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ADHD Herbal Remedies: Spirulina

Can common herbs and food supplements be used to manage symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Concerned parents with ADHD children often ask this question to doctors andADHD experts, and on ADHD forums, after hearing about the side effects caused by ADHD medications. There is no easy "yes" or "no" answer concerning the efficacy of herbal remedies in ADHD, because each child is unique and suffers from a particular constellation of problems. One child may respond well to one remedy while the next child does not respond at all.

Lately, there's been a lot of buzz about the blue-green algae spirulina and its broad spectrum of benefits.  Its extensive nutritional profile indicates that it can replace expensive food supplements, offering more nutrition than most other foods. It provides 200 times more protein per acre than beef and 20 times more protein per acre than soybeans.  Spirulina also contains eight essential amino acids and ten non-essential amino acids, and is a rich source of essential fatty acids.  It even contains GLA, a rare essential fatty acid that is usually only found in mother's milk and evening primrose. And if you're looking for a multivitamin that could potentially address all the vitamin and mineral deficiencies known to affect children with ADHD, spirulina could be it.  It is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and B-vitamins, including B6 and B12.  Finally, spirulina is also extremely rich in vitamins C and E, two important antioxidants that can prevent the degradation of minerals and vitamins before they get absorbed by the body.

At the moment, there are no studies that have examined the efficacy of spirulina in the management of ADHD.  However, its nutritional content suggests that it could be a superior source for the important vitamins and minerals ADHD children don't get in their modern diet.  For example, one study performed on children with zinc deficiencies showed that spirulina was more effective in boosting zinc levels than supplements of zinc sulfate. Other studies have shown that zinc supplements help reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Besides being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, spirulina has potent detoxification properties.  Children with ADHD often have high levels of mercury, lead, and other toxic heavy metals in their bodies. There is evidence that spirulina boosts detoxification and reduces the toxic load on the kidneys. 

There are no known optimal dosages for spirulina in children, but one way you can make it part of your child's diet is by sprinkling spirulina flakes onto soups, pasta, sauces, and salads. 

Before you do so, however, make sure you ask the opinion of a qualified health care practitioner to know whether or not it is appropriate to use this herbal remedy for your child.