For parents navigating the challenges of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in their children, the search for effective and gentle solutions is a heartfelt mission. While there’s no magic cure, there’s a growing interest among parents in natural remedies for ADHD in children to complement traditional approaches. Let’s explore a range of natural strategies tailored specifically for parents seeking holistic support for their children.

Understanding Natural Remedies for ADHD in Children:

Parents often wonder about alternatives to traditional ADHD management. Natural remedies for ADHD in children include lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, and mindful practices. These approaches aim to create an environment that nurtures their child’s unique needs while providing essential support.

Dietary Importance:

Begin the journey by examining your child’s diet. Many parents report improvements in their child’s behaviour by eliminating certain additives, preservatives, dairy, gluten and artificial colours. Encourage a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and sources of omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts. Small changes can have a big impact on overall well-being.

Playful Exercise:

Children are bundles of energy and channelling that energy through regular physical activity can be a game-changer. Whether it’s a favourite sport, dance, or a simple game of tag, incorporating playful exercise into their routine can help manage hyperactivity and improve focus. Make it a family activity to enhance the bonding experience.

Mindfulness Moments:

Introducing mindfulness practices to children can be both fun and beneficial. Simple exercises like deep breathing or engaging in mindfulness games can help enhance self-awareness and emotional regulation. These practices provide children with valuable tools to navigate the challenges of ADHD in a positive and empowering way.

Herbal Hints:

Some parents explore herbal supplements to support their child’s well-being. While the effectiveness of these supplements is still under research, herbs like chamomile and ginseng are thought to offer potential cognitive benefits. However, it’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals before introducing any herbal supplements to ensure safety and appropriateness for children.

As parents, the journey of discovering what works best for your child with ADHD is a unique and ongoing process. Natural remedies can be gentle additions to your toolkit, providing holistic support to your child’s well-being. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and the key is to embrace a combination of approaches that resonate with your child’s personality and needs.

Consulting with healthcare professionals, including paediatricians and educational specialists, is essential to crafting an individualised plan for your child. Natural remedies can be integrated seamlessly into daily life, creating a nurturing environment that fosters growth, resilience, and the development of valuable coping mechanisms. Together, with love and understanding, parents can empower their children to navigate the world with confidence, and help them reach their full potential.

Article by: A. Pascoe (2023)

 Dealing with emotional outbursts and tantrums is a significant challenge when it comes to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This article is meant to shed light on the connection between ADHD and temper tantrums, explore the reasons behind these outbursts, and provide practical strategies for managing ADHS. These emotional outbursts are typically characterized by intense displays of frustration, anger, and sometimes even physical aggression. 

The connection between ADHD and Tantrums 

 

Understanding the relationship between ADHD and temper tantrums is crucial for effective management. Tantrums can be triggered by a variety of factors, some of which are more prevalent in children with ADHD: 

1. Executive Function Deficits: ADHD is often associated with executive function deficits, which include difficulties in impulse control, emotional regulation, and problem-solving. These deficits can contribute to the tantrums as children with ADHD struggle to manage their emotions and reactions. 

2. Sensory Overload: some individuals with ADHD are sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as noise, lights, or touch, which can trigger overwhelming emotional reactions. Sensory overload can trigger emotional outbursts, as individuals with ADHD may find it challenging to cope with the sensory input around them. 

3. Impulsivity: Due to difficulties with sustained attention and task completion, individuals with ADHD may experience frequent frustration and impatience. This frustration can escalate into tantrums when they encounter obstacles or challenges. 

4. Social and Academic Struggles: ADHD can affect a person’s ability to succeed academically and socially, leading to feelings of inadequacy and frustration. These emotional struggles can manifest as tantrums when individuals face difficulties at school or in social interactions. 

Strategies for Managing Tantrums in Individuals with ADHD 

 

1. Create a Structured Routine: Having a predictable daily routine can help individuals with ADHD feel more in control, reducing the likelihood of tantrums triggered by unexpected changes. 

2. Teach Emotional Regulation: Working with the child to develop strategies for managing emotions, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or counting to ten before reacting to a situation. 

3. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Help individuals with ADHD tackle tasks by breaking them into smaller, manageable steps. This can reduce frustration and increase their sense of accomplishment. 

4. Provide Positive Reinforcement: Reward positive behaviours and accomplishments for motivation. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool for promoting desired behaviours. 

5. Seek professional help: Consult with healthcare professionals, such as paediatricians, therapists, or psychiatrists, who specialize in ADHD. They will provide you with guidance on medication, therapy, or additional strategies for managing ADHD-related tantrums. 

6. Create a supportive environment: Foster an environment that is understanding and patient and encourage open communication. Provide a safe space for your child to express their feelings without fear. 

ADHD-related tantrums can be challenging, but with the right strategies and support, they can be managed and minimized. By creating a structured environment, teaching emotional regulation skills, and seeking professional guidance, when necessary, individuals with ADHD can learn to cope with their emotions more effectively. It’s important to remember that managing tantrums is a process that requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to helping individuals with ADHD. 

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that is a neurodevelopmental condition which is characterised by symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. These symptoms disrupt the daily functioning of children. The exact cause of ADHD is unknown; however, research shows that there are contributing factors for the increased severity of the symptoms of ADHD in children. One of the contributing factors is the presence of a larger microbiome in the gut, Research also shows that there is an association between microbiome and a leaky gut. In individuals with ADHD, there appears to be an imbalance in the gut microbiota composition, with a lower diversity of beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of harmful strains. This may contribute to inflammation and increase the severity of ADHD symptoms. There is a direct link between ADHD and gut health and brain health. A holistic approach that includes dietary adjustments, stress management, and gut health optimization can complement traditional treatments and improve overall well-being is important in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD. 

Parents should work closely with healthcare professionals to tailor a personalized plan that addresses both the neurological and gut-related aspects of this condition, ultimately fostering a path towards enhanced focus and improved quality of life. Paying close attention to your child’s diet is important to reduce the severity of ADHD. Unfortunately, there is no cure for ADHD, but dietary modifications can make a significant difference. 

Some key dietary recommendations include: 

1. Adding foods rich in omega 3: e.g., flaxseeds, salmon, walnuts, etc. These are known to support cognitive function. 

2. Avoiding sugar and food additives: artificial food colourings, preservatives, and additives. 

3. Blood Sugar Stabilization: Eating regular, balanced meals and snacks can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing mood swings and irritability. 

4. Fiber: Consuming a diet high in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can support gut health and regular bowel movements. 

5. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for digestive health. Drinking plenty of water can help prevent constipation and maintain gut balance. 

Introducing probiotics for gut support

One of the ways you can aid your child’s gut issues, is to put them on probiotics supplements. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Research suggests a potential link between gut health and ADHD symptoms, making probiotics a promising treatment for management. These beneficial bacteria can be obtained through probiotic supplements or by incorporating fermented foods. By promoting a healthier gut microbiome, probiotics may contribute to improved overall well-being and possibly play a role in reducing some of the gastrointestinal issues often associated with ADHD. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare 

professional before introducing any new supplements or dietary changes to your child’s routine. 

With the help of a healthcare professional, parents can create a well-balanced diet and treatment plan for their children. It is important to test for allergies and foods that may lead to gut inflammation. Every child is different and what may work for one child might not work for another. 

Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow.

They have both culinary and medical uses in Asian countries like China, India, Japan and Korea.

Lion’s mane mushrooms can be enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or steeped as a tea. Their extracts often used in over-the-counter health supplements.

Many describe their flavor as “seafood-like,” often comparing it to crab or lobster.

Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart and gut.

Here are 9 health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms and their extracts.

1. Could Protect Against Dementia

The brain’s ability to grow and form new connections typically declines with age, which may explain why mental functioning gets worse in many older adults.

Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines.

Additionally, animal studies have found that lion’s mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss.

In fact, lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.

While no studies have analyzed whether lion’s mane mushroom is beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease in humans, it appears to boost mental functioning.

A study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that consuming 3 grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning, but these benefits disappeared when supplementation stopped.

The ability of lion’s mane mushroom to promote nerve growth and protect the brain from Alzheimer’s-related damage may explain some of its beneficial effects on brain health.

However, it’s important to note that most of the research has been conducted in animals or in test tubes. Therefore, more human studies are needed.

2. Helps Relieve Mild Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Up to one-third of people living in developed countries experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

While there are many causes of anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation could be a major contributing factor.

New animal research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice.

Other animal studies have found that lion’s mane extract can also help regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing memories and emotional responses.

Researchers believe that improved functioning of the hippocampus may explain the reductions in anxious and depressive behaviors in mice given these extracts.

While these animal studies are promising, there is very little research in humans.

One small study in menopausal women found that eating cookies containing lion’s mane mushrooms daily for one month helped reduce self-reported feelings of irritation and anxiety.

3. May Speed Recovery from Nervous System Injuries

The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and other nerves that travel throughout the body. These components work together to send and transmit signals that control almost every bodily function.

Injuries to the brain or spinal cord can be devastating. They often cause paralysis or loss of mental functions and can take a long time to heal.

However, research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract may help speed recovery from these types of injuries by stimulating the growth and repair of nerve cells.

In fact, lion’s mane mushroom extract has been shown to reduce recovery time by 23–41% when given to rats with nervous system injuries.

Lion’s mane extract may also help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke.

In one study, high doses of lion’s mane mushroom extract given to rats immediately after a stroke helped decrease inflammation and reduce the size of stroke-related brain injury by 44%.

While these results are promising, no studies have been conducted in humans to determine if lion’s mane would have the same therapeutic effect on nervous system injuries.

4. Protects Against Ulcers in the Digestive Tract

Ulcers are capable of forming anywhere along the digestive tract, including the stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

Stomach ulcers are often caused by two major factors: overgrowth of a bacteria called H. pyloriand damage to the mucous layer of the stomach that’s often due to long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Lion’s mane extract may protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage.

Several studies have found that lion’s mane extract can prevent the growth of H. pylori in a test tube, but no studies have tested whether they have the same effects inside the stomach.

Additionally, an animal study found that lion’s mane extract was more effective at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers than traditional acid-lowering drugs — and without any negative side effects.

Lion’s mane extract can also reduce inflammation and prevent tissue damage in other areas of the intestines. In fact, they may help treat inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

One study in people with ulcerative colitis found that taking a mushroom supplement containing 14% lion’s mane extract significantly reduced symptoms and improved quality of life after three weeks.

However, when the same study was repeated in patients with Crohn’s disease, the benefits were no better than a placebo.

It’s important to note that the herbal supplement used in these studies included several types of mushrooms, so it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about the effects of lion’s mane specifically.

Overall, research suggests that lion’s mane extract may help inhibit the development of ulcers, but more human research is needed.

5. Reduces Heart Disease Risk

Major risk factors for heart disease include obesity, high triglycerides, large amounts of oxidized cholesterol and an increased tendency to get blood clots.

Research shows that lion’s mane extract can influence some of these factors and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Studies in rats and mice have found that lion’s mane mushroom extract improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels.

One study in rats fed a high-fat diet and given daily doses of lion’s mane extract observed 27% lower triglyceride levels and 42% less weight gain after 28 days.

Since obesity and high triglycerides are both considered risk factors for heart disease, this is one way that lion’s mane mushrooms contribute to heart health.

Test-tube studies have also found that lion’s mane extract can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Oxidized cholesterol molecules tend to attach to the walls of arteries, causing them to harden and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, reducing oxidation is beneficial for heart health.

What’s more, lion’s mane mushrooms contain a compound called hericenone B, which can decrease the rate of blood clotting and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Lion’s mane mushrooms appear to benefit the heart and blood vessels in multiple ways, but human studies are needed to support this.

6. Helps Manage Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body loses the ability to control blood sugar levels. As a result, levels are consistently elevated.

Chronically high blood sugar levels eventually cause complications like kidney disease, nerve damage in the hands and feet and vision loss.

Lion’s mane mushroom may be beneficial for diabetes management by improving blood sugar control and reducing some of these side effects.

Several animal studies have shown that lion’s mane can cause significantly lower blood sugar levels in both normal and diabetic mice, even at daily dosages as low as 2.7 mg per pound (6 mg per kg) of body weight.

One way that lion’s mane lowers blood sugars is by blocking the activity of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbs in the small intestine.

When this enzyme is blocked, the body is unable to digest and absorb carbs as effectively, which results in lower blood sugar levels.

In addition to lowering blood sugars, lion’s mane extract may reduce diabetic nerve pain in the hands and feet.

In mice with diabetic nerve damage, six weeks of daily lion’s mushroom extract significantly reduced pain, lowered blood sugar levels and even increased antioxidant levels.

Lion’s mane mushroom shows potential as a therapeutic supplement for diabetes, but more research is needed to determine exactly how it might be used in humans.

7. May Help Fight Cancer

Cancer occurs when DNA becomes damaged and causes cells to divide and replicate out of control.

Some research suggests that lion’s mane mushroom has cancer-fighting abilities, thanks to several of its unique compounds.

In fact, when lion’s mane extract is mixed with human cancer cells in a test tube, they cause the cancer cells to die at a faster rate. This has been demonstrated with several types of cancer cells, including liver, colon, stomach and blood cancer cells.

However, at least one study has failed to replicate these results, so more studies are needed.

In addition to killing cancer cells, lion’s mane extract has also been shown to slow the spread of cancer.

One study in mice with colon cancer found that taking lion’s mane extract reduced the spread of cancer to the lungs by 69%.

Another study found that lion’s mane extract was more effective than traditional cancer medications at slowing tumor growth in mice, in addition to having fewer side effects.

However, the anti-cancer effects of lion’s mane mushroom have never been tested in humans, so more research is needed.

8. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are believed to be at the root of many modern illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Research shows that lion’s mane mushrooms contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may help reduce the impact of these illnesses.

In fact, one study examining the antioxidant abilities of 14 different mushroom species found that lion’s mane had the fourth highest antioxidant activity and recommended it be considered a good dietary source of antioxidants.

Several animal studies have found that lion’s mane extract reduced markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in rodents and may be especially useful in the management of inflammatory bowel disease, liver damage and stroke.

Lion’s mane mushrooms may also help reduce some of the health risks associated with obesity, as they have been shown to decrease the amount of inflammation released by fat tissue.

More studies are needed to determine the potential health benefits in humans, but the results from lab and animal studies are promising.

9. Boosts the Immune System

A strong immune system protects the body from bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

On the other hand, a weak immune system puts the body at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases.

Animal research shows that lion’s mane mushroom can boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose.

These effects may partly be due to beneficial changes in gut bacteria that stimulate the immune system.

One study even found that supplementing with lion’s mane extract daily nearly quadrupled the lifespan of mice injected with a lethal dose of salmonella bacteria.

The immune-boosting effects of lion’s mane mushrooms are very promising, but this area of research is still developing.

Safety and Side Effects

No human studies have examined the side effects of lion’s mane mushroom or its extract, but they appear to be very safe.

No adverse effects have been seen in rats, even at doses as high as 2.3 grams per pound (5 grams per kg) of body weight per day for one month or lower dosages for three months.

However, anyone who is allergic or sensitive to mushrooms should avoid lion’s mane, since it is a species of mushroom.

There have been documented cases of people experiencing difficulty breathing or skin rashes after exposure to lion’s mane mushrooms, likely related to allergies.

The Bottom Line

Lion’s mane mushroom and its extract have been shown to have a variety of health benefits.

Research has found that lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage.

It also has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities and been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers and diabetes in animals.

While the current research is promising, more human studies are needed to develop practical health applications for lion’s mane mushroom.

Article from – healthline.com

An Organized Desk…

One of the first things I look at when observing a new client in the classroom is how well they keep their belongings organized. This gives me important clues about how well they can attend to detail, manage themselves and keep track of what is important, not only in the physical environment, but also in other areas such as prioritizing their time and keeping track of information.

How does poor organization impact learning?

Learners with learning difficulties frequently struggle with executive functioning skills, one of which is planning and organizing. Organization skills encompass three key categories that serve as a catalyst for more effective academic engagement: managing their things, managing their time and managing information. Below are some ways that well-developed organizing skills contribute to overall learning achievement:

  • Following an instruction: Being able to follow an instruction requires the learner to organize the information and to be able to organize this information to execute the steps to complete the tasks. A poor organizer may find it difficult to organize the steps required, which leads to inefficient execution of the steps and often, non-completion.
  • Reading: Learning to read requires a learner to organize information such as which upper-case letter and which sound goes together, or which sight word belongs to which item. An effective organizer can quickly and accurately retrieve such information, allowing them to learn more effectively. A disorganized learner, conversely, has difficulty retrieving information and acting on it quickly, which slows down their overall ability to read and comprehend what they have read.
  • Writing: Reading and writing skills are also supported by strong organization skills. For example, writing an informational essay requires research, recall of subject-specific vocabulary and keeping track of the information that has been gathered in order to organize it into a coherent piece of writing. Difficulty with organizational skills makes it challenging for the learner to synthesize all the information and frequently, results in incomplete or incoherent written work due to the strain on their mental resources as they need to work harder to keep track of and use the information effectively.
  • Math: This subject depends on rules and procedures to be implemented efficiently during the initial learning stages and later on, the ability to categorize information to make sense of more abstract concepts. A learner with poorly developed organization skills may have difficulty not only with categorizing information into predetermined sets but coming up with their own categories for sorting information. This in turn impacts their ability to quickly and efficiently retrieve the rules and facts impacts their ability to quickly and accurately solve a problem, straining their cognitive resources to the point where they become frustrated and give up.

A good organizer frees up many of their mental resources as they are able to develop strategies to help them remember and keep track of where their things are, when and how much time they have to complete assignments or study for tests, and how to keep track of large amounts of information and to organize that information for quick and easy retrieval when it is needed.  As such, organized learners are:

  • Less likely to lose their belongings, which means that they are spending less time looking for their things and more time on-task
  • Less likely to forget about tests, homework or assignments because they have been taught or have learned how to keep information organized and easily accessible
  • More likely to experience an increase in self-esteem since they are in trouble less frequently for forgetting items or running out of time to complete tasks
  • More likely to experience a decrease in anxiety because they develop a sense of being in control of their things, time and important information and can easily and efficiently access what they need in a short amount of time
  • Less likely to become frustrated as more of their mental resources are freed up, rather than having to expend a great deal of effort in trying to retrieve information.

How can you help at home?

Organization skills need to be taught explicitly. This is especially true for learners who have specific learning needs or have difficulty attending to the minutiae of daily life.

At the foundational level, teach your child to take charge of their belongings. Work with them to develop a system for organizing their stationery, books and bags. Since this is the most concrete aspect of organization, starting at the level of managing things makes it easier not only to grasp the concept of categorizing and sorting, but sets them up with the skills required to organize time and information.

Make time to organize part of the daily routine. Set aside time to clean out book bags, sort out what needs to be done for the next day and pack bags for school. Use this time as an opportunity to practice organizing skills with guidance until being organized becomes a habit. Suppress the urge to do it for them! The daily routine is a valuable opportunity to teach this skill as it is on-going.

Incentivize your child for being organized – don’t rely on the sense of satisfaction to keep the behavior going. Remember, this will be hard for your child initially, so call in the reinforcements (or reinforcers, if you will)! Set up star charts or reserve preferred activities until all the organizing has been done. This also keeps your child accountable for their things, time and information. Once the behavior is automatic and your child can organize quickly and efficiently, you can begin decreasing the rewards gradually until the behavior itself becomes its own reward.

Further skills that should be taught is how to use a homework diary and drawing up to-do lists and writing down important tasks. Some children might prefer a separate sticky note for each task (crumpling up and throwing it away when the task is done) to a traditional list – work with your child to figure out what works for them.

An organized desk is a sign of an organized mind. And an organized mind is one that is free to spend it’s resources on what matters – learning!

In our quick-fix society, there are thousands of children each day marching to the nurse’s office and a countless number of adults dependent on ADHD medication, Ritalin (methylphenidate), or another psychostimulant drugs to help them focus. However, medications often only put a Band-Aid on symptoms and pose a risk. In some cases, it alters one’s personality, and in others, the side-effects can include increased depression, anxiety, aggression, thoughts of suicide and even psychosis.

Ongoing research suggests that early-life use of Ritalin (methylphenidate) affects brain development. A study published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that exposure to Ritalin in youth may later disrupt the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus, region of the brain critical to memory, spatial navigation, and behavioral inhibition. Damage can lead to memory problems, disorientation, and depression in adulthood. Unfortunately, these medications mimic similar properties as “drugs on the street” and have some of the same side-effects including, withdrawal, and dependency.

The Truth

ADHD is not all in our head; it lies in the body. And, the majority of those who suffer from attention, concentration and memory problems are missing vital nutritional elements in their diet, which throws their brain chemistry off balance.

The Good News

There are many nutrients and natural remedies that can treat ADHD symptoms more efficiently and more safely. Here are 15 of the best ADHD natural remedies:

1) Protein

Everyone talks about how ADHD sufferers need more dopamine and serotonin, which usually translates into more medication. However, if we look at the physiology behind how neurotransmitters are made in the first place, most of them depend on an adequate intake of protein. Therefore, it’s essential that we eat an adequate supply of protein daily.

2) Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA & DHA)

These essential fatty acids play an essential role in reducing inflammation in the entire body. Omegas boost brain function, helping to increase mental focus, reduce depression, and manic symptoms. Dietary supplementation with fish oils (providing EPA and DHA) appears to alleviate ADHD-related symptoms in at least some children, and one study in the Internal Review of Psychiatry also found benefits for academic achievement. Sources high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, eggs; pasture raised meats, wild rice, walnuts, canola oil, hemp, chia, sunflower, flax and other seeds, nuts, and beans.

3) Carnitine

Often used in the treatment of ADHD, carnitine can help boost the effectiveness of omega-3s, improve memory, and play a role in the synthesis of dopamine. It also reduces toxicity and can improve behavioral problems like aggression and hyperactivity. Also, many individuals with ADHD have glucose deficiencies that inhibit the uptake of carnitine into the brain. Hence, supplementing with carnitine is believed to help increase the energy production in the mitochondria.

4) Primrose Oil

Primrose oil is high in gamma-linoleic acid (Omega-6) when coupled with Omega-3 is believed to boost the immune system, aids nerve health, and helps to maintain healthy glucose levels. In fact, one study conducted at the University of South Australia revealed that taking a combination of fish oil and evening primrose oil capsules along with a multivitamin/mineral reduced symptoms of ADHD by as much as 50%. There were improvements in attention span and memory and decreased restlessness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

5) DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)

Sardines, anchovies, and salmon also contain DMAE, a natural central nervous system stimulant produced by the body. The effect of DMAE is similar to a mild amphetamine and may help memory, mood, and concentration. It may also help to reduce hyperactivity and aggression. If your child does not eat these fish, I highly recommend talking to your health practitioner about supplementation. Be aware that this supplement could have a stimulant effect and may not be the best or right treatment for everyone. Starting with a low dose is often best to see how well it works.

6) B-Complex Vitamins

All the B vitamins work together synergistically to support critical functions in the brain. They play a vital role in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain and help the neurological system to work correctly by metabolizing fats and proteins into energy. As explained in the February 2016 edition of Nutrients, “The B vitamins represent a group of eight essential dietary micronutrients that work closely in concert at a cellular level and which are essential for every aspect of brain function.”

7) Vitamin D

Besides benefitting bone health, vitamin D boosts the immune system and helps to reduce inflammation in the body. More and more evidence links depression and ADHD with vitamin D deficiency. February 2018 journal, Annals of Pharmacotherapy highlighted that the individuals receiving vitamin D supplementation demonstrated drastic improvement in cognitive function at the conceptual level, inattention, opposition, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

8) Trimethylglycine (TMG) and Dimethylglycine (DMG)

Holistic doctors are using these antioxidants more widely in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Functioning as an anti-inflammatory, energy booster, and methyl donor. As a supplement, it helps to raise glutathione levels and combat toxic free radicals. They have been shown to improve immune and allergy response, neurological function, behavior problems and speech delays. It can also help assist in the reduction of seizure activity and stemming behaviors. TMG is produced in the body. Unfortunately, some people do not make enough.

9) Phosphatidylserine

A 2013 study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics concluded, “Phosphatidylserine significantly improved ADHD symptoms and short-term auditory memory in children. PS supplementation might be a safe and natural nutritional strategy for improving mental performance in those suffering from ADHD.” Caveat: Be sure to test cortisol levels periodically if supplementing with Phosphatidylserine. It can cause cortisol levels to drop too low.

10) Magnesium

This anti-stress mineral often helps to alleviate headaches, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and is believed to reduce ADHD, PDD, and sensory processing issues in some children by helping to send signals through the nervous system. The best dietary sources of magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, fish, beans, lentils, avocados, bananas, figs and dark chocolate. 

11) Zinc

Minerals are essential for brain health. And, zinc is no exception. It supports immune system health, boosts digestive health, protects neurotransmitters, improves cognitive functioning, helps increase serotonin naturally, and promotes proper nerve health. Zinc therapy has been known to reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity, and anti-social behavior, as well as help with sleep. The best sources of zinc include lamb, beef, scallops, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, oats, turkey, shrimp and green peas.

12) Dandelion

Besides being an excellent liver cleaner, dandelion has exceptional brain-boosting power. It is rich in Luteolin which has been scientifically shown to improve memory, wakefulness and general cognition.

13) L-Theanine

This amino acid found in green tea increases the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps reduce anxiety, among other functions. L–theanine also stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter frequently out of balance in those who suffer from poor concentration or ADHD.

14) Bacopa Monnieri

Often used by Ayurvedic healers, Bacopa is traditionally prescribed to promote healthy cognitive function, including focus, concentration, mental endurance, and memory. Modern studies also support Bacopa as a strong anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) compound that also helps to boost mood.

15) CBD Oil

Cannabidiol oil, an increasingly popular treatment for anxiety, sleep issues, and ADHD, and is documented as being a useful alternative to pharmaceutical medications. CBD oil assists the body’s endocannabinoid system to work more effectively. The endocannabinoid system is a critical modulatory system in the function of the brain, endocrine, and immune tissues. It appears to play an essential regulatory role in the secretion of hormones related to reproductive functioning and response to stress. Extracted from the cannabis plant, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. Meaning that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it, however, can have many health benefits.

Always seek help from a qualified functional medicine practitioner or naturopathic physician if you are interested in trying these natural remedies. They can test for deficiencies and recommend the exact dose that is right for you or your children.

– Jennifer Kozek

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How do your kids respond to stressful events?

It’s important for parents to inculcate resilient traits within their children and form connections with them from a young age.

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations, explains counselling psychologist Ashleigh Yaman.

Yaman says a child is exposed to various risk factors from as early as the womb. All of which require resilience.

Risk factors such as exposure to alcohol and drugs, birth defects, chronic sickness, abandonment, bullying and more.

She says the characteristics of resilient children include a healthy self-esteem, intelligence, strong self-concept, and the ability to self-regulate.

According to Yaman, parents who are more connected with their children are able to equip them with the tools they need to bounce back.

Yaman shared her expert advice and answered questions from callers.

Listen to the discussion on The Family Matters feature with Eusebius McKaiser Here

We hear kids say negative things about themselves all the time: “I’m so stupid!” “Nobody likes me.” And, of course, “I’m fat.” Or “I’m ugly.” Sometimes these things are throwaway lines, or fishing for reassurance. They may be harmless. But what experts call negative self-talk can also reflect an unhealthy tendency in kids to think the worst of themselves, and that can lead to—or be a sign of—something more serious.

What is self-talk?

Self-talk is essentially our inner monologue, explains Rachel Busman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. It can be a way of narrating what is happening around you, practicing language, and guiding yourself through a task.

While self-talk is often constructive, it can also go the other way. We all engage in self-critical behavior from time to time, and it isn’t an immediate cause for concern. But it’s useful to think about why your child might be talking herself down, and when it might reflect a problem.

Globalized thinking

Kids often make statements about themselves that reflect “all or none thinking,” explains Lisa Brown, PsyD, a private practitioner and psychologist at the Rodeph Sholom Day School in New York. For example, when a child doesn’t do well in one soccer game and exclaims, “I stink at soccer!” When this kind of globalized thinking persists, she says, it “can affect how children think and feel about themselves in general.”

Perfectionism

“Children who set impossibly high standards for themselves,” says Dr. Brown, “are prone to engage in negative self-talk.” These perfectionists can be so hard on themselves that they run themselves down trying to reach their goals.

Too cool for school

Sometimes the self-deprecating “I’m so going to fail that test!” or “I’m so fat!” can be a form of social protection. For older kids in particular, “the social sphere becomes really important,” says Dr. Busman. In certain social circles it may not be cool to be smart, and obsessing over appearances may be a way to fit in with the popular kids. Or maybe the child is trying to beat others to the punch by making negative statements first.

Attention-seeking

“Sometimes,” says Dr. Brown, “children may engage in negative self-talk, verbalized out loud, in an attempt to manipulate others or in an effort to get attention.” For example a child may try to guilt parents by talking about what a horrible child he is and how he deserves to be punished.

Lack of resilience

In some cases, self-critical thought can be an indication of lack of resilience or “grit,” as some psychologists refer to it. “If children regularly respond to disappointments with negative self-talk that is out of proportion to the particular disappointments,” says Dr. Brown, “this can lead to avoiding certain experiences as well as a lack of motivation to persevere in the face of difficulties.”

Bullying

If a child is being picked on, it can be easy for her to internalize the insults aimed at her. Shawna Palomo, mom to a 17-year-old daughter, says her daughter’s negative self-talk emerged when she was 13. “They made fun of her,” recalls Palomo. “After a while, she would believe all the bad stuff her classmates were saying about her. She would always say how ugly she was.” Her daughter complained that her lips and nose were too big, her hair too curly. “It’s hard watching your child battle these demons,” laments Palomo.

When to worry

In isolation, negative self-talk is natural and not cause for concern. But it can also be evidence of low self-esteem, a learning disability, anxiety, or depression. Dr. Busman offers these signs to look out for:

  • The negative self-talk is persistent and pervasive.
  • It is not based in reality. For example, your son gets invited to play dates but still frets that no one likes him, or he always aces spelling tests but remains anxious that he will fail.
  • It is impacting a child’s relationships or schoolwork.
  • Your daughter’s eating and/or sleeping patterns have changed.
  • She’s making persistent, vague “I don’t feel well” statements in the absence of physical symptoms.

Palomo noticed many of these signs in her daughter as the negative self-talk led to depression. “She would not care about her appearance, then it went to the extreme where her appearance was all she cared about.” She didn’t do her homework, lost weight, and wanted to stay in bed all day.

What parents can do to help

Here are some ways to free children from negative thinking and steer them away from destructive self-talk:

Listen and validate. It can be tempting to ignore it when a kid first expresses negative feelings, but Dr. Busman says she “would recommend never just brushing off those kinds of comments, even if they’re kind of silly or not based in any reality.” Instead, offer a safe place for your child to come with concerns and try to find out what is going on.

Offer a realistic approach. Both Dr. Busman and Dr. Brown advise against battling critical self-talk with overly optimistic “positive thinking,” and recommend a more realistic approach. So if a child says she’s sure no one will talk to her on her first day at a new school, you don’t want to say, “The first day of school is going to be great and you’re going to make a million friends.” Instead, you might offer: “The first day of school might be a bit scary, but as you settle in you will likely make friends and grow to love it.”

Put it in context. Dr. Brown notes that adults can help by talking with kids in a way that “contextualizes their experience” and offers a “broader perspective.” Help them identify specifically what upset them, she explains, or made them make such a self-critical statement, and acknowledge that one bad experience doesn’t equate being the worst at something.

Model realistic and positive self-talk. Try to stop saying self-critical things about yourself, too. Don’t fixate on mistakes you’ve made, or worry out loud about your weight. We want to model positive self-esteem for our children. Dr. Busman also suggests offering stories from your own life to relate to your child. “Whether it’s an embellished example or entirely factual,” she says, “you’re modeling non-anxious coping and more realistic self-talk.”

Correct the record. Dr. Brown also notes catching yourself in the midst of making a negative statement can create a valuable teachable moment. Say you burn something and yell in frustration, “I’m a terrible cook!” Continue the conversation in front of your child with something like “actually, I’m a pretty good cook most of the time, I just messed up this dish but I’m not going to let that stop me from cooking in the future.”

Touch base with school. If your child is in school, check in with his teachers about what you’re hearing. Getting their perspective can help you see a more complete picture. Dr. Busman notes that this kind of information can also be useful later should you end up having a professional evaluation.

Seek professional help. If the behavior is persistent and negatively impacting your child’s life, or if it’s linked to other troubling shifts in mood and behavior it might be time to obtain a diagnostic evaluation to help determine what is causing the problem. Dr. Busman calls this a “mental health check-up,” and it can help pinpoint what is going on and how it can be treated.

Katherine Martinelli

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