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ADHD Test: Detoxification Tests

More and more scientific studies show that environmental toxins affect the brain development of children and precipitate many neurological conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Children's nervous systems are far more sensitive than adults' to environmental toxins.  The immune system of children is also weaker. One of the body's basic defense mechanisms is a natural detoxification system that neutralizes toxins into safe by-products that the body can excrete.  However, if there are too many toxins in the body, or if the body is deficient in nutrients needed by the detoxification pathways, the body cannot properly neutralize and excrete toxins. This could explain why mothers who have leaking amalgam fillings or are exposed to lead show few signs of toxicity, while their children experience many developmental delays or health problems.

Some studies have shown that there is quite a wide variety in people's detoxification abilities. Some people have genetic variations that make them "slow detoxifiers." Studies done in autistic children have shown that one of their problems is that they are unable to excrete toxins. So we are not all equal in dealing with environmental toxins.

There are many detoxification programs available on the market. But often they are done in the dark. Detoxification is a powerful therapeutic intervention, but it can also lead to problems if it is not done properly. This is why I recommend you only detox your child under the guidance of a holistic health care professional or doctor licensed to perform detoxification.

It is important to understand that testing for the presence of toxins in your child's body (through blood, hair, or urine) is different from testing your child's ability to detoxify. In this article, we refer to the latter.

There are two detoxification tests that can be done: a detoxification profile and a comprehensive detoxification profile.  The detoxification profile assesses the body's ability to eliminate toxins naturally by giving the child a challenge agent containing caffeine, salicylate, and acetaminophen. This test will examine how caffeine is cleared out by taking two saliva specimens.  The next phase of the test will evaluate the integrity of detoxification pathways by measuring the amounts of salicylate and acetaminophen in a 10-hour urine collection. The amount of salicylates and acetaminophen recovered indicate how effective your child's detoxification pathways are.

The comprehensive detoxification profile includes the saliva and urine test, as well as a blood test designed to identify levels of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is basically an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen and the body's ability to detoxify this reactive element.  An imbalance between the two produces free radicals and peroxides, which can cause toxic effects and damage lipids, proteins, and DNA in the cell. Testing for oxidative stress will require overnight fasting followed by a collection of a blood specimen.

Remember, those two tests do not directly measure for the presence and levels of toxins – this can be done through other tests. They measure how well your child is able to detoxify. They are very useful, especially in the case of children who have had negative results on urine or hair toxin testing. As I have said, urine and hair will show what the body excretes. But if the child is unable to excrete toxins, his or her body will be loaded even though hair and urine will test negative. In those cases, tests like detoxification profiles and blood porphyrines testing can be very valuable.

Detoxification profile testing is essential for us practitioners because it allows us to create a customized treatment program that target specific problem areas in your child. If you suspect that your child may have been exposed to toxins like lead, mercury, PCBs and other heavy metals, a test can objectively measure the toxicity levels of your child's body.