and choline.
Recommended Use:

Age 12 years and above:Add approximately 3 level scoops to 2 oz. water twice daily. Age 4–12 years:Add approximately 2 level scoops to 1.5 oz. water twice daily. Age 3 years:Add approximately 1 level scoop to 1 oz. water twice daily. Mix well and drink immediately.

Thai-Go Antioxidant liquid:

Benefits:
Enhances the immune system.
Supports the cardiovascular system.
Promotes energy.
How It Works:

Thai-Go contains ingredients rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants. Bioflavonoids enhance vitamin C absorption and help maintain collagen and capillary walls. They also aid in the body’s immune–defense system. Antioxidants scavenge damaging free radicals that the body accumulates as a byproduct of energy production as well as through exposure to pollution, tobacco smoke, ultraviolet light and radiation.
Antioxidants benefit virtually every organ and body system because they mop up damaging free radicals. Thai-Go delivers a punch of antioxidant potential with a very high ORAC value. Among Thai-Go’s key ingredients is mangosteen, a tasty fruit found in eastern tropical nations, such as Thailand. Mangosteen and its pericarp contain the greatest known supply of compounds called xanthones. Xanthones offer powerful immune and cardiovascular support.

Ingredients:
Mangosteen fruit concentrate and pericarp extract, Concord grape fruit concentrate, red grape fruit concentrate, blueberry fruit concentrate, red raspberry fruit concentrate, red grape skin extract, wolfberry/goji fruit extract, açai berry concentrate, pomegranate fruit juice concentrate, sea buckthorn fruit extract, red grape seed extract, green tea leaves extract and apple fruit extract.
Recommended Use:
Take 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) twice daily.

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Now these suggestions may prove to be beneficial to some, however, one thing I do BELIEVE as a practitioner, is each one of us is created as unique individuals.  Meaning there is not always a “one size fits all approach” to plug-n-play when it comes to how our bodies respond to nutritional changes and deficiencies.

So, the information I share to offer better understanding for my readers and followers, shouldn’t substitute for following through with a personal consultation so we can identify which nutritional plan, approach that needs to be specifically tailored to your situation.  The body, YOUR body is the messenger….  For any interested in taking that approach you can go to http://www.mkt.com/harvested-health-llc .

As always,

Healthfully yours,

Jodi Barnett N.D.

QFA Clinician, Orthomolecular Nutritional Coach,

References and Suggested Reading:

  1.  Stordy, Jacqueline B.  “Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and learning disorders.” Holistic Health Journal. October 1997
  2. Stevens, Laura J., et al. “Essential fatty acids metabolism in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Amer. Jnl. Clin. Nutr. 1995. 62(4) 761-68
  3. Horwood, L. John and David M. Fergusson. “breastfeeding and later cognitive and academic outcomes.”  Pediatris, 1998. January. 101 (1.):e9
  4. Agostoni, Carlo, et al. “Docosahexaenoic acid status and developmental quotient of healthy term infants.”  The Lancet. 1995. Sept 2, 346: 638
  5. Hamazaki, T. et. al. “The effects of docosahexaenoic acid on aggression in young adults: a placebo-controlled double-blind study.” Jnl. Clin, Invest. 1996. 97:1129-1133
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