Monday, September 17, 2012

Can Vitamins and Supplements Help ADHD and Other Children’s Behavioral Issues?

by John and Diane.

A recent study posted in The Guardian, a UK based online publication, talks about a connection between Omega 3 fatty acids and brain function.

In the study conducted at Oxford’s Center for Evidenced Based Intervention, children between the ages of seven to nine were given a 600mg Omega 3 fatty acid pills for a period of four months.

During this time, the children, who were on average pulled from the bottom 20% of their class for literacy, showed an improvement in their reading.  Parents reported fewer behavioral problems as well from children who had oppositional defiance disorders and hyperactivity, although the teachers involved in the study witnessed no such changes in behavior.

Although there are some critics of the study, everyone agrees it warrants further research as it is recognized that Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in the development of a healthy brain. Children who are severely lacking in this may improve, but improvements in an already developed brain need further study.

What does this mean for you?

While some scientists support the use of supplements and vitamins to help children with ADHD, you MUST consult your doctor first to make sure they will not conflict with any other medications your child is taking.

According to some children with ADHD have reduced levels of Zinc in their systems and have shown an improvement in symptoms by taking Zinc supplements along with their other medications to help with inattention issues.  Zinc can be found naturally in foods like nuts, beans, whole grains and fortified cereals.

When Fish oils (which contain the Omega 3 fatty acids we talked about above) and Evening Primrose Oil were taken, children ages 7- 12 showed improvement with the inability to think clearly, inattentiveness and overall behavior in a study sited on WebMD.  These supplements can be found naturally in foods like salmon, albacore tuna, and trout.

I have found that when my ADD kids had some real dips in their memory problems (worse than usual) their Vitamin D levels were really low. Upon the advice of another parent, I asked their doctor to check their levels, and sure enough, they were really low.  This happened during the winter months, so a reduction in time spent in the sun may have been the culprit, but a daily Vitamin D supplement took care of the problem quickly.

What Can You Do?

Every little bit helps when it comes to dealing with your child’s ADHD or other behavioral issues, so a visit to the doctor and a requested blood test to screen for any vitamin deficiencies could pinpoint a problem. A vitamin supplement could improve your child’s attentiveness and ability to learn.

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