Solving Attention Problems With Good Nutrition
By Garrett L. Smith NMD, CSCS, BS
Good nutrition helps support children and adults with attention problems (such as attention deficit disorder) and is a key factor in managing attention issues.
Here are some important tips:
- Reduce carbohydrate intake, particularly from processed foods as well as grains, dairy and sugar which will helps prevent blood sugar swings.
- Provide proper fats in the diet from all three categories (polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated). This is crucial. The entire nervous system is very much comprised of lipids (fats) and if they are not provided in the diet then it cannot function properly. This is particularly true of the "essential" fatty acids, EPA and DHA.
- Remove foods that aggravate allergies,intolerances and or hypersensitivities will help greatly. These can be found through IgG food allergy testing (not skin prick test, as no one I know eats through their skin). Great places to start with removing typically allergic foods are with grains, dairy, sugar, beans, and artificial ingredients (flavors, colors, sweeteners, etc.).
Great results are often noticed with fish oil supplementation and removing the typically allergic foods from the diet (which also generally removes the processed and high carbohydrate foods as well).
Here are the three most important dietary supplements to take and why.
1. Magnesium - This mineral is necessary for the nervous system to relax. The USDA has said that 7 out of 10 Americans are deficient in magnesium. This study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235) demonstrates that children with ADD are more often deficient in magnesium than normal children.
2. Fish oil - This contains the essential fatty acids EPA & DHA, necessary for proper nervous system development. This study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18275609) demonstrates that "adolescents with ADHD continue to display abnormal essential fatty acid profiles that are often observed in younger children and
distinctly different from normal controls of similar age." Children with ADD/ADHD may not be able to make, utilize, and/or incorporate these EFA's as well as normal children. They can benefit greatly from increasing their intake of these fatty acids.
3. Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) - This essential nutrient is crucial for proper nervous system development. It is only found in animal foods or supplements, it can be hard to absorb from the diet due to its reliance on proper stomach acid levels, and it shows very quick responses when administered properly.
Here's a study on nutrients necessary for proper brain development in adolescents:
Garrett L. Smith NMD CSCS BS
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (AZ)
Naturopathic Medicine of Southern Arizona / Laser Therapeutics
The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article. The opinions expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and not the publisher.
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