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Apr 01

What is the Relationship Between Food Additives and ADHD

By admin | ADHD

Food Additives and ADHD: The Debate Continues

The link between food additives and ADHD has been the subject of debate for decades. Food additives are believed to cause adverse behavioral reactions in children, like hyperactivity. It is not clear whether one particular food additive is to blame, or whether the adverse reactions are caused by a mixture of food additives. This article explores whether food additives do indeed cause ADHD.

Research to show the link between ADHD and food additives

The research that sparked the debate mentioned above that has lagged on for decades was Dr. Benjamin’s Feingold’s study in 1975 and 1976 respectively. He drew a link between food additives and behavioral disorders seen as ADHD precursors. This research resulted in the Feingold diet which abstained from foods with flavors, preservatives, and artificial coloring.

Decades later, a study at the University of Southampton investigated the relationship mentioned above. The participants were 300 children aged 3 and 8. There was a significant increase in ADHD type and impulsive behavior in both age groups. The children also lost concentration.

According to the research, at least 6.6% of children in the UK between ages 3 and 12 suffer from ADHD. This figure could be reduced by 30% if additives were banned.

This research resulted in the FSA (UK Food Standards Agency) recommending the prohibition of 6 food additives, popularly known as the Southampton Six. Here is a list of the banned additives:

Ponceau 4R (E124)

Carmoisine (E122)

Allura Red (E129)

Tartrazine (E102)

Sunset Yellow (E110)

Quinoline Yellow (E104)

They were found in sweets, soft drinks, and biscuits. Food and drinks are also supposed to have clear labeling with regards to their effect on children’s behavior and attention.

The elephant in the room

Two complementary studies. They, however, did not solve the problem of whether the ADHD symptoms were caused by a particular flavor or a combination of flavors.

A step forward

A more recent review, after 35 years of study, revealed that a diet free from artificial flavors improved ADHD symptoms, but only in a particular subgroup of children with ADHD.

The particular group of children was younger (pre- or primary age) and had sleep problems, allergies or irritability.

The controversy continues

According to a study published by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), previous studies were bedeviled by flaws in sample selection, outcome measures, blinding and diagnosis. According to the article, food additives do affect children, but not only those with diagnosed ADHD. It is, therefore, a public health issue, rather than an ADHD one.

Another article on the same site published a study involving 153 children aged 3 and 144 aged 8 or 9. The children were subjected to a beverage with sodium benzoate as the preservative. There were also two AFCA (artificial food color and additive) mixes. The children drank the challenge drink and one of the two AFCA mixes or a placebo combination. Both the artificial color and preservative resulted in increased hyperactivity in the 3-year-old group, just as it did in the older 8/9-year-old group. Note that these children were a sample from the general population, not children living with ADHD.

In another six week study involving 200 children in Melbourne, Australia, the parents of 150 children reported behavioral improvement when their children were on a diet free from synthetic coloring. On the re-introduction of foods with artificial coloring, there was behavioral deterioration.

So, what is the truth?

The truth behind the causal relationship between ADHD and food additives continues to be marred by contradictory scientific studies. However, amidst all the confusion, there seems to be an agreement that food additives do affect people’s health and more particularly children.

Any child can be affected by preservatives and food colorings. It is, therefore, the parent’s responsibility to choose what to feed their kids with. In the UK, six additives have already been banned. It may be wise to avoid those. But again, it is all at your discretion.

Since ADHD goes on into adulthood, who knows whether food additives could have even worse effects or none? If food additives affect children in the general population, how safe are adults?

All in all

The debate on whether there is a causal relationship between food additives and ADHD is not likely to end soon. Science is yet to solve this dilemma. As we wait for a major scientific breakthrough to address this problem for us, in the meantime, it is only wise to choose health.  Another thing to do is to take vitamins for ADHD if your children are eating any processed food.

Mar 28

Natural serotonin vitamins: the power vitamin

By admin | ADHD

Serotonin is critical in the brain. It is a neurotransmitter that helps one to feel calm and produces a sense of well-being. When serotonin levels are low in the brain, you begin to experience depression, irritability, and moodiness. Children with ADHD tend to have low serotonin levels which result in anxiety. They, therefore, lose their calmness, aggravating ADHD symptoms. There are studies that show that natural serotonin vitamins help to alleviate ADHD symptoms, resulting in increased cognitive performance and attentiveness. In this article, we delve into vitamins that increase the production of serotonin in the brain.

B vitamins

We will begin by looking at the B vitamins (B6 and B12) and how they help to reduce ADHD symptoms.

How B vitamins help to ease ADHD symptoms

B vitamins have two ways of relieving ADHD symptoms. The first is via the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism. The second is via aiding in the proper functioning of the central nervous system.

Carbohydrate metabolism results in just enough glucose to meet the body’s energy demands. However, in children with ADHD, some steps are skipped during carbohydrate mechanism, especially after the ingestion of excess sugar. This results in excess blood sugar, which is what causes children with ADHD to become hyperactive and restless.

Vitamin B helps to balance between the neurotransmitters that contribute to hyperactivity in people with ADHD and those that cause depression. When the B vitamins needed for this balance are in inadequate quantities, ADHD symptoms worsen.

A vitamin B clinical study

A clinical study involving 100 children conducted by Dr. Arnold Brenner showed improved mental focus, behavior, and attentiveness. The children were in in 4 groups. Each group was given one vitamin B, B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), B5 (pantothenic) and a placebo. All the vitamin groups showed reduced ADHD symptoms when compared to the placebo group.

Natural vitamin B for serotonin production

Vitamin B1 – helps to reduce ADHD symptoms via carbohydrate metabolism. Foods containing vitamin B1 include legumes, red meat, green leafy vegetables, sweet corn, brown rice and whole grains. The recommended daily dose is 25 to 50 mg.

Vitamin B2 – works in the same way as vitamin B1. Foods containing vitamin B2 include milk, peas, and whole grains. Take 25 to 50 mg daily.

Vitamin B3 – works like vitamins B1 and B2. Take 50 to 100 mg daily. You can find it in potatoes, meats, and peanuts.

Vitamin B9 – helps in serotonin synthesis in the brain. Found in spinach, citrus, whole grain food, and peas. Take 800 mcg daily.

Vitamin B12 – helps in the production of myelin, a sheath around neurons in the brain. The right amounts of this vitamin help in the production of adenosyl-methionine, an amino acid that contributes to improving a patient’s mood and mental sharpness. Together with vitamin B9, it ensures maximum production of the amino acid. Vitamin B12 also aids in the proper synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine which improves concentration, mental alertness and helps the patient to develop a sense of well-being.

Vitamin B6 – helps in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. It also makes it easier for magnesium to enter the brain.

All in all

Vitamin B seems to be the superpower among natural serotonin vitamins. It is advisable to use vitamins and supplements to alleviate ADHD symptoms, especially if they are all natural.

Mar 28

Glutathione Therapy For Treating ADHD

By admin | ADHD

If you have a child that has ADHD or have this condition yourself, you may be determined to find the best treatment that will help you deal with its symptoms. Since there is no medication that cures this condition completely, it will be a good idea to look for alternative treatments that do not cost much or have harmful side effects to your body. Glutathione therapy is an excellent alternative natural ADHD treatment that you should consider trying.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a very powerful anti-oxidant that is made up of 3 amino acids, namely glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. It occurs naturally in the body and supports the immune system by increasing production of white blood cells to fight off foreign substances and infection. It is the body’s primary defense mechanism against toxicity. This antioxidant is found in high levels in the kidneys, liver, spleen and stomach linings, all which are organs that are frequently exposed to chemical toxins.

Glutathione Decrease in the Body

As we age, the level of this antioxidant in your bodies decreases. There are some diseases that have been linked to its low concentrations, including HIV/AIDS, heart attack, liver diseases, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Poor diets, stress, toxic overload and excessive exercises are other things that have been found to contribute to low levels of glutathione.

How Does it Work

If glutathione production in your body cannot keep up with demand or you are simply not able to produce normal levels of this anti-oxidant due to genetic reasons, you can try glutathione therapy. This anti-oxidant is available as liquid suspension or oral capsules (also known lipoceutical glutathione or liposomal). The capsules are not minimally effective. They do not cause the blood levels to be high enough to provide much of a clinical effect.

The oral forms of glutathione are okay, but not enough studies have been done to show if they lead to increased cell levels, particularly for people that are suffering from conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Apart from the capsules and liquid suspension, glutathione is also available in transdermal/skin application form. You need to apply the cream once or twice a day. The cream is recommended for children that are on the autism spectrum.

The Effective Way To Use Glutathione

An intravenous infusion is the most efficient route of glutathione therapy. Even it is not practical for some kids; it has been found to have significant benefits especially for adults as well as people that have neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease and multiple sclerosis. Adults and teenagers that are on the autism spectrum and can tolerate an I.V can also benefit from an intravenous infusion of glutathione. Since it is a very direct route, you are guaranteed of getting higher blood levels.

Taking Glutathione Naturally

This anti-oxidant is available in both animal and plant sources, including cooked meat, cooked fish and fresh fruits and vegetables. There is also glutathione supplement, but the problem is that it is poorly absorbed in the body because the stomach acid digests most of it. To raise hepatic glutathione actually, you should consider administering its dietary precursors, methionine, and cysteine.