Around six million American children suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or hyperactivity. In order to cope with the disorder, psychiatrists and medical doctors prescribe Ritalin, a Class II drug that belongs to the same pharmacological family as cocaine and other amphetamines. Despite its harmful side effects, this mind-altering drug is commonly used as a quick fix for hyperactive and inattentive symptoms in children; in fact, the majority of children diagnosed with ADHD take Ritalin or similar ADHD medications. Doctors explain the necessity for medication by pointing out that children with ADHD have a biochemical imbalance in their brain – meaning there is a deficiency in neurotransmitters, the chemicals responsible for relaying messages between brain cells. Ritalin stimulates the production of neurotransmitters and temporarily restores the proper balance.
However, ADHD is much more than just a chemical imbalance. Its core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are actually signs of an underlying problem caused by environmental factors interacting with a specific genetic predisposition. One of the most frequent triggers of ADHD has to do with the child's nutritional status. When children suffer from deficiencies in important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes, their brain's biochemistry is thrown out of balance and they develop symptoms that are then labeled as ADHD. Calcium, chromium, and selenium deficiencies are among the common mineral deficiencies detected in children with ADHD.
Did you know that 99% of your calcium intake is stored in your bones? That means that only one percent is available for the rest of the body. This is not a lot, considering the fact that calcium plays an important role in various bodily functions including enzyme digestion, absorption of vitamins, and stimulating neurotransmitter release. Low levels of calcium lead to irritability, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms typical of the constellation of problems experienced by kids with ADHD. Children ten years old and below need 1000 mg of calcium daily; adolescents need 1,200 – 1,500 mg. But don't rush to give your child more milk or other dairy products – although they contain calcium, they also contain casein, a complex protein that is difficult to digest. When left undigested, this protein forms chains of amino acid called opioid peptides. Opiod peptides are as toxic to the brain as morphine. Green leafy vegetables or supplements are better sources of calcium.
Chromium is a trace mineral that facilitates the absorption of glucose into brain cells. This is a very critical function because glucose is the sole source of energy of the brain; without enough glucose, the individual experiences irritability and difficulty concentrating. Chromium also helps stabilize blood sugar. This ensures that the brain receives a constant, regular supply of glucose.
Like chromium, selenium is also a trace mineral. It helps create proteins called antioxidant enzymes, which allow the body to eliminate toxins naturally – and if you remember, the presence of toxins in the bloodstream is also a trigger for ADHD.
Calcium, chromium, and selenium are just some of the essential minerals that may be missing in your child's body. Ask a doctor specializing in nutrition to test your child for any nutrient deficiencies, or follow the UnRitalin Solution nutritional plan. This will ensure your child gets all the nutriments he or she needs to function optimally.