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ADHD Natural Remedies - Calcium

Most people are unaware that nutrient deficiencies play an important role in causing or exacerbating the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A medical doctor would explain that brain neurotransmitter imbalances are responsible for the hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive symptoms of ADHD. What he would not tell you, though, is that the production of brain neurotransmitters is directly affected by the amount of nutrients and minerals present in your child’s body.  Calcium, for one, plays a key role in neurotransmitter production, in the absorption of vitamins, and in enzyme digestion. Most of the calcium we consume goes to our bones, leaving only 1% available for the brain and other bodily functions. Children need about 800-1,000 mg of calcium daily, but when a child consumes less than this amount he or she might experience irritability, sleep disturbances, painful joints, tingling legs, and inattentiveness.

One way to find out whether calcium deficiency plays a role in your child’s problem is to do a blood test. Unfortunately, there are not many conventional medical doctors who would take the time to look for the causes of the problem. Most jump to prescription drugs and rush you out of their office. Also, a conventional doctor would simply order a test that measures blood calcium levels. These do not measure tissue calcium levels, and this is why a blood nutrient test performed on red blood cell membranes is much more accurate.

A calcium deficiency can be easily corrected by including more calcium-rich food in your child’s diet.  But don’t start giving your child more milk and dairy products just yet! Research suggests that most children with ADHD are sensitive to casein, the protein found in animal milk. Casein has a complex structure, which makes it difficult to digest. When casein is only partially broken down, it produces a toxic, morphine-like effect on the body that can trigger the symptoms of ADHD. 

Milk advertisements make it seem as though milk and dairy products are the only sources of calcium, but there are many casein-free foods that are rich in calcium.  Try to include more of these calcium-rich, non-dairy foods into your child’s meals.

Vegetable sources

Turnip Greens
Collard greens
Bok choy
Brussel sprouts

Nuts and Legumes

Soy beans
Navy beans
Unhulled sesame seeds
White beans

Fish and seafood

Pink salmon

Other foods

Corn tortillas
Blackstrap molasses

If you choose to limit your child’s calcium intake to non-dairy sources due to casein intolerance, you may need to include calcium supplements in your child’s diet as these food sources may not be enough to cover your child’s recommended daily allowance. Total daily calcium intake should be 800-1,000 mg for children under 10 and about 1,200 mg for adolescents.  

Choose an absorbable form of calcium and magnesium, as those two supplements should always be taken in a balanced ration of 1.5-2 calcium to 1 magnesium (unless testing has revealed severe magnesium deficiency).  You should try to get as much calcium as possible from your diet, and your supplement should be no more than 600-800 mg. Chose calcium citrate, as it is a well-absorbed form.

Managing your child’s ADHD with a few dietary adjustments is a more effective long-term solution than the quick fix offered by medication.  Ask a nutritionist for advice on creating a calcium-rich diet for your ADHD child, or invest in the UnRitalin Solution for more detailed information.