ADD/HD – a different perspective
(childhood is not a disease)
In American 1 out of every five children has a learning and behavior problem. In South Africa, 1 out of 25 children have a behavior/learning problem. Although South Africa is spending more time, money and resources on implementing new school curriculums and learning programs, the illiteracy rate in schools are worsening. Examination marks are dropping and more children are dropping out of school earlier. In certain school entire standards are failing. Some in the know say that this problem can be renamed: delinquency and crime. Medication, psychotherapy, special needs teachers, special learning programs and prisons are not helping the problem. Let’s investigate the possible bio-chemical causes.
There are two main causes for ADD and ADHD. The first addresses the ’outside causes’ and the second addresses the internal causes, i.e. bio-chemical aspects. Outside influences of ADD includes problems in the family, home -and education environment. The family environmental influence includes, divorces, both parents working, exhausted parents, poor parenting, influence of television and radio. The overall family climate is most important.
The internal causes include structural, energetic and bio-chemical imbalances and toxic/environ-mental poisoning. This is the most important environment of the ADD/ADHD child. Most parents are not aware of the bio-chemical nature of ADD/ADHD. This webpage addresses each aspect of ADD/ADHD and how to correct it.
The relationship between behavior and nutrition is not new. In 1950 Dr. Abram Hoffer introduced the field ortho-molecular psychiatry and discovered that some cases of serious mental illness can be reversed and cures with vitamin-B3 (Niacin) and vitamin-C.
Dr. Benjamin Feingold wrote in his book, “Is Your Child Hyperactive” twenty years ago that when children omitted sugar from their daily diet, half the children returned to normal behavior. He also wrote of children with allergic reactions to certain foods (one man’s food is another man’s poison) and food colourings and preservatives. This he explored in detail during his years in clinical practice. He referred to these allergies as: CENSA (central nervous system allergies).
Between 1979 and 1983, the New York City school system removed all sugars, additives and preservatives from pupil’s lunch boxes. The results were astounding. A 15% increase in classroom performance and a 6, 5% increase in I.Q. tests were recorded. The study involved 800.000 children. This simple nutritional change moved the New York School system from below average to above the national average in the American school system (S. Schoenthaler: International Journal of Biosocial Research 8/2:185-195, 1986). Yet after this carefully controlled study, the sale of foods laced with sugars, preservatives and preservatives continues unabated.
Most fast foods contain phosphoric acids that interfere with the absorption of zinc, magnesium, manganese and calcium. The high salt content from junk foods reduce magnesium levels, worsening an already a brain devoid of most essential minerals and vitamins. Magnesium is important in regulating the central nervous system. White flour from fast foods rolls and breads are often high in Aluminium and sulphates and low in vitamins.
All aspects of ADD/HD can be address successfully, such as metal toxicity, glucose disorders, fast metabolism, adrenal burnout and an overactive thyroid.
The link between environ-mental toxicity and behavior was first outlined by Rachel Carson in her book: “Silent Spring”.
What is important to remember about metal toxicity is that they displace and replace important mineral in the body and more so the brain. Toxic metals, such as lead and cadmium can act like zinc (which is vital in regulating brain blood glucose) but in a lesser capacity, meaning that the body and brain will not function at full capacity.
In May 1970, the British medical journal, The Lancet reported on the incidence of high lead in British children and their inability to concentrate, cope at school and their slow rate of learning. Copper, cadmium and aluminium are associated with behavior and learning disorders. The correlation between environmental toxicity and behavior has been available in test books and scientific journals for 30 years. However physicians do not assess metal toxicity as part of a regular medical examination, which means that this aspect of environ-mental health goes unnoticed. Psychiatrist will merely prescribe a drug to treat depression and behavior changes that are linked to metal toxicity, because they are not trained to assess this aspect of health.
Environ-mental toxicity has only come to the fore in the past 5-years acknowledging that toxic metals are the cause of many behavior problems in children, including hyperactive behavior.
Lead poisoning is common in Cape Town children and a recent Medical Research Council (MRC) report highlighted the fact that there is a clear link between excessive lead levels and crime. In fact it was Dr. Alexander Schauss who is his book, DIET, CRIME AND DELIQUENCY in 1976 brought attention to the public of his findings that high levels of environ-mental toxins induced behavior problems and children were more pre-disposed to delinquency and crime from a young age.
Lead toxicity is frequently overlooked as a pre-disposing factor because blood tests fail to identify lead stored at a cellular level but only pick up circulating lead in the blood. Children who are toxic of lead and overly emotional.
Mercury toxic people are prone to blushing (erethism), lose self-control easily, and are timid and easily discouraged. Mineral toxicities are very rare, but do exist, and is the cause of various behavioural and emotional disturbances. Manganese toxicity has been studied extensively in Chile (as miners there are prone to toxicity). In addition to hyper-tonia, tremor of the extremities, impaired hearing, and a characteristic gait, the psychological alterations were very great. Fifty-three percent showed emotional instability, 47 percent apathy, 40 percent hallucinations, and 27 percent disturbance of libido.
Cadmium is an antagonist to zinc and displaces zinc. Zinc is a natural sedative of the brain and displacing zinc in the brain contributes toward hyperactive behavior. Zinc is considered the fuel injection system of the brain and only allows a certain amount of the correct glucose into the brain cells. Cadmium toxicity can be passed from mother to child. Once in the body, cadmium is difficult to chelate. Cadmium has a half-life of between 17 and 30 years and can often be eliminated in 12 months using intravenous chelation therapy.
Copper imbalances are found most regular in children with ADD/ADHD. Excess copper is passed from mother to child during pregnancy. Cooper interferes with liver function, absorption of zinc, thyroid function and adrenal function. Copper can also cause over-activity of these two glandular systems. More so, copper interferes with neurotransmitters that stimulate brain activity. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer was the first to document the effects of excess copper, from hyperactivity, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and general anti-social behavior.
Copper imbalances are amongst the most common in ADD children, and physicians once again do not look for this abnormality in blood or hair testing as they have not been trained in this area of bio-chemical behavior analysis (BBA).
Copper stimulates the old brain – diencephalon. This is referred to as the animal brain, as compared to the “new brain”, the cortex or new brain. The old brain governs our animal responses as the new brain modifies the old responses and is responsible for complex thoughts and higher emotions. Adults and children in particular with high copper levels revert back to primitive animal responses in their environment. Zinc is an antagonist to copper, implying that zinc will chelate excess copper from the brain, brining about the more enlightened and “futuristic thinking”.
In my 10 years of nutritional practice and experience, the most common deficiencies amongst ADD children are zinc, magnesium and calcium. Supplementation with magnesium only can change a child from a little tyrant into a calm and happy child. A magnesium deficiency is associated with nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. ADD children are generally bad sleepers and sleep at intervals. And magnesium protects children from the effects of stress.
Zinc is a glucose and mood stabilizer. Some ortho-molecular nutritionists consider zinc as a neurotransmitter in its own rights, as zinc has multiple brain functions. However in the absence of zinc, copper and cadmium accumulate in the brain and kidneys and circulate throughout the body causing a negative effect on brain chemistry. According to the late Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, the entire American population are deficient in zinc. In South Africa this holds true in children together with magnesium.
Other important trace elements deficient in ADD children are manganese and chromium as they both play a key role in glucose metabolism. B-vitamins work synergistically with minerals and play an important role in brain function. One of these important vitamins is niacin, vitamin-B3.
Trace elements such as manganese and chromium also play a critical role in behavior because they influence glucose tolerance. This is discussed in more detail in the next section. Vitamins work in conjunction with the minerals. B-complex vitamins are particularly important for the nervous system. However, all are important for proper body functioning.
DOES A SWEET TOOTH LEAD TO A SOUR DISPOSITION?
Man years ago a man in San Francisco was acquitted of murdering his wife based on the fact that he claimed to be hypoglycaemic. It was called the “Twinkie” Murder Trial. However some people do become psychotic when glucose levels drop to below 50mg. Many mother report psychotic or hurtful behavior when their children have less than 5ml of pure sugar with or after a meal. White sugar changes the levels of calcium and phosphorous levels, causing hypoglycaemia. The most sensitive organ in the body is that brain and its main source of fuel is glucose. This glucose has to be of good quality glucose not to have any rebound effect later in the day and if the brain begins to starve of glucose sometimes violent behavior can occur within minutes…
Hair mineral testing often suggests or even confirms glucose (in) tolerance tests. Certain key questions can also be asked with regard to glucose intolerance: (1) are your rarely awake within twenty minutes of rising?; (2) do you often feel drowsy or sleepy during the day or after meals?; (3) do you need a cup of coffee or tea, a cigarette or something sweet to get you going in the morning?; (4) do you fall asleep in the early evening or need naps throughout the day?; (5) do you get dizzy or irritable if you go without food for six hours?; (6) do you get night sweats and/or frequent headaches?; (7) do you awake during the night as if you have been frightened and (8) do you eat ice frequently, i.e. daily of every 2second day? If you or your child can answer “yes” to more than 5 of these questions, then you may consider a fasting glucose and insulin resistance tests as soon as possible.
Here once again, doctors purely rely on a blood test and many have a problem interpreting these tests. The end result is that a drug is administered to regulate blood glucose levels artificially.
But what are the mechanisms for glucose malfunctioning? By eating consistently high sugar foods, the pancreas has to continually secrete insulin to reduce high blood glucose. After a while the quality of insulin being secreted is of low quality and the pancreas become exhausted in secreting continuous amount of insulin. After a while the pancreas simply stops working and glucose levels begin to rise, causing behavior, learning and emotional problems.
Most child diets are exceedingly low in zinc, which is responsible for the production and secretion of good quality insulin. Chromium, manganese and certain b-vitamins reduces the body’s ability to utilize glucose efficiently.
Heavy metal toxicity further disrupts the body’s glucose bio-chemistry. And the only way to control many, if not all of these faulty mechanisms is with optimal daily nutrition. By adding protein and essential fatty acids, such as nuts and seeds to the diet, can this problem be addressed and corrected.
Parents are amazed, most of the time when artificial sugars are removed from their child’s diet. Any sugar, also from fruit juices, upset the blood glucose balance which can also enhance a yeast overgrowth, known as Candida Albicans. Excessive sugars, when entering the blood stream, also speed up an already fast metabolism, which is already overactive in ADD/ADHD children.
It has become such a culture in western nations to produce healthy offspring, and unfortunately in South Africa, parents generally rate very poorly. Young parents are rarely given any advice on how to prepare themselves for healthy pregnancies and how to raise healthy children. South Africa’s infant mortality rate is very high compared to western nations; however in Africa it is slightly lower than the rest of Africa. Modern medicine is more interested in finding new cures for complex illnesses and diseases, yet it cannot teach pregnant mothers simple nutritional steps to prevent birth defects in children and produce healthy children.
In some of the most primitive cultures around the world, once a woman marries she is fed special foods to have healthy children. And hair trace mineral analysis confirms that many children receive a poor nutritional start in life. Many mother produce sickly children especially if the mother was a smoker prior to pregnancy or a few years prior to pregnancy. Quitting smoking is admirable and tenacious, and cleansing the body of years of smoking toxicity is sensible prior to conception. Mother passes these toxins through the placenta to the unborn child. This means that the unborn child is already toxic and sick, and when born is exposed to more nutritional bad habits from the mother. In fact many children are already ADD inside the womb.
Yet the solution to these problems is not that difficult. Prenatal care must begin with marriage. The idea of a prenatal vitamin and mineral must be emphasized in all communities, it should be standard. Giving a woman a prenatal vitamin when she is pregnant is admirable, but too late. The child has already developed for a few weeks when pregnancy is detected… the first 8-12 weeks is the “critical period” as the entire body is formed during this stage of pregnancy.
Animal breeders are aware that the results of poor diets only show up months after the animal is born. In fact it may take a few generations before some physical problems start to appear. In South Africa and most westernized nations is that several generations have lived on junk food and have been exposed to approximately 12,000 chemicals daily including low doses of radiation. The results are beginning to show up in the current generation of children.
Nutrients, especially minerals, activate genes. Certain nutrients are needed for gene expression. This is why folic acid prevents certain birth defect. Without this essential prenatal mineral genetic potential cannot be expressed causing birth defects.
Nutrition does not solve everything, but the correct nutrients can solve many birth defect, genetic problems and also help raise a healthy child to reach its full physical and emotional potential.
Many childhood behavior problems originate in anti-biotic overuse. Anti-biotics are given for ear, nose and throat infections from as young as 3 months. While no parent want to see their child suffer, most parents are not aware of the dangers of anti-biotic use in children, but many times anti-biotics are not helpful. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1991; 266(23): 3309-3317 concluded that children treated with Amoxicillin for middle ear infection had 2 to 6 times the recurrence rate of those who did not receive the antibiotic.
Antibiotics damage and/or reduce the normal intestinal flora and weaken the immune system. This effect persists long after the anti-biotic was used or even discontinued. A combination of anti-biotic use, a copper imbalance, anti-biotics in meat and dairy produce, and metal toxicity means that your child is a walking behavioural time bomb. Sugar is the detonator in most cases!
The overuse of antibiotics leads to a condition called Candida Albicans. This is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal tract, however when it overgrows, it produces and alcohol and acetaldehyde both poisons causing severe mineral disturbances leading to behavior and learning problems. Anti-Candida natural medication and an eradication of all sugar from the diet, produces miraculous results in a child’s behavior, energy and a great improvement in learning problems to say the least.
Unfortunately most doctors and psychiatrists do not address these important aspects of child health before administering a toxic drug. Antibiotic overuse contributes greatly to drug resistant bacteria and infections in children, which means that stronger drugs are needed with harsher side-effects. Antibiotics do kill certain germs, but does not enhance the child’s immune system. Chronic conditions develop over a period of time, so do mineral deficiencies. Doctors and medical professional are not trained to address “period illnesses” that manifest over time, but to simply address the symptoms. Many childhood chronic conditions contribute to fatigue, lethargy, poor concentration, bad sleeping patterns, including nervousness and irritability. A common remark of parents who place their children on a re-balancing program is that their children rarely get sick any more. This only happens when the body is in perfect bio-chemical balance.
Great controversy has raged over vaccinations and immunization. There is also scientific evidence in prominent scientific journals that enforce this belief. Children that are raised on a healthy diet with abundant intestinal flora supplementation and plenty of omega oils, rarely if at any time become ill from any childhood diseases.
FAST METABOLSIM AND ADD/HD
Most, in not all ADD/HD children are fast metabolizers. Looking at a hair trace mineral analysis, calcium, magnesium and zinc are low, whilst potassium and sodium levels are high. These mineral patterns are associated with hyperactive behavior linked to the thyroid –and adrenal glands. A fast metabolic rate can contribute to a short attention span, anxiety, irritability, and often aggressive behavior.
Fast oxidizers are also more prone to allergic reactions which mean that they also have high histamine levels that encourage more allergic reactions. Low calcium and magnesium levels enhance cell permeability that allows foreign proteins to pass into the blood causing allergic reactions (which will be treated with anti-biotics). Fast oxidizers also burn their food faster than normal children. And a high sugar diet speeds up the metabolic rate further. This includes fruit juices in particular (vegetable juices have a far glucose stabilizing effect). Fast metabolizers benefit greatly from fats and oils which have a slowing down effect on their metabolism. In this instance parents are scared of giving their children fats for feat of obesity and raising cholesterol. A case in point is eggs. The jury has been out on eggs for more than 40 years, in that eggs do not raise cholesterol levels. Children need fats and oils for development of a healthy functioning nervous system. Avocado pear, unsalted butter, eggs, olive oil, nuts and seeds are very beneficial for fast metabolizers.
Stress increases the hyperactive child’s oxidative rate. Stress has many forms, too much physical activity, too much television, and too much homework. Fast oxidizers become wounded very quickly and it is these children who stay behind in detention class most of the time.
Correcting fast oxidation is another key to ADD/HD that is routinely overlooked, but fairly simple and inexpensive to correct.
BUNROUT AND ADD/HD
Most young boys are fast oxidizers. Yet more and more children are also becoming slow oxidizers due malnutrition that leads to obesity. Children with a slow oxidative rate have a four-low-electrolyte-pattern. In other words, their levels of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium are low on a hair trace mineral analysis. These ‘four lows’ represent an exhausted system at a young age. Slow oxidizers can also develop ADD/HD and most times seem to act as if they have plenty of energy. This is usually nervous energy. Their hair trace mineral analysis (HTMA) reveal high levels of metals as metals displace/replace important minerals in the body and brain. These children’s learning and concentration ability usually improve when brain bio-chemistry is corrected.
OVERACTIVE THYROID GLAND
The functioning of the adrenal glands has a direct impact on the thyroid, as the adrenals are considered the ‘spark plugs’ of the thyroid glands. How the thyroid and adrenal glands produce energy – the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands are the main energy producing glands in the body, supplying the body with more than 98% of its energy. If you did not have these glands, you probably would not have enough energy to blink an eyelid.
The thyroid gland, located right behind the Adam’s apple in the neck, is about the size of a plum. The adrenal glands is much smaller and is located on top your kidneys. The adrenal glands work very closely with the thyroid. The adrenal glands release simple sugars in the body which serve as the fuel for the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland then takes these sugars and ignites them into energy. The thyroid gland is like the spark plugs of your car in that it ignites the fuel and turns it into power. So it is these glands working together which produce the body’s energy. To have maximum amounts of energy, these glands have to be functioning at peak capacity.
The efficiency of the adrenal and thyroid glands determines your speed of your metabolism or your “oxidation type”. If both the adrenal glands and the thyroid glands are overactive, then the person will be a fast oxidizer, in other words a fast metabolism that will also ultimately lead to hyperactive behavior patterns.
Now, if just one of these glands is overactive and one is under active, a person will be a mixed oxidizer. And if both of these glands (thyroid and adrenals) are under active, then the person will be a slow oxidizer, in other words, a slow metabolism and usually lacking in energy. But if these glandular systems are balanced then the person’s entire being will be balanced.
There are four main minerals that regulate the thyroid and adrenal glands; these are calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium. These are called macro-minerals which are the main regulatory minerals in the body. If any one of these minerals is out of balance, then problems will occur with the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands.
Calcium and potassium have a marked effect on the thyroid and these two minerals determine how the efficient the thyroid will function. Calcium slows down the thyroid and potassium speeds it up. In order for the thyroid gland to operate at its maximum capacity, there has to be the correct balance between these two minerals. Too much calcium in relation to potassium will cause an under active thyroid that will lead to weight gain [slows down metabolic functions] and depression [calcium also sedates the central nervous system], whereas excess potassium leads to an over active thyroid gland.
Thyroid blood testing (i.e.: T3, T4, and TSH) at the best of times are dubious. A person can have normal levels of thyroid hormone in his blood and still have a weak thyroid gland. A blood test for a thyroid is only about 20% accurate. The test measures the levels of a number of thyroid hormones in the blood, but these levels differ from minute-to-minute to hour-to-hour. Doctors find this difficult to understand, that a person can normal levels of thyroxin and have still a weak thyroid. Too much magnesium, in relation to sodium will slow down the adrenal glands. Sodium and magnesium are the two macro-minerals that regulate the adrenal glands. Too much sodium in relation to magnesium will speed up the adrenal glands and vice-versa. When any one of these two glandular systems are out of balance, the entire system is then out of balance. Simply taking a pill, e.g. Eltroxin will not rebalance either system.
What Can Be Done?
Prevention is better than cure!
- Prior-to-pregnancy mothers: consult with www.solutions4health.co.za to ascertain your heavy metal toxicity load with a hair trace mineral analysis and to ascertain your general bio-chemical status to determine if you are healthy and fit to start a family, (by calling 087-575-277 – this is not a cell number) by visiting our website.
- Post a hair sample to: www.solutions4health.co.za P.O. Box 1075, Green Point 8051 with all the necessary details (name, surname, date-of-birth, weight in kilograms, contact telephone number and email address).
- After a 1 hour consultation and depending on the child’s results, enrol the child in our nutritional re-balancing program for between 6-9 months.
If you are a parent with a problem child, the following instructions can make a huge difference:
ä Keep sugary foods away from your child at all time, such as cookies, cakes, certain cereals, refined breads, pizza, pastas and confectionaries, and search for alternatives.
ä Give your child as little dairy foods as possible and look at alternative to dairy that are available.
ä Ascertain if your child has food allergies as this impact greatly on your child’s brain health.
ä Avoid as many food additives, preservatives, artificial colourants and flavourants as possible.
ä Do not feed your child starches. Starches can worsen and in some individuals cause blood glucose problems.
ä Feed your child essential fats and oils daily in the form of unsalted, raw nuts, seeds and avocado pear.
ä Feed your child fresh vegetables and fruit daily and as little processed foods as possible.
ä Involve your child in the cooking and preparation of meals – make it fun!
ä Avoid fizzy drinks and all junk foods even if they contain no caffeine and sugar. Many foods have hidden preservatives and sugars.
ä Enrol your child in a nutritional balancing program by starting with a hair trace mineral analysis.
DIET, CRIME AND DELINQUENCY
There is an old adage, “disease and illness are not hereditary, only bad eating habits.”
Mineral imbalances and research in delinquents and adult offenders reveals the same nutritional imbalances as those present in ADD/HD children. The book, DIET, CRIME and DELINQUENCY by Professor Alexander Michael Schauss printed in 1982 by Parker House Books covered this topic extensively. The ground breaking book references many studies from day care centres, prisons, universities and schools, showing the clear correlation between nutrients deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity, food allergies, junked diets, sugar blues and learning/behaviour problems.
ADD/HD is not restricted to a single cause, but a syndrome of symptoms because the causes are multiple and includes, heavy metal toxicity; food allergies; mineral deficiencies; general nutritional imbalances; hidden and underlying infections; adrenal exhaustion; overactive thyroid; Candida Albicans; environ-mental allergies (e.g.: pollen and grasses); and toxicity passed from mother to child during pregnancy. Some causes may be of structural origin and cranio-sacral therapy and chiropractics can be of great benefit.
Drug therapy simply numbs the causes and is not beneficial in any way for the child and simply causes more stress for parents having to administer a cocktail of drugs daily to their child. Some drugs may appear to control behavior but does not improve school performance. Stopping the drug(s), will simply ignite unleash the problems, but a good sound nutritional regimen means consistently and improved school performance, improved and learning and improved behavior.
All children are bio-chemically different, and a hair trace mineral analysis can easily and correctly determine how different every child is, and correct nutritional imbalances and rid the body of heavy metal toxicities that is causing child behaviour and -learning difficulties.