Here are some articles about aspartame, they come from BLI Online (Better Life Institute) , which is one of the best health research institutes in the WORLD.
**Here’s Article # 1: **
If there is one food component we get asked about more than anything else, it’s the artificial sweetener aspartame. Currently an email warning about the negative effects of aspartame is being circulated. In it, a woman claims to have addressed an international conference about aspartame and its health effects that include, among other things, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, ADD, migraines, and many more. Type the word “aspartame” into a search engine, and you can discover website after website dedicated to the evils of aspartame. There are not enough bytes on the internet to discuss why individuals and groups use such scare tactics, but is does raise two questions: Is aspartame safe, and should you use it?
Aspartame has been shown to be safe1 and is approved by government and health organizations. The scare regarding methanol metabolism seems to go back to a study by Trocho2 demonstrating the potential for formaldehyde to remain in the body instead of being eliminated. Another paper addressed the flaws in the Trocho study3. But more important than scientists criticizing methods or research design, the study hasn’t been repeated in three years. Repetition of studies is crucial in science because of the potential for finding differences that are due to chance rather than a true effect.
The safety of aspartame revolves around its metabolism in the body. Aspartame breaks down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The methanol seems to get all the attention because it’s metabolized by the body to formaldehyde, then formic acid, then to carbon dioxide and water. Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is poisonous in high quantities. In the amounts typically ingested from foods containing aspartame such as soft drinks and other sweets, the body can eliminate it with no harmful effects. It does so all the time when you eat fruits and vegetables or drink wine–other sources of methanol.
Can aspartame cause negative reactions in some people? Yes. There are thousands of chemical reactions that take place in the body every second. There may be biochemical differences in us that science hasn’t even begun to discover–and the inability to metabolize aspartame and other foods may be some of them.
Should you use products that contain aspartame? As always, it’s up to you. There are many foods that people are sensitive to and aspartame is one of them. Others are wheat, corn, milk, and even simple sugar. The important thing is to know yourself and how your body responds to the foods you eat. If you’re going to eat processed foods–and most of us will because they’re convenient and almost inescapable–then you must take the time to find which ingredients your body can and cannot use. How do you do that? Stop eating the food for a period of time and see if you feel better. If you do–avoid that food.
Use aspartame or not as you see fit, but don’t fear it because of the ramblings of people who may be well intentioned, but have little else to do with their time. Everybody needs a hobby.
1. Leon AS, et al. Safety of long-term large doses of aspartame. Arch Intern Med 149(10):2318-2324. 1989.
2. Trocho C, et al. Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to tissue components in vivo. Life Sci 63(5):337-349. 1998.
3. Tephly TR. Comments on the purported generation of formaldehyde and adduct formation from the sweetener aspartame. Life Sci 65(13):PL157-PL160. 1999.
**Article # 2: **
As the 21st Century begins, America’s taste for sweet-tasting foods continues. The typical American currently consumes almost 50 lbs. of cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners such as honey every year1. The excess calories from sugary foods have been linked to the epidemic of obesity and the associated diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Because Americans are unlikely to reduce their cravings for sweets any time soon, substitute sweeteners have been developed to help reduce the dependence on sugar-based sweeteners. One such artificial sweetener is acesulfame-potassium, acesulfame-K, or ace-K for short. It’s sold in the United States under the brand name Sweet One®.
Acesulfame-K is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Therefore the amount required to get an acceptable sweetness level is quite low. One of the advantages of acesulfame-K is that it is more heat stable than other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and can be used in baking without deterioration. It also has a longer shelf life—up to four years—and won’t lose its sweetness when used in diet drinks.
Acesulfame-K was discovered in 1967 by Hoechst AG. It was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 1992 for dry foods and use in liquids in 19982. Acesulfame is widely used throughout the world and is approved for use in over 75 countries. For example, it is used in 70% of the diet drinks sold in Canada. Acesulfame-K does not increase blood sugar levels and is one of three artificial sweeteners approved by the American Diabetic Association3.
Acesulfame-K is made from acetoacetic acid by a process still protected by patent laws. The chemical composition is carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and potassium in a ringed structure. It passes directly through the human digestive system without being digested. The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is the amount of a food additive than can be taken daily in the diet, every day for a lifetime, without risk. That doesn’t mean that it can never be exceeded on any given day, but represents an average use. The ADI for acesulfame-K is 15 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day. That would be the equivalent of an adult drinking 20 cans of diet soda every day for life. While possible, it’s not very likely.
Over 90 scientific studies have been performed and have established acesulfame-K as safe for use in humans. As with every artificial sweetener, concerns about the safety of such products have been expressed by various consumer groups. The vigilance of such groups has pushed Food and Drug Administration scientists to closely examine a few studies that questioned whether acesulfame-K might be mutagenic in rats and mice. After examining the data closely, the FDA, the Commission of the European Communities, the World Health Organization, and the American Dietetics Association concluded that acesulfame-K was safe to use in recommended amounts.
When it comes to the American sweet tooth, it doesn’t seem reasonable that it will be constrained anytime soon. Artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame-K provide a non-caloric alternative to satisfy that sweet tooth. However, as always, the use of these products is up to the individual. At the Better Life Institute, we believe life is a balance—everything in moderation and avoid overdoing anything. Artificial sweeteners are there if you feel you need to improve your diet by cutting down on sugars.
1. Sugar consumption in the United States. www.sugar.org
2. Approved artificial sweeteners. In www.diabetes.org/ada/sugar_sweetners
3. Food and Drug Administration, Federal Register Vol. 57, No. 39, Feb. 27, 1992.
**Article # 3: **
From the beginning of recorded time, and probably since man has been on the face of this earth, there have been headaches for people to suffer from, complain about, and seek remedies for. It is estimated that almost 90 percent of the world’s population has suffered from headaches at some time in their lives. Many physicians and health professionals report that half of their patients seek help for headaches or problems associated with headaches. Today, more than half a billion dollars are spent on over-the-counter pain-relief remedies each year.
It is estimated that almost 90 percent of the world’s population has suffered from headaches at some time in their lives. Many physicians and health professionals report that half of their patients seek help for headaches or problems associated with headaches.
It was believed by primitive man that headaches were caused by demons sent by angry gods to plague man for offenses committed, and it was the medicine man’s job to drive out the evil spirits. This was done by boring holes into the head to allow the demons to escape; by bloodletting to allow the demons to pass out in the spilled blood; by cool compresses to the head to ease the demon; and by oil massages to soothe and ease the temples where much of the pain was located. Medicine, as it progressed, soon discovered that certain herbs, plants, and other preparations when combined eased, treated, and relieved the pain of headaches. In 3000BC the ancient Sumerians knew that the poppy plant relieved pain of all sorts. They called it the “joy plant.” Today we know the poppy as the source for opium. In 1930, a physician in England began to seriously study the pathology and physiology of the headache, and today study continues around the world exploring this very complex problem.
What Is A Headache?
Simply put, a headache is a symptom of a disease or a functional disturbance in the body. It is a signal that something is not “in sync” in the body. The major symptom of a headache is pain in any or all parts of the head that can cause throbbing sensations, tight muscles in the face and neck, or vomiting and nausea. The cause of this pain is a complex reaction of nerve fibers and endings in combination with electrical impulses in the brain that send “messages” to the body’s pain center. There are many causes of headaches. Dilation, constriction, or inflammation of the blood vessels can cause a vascular headache. Muscle contraction of the head and neck can cause headache, as can toothache, stress reactions, anger, anxiety, and sinus infections.
Different Types Of Headaches
Muscle Contraction Headaches: This “tension headache” is caused by the tightening of the muscles in the back of the neck, head, and shoulders. The tightening of these muscles puts pressure on the blood vessels and tissues which, in turn, triggers pain impulses. Anyone who sits working at a desk or at a computer has probably suffered this type of headache. It is also caused by stress, anxiety, anger, etc. It is the most common headache.
The Vascular Headache: This type of headache is caused by a change in the arteries in the head. The migraine is such a headache. In the migraine, pain results as the arteries constrict or swell, causing chemical substances to be released stimulating the nerve endings in the brain. Migraines seem to run in certain families and have certain warning signals. These signals can include nausea and vomiting, visual difficulties, or some motor-motion impairment. This is the second most common type of headache.
Inflammation-Caused Headaches: This type of headache can be caused by many different diseases or ailments. One of the most common reasons is infected sinuses. Inflammation causes changes in tissues which produce redness, swelling, and pain. These headaches can also be caused by flu, a cold, or allergies. This is the third most common type of headache.
Depression Headaches: This type of headache is very real, really painful, and occurs when a person is experiencing emotional difficulties and depression. It is the fourth most common headache.
The Traction Headache: This type of headache is caused by a sudden jerking or jolting of the neck or head. It’s pain is quick to come and quick to go. Have you ever sneezed really hard and then had a quick, sharp pain in your head? Now you know what a traction headache is.
The Direct Pressure Headache: This headache signals a serious problem in the body, such as a brain tumor. It’s cause is pressure from a swelling in the brain and should be attended to by a physician or health professional.
Cluster headaches: These are a specific type of headache the specialists are learning more about every day. Many physicians and health professionals consider the cluster headache the source of the most severe of all headache pain. Persons suffering from this type of headache describe it as excruciatingly painful, a burning, throbbing, or steady pain usually felt on one side of the head. It can strike with little or no warning, usually at night, and can drive sufferers into pacing the floor or crying out in a pain frenzy. The pain can last upwards of 1½ hours and can repeat itself several times within a 24 hour period. That is why they are called cluster headaches. Most sufferers of cluster headaches are men. In fact nine out of ten sufferers are macho-type men: hard driving, ambitious, aggressive, and proud. Cluster headaches can be triggered by smoking and drinking as well as changes in sleep habits. It is thought that anger, guilt, or even underlying depression can cause these headaches. No one has yet to discover the cause of these headaches, however, some medications help the patient deal with them when they come on. Both patient and physician should be aware of this problem and should work together to deal with it as effectively as possible.
Headaches in Women: Hormonal changes in women as well as stress, emotional upsets, and depression are the major causes of female headache complaints. Women tend to be more emotional than men and these emotions can trigger a headache. When a woman’s body is going through the normal changes leading to menstruation or menopause the entire body acts and reacts. These hormonal changes can cause headaches, anxiety, depression, dietary changes and cravings, and sleeplessness. Becoming aware of these hormonal changes and discussing them with your physician or health care professional with expertise in this area can help the woman to deal with these natural changes more effectively, thus removing the factors that might trigger a headache.
Headaches in Children: Children can suffer from headaches even before they are able to communicate the fact that they have a pain in their head. Most headaches in children are caused by disease that can produce a fever. Allergies can also trigger headaches in children and adults as a result of sinus congestion.
Other headaches: There are some people who experience a sharp pain in the head when consuming very cold drinks or foods such as ice cream. Some people report headaches after eating foods containing certain additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates as found in hot dogs, aspartame as found in diet soft drinks, after fasting, when giving up nicotine or caffeine, or even after vigorous exercise. Some people report headaches while chewing gum. Diseases of the eye such as glaucoma can cause headaches as well as poor vision. Dental disorders, diseased teeth, or badly aligned teeth can cause headaches. As you can probably tell, the list goes on and on.
Dealing With A Headache With Drugs
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is probably the most widely used drug in the world and is very effective when treating headache pain. Aspirin can be purchased over-the-counter and is manufactured in buffered, coated, or plain form. Standards for aspirin production are set by government regulations and even though considered safe for adults, aspirin should not be given to children and teenagers without a physicians consultation because of Reye’s Syndrome (a potentially fatal neurological illness in feverish children). Take only as directed and report any side effects such as stomach upset to your physician.
Tylenol® (acetaminophen) is an over-the-counter preparation which helps to reduce pain and fever in adults and children. Take as directed. Children can take children’s Tylenol in place of aspirin. When a child complains of a headache have the child remain quiet for a while before giving him/her a Tylenol-type product. Check for cold, flu, and various other types of symptoms, as well as fever. Watch the child and report symptoms and changes to your physician or health professional. Should a child repeatedly complain of headaches, report these incidents to an expert in this area for further evaluation.
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal drug used as an anti- inflammatory agent as well as a remedy for moderate pain and fever. Ibuprofen was originally developed for the treatment of arthritis and is now sold over-the-counter under many brand names. Ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. This appears to be less of a problem than with aspirin, however, for some people it can be severe. To minimize possible heartburn or upset stomach ibuprofen should be taken with food or milk. Anyone who has a hypersensitivity reaction to aspirin, or who has experienced any serious reactions while taking other nonprescription analgesics should check with their physician before taking ibuprofen. Because ibuprofen may cause developmental problems in the fetus or complications during delivery, a woman should not take ibuprofen during pregnancy, especially in the last 3 months, unless directed by a physician. In addition, children under the age of 12 should not be given ibuprofen without a physician’s OK.
Antihistamine-type drugs can help relieve the congestion and stuffiness in nasal passages caused by viral infections and allergies.
Prescription pain killers, such as Darvon® and Codeine, may be suggested by your physician or health professional under specific circumstances. Only take as directed and report any side effects.
Sedative-type drugs, such as Phenobarbital, which can reduce anxiety may be prescribed by your physician or health professional. Again take only as directed and report any side effects.
Tranquilizer-type drugs such as Librium®, Valium®, or Thorazine® can effectively treat headaches by helping to relax muscles and relieve anxiety.
Antidepressants such as Elavil® can help treat headaches caused by depression and anxiety.
Vascular-type drugs can help prevent the changes in blood vessels that can be responsible for migraine-type headaches.
Alternative Suggestions For Treating Headaches
Relaxation: There are relaxation techniques a headache sufferer can learn that will enable him/her to relieve the pain and pressure of a headache. Progressive relaxation is a technique where the muscles in various parts of the body are contracted and released in rhythmic steps. The contraction - relaxation begins at the top of the head and progresses down to the toes. The process takes approximately 10-15 minutes and can be performed at home, at the office, or on an airplane. No machines are necessary and no cost is involved once you learn the technique. There are books and tapes available to help you learn Progressive Relaxation or other relaxation techniques.
Music and Sounds of Nature: Many people find that listening to quiet music or the sounds of nature (the sounds of the sea, birds, etc.) can ease the throbbing pain of a headache when listened to in a private area. Many people have made a positive habit of “shutting out the outside world” prior to going to sleep or even in their office when things get hectic. They close the door, dim the lights, put on a cassette or CD of relaxing music or nature sounds, get in a comfortable position, close their eyes, and relax for 10-15 minutes, listening to sounds that can ease and soothe the body.
Biofeedback: This technique became popular in the 1980’s as a process that allows the patient to become more aware of his/her body and the body’s reactions to outside influences. Basically, biofeedback is a process of learning how to control the body’s internal functions by better understanding the individual’s psychological makeup. This process has found personal favor with some people and disfavor with others. It is a personal choice.
Acupressure: This technique is a modification of acupuncture, using pressure on certain nerve points to relieve pain. Health professionals differ on the effectiveness of this technique, but it does seem to work for some people.
Hypnosis: This technique has been used therapeutically for centuries and is presently being investigated as a treatment in pain clinics. At Columbia University research is going on with hypnosis as a process of intense concentration that can be used to treat headache pain without the use of drugs.
Vitamins and Herbal Preparations: Check with your physician if you suffer from migraine headaches.
Some health professionals use omega-3 supplements for the treatment of migraines because of omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Passion flower has been reported by some people as an aid for stress-induced headaches. Passion flower is an herb that can have a calming effect on an individual when taken as directed.
Ginger has been found by researchers in Denmark to help relieve migraines because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory activity.
Vitamin B-complex, and in particular vitamin B6, has been linked with a reduction in headaches.
Low magnesium levels in menstruating women have been linked to the occurrence of headaches.
Check with a physician or health professional before beginning a therapeutic vitamin or herbal regimen.
Summary and Conclusions
People down through the ages have suffered from headaches. Consult with your physician or health professional for debilitating or frequent headaches, and use the following checklist as a practical “can do” guide to assist you and your physician in treatment:
Keep a record of frequent headaches and the pattern of these occurrences, such as time of day, how long do they last, medications that help, and medications that do not help.
Do certain foods, drinks, or substances cause a headache, for example after a diet soft drink, or after eating Chinese foods?
Do your headaches occur during certain times of year, such as fall and spring?
Are there certain circumstances when a headache occurs, such as visiting a sick friend or relative, taking a test, or having a job interview?
Do headaches occur during certain times of the month or year, for example ovulation in women, tax day, etc.?
Remember that awareness is part of the treatment, and that there are many options open to help you deal effectively with the pain of a headache for a full quality of life. It is up to you.
Article # 4: **
The debate regarding Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) continues to rage on, with medical science and naturopathic/holistic/homeopathic practitioners both becoming more firmly entrenched in their differences. It seems that the only thing the two sides can agree on are the persistent symptoms which describe the disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes three areas of consideration to be assessed in determining whether or not a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is appropriate: Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity.
1. Inattention, including the following behaviors:
becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds.
failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes.
rarely following instructions carefully and completely.
losing or forgetting things like toys, pencils, books, and tools needed for completing a task.
2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity, including the following behaviors:
feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming.
running, climbing, or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected.
blurting out answers before hearing the entire question.
interrupting during conversations, or interjecting inappropriately during conversations.
having difficulty or inability to wait in line or for your turn.
As in our previous article regarding ADD, it is very important to note that everyone exhibits some of these behaviors from time to time. In order to sustain the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, the behaviors must appear before age seven and continue consistently for at least six months. They must be significantly more frequent, ongoing, and more severe than in other children of the same age and developmental period, and must create a “real” problem in at least two significant areas of the person’s life, school, work, home, relationships, and/or social settings.
Agreement on the symptoms does nothing; however, to dispel the less than harmonious relationship between the two approaches to treatment. Two recent articles, one in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (“Attention Deficit Disorder: A Review of the Past 10 Years,” by Dennis P. Cantwell, August 1996, v35, n8, p.978), and one in Pediatrics Journal (“Medication for Children with Attention Disorders,” by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Children With Disabilities and Committee on Drugs, August 1996, v98, n2, p.301), tend to disregard most models of healing or wellness that deviate from the scientific and medical model. The NIMH position on holistic or homeopathic healing is as follows: “A few success stories (regarding anecdotal portrayals of the elimination and/or decrease of ADD symptoms through homeopathy) can’t substitute for scientific evidence. Until sound, scientific testing shows a treatment to be effective, families risk spending time, money, and hope on fads or false promises.”
While thorough scientific studies conducted over a sufficient period of time regarding natural remedies for the treatment of ADD or ADHD are still in their infancy stages, the accumulation of similar anecdotal experiences regarding the naturopathic elimination or significant decrease of the ADD symptoms is growing at a very fast rate. Much of this is attributed to the recent massive influx of information regarding what natural remedies are available and how they appear to be working. There also currently exist a greater number of medical professionals who are willing to entertain the notion that there may indeed be natural alternatives which can have a significant, positive impact in a large number of cases, without some of the debilitating side effects of the chemical controls like Ritalin, Pemoline, and Cylert.
The focus of this article dedicates itself to how ADD or ADHD is being discussed and handled from a naturopathic, homeopathic, and holistic vantage point. Although redundant, it is again necessary to point out that most of this information is anecdotal, passed on from person to person, family to family, proponent to proponent, in an effort to “check out” results in different situations. It is very important to be vigilant in our investigation of any and all alternative therapies because what works in some situations will not necessarily work in all situations, and caution must be used in dealing with any of the supplemental and herbal remedies outlined here.
Suspected ADD or ADHD causes from a naturopathic point of view
Diet, nutrition, food additives, and sugar consumption consistently top the list of suspected causes of ADD or ADHD. Marcia Zimmerman, C.N., M.Ed., believes that dietary analysis should be the first line of defense in dealing with the disorder. “Many parents of ADD children don’t realize there are options to drugs, the first of which is altering a child’s diet, which can make a marked difference in how he or she behaves. Food can be psychoactive… especially for children, whose brains demand almost 50 percent of total caloric intake. About 20 percent of an adult’s caloric intake goes to brain function. In other words, what you feed your child can affect his or her behavior.” Bruce Milliman, N.D., from Seattle, WA, believes that there is a nutritional deficit present in the majority of ADD children. “It can be an overt nutritional deficiency such as anemia or a diet based on convenience—full of foods with fun or pacification value (designed to make the child “feel good”)—rather than optimal nutrition.”
Sugar’s connection to hyperactivity continues to be a point of contention in the scientific community, but many practitioners in the natural healing community are recommending avoiding sugar consumption as much as possible. The New England Journal of Medicine (1994, v330) reported that sugar and its artificial counterparts like aspartame and phenylalanine (Nutrasweet®) enter the bloodstream very quickly and have been reported to induce hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in sugar-sensitive children. Dr. Kris VanOeveren, D.C., takes this concept even further with his belief that “refined sugar is the main culprit” for ADD or ADHD in sugar-sensitive children. His position is that refined sugar gets metabolized into the system so quickly that it induces a major influx of insulin to deal with it, and depletes essential vitamins and cofactors, including minerals, in the process. He also believes that as a result of this transaction, the digestive enzymes are thrown out of balance by the demand, and their ability to consistently reproduce in sufficient quantities is inhibited.
Allergies and food sensitivities are also being studied in regard to ADD symptomatology, including artificial dyes, additives, and salicylates in foods. In addition to those, the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group, based in Great Britain, lists dairy, wheat, sugar, chocolate, oranges, yeast, malt, tap water, pesticides, and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, manganese, and copper as possible contributors to ADD or ADHD behavior stimulation. As indicated by Elizabeth Wotton, N.D., in the Naturopathic Specific Condition Review, “Compromised adrenal function can lead to inappropriate immune response resulting in multiple sensitivities and allergic reactions. Continued exposure to aggravating foods can reinforce inflammatory conditions and immunological dysfunction… and allergies.” Many children are not visibly allergic to certain foods as indicated by what the medical model would describe as an “allergic reaction,” however, food sensitivities can manifest themselves as behavioral challenges not attributable to any other outside stimulus. Sensitivities to dairy products (cheese, milk, etc.) and yeast seem to be particularly suspect in the food sensitivity realm. One of the original hypotheses linking food additive sensitivities and ADD or ADHD was developed by Dr. Benjamin Feingold, M.D. (originator of the Feingold Diet). In his original presentation to the American Medical Society (1973), Feingold indicated that perhaps 40-50 percent of ADD or ADHD children were sensitive to artificial food colors, flavors, and preservatives and to naturally occurring salicylates and phenolic compounds. These naturally occurring salicylates are found in fresh oranges, raspberries, tomatoes, and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, dill, oregano and rosemary. It is also an additive used in a variety of foods, from cookies to ice cream to chewing gum. On the positive side, salicylates seem to mimic the anticlotting effect of aspirin and may help prevent heart disease deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Phenols are most prominently found in the bluish-purple fruits such as grapes and blueberries, green tea, and in wine, as one of the nonalcoholic components. Researchers have found that phenolic compounds extracted from red wine stopped 60-98 percent of the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and it has been shown that reducing the oxidation of lipoproteins—a major cause of blocked arteries—is beneficial in many ways. However, sensitivity to the phenols is also being examined as a cause of ADD or ADHD behaviors. Dr. Feingold’s findings were based on over 1,200 cases in which he directly linked food additives to learning and behavior problems. Those findings were hotly debated within the medical community and largely dismissed, although the subsequent research focused primarily on only 10 food dyes versus the 3,000 food additives with which Feingold was concerned (out of the approximately 5,000 additives currently used in the U.S., both natural and artificial).
Thirdly, the possibility of nutritional deficiencies is being actively explored. There is consistent evidence of altered fatty acid metabolism and essential fatty acid deficiency in some children with ADHD. While typical Western diets tend to be deficient in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, this is being compounded by the current trend toward low-fat diets. Males, who need a higher equivalent of essential fatty acids, are disproportionately affected with ADD or ADHD symptoms. Some of the cofactors essential for fatty acid conversion and activity are magnesium, zinc, selenium, biotin, folic acid, and vitamins C, A, B3, and B6. The absence of these cofactors coupled with dietary deficiencies seems to be present in a number of individuals exhibiting ADD or ADHD symptoms.
Naturopathic and holistic trends in treating ADD or ADHD
There are currently numerous naturopathic and holistic practices used in treating ADD or ADHD symptoms, including the use of magnetic fields, flower remedies, and “herbal cocktails.” The treatments examined in this article represent those which were consistently discussed in current literature regarding naturopathic and holistic treatments. Since there is no known cure for ADD or ADHD, professionals from both fields are turning to alternative techniques in hopes of reducing the symptoms associated with the problem. This does not discount any of the strategies which may exist, but does focus primarily on those anecdotal treatments which were reported to be effective by a multitude of sources over an extended period of time.
Holistic or behavioral interventions
Reference: Thomas Armstrong, Educational Leadership, (Feb 1996, v53, n5, p.34-37).
Cognitive: Use focusing and attention training techniques (for example, meditation and visualization), self-talk skills, biofeedback training, organizational strategies, attributional skills (including the ability to attribute success to personal effort), and higher-order problem solving.
Ecological: Limit television and video games, provide appropriate spaces for learning, use music and art to calm or stimulate, find the child’s best times of alertness, provide a balanced breakfast, and remove allergens from the diet.
Physical: Emphasize a strong physical education program, martial arts training, use of physical touch and appropriate movement, outdoor activities, noncompetitive sports and games, and physical relaxation techniques.
Emotional: Use self-esteem building strategies; provide positive role models and positive images of the future; employ values clarification; offer individual counseling; and identify talents, strengths, and abilities.
Behavioral: Use personal contracting; immediate feedback; natural and logical consequences; and consistent rules, routines, and transitions. Involve the child in the selection of strategies.
Social: Stress effective communication and social skills, class meetings, family therapy, peer and cross-age tutoring in schools, and cooperative learning opportunities.
Educational: Use computers; hands-on learning; high-stimulation learning resources; expressive arts; creativity development; and multiple intelligences, whole language, and attention-grabbing activities. The multiple intelligence aspect of this intervention is particularly interesting because it specifically addresses the way your child learns, which may consist of a very different style than his or her peers in the educational setting. Acknowledging and understanding that difference may allow the school and the parents to adapt a teaching method which meets the child where they are, rather than expecting them to do all the conforming. It also allows the parents to provide additional experiences for the child that are conducive to growth and learning in a more “user friendly” way.
God’s Remedy is an intervention designed by Max James, a father whose child went through a “six-year Ritalin nightmare,” and who dedicated himself to investigating alternative treatments for ADD or ADHD. His intervention has gotten support from Kris VanOeveren, D.C., and has received testimonials from individuals who tried the intervention over a 30-day period. It consists of the following:
One multi-enzyme capsule containing sufficient gluco-amylase with every meal and significant snack.
Eliminating refined carbohydrates and sugar as much as possible.
Two ounces of liquid trace minerals per day.
A daily antioxidant formula which includes OPCs [Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin—which includes grape seed extract, hawthorn berry, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle seed, catalase (an antioxidant enzyme), and yucca].
This particular formula takes information from a variety of health and wellness professionals, as well as from the Feingold studies, and combines them in a concoction that is certainly not considered to be mainstream medicine, but has received anecdotal support.
Pediatrician Dr. Lendon Smith, M.D., from Portland, Oregon, had treated 6,000 ADHD children by 1994 and noted that 80 percent improved by changing their diets and taking vitamins and minerals. Smith, an expert in the field of food sensitivities and child behaviors, believes that 20 percent of the population are “quick insulin producers” whose blood sugars plummet too far too fast when they eat foods high in carbohydrates. In sensitive children, this manifests itself in distractibility, confusion, unpredictable behaviors, extreme emotions, and constant motion. Some exhibit sleep disturbance, problems with coordination, and can be impatient and reckless. Many of these children also exhibit food cravings and food allergies. Smith notes that American children consume over five pounds of chemical additives annually from the more than 2,000 artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives used in foods. Smith recommends an additive-free diet with no dairy products or refined white flour, comprised of at least 50 percent raw foods eaten in small amounts throughout the day. Vegetables can be served raw, lightly steamed, or quick fried. (The term “quick fried” does not refer to the “deep fried” vegetables you might find on the appetizer menu of your local restaurant. Those foods are extremely high in saturated fats which may seem good to the taste, but not to the waist or the arteries. As Smith uses the term, “quick fried” vegetables are those prepared by heating a very small amount of olive oil to a high temperature and frying the vegetables for a very short period of time—to heat them, not cook them—perhaps with some natural seasonings for taste enhancement. He also recommends high protein snacks such as chicken cubes, hard boiled eggs, unsalted raw nuts, and whole grain or high fiber toast served with unprocessed nut butter. Both the unsalted nuts and the unprocessed nut butter should come from almonds, filberts, or hazelnuts; these being good sources of monounsaturated oil, vitamin E, and a number of good minerals.
Many of the children Smith studied were low in calcium and had difficulty absorbing calcium, despite a high consumption of milk and a craving for dairy products. Milk is at the very top of Smith’s “sensitivity” list, and he believes 50-70 per cent of American children have milk sensitivities. He also believes that the craving for chocolate is indicative of a magnesium deficiency, and recommends a daily supplement correct both problems. Since these are often difficult to absorb, he recommends looking for a liquid supplement which is two parts calcium to one part magnesium.
The Northeast Herbal Association Journal, (Summer 1996) cites the position of some nutritional authorities as correlating ADHD with high sugar and simple carbohydrate diets, and inadequate amounts of the minerals chromium, lithium, and vanadium, the latter being crucial to proper insulin/blood sugar function and has been shown to correct many cases of adult onset diabetes. Those minerals are found to occur in microtraces throughout nature. It is important to note here that those minerals should not be present in high amounts in the human system. Through proper nutrition those particular minerals should self-adjust at appropriate levels. Too much of any of the trace minerals can result in toxicity and defeat the good they were intended to do. Smith also cites experiencing significantly improved behaviors in ADHD children who have been placed on low-sugar diets and been given trace mineral supplements. Additionally, he recommends that ADHD children be given at least 500mg vitamin C, B-complex vitamins containing 50mg of each B vitamin, plus 50mcg of B12, and 0.4mg of folic acid daily.
Although Eastern cultures have used herbs in healing for many centuries, our Western culture has only recently warmed up to the idea that there are herbal interventions which can be used to treat a wide variety of pathologies. Many physicians are now regularly treating illness and promoting wellness through the combination of chemical and herbal prescriptions. The following is a list of herbal interventions suggested for the treatment of ADD or ADHD in The Protocol of Botanical Medicine, (v2, n1, p38):
Sadness, mild depression, and anxiety, especially for children
Adult: 60-90 drops 4x daily
Child: 10 drops, every 2-3 hrs
Children with dark circles under the eyes, asthenia (nerve weakness), mental exhaustion, withdrawal from medication
Adult: 1tsp 4x daily
Child: 20 drops 4x daily
Restlessness, acting out, anxiety, especially in children
Adult: ¼tsp 2x daily
Child: ¼tsp 2x daily
Restlessness with muscle spasms, inability to sit still, irritability, nervousness.
Adult: 30-60 drops 4x daily
Child: 10 drops 4x daily
Difficulty concentrating; easily affected by stress, especially changes in weather, temperature, noise, etc.
Adult: 60-90 drops 4x daily
Child: 10-20 drops 4x daily
Tantrums, growing pains, emotions constantly changing, braxism (teeth grinding), especially useful in children
Adult, Tea: 2-3 cups per day
Extract: 2-4ml 4x daily
Child, Tea: 1-2 cups per day
Extract: 20 drops 4x daily
Poor memory and concentration
Adult: 60-90 drops 4x daily
Child: 15 drops 4x daily
Irritability with insomnia, fast talking/thinking, constant thought, jumbled speech
Adult: 40-60 drops 4x daily
Child: 5-10 drops/ 2-3 hours
ADHD with anxiety, palpitations, crying spells
Adult: 40-60 drops 4x daily
Child: 5-10 drops/2-3 hours
ADHD with anxiety, spastic movement, jerking, nervous tics
Adult: 40-60 drops 4x daily
Child: 5-10 drops/2-3 hours
Linda Rector-Page, N.D., Ph.D., in her book How To Be Your Own Herbal Pharmacist (1991), lists a variety of herbal interventions she believes are helpful in dealing with ADHD and learning disabilities. She does not, however, include dosages, and an experienced nutritionist or herbalist should be consulted before determining a treatment regime using these particular herbs.
Herbs to overcome hyperactivity and learning disabilities:
Primary Herbs: Catnip, valerian root, chlorella, lemon balm, alfalfa, licorice root, chamomile, and rosemary.
Assisting Herbs: Kelp, dulse, or sea vegetables, wild lettuce, fennel seed, burdock root, nettles, yellow dock root, hops, yerba santa.
Catalysts & Transporters: Lobelia, peppermint or spearmint, hibiscus, ginger root, rosemary, gotu kola, red raspberry, bee pollen.
Effective categories for calming hyperactivity and overcoming learning disabilities:
Calming, Stabilizing Herbs: Chamomile, valerian root, oatstraw, lobelia, passion flower, skullcap, hops, lemon balm, catnip, wild lettuce.
Mineral Rich Herbs: Pau d’Arco, horsetail herb, spirulina, barley, watercress, alfalfa, kelp or dulse, parsley root, comfrey root, dandelion root, nettles.
Protein & Nutritive Sources: Spirulina or chlorella, yellow dock root, bilberry, burdock root, alfalfa, fennel seed, ginger root, pumpkin seed, bee pollen, fenugreek seed.
Blood Sugar Regulation: Beet root, licorice root, bee pollen, catnip, lemon grass, hibiscus, peppermint or spearmint, nettles, alfalfa, barley grass.
Blood Chemistry Balances: Kelp or sea vegetables, yerba santa, chlorella, alfalfa, hawthorn berry, mullein, lobelia, burdock root, nettles.
Antioxidant Activity: Chaparral, kelp or dulse, sage, rosemary, barley grass, fenugreek seed, red raspberry, bee pollen, gotu kola, ginkgo biloba.
As you can see, there are a myriad of options in treating ADD or ADHD. Because every child is different it is important not to globalize any treatment and believe that because it worked in one circumstance, it will work in all. We suggest that any child you suspect may be suffering from the symptoms of ADD or ADHD should first have a complete medical and psychological diagnostic work-up. Based on the results of that work-up, you may want to consider the following course of action:
Monitor diet and adjust according to the guidelines described in this paper.
Check for known allergies, then remove dairy products as much as possible to see if a change occurs.
Begin adding a good multi-enzyme supplement, followed by minerals and vitamins as described.
Begin adding an herbal blend that, by its description, you and your physician believe may aid in eliminating the ADD or ADHD symptoms.
The child should be monitored carefully, and a journal of specific behavioral changes over time should be noted. At the first sign of adverse reaction to any treatment, the child should be evaluated by a physician immediately and, as always, follow all directions for administering any treatment to your child. Regardless of the treatment mode you choose, always consult the professional in that field who can help you get on the right track.
Here’s to your better life!
Article # 4 is probably not so clear to understand, so visit the link.
Article # 2, is what Shyra was talking about.
Well, there you go, Sources verified. I would not trust any other Medical Research other than BLI and Nutrilite.