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Root Causes & Natural Solutions to ADHD

Authored by: Paige Welsh, Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopathic Practitioner

There are natural remedies for ADHD. By changing your lifestyle and nutrition, you can completely reverse or reduce the symptoms caused by ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and is a neurological condition that causes problems with focus and concentration, behavior, and excessive energy. ADHD affects children and adults, however seems to be on the rise in children. This rise could be from better diagnostic tools, or many holistic practitioners and research studies agree that this is a result of environmental and lifestyle factors. ADHD is directly linked to a person’s diet, sleep and overall toxin load. 

Common Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD can vary quite a bit from individual to individual depending on their lifestyle, diet, age, and other health issues they may be facing. For the most part, children seem to exhibit: distractibility, boredom, having difficulty concentrating, poor organization, difficulty completing tasks, poor listening skills, impatience, trouble staying still and/or being quiet, squirming, an inability to listen, and difficulty following instructions. Adults, on the other hand, may exhibit anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, anger, irritability, low tolerance of people and various situations, disorganization, frequent mood swings, difficulty focusing on work, a project or a conversation, addictive behaviors, and unstable relationships. While the symptoms between children and adults may be different, the root causes and treatment plan can be quite similar. 

The Root Causes of ADHD

Although ADHD does seem to have several studies indicating a genetic link, at Total Health, we believe that you can change your genetic predisposition, and overcome genetic susceptibilities. By changing your lifestyle and nutrition, you can completely reverse or reduce the symptoms caused by ADHD. It is now widely known that various toxins such as heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, and heavy chemicals like chlorine, fluoride and BPA all have a direct influence on a person’s brain and behavior. Not only do these toxins disrupt brain function, but these toxins also influence a person’s genetic make-up. By eliminating the toxins in your environment, you are reducing the likelihood of ever developing the genetic predisposition you feel that you are doomed with, even ADHD. At our clinic, we have various ways to test a person’s toxic load to see if this may be a root cause issue for someone with ADHD.               

Another major root cause to ADHD is what is on the end of your fork. Yes, you can completely change your brain and your behavior just by changing what you eat. Foods such as refined carbohydrates and sugars, artificial sweeteners, and food additives (colors and preservatives) are all direct causes of ADHD. Changing your diet is one of the keys to reversing symptoms of ADHD. Changing yours or your child’s diet is not an easy task, especially when suffering from ADHD. It is recommended to work with a nutritionist on this, to make these changes easier for you and your family.

Other root cause issues of ADHD may be nutritional deficiencies, food allergies (gluten, eggs, dairy, corn and soy are the most common), adrenal gland imbalance, poor sleep habits, and HPA axis dysfunction. For more detailed information and education on the adrenal glands and HPA axis dysfunction and how this may relate to ADHD symptoms, please visit our website for the Fatigue, Anxiety and Insomnia webinar I recorded. 

Treatment for ADHD

Even though the symptoms one gets with ADHD are quite different, most medical doctors provide the same treatment plans for ADHD. The most common current treatment is the use of medications such as Ritalin and Adderall. Unfortunately, both of these medications cause unpleasant side effects that most children and adults complain of. These side effects range from suicidal thoughts, personality changes, nervousness, anxiety, vomiting and insomnia to physiological changes such as an increased heart rate and blood pressure, tremors and muscle twitches. Due to these unwanted side effects, a lot of people are turning to natural approaches and remedies for ADHD. 

Natural Remedies for ADHD

Finding the right natural remedy for ADHD for you or your child is critical for healing. Listed below are several approaches we may take at our clinic to determine the best route and protocol for each individual.

  1. Natural supplements: There are various nutrients and herbs that can help support brain function and help to control ADHD symptoms. Nutrients that may support and/or reverse symptoms include high quality fish oil, B-complex, probiotics, GABA, Rhodiola, magnesium, zinc and a whole food based multivitamin/multi-mineral. Please talk to a trusted healthcare professional or nutritionist before incorporating any of these supplements into your or your child’s diet.
  2. Consume brain-healing foods: Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods and foods that are high in B-vitamins (such as grass fed and pastured animal products, wild caught salmon, and leafy green vegetables).
  3. Avoid brain damaging foods: Avoid sugar (especially sugar found in candy, desserts, sodas and juice), gluten and other inflammatory grains, conventional dairy (try to consume only pasture raised, grass-fed dairy or goat’s milk dairy products), food dyes and colors (be leery of anything that has bright, non-natural looking colors), food additives (such as MSG and yeast extract), added nitrates/nitrites (found in deli/processed meats and other canned foods), preservatives (sodium benzoate, EDTA, BHT, BHA), and artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame). Many with ADHD have reported a major reduction in symptoms just by avoiding these foods alone.
  4. Regulate blood sugar: To improve blood sugar control, make sure the first meal you are consuming has at least 15-20 grams of protein for an adult, and around 10 grams of protein for children. Try to stay ahead of your hunger, and avoid waiting to eat until you are already very hungry.
  5. Watch caffeine intake: Caffeine may be too stimulating to those with ADHD, and can disrupt nervous system function, making it much harder to focus and concentrate.

For more information on how we may be able to help you or your child, please contact our clinic at 262-251-2929 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation.

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