Whenever I was told, “We do natural supplements for ADHD and Autism in our family,” I silently chuckled thinking, “There’s no such thing. I has to be medicine or nothing.” I was so wrong!
What is ADHD and Autism?
As many of you many know, these two terms are tossed around in today’s society like it’s apart of a toss salad…there, visible (sometimes), and hard to pick out and isolate what you do or do not like. This is especially true if the two exist simultaneously. Soooo…
ADHD – technically this is an acronym for Attention Deficit Disorder
There is one acronym people (professional doctors even) still use that is not accurate – ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). What was once thought of as ADD is no longer. Now, the ADHD carries all the weight. Which actually makes things easier. This is because there is now 3 types of ADHD and no longer an either or ideology.
- ADHD – Inattention: Your child appears to be paying attention, sits still, is usually compliant, BUT…is very forgetful, has gaps in memory, follows only 1-2 step directions, unorganized, easily distracted, and/or easily misplaces objects.
- ADHD – Physically hyper – can’t sit still, constant talk, bouncing off the walls, always touch and fidgeting with objects, chewing, climbing, and/or in constant motion.
- ADHD – Combination – may sit still but constantly talks, may write neatly but constantly loses materials, easily distracted but absorbs all external stimuli EXCEPT the directions :), follows part of the directions and then stops to watch a commercial, organizes Pokemon card religiously but can’t find his/her shoes, etc.
* Side Note – You do not grow out of ADHD; you simply grow to with it, hopefully adapting to an appropriate, suitable lifestyle.
Autism – a disorder but ranges on a spectrum so difficult to define and even more difficult to treat
There is a common phrase: “If you see one person with Autism, you see ONLY one person with Autism.” Meaning, all people, children and adults, are different even is they have Autism. Because it is on a spectrum, it does not fall into 1 of 3 categories. In fact, the majority of those with Autism also have other diagnoses as well (ADHD, Anxiety, SPD, etc.)
However, there are a few characteristics that are common among those diagnosed:
- flapping or other repetitive body movements
- obsession over a particular topic or idea
- lack of visible emotion (even though internal emotion is still very real)
- language delay and/or expression of thoughts and emotions are delay due to a lack of language tied to an emotional connection
- Picky eating (above and beyond age typical pickiness)
- lack of self-regulation/ self-soothing
- sensitivity to particular sounds, textures, touches, smells, tastes (back to picking eating), and/or lights
- delay in daily life functions – bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, potty training, self-feeding,
While these are just a few of the common characteristics and there are no know definitive reasons for Autism, studies have shown that for both ADHD and Autism, inflammation in the brain exists in addition to other neurological deficits. We also know the importance of gut health and the gut, or “second brain,” can not optimally function if it is in a constant state of inflammation. Therefore, scientists have found various supplements to neurologically help those who need neurological assistance.
I warn parents, however, to do 2 things:
- DON’T blame yourself. It is easy to do as so many studies say it is genetic or that is happens after infancy. While there are genetic links, there are many other factors play a role such as — our society.
- Look at your lifestyle. If you are buying processed (anything packaged) food, that will not be helping you or your child heal. If you are using cleaners (as I did), the chemicals in the cleaners are also getting into your children. Even if your have your child play outside while you’re using bleach sprays and wipes, the chemicals are still embedded in the fibers of the sheets, the sofa, and in the air. All of this affects your child long term. Starts small but beginning by making your own cleaners or buying 100% natural organic cleaners.
First, it’s important to know what omegas are. They are simply naturally occurring fatty acids in our body. Our body NEEDS FATS. In fact, our brain and nerves are mostly fat. The most commonly heard omega is omega-3 fatty acid found in fish or fish oil but it can be found in plants that the fish eat as well (which avoids the whole fishy smell and taste). However, there are more I’ll mention in a minute.
But, I wanted to explain why they fatty finds are so important. They are also known as EPA or DHA and are essential for brain health and development. Brain and nerve growth is never more rapid than it is in childhood (especially that first year). So omega fatty acids are critical. More studies are showing the need for these acids to extend through adolescents and into adulthood as our brain and nerves are always changing.
For a person with ADHD and/or Autism, they may be deficient in omega fatty acids. Omega-3 is important for brains to create pathways in response to new experiences and new environments called “neuroplasticity.” This can also effect the brain’s long term memory. However, omega-3 and omega-6 are differ in structure and function. When combined in the right ratio, symptoms of autism and ADHD improve.
Zinc – the mood supplement. Zinc can be directly linked to several neurotransmitters which affects a person’s mood and/or ability to learn. Because zinc affects dopamine (the brain’s “feel good” chemical) production, studies have shown zinc deficiency to alter levels of anxiety and behavioral problems. Additionally, those with ADHD and autism tend to have lower levels of zinc. Zinc can also eliminate toxic metal mercury from brain tissue which is also connected to ADHD and autism.
Done – NOT Done…
While I could go on and on about various supplementation to help you or your child with ADHD or autism, I am going to pause. NOT STOP, just pause.
I’ve thrown out a lot of information but more is coming so …. STAY TUNED 🙂
If you found this information helpful and useful, please comment below and share!!