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ADHD Natural Remedies: Magnesium

The problem most children with ADHD face is that their doctors limit their treatment options to medication and do not explore alternative remedies that often correct the underlying cause of the disorder. The lack of appropriate therapeutic interventions is very serious and could lead to long-term neurological and health consequences caused by the disorder’s causes and medication’s side effects.

Research has shown that improper diet and nutrient deficiencies play a significant role in the development of ADHD in children.  One of the most common triggers is a deficiency in the mineral magnesium.  Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals found in the body, with 50% of it residing in the bones and the other 50% assisting in over 300 chemical reactions in the body.  Some of the primary functions of magnesium include:

  • Maintaining normal muscle and nerve function
  • Keeping bones strong
  • Keeping a steady heart rate
  • Assisting the immune system
  • Regulating blood pressure and blood sugar level

Above all, you should think of magnesium as the “relaxation mineral.” It is a powerful, natural relaxant that relieves stress and helps you calm down. Despite those many benefits, more than half of today’s children do not consume the daily recommended daily allowance for magnesium.

A deficiency in magnesium occurs when the child has leaky gut (the inability of the gastrointestinal tract to absorb nutrients), a calcium deficiency (magnesium is biologically interlocked with calcium), or an insufficient supply.  Most of the time, it is the lack of magnesium in everyday meals that causes the deficiency.  The typical Western diet is made up of processed foods, white flour products, and refined sugar – all of which use up much of the body's magnesium stores.  It’s not surprising that the early symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are strikingly similar to those of ADHD: irritability, poor memory, inability to learn, confusion, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and hypersensitivity to sounds.

Fortunately, treating a magnesium deficiency is very easy – all you have to do is either add more magnesium-rich foods into your child’s diet, or give your child magnesium supplements.  The best sources of magnesium are in green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and lettuce, because magnesium is the basic atom of the chlorophyll in green leaves.  Nuts, seeds, and whole unrefined grains are also high in magnesium.  Other magnesium-rich foods include tuna, halibut, black beans, oysters, blackstrap molasses, tofu, scallops, and oysters.  Minimize or eliminate processed food and refined sugars, as these will only aggravate a magnesium deficiency.

If your child’s diet does not contain enough magnesium--which is very likely--you can supplement his or her diet with multivitamins or a magnesium supplement.  Should you choose to give magnesium supplements, make sure that they provide the recommended daily allowance of magnesium in children:

  • 1 - 3 years old: 80 milligrams
  • 4 - 8 years old: 130 milligrams
  • 9 - 13 years old: 240 milligrams
  • 14 - 18 years old (boys): 410 milligrams
  • 14 - 18 years old (girls): 360 milligrams

Several studies have demonstrated that magnesium supplementation has many benefits for children with ADHD. Your child should get an amou8nt based on 6 times his body weight (in kilograms) per day of magnesium. So, if your child weighs 40 kilos, he should get 240 mg of magnesium.  Use a highly absorbable form of magnesium, such as magnesium glycerophosphate or magnesium glycinate. Avoid magnesium carbonate, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium oxide, as they are poorly absorbed and can cause diarrhea in high doses. (Note that magnesium sulfate, also called Epsom salts, is a powder that can be added to a bath for great soothing effects.)

Several studies suggest that in children with ADHD and autism magnesium is best taken in combination with vitamin B6.

As always, don’t hesitate to find the help of a holistic practitioner or check out our UnRitalin Solution for more details.