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ADHD Causes: Zinc Deficiency

Many parents have experienced that sinking feeling when they find out that their hyperactive or inattentive child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  The child’s psychiatrist may have explained that the disorder is caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters.  What most of these parents don’t know is that ADHD only sets in when it has been triggered by certain environmental factors.  Some children may simply be allergic to certain foods, while others may have other medical problems with similar symptoms.  Instead of doing further tests to find out what exactly is causing the condition, the medical community’s solution is to put the child on a drug that is pharmacologically similar to cocaine. 

One of the leading triggers of ADHD is a deficiency in essential nutrients.  A zinc deficiency, in particular, often imitates the three core symptoms of ADHD – hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Like iron, zinc helps regulate the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine; a lack of zinc translates into lower production of this neurotransmitter.  Much of the information about zinc and its relationship to ADHD has been around for years, yet the emphasis on the use of medications has made this discovery disappear into oblivion.

In 1996, two groups of children were tested for any nutrient deficiencies – the first group had ADHD, the second group of children didn’t.  The researchers discovered that children in the ADHD group had lower zinc levels than those in the non-ADHD group.  This is not surprising, considering that zinc is a nutrient needed by many brain and body processes.  With respect to ADHD, the researchers point out that the zinc deficiency is related to a hyperadrenal syndrome in the children, as well as reduced production of serotonin. Both of these may contribute to the behavioral and learning problems experienced by children with ADHD.  Other behavioral and mental problems caused by zinc deficiencies include lethargy, depression, irritability, and mental retardation.

Following up on these discoveries, researchers in Iran carried out trials to assess the effects of zinc supplements on children with ADHD.  Forty-four children with ADHD were divided into two groups – one took 50 mg of zinc sulphate a day, while the other received a placebo.  They discovered that children who took zinc supplements daily showed marked improvements compared to the children who took the placebo.    More studies need to be done to confirm the positive effects of zinc supplements on children with ADHD. However, if a zinc deficiency is the trigger for the disorder, it makes more sense to treat this rather than the symptoms themselves, which is what medications do.

So instead of meekly obeying the doctor and giving your child ADHD medications, have him or her examined by a health care practitioner who will identify the cause of the symptoms and eliminate them by treating the cause. In the UnRitalin Solution, we don’t believe in treating only the symptoms – we are interested in finding and treating the root cause of ADHD. That is why one of the first things we do is perform tests for zinc or other mineral deficiencies in the child.   Only after comprehensive testing do we implement an all-natural, drug-free treatment plan designed to help your child overcome ADHD and lead a normal life.