With more than 6.5 million American children being diagnosed with ADHD, and close to 70% of them being medicated, it sure makes sense that we should consider how lifestyle factors, including diet, may affect a child’s ability to pay attention in school.
Chris is actually a former patient of mine who recently reached out. In our exchange, he shared the story of his journey to optimal health, and I think it’s one you’ll want to read. – Dr. Perlmutter
When I was a teenager, I suffered from [sometimes] severe Tourette’s, ADHD, and OCD during my teen years and was living in almost misery. My parents were having a difficult time with the situation too. During that time, my parents and I went to numerous neurologists to try and find ways to deal with my Tourette’s. I was given pills and pills, and eventually, my parents started realizing the pills were not doing so well for me. My parents then decided to take me to you, which was the day that changed my life. One day, we made the drive from where we live in our home down to Naples, FL. You were able to give us some insight that no other neurologist or any other kind of physician was able to. You let us know that sometimes food allergies can trigger tics and you had me take multiple allergy tests. Once we got the results, we found out the particular foods that I should avoid to help lessen my tics.
Right now in America more than 6 million children carry a diagnosis of ADHD. I think it is fair to say that autism has become an epidemic when you consider that, today, as many as 1 in 40 male births will ultimately be diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.
So aside from hoping that effective treatments will be developed, there’s no question that we have to wonder what may be causing these issues, and if that can be determined, what can be done to fix the problem. One thing that has been clearly supported in research is a relationship between what goes on in the gut and the development of neuropsychiatric disorders like these mentioned here. Bowel issues are common in ADHD and are seen almost universally in autistic children.
Certainly, front and center in research these days is the understanding that the gut bacteria, part of the human microbiome, plays a huge role in terms of brain health and function. As such, researchers in Finland decided to explore the possibility that changing the microbiome might be associated with a reduced risk for both ADHD and autism. Continue reading
Currently in America about 6.5 million children have been given the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for which pharmacotherapy is the mainstay of treatment. In fact, about two thirds of those children with this diagnosis are currently taking medication.
Obviously, parents who ultimately choose to medicate their children assume that prior to allowing these medications to become available for prescription they have been studied extensively. After all, parents should certainly have a high level of confidence in the safety of these drugs.
But in this study published by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and several other institutions raises some important concerns about how these drugs were tested to validate their safety. The study, published in the journal, PLOS ONE in July of this year looked at all currently available ADHD medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and specifically evaluated the clinical trials performed by the sponsor that the FDA used to evaluate each drug’s efficacy as well as safety. Continue reading
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a diagnosis that has now been “given” to more than 6.5 million American children. And if that statistic is not compelling enough, please understand that about two thirds of these children are actually receiving mind altering medications to “treat” the disorder. But there are certainly other considerations that parents should make prior to engaging these potentially health threatening medications.
In the well-respected, peer reviewed medical Journal Pediatrics, doctors J. Gordon Millichap and Michelle M. Yee, published a report entitled “The Diet Factor in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” In this comprehensive review, the authors reviewed a variety of dietary issues including omega-3 fatty acids, dietary sugar, allergic considerations, iron, and zinc, and produced a very provocative report indicating, at the end of the day, that we are probably significantly missing the boat in terms of what is being done to American children with the mistaken notion that treating them with aggressive pharmaceuticals is going to help them perform and reach academic goals.