The role of nutrition to the treatment of children with ADHD
Dr George Efthymiou, PhD in molecular biology and genetics writes:
Nutrition plays a very important role in the increase or decrease of ADHD in children.
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental child disorder that has both genetic and environmental causes. Although its effective treatment requires a coordinated approach from pediatricians, child psychologists, parents and teachers, there are some nutritional factors that could delay the presentation or could normalize the development of the symptoms of the disorder.
Recent studies have shown that allow magnesium intake has an important effect on the development of the ADHD symptoms. The magnesium ions participate in the transmission of signals from cell to cell, something extremely important for the good function of the neural network. Magnesium is contained in many of the foods we eat daily, such as cocoa, peanuts, almonds, various seeds, legumes and green vegetables.
Iron is also among the micronutrients connected to ADHD. Scientists who have calculated their on levels in children with ADHD, have found that they were much lower compared with those of children with no ADHD 2. The main sources of iron are red meat, fish, (e.g. tuna and salmon), liver, legumes, dried fruit, sesame and vegetables such as spinach.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin Ε has an antioxidant effect and protects the neurons and the other cells from the toxic influence of the oxidant radicals. Again, the levels of this vitamin have been found to be lower in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, something that leads researchers to claim that it is connected with the worsening of the relevant symptoms. It is usually found in olive oil, in other vegetable oils as well as in wheat, which is a particularly rich source.
- Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids
Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role to the biosynthesis of serotonin, a hormone that controls a lot of nerve processes. Many neurodevelopmental disorders are connected to the weak production of serotonin, therefore an appropriate intake of Omega-3, fatty acids (fish, fish oils) and vitamin D (fish, dairy products, eggs, liver, mushrooms) as well as a normal exposure to the sun (composition of vitamin D) would be particularly beneficial for children with ADHD 4.
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- Cortese S1, Angriman M, Lecendreux M, KonofalE.Iron and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: What is the empirical evidence so far? A systematic review of the literature.Expert Rev Neurother. 2012 Oct;12(10):1227-40. doi: 10.1586/ern.12.116.
- Gumpricht E1, Rockway S2. Can ω-3 fatty acids and tocotrienol-rich vitamin E reduce symptoms of neurodevelopmental disorders?Nutrition. 2014 Jul-Aug;30(7-8):733-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Nov 15.
- Patrick RP1, Ames BN1.Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolardisorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior.FASEB J. 2015 Jun;29(6):2207-22. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-268342. Epub 2015 Feb 24.