ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity) disorder is being diagnosed more frequently in our culture. A diagnosis of ADHD considers whether a child is hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive, at levels that are higher than expected for a child’s developmental stage. It also looks at whether the behaviors occur on a continual basis in different settings such as both at school and at home versus just in one setting. Another part of the diagnosis is made on whether the behaviors interfere with the child’s ability to function in those settings.
There are some “natural” approaches that have helped in treating the symptoms of ADHD. Here are a few of those supplements:
OCP – Oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes are powerful antioxidants four times more potent than vitamin C in their ability to neutralize free radicals. It comes from French maritime pine bark or grape seeds. Pycnogenol is a common brand name. Scientists speculate that OPC’s benefit the brain because neurons, the brains messenger cells, are rich in fatty acids that are vulnerable to free radical damage. Dosage is 1 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. It has a blood thinning effect so do not use while taking prescription blood thinners.
Essential Fatty Acids –These are key building blocks for cell membranes. The best dietary sources are fish (salmon, trout and sardines), and flaxseed oil. These play a vital role in the brain’s transmission of signals that regulate mood and behavior. A significant body of research indicates that those with ADHD have deficiencies or imbalances in EFA’s. The dose is 1-2 grams daily.
Melatonin- This is a hormone produced by the pineal gland deep within the brain. It is a potent antioxidant that regulates your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) and daily sleep/wake cycle. Melatonin helps treat sleep problems in children that take more than 1 hour to fall asleep. Melatonin is well tolerated and the usual dose is 2 to 10 mg at bedtime. High doses may reduce alertness during the day.
Consult with a knowledgeable practitioner that can do testing to rule out other causes of behavior problems. These may include digestive problems, allergies, environmental toxins, amino acid and Vitamin deficiencies (Vitamin D) and others.