For children and adults diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms of distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity can wreak havoc with their intentions for a harmonious life. The brain cells called neurotransmitters that are responsible for these disruptive behaviors cannot be altered by sheer will alone. Although prescribed medications are the first line of treatment by most medical doctors, there is hard evidence that effective management of symptom severity can be achieved naturally.
Brain Critical Nutrients
Below is a listing of a number of key nutrients that have been identified to positively support brain function. They are important for everyone, but particularly for those struggling with cognitive performance.
- Protein is important for the regulation of blood sugar which affects mood, behavior and cognitive function. It is also composed of long chains of amino acids which are responsible for the development of neurotransmitters.
- Amino Acids tyrosine and phenylalanine are important for boosting the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinedrine, which tend to be low in individuals with ADHD. These amino acids are abundant in certain high protein foods such as animal protein. They are also available in supplement form.
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA) are required for brain and immune system function. The fatty acids DHA and EPA are most critical. Particularly, DHA is needed for brain function in the areas that provide judgment and focus. Fish oils are the only practical source of obtaining DHA and EPA with tuna, salmon and cod liver oils being the richest sources.
Brain Critical Minerals and Trace Elements
Research indicates that deficiencies of the following minerals and trace elements can also adversely affect attention, memory and behavior.
- Iron builds blood cells in the brain.
- Calcium stimulates brain neuron activity.
- Magnesium calms muscle and nerve cells.
- Zinc helps regulate learning, behavior and immune function.
- Chromium controls blood sugar levels.
- Selenium detoxifies environmental toxins from the body and regulates proper thyroid function, both effect brain health.
- B vitamins (B1, B6, folic acid and B12) are all vital for energy generation and brain function
- Antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, grapeseed extract and green tea extract all provide protection against biochemical wear and tear of all body functions with the brain being particularly sensitive to damage.
It is optimal to obtain these nutrients through proper nutrition. If supplementation in the form of multivitamins and individual supplements is necessary, ensure that they are of good quality and manufactured responsibly.