Can You Help ADHD Naturally?

a happy baby sleeps on an orange pumpkin

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders that affect youth in our country. Most likely there is someone in your life, or even yourself, that has been diagnosed with ADHD at some point but if you’re unfamiliar, this condition is characterized by a lack of focus, difficulty paying attention, and difficulty controlling impulsive behaviors. 

Unfortunately, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD is a staggeringly high amount, with the CDC reporting nearly 9.8% of US children, roughly 6 million kids, diagnosed between 2016 and 2019. Additionally, the rate at which diagnoses of this condition are made is rapidly accelerating because back in 2003, the number of children diagnosed was only 4.4 million.

In most ADHD cases, the diagnosed child is treated with one or medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Vyvanse or others. While these medications are effective in managing symptoms, they unfortunately, like all medications, have negative side effects. These can include problems sleeping, irritability, decreased appetite, mood changes and even depression.

So like many things in the chiropractic world, our mindset begins with the idea that while medications can be necessary, is there a way to improve the condition without using medications? The good news is that with ADHD, the answer to that question may potentially be yes! There is a lot of research out there that explores alternative means of managing ADHD symptoms without using medication that I want to share with you and breaks down into 4 categories: diet/nutrition, supplementation, exercise, and spine health.

·        Diet/Nutrition: In a 2022 literature review published in the journal Nutrients, the author reported that children with a healthy dietary pattern, meaning a diet that includes consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, and micronutrients such as magnesium, zinc and phytochemicals seems to decrease the risk of ADHD by 37%. On the other hand, the traditional ‘Western’ diet, meaning a diet high in red and processed meats, refined cereal grains, soft drinks and hydrogenated fats increased ADHD risk by 92%!

·        Supplementation: Certain supplements, specifically Omega-3, Vitamin D, and Magnesium, have been clinically shown to improve ADHD symptoms in some patients. This may be due to the fact that ADHD patients have been shown to have a lower level of these vitamins and nutrients in their blood via lab work. Vitamin D deficiency, for example, has been seen as a common component in many psychiatric conditions.

·        Exercise: There is increasing evidence that a single session of exercise can lead to immediate improvements in ADHD symptoms and cognitive function. Studies show that as little as half an hour per day of exercise can help kids, especially younger ones, focus better and feel better.

·        Spine Health: If you’ve ever been to our new patient orientation, you’ve most likely heard us reference the study that followed a 5 year old patient suffering from severe ADHD that had been on a combination of three different drugs to try to manage it. The child treated with his chiropractor for 8 weeks during which his symptoms improved so much that his pediatrician reported he no longer required medication!

If you or a loved one is dealing with ADHD, take a look at the above list to see which steps you’re taking to help manage symptoms. Although medication can be necessary, there are things that can be done to potentially help the condition without them. Please note, that this is not a recommendation to throw away your medication! But if you are interested in seeing if that is a possibility someday, talk to your prescribing doctor about the info in this email. And if you need any of the research cited here to back up your claims, I'm happy to provide! 

If there is anything that we can do to assist in that process, please call us anytime at 302-368-1300 to speak with one of our doctors!

Dr. Travis McKay

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