Last week we already looked at some dietary modifications and zinc to help your child with ADHD. Here are 5 more things you can do in order to treat your child to help both them and you cope better:
When you think of someone who is iron deficient, you envision a person who is pale and tired- not a hyperactive child, bouncing off walls. Studies have shown that low serum iron and low ferritin levels are associated with ADHD. The lower the levels of ferritin- a protein found inside cells that store iron- the more severe the symptoms. Iron is not only essential in carrying oxygen to the muscles and organs, but it also plays an important role in the brain, affecting production of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter. Even in non-anaemic children, iron supplementation has helped to reduce symptoms of ADHD. So up those servings of iron-rich foods and don’t forget to add vitamin C to help with absorption.
- Essential Fatty Acids
Studies have shown that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than non-ADHD kids. EFAs are anti-inflammatory and by increasing the fluidity of cell membranes, they improve communication between cells and assist in efficient detoxification. Cod liver oil is the best oil to use as it not only contains EPA and DHA, but also has valuable vitamins D and A, both of which are often low in children with ADHD.
Magnesium is another micronutrient which is often low in children with hyperactivity, cognitive and mood disorders. Children need it not only for proper growth and development of bones, but also for brain development, immune system support and general wellness. It also plays a key role in the pathways of methylation and sulfation and is therefore essential to detoxification, a process often so important for children with ADHD.
Medical doctors, scientists, naturopaths and nutritionists alike are all starting to agree on one thing- good gut health equals better mental health. Probiotics are essential in virtually every child with ADHD. The high prevalence of digestive dysbiosis and immune imbalance in ADHD patients indicates the need for beneficial bacteria to help restore digestive and immune function. Numerous studies have evaluated the connection between probiotics and ADHD and have concluded that by taking probiotics, the symptoms of ADHD may be reduced.
- Lifestyle Recommendations
A child with ADHD can stretch your patience as well as the patience of all members of the family. Here are some strategies you can put in place to help reduce stress in the home:
- Develop consistent routines even during holiday times
- Keep rules clear and simple and give reminders calmly
- Get physically close to your child and make sure you have their full attention when you talk
- Only give your child one or two instructions at a time and ask them to repeat it to make sure they have understood
- Praise and reward your child when they are behaving appropriately and acknowledge their achievements
- Be clear about discipline for behaviour you find unacceptable
- Try to limit how much electromagnetic exposure your child is receiving by reducing screen time
- Try a 5-10 min/day relaxation regime with your child or if your child has trouble falling asleep try a bedtime massage.
Hechtman, Leah. (2012). Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier.