This month, the luck of the Irish is upon us, and sadly, most children’s diets are anything but lucky.
I’m sure you already know (and probably have experienced) that attention deficits, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities have soared in the last few years to epidemic proportions. It seems most people these days have trouble concentrating and completing even basic tasks, impacting young and old alike.
There is a gross misunderstanding of ADHD symptoms and the methods used to diagnose the disorder, which I’ll get into later, but first, let’s look at some Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stats:
- A survey of 76,000 parents conducted every four years estimates that one in 11 children had been diagnosed with ADHD by a health care professional, an increase of 42% between 2003 and 2014.
- The percentage of children taking drugs jumped by more than a quarter, from 4.8% of the population between 4 and 17 to 6.1% between 2007 and 2011.
- Not surprisingly, there was even a brief shortage of ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, and Stratera in 2011 and 2012 because the demand was outpacing the supply. Yikes!
While it’s true we live in a time where technology and screen time has literally changed how our brains process information, this doesn’t account for the staggering rise in attention deficit disorders, also known as FAS or Focus and Attention Syndromes.
So why is ADHD on the rise?!?
Like autism, ADHD is part of a cluster of symptoms that includes OCD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), anger and rage, depression, anxiety, extreme temper tantrums and mood swings, sleeping difficulties, and learning disabilities such as dyslexia, to name a few.
And it’s not just relegated to one family member. If you step back and take a good look, you’ll notice other family members share in these cluster symptoms. This is because ADHD is an inherited condition, something called transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.
Epigenetics is the science of how your genes perform over your lifetime and whether those changes can be passed down to future generations and is influenced by environmental factors that impact your ability to think, focus, and concentrate effectively.
Environmental factors include things like the 4×4 burger, animal style fries, and Neapolitan shake you had at In & Out for lunch. It’s not simply about the genes and not simply about the environment. Both are factors that contribute to biochemical imbalances in the brain, which in turn can affect your child’s functional capacity.
ADHD Underlying Causes/Biochemistry
As a conductor of energy, copper has the profound ability to short circuit the brain’s processes and neural activity. Many of the kids I work with are overloaded in copper.
A good analogy I Iike to use is the energizer bunny that keeps going and going and going. This over-excitability is what creates inattention and/or hyperactive behaviors in children with copper overload.
With copper high, zinc is often low or not balanced with copper, which is critically important for your brain to function optimally. Low zinc individuals can’t regulate GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), one of the brain’s calming neurotransmitters.
See my Low Copper Cookbook for more information about this chemical imbalance.
I call pyrroles “little shamers” because it’s amazing how many things this disorder is connected to (click here to read more about it) such as rapid cycling bipolar disorder, Multiple Sclerosis, severe mood swings, inability to tan, poor dream recall, abnormal fat distribution, sensitivity to light and sound, hyperactivity, an inability to tolerate stress, morning nausea, and night owl tendencies.
Pyrrole disorder (also called pyroluria) is a mood and stress disorder. It is often genetically inherited in the Irish, English, Welsh and Scandinavian people groups.
Pyrroles have little or no function in the body and are excreted continuously in the urine. However, for a pyroluric individual, nutrient deficiencies occur because these molecules have an affinity for zinc (yep, there’s that zinc again) and vitamin B6, and latch onto and excrete them in the urine before the body is able to absorb them.
Methylation is the body’s ability to turn on or off certain enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals by way of certain methyl groups. Methyl groups (Me) have one carbon atom bonded with three or more hydrogen atoms. These methyl groups can radically alter your perceptions and behavior.
My clients diagnosed with ADHD are predominantly in the undermethylation category because they make too few methyl groups and have a really hard time concentrating. Those diagnosed with ADD tend to be overmethylated because they make too many methyl groups.
It is very important to test for the presence of yeast (and bacteria) in young children with ADHD because poor focus, attention, impulsivity and anxiety are often related to yeast overgrowth. This is because of its ability to create massive gut inflammation and abnormal intestinal permeability (otherwise known as leaky gut), which is why your child is such a picky eater and reacts negatively to different types of foods.
This month I’ll be focusing on ADHD in my Eat for Life Academy! I’d love to support you and your child in learning how to eat for life, correct these imbalances and thrive! You can sign up for my EFL Academy here!
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