Feeding the ADHD Squirrel – Dr. Thornburg
Mindfully Formulated For Families

Feeding the ADHD Squirrel

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You are what you eat. Ugh! Hated hearing those words from moms as I grew up. Apparently I wanted to be cinnamon frosted pop tart. I see so many comedy innuendos with me as a grown man looking like a tart but fortunately I stopped eating pop tarts. This means I can stay focused today and not – Wait is that a squirrel?! Sorry, I digress again.

Staying focused on a boring topic such as ADHD is hard for adults. Now imagine being a kid who is hard-wired to explorative play and forced to sit all day. Fortunately this article will be much more than a "you are what you eat" story.

This story will have passion, romance, and suspense and your child is playing the central role (since I am also writing to moms.) Read along and learn nine simple nutritional approaches to change your parenting from "oh my..." to "OH MY!"

The National Institute of Mental Health defines ADHD as "a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development."

For a person to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic, impair the person’s functioning, and cause the person to fall behind normal development for his or her age. The doctor will also ensure that any ADHD symptoms are not due to another medical or psychiatric condition.

The American Psychiatric Association states 5% of US children, or 3,700,000 children, have ADHD.

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD. Like many other illnesses, a number of factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:

  • Genes;
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy;
  • Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy;
  • Exposure to environmental toxins at a young age;
  • Low birth weight; and
  • Brain injuries.

I believe in generational wellness and this incorporates a mind, body and spirit methodology. This means our genes are expressed according to the different environmental influences that act on the person, otherwise know as epigenetics.

Food is just one environmental influence. Here are a list of vitamin and mineral recommendations that help ADHD.

Google foods rich in each of the nine categories and include these in each and every meal.

Also use daily supplements to ensure adequate levels are reached.

(Supplement dosing depends on your child’s age so please consult your pediatrician or visit the Micronutrient Information Center at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University at lip.oregonstate.edu/mic.)

  1. Methylfolate
    1. Low folate status in pregnancy is linked to hyperactivity in children.
    2. People with the MTHFR gene are predisposed to folate deficiency and more likely to have ADHD.
    3. 15-25% of the US population carries the MTHFR gene.
    4. Use methyl-folate. Folic acid is junk.
  1. Antioxidant Status
    1. Oxidative stress damages fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins.
    2. A deficiency of glutathione is common in ADHD. Eat glutathione rich foods. 
    3. Also take a good quality fish oil daily. The brain is almost all fat so make sure you feed your brain.
  1. Vitamin B6
    1. B6 is as effective as Ritalin for ADHD, probably due to its role in raising serotonin levels.
  1. Magnesium
    1. Helps make neurotransmitters that control emotion, social reactions, hyperactivity and attention and has a synergistic effect with vitamin B6.
  1. Zinc
    1. Helps in dopamine synthesis to affect mood and concentration in ADHD.
  1. Carnitine
    1. Reduces hyperactivity and improves social behavior in ADHD.
  1. Serine
    1. Phosphatidylserine increases dopamine levels especially if taken with fish oil.
  1. Glutamine
    1. Helps GABA synthesis to affect mood, focus and hyperactivity.
  1. Choline
    1. Helps acetylcholine synthesis to regulates memory, focus and hyperactivity.

If you do not have ADHD and recall the start of the article, you are likely asking yourself where was the passion, the romance, the suspense?!

Well these things await you and your family. Together you will develop a love for healthy foods and improved behavior.

Remember there is nothing wrong with letting your kids squirrel around and be kids. Kids will always be kids. The real disease is trying to stop childhood.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says “playing with both parents and peers is key to building thriving brains, bodies, and social bondsall important in today's world. Research shows play can improve children's abilities to plan, organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions. In addition, play helps with language, math and social skills, and even helps children cope with stress.

May the play be with you!

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