How to improve symptoms of attention disorder with natural medicine?
In recent years, attention issues in children and young adults have become more concerning for parents and teachers. It just seems children are less paying attention because they are distracted or have lots of energy. They may pay more attention in some settings, while they are paying less attention in other setting such as in school and class room. There is a tiny percentage of children who constantly having problem focusing and their behaviors cause problem at the school, with neighbors or friends, and at home. Up to 60% of school-age children with attention disorders may continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. Fortunately, evidence based natural and integrative medicine has been shown to offer considerable benefit to improve and maintain focus and attention for all types of attention problems.
What are the attention problems?
Attention problems in general can be categorized to three types; and in each type issues can be ranged from mild to pervasive.
In the first group; problems are caused by factors in the environment such as in hostile and/or deficient settings. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics commonly occurring stressful events in young hood can lead to common behavioural responses such as change in eating, shyness, passivity, lack of skills, bullying, aggression, anxiousness, sadness, fearfulness, Impulsive/hyperactive or Inattentive behaviors, and more. Stressful events could be financial issues, death or illness of loved ones, domestic violence, divorce, and etc.
In the second type; problems are caused both by the environment and the person which is usually observed when there is a miss match between individual differences and the environment. It is important to note that these issues however, are not due to a disease in an individual.
While; In the third type, problems are caused due to a disease or pathology in the person. This suggests that the behavioural, emotional, or learning problems are caused by an internal pathology, such as structural or genetic issues which has led to developmental syndromes, learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, depression, autism, ADD, ADHD, and so on.
Which integrative natural solutions can improve symptoms of attention disorders?
Based on research, increased omega 3 fatty acid concentration in the diet alters the structure of the neurons membrane in the nervous system, enhancing serotonin and dopamine neurotransmission especially in the frontal cortex. Also Omega 3 fatty acids reduce oxidative damage to the nerve cells.
Studies have found the severity of the attention disorders is linked to low blood levels of Omega fatty Acid.Since Hyperactivity and inattention in general are also related to omega-3 deficiency, making it a risk factor for ADHD. In fact low omega-3 fatty acid is very common and associated with ADHD-related symptoms including oppositional behavior and emotional instability.
Comprehensive research showed that 6 months of supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids improves attention and focus of participants; also, helped to reduce symptoms of ADHD, and other attention disorders.
Phosphatidylserine which is known as PS is one of the most important building blocks of the cell membrane and one of the most significant brain nutrients. PS is not only plays a role in brain cell structures but also influences the neurotransmitter systems of the brain such as, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin. Several clinical studies have evaluated the role of the PS in overall brain health and improving variety of attention problems including ADHD.
For example, In a randomized study, children with diagnosed ADHD condition were put on 200 mg of PS oral supplementation for two months and their symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and short-term memory were significantly improved without reporting any side effect.
Other controlled trial used combination of 300 mg PS with EPA and DHA Fatty acids , for duration of 15 weeks. The treatment resulted in significant improvement in symptoms suggesting that as an effective treatment in children with more pronounced hyperactive and impulsive behavior.
Passiflora incarnata L and is a known remedy for anxiety and hyperactivity. In a study the effectiveness of the passion flower extract was compared with a commonly used medication for ADHD. After 60 days both groups demonstrated great respond during the treatments, suggesting that passiflora may be used as a therapeutic protocol for the treatment of ADHD, with the advantage of well tolerance.
Bacopa is an Ayurvedic medicine which has been used to modulate memory, concentration, and learning. Studies suggest it can improve memory and learning in cases with attention disorders, and hyperactivity. Supplementing 225 mg daily for 6 months resulted in significant reduction in symptoms associated with ADHD including restlessness, attention-deficit symptoms, learning problems, impulsivity, and psychiatric problems.
The efficacy of Bacopa has been attributed to its neuroprotective and antioxidant effects, as well as regulation of dopamine, and inhibition of cholinesterase . Bacopa is generally well tolerated, however in some cases it may cause minor digestive side effects.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally secreted mainly by the pineal gland in response to variations in the circadian cycle and has been used for the last two decades for the treatment of sleep disorders in adults and children. Melatonin in contrast to majority of sleep medications has a benign side effect profile with little dependence potential and produce no hangover effect.
Randomized placebo controlled trails suggests it is beneficial in decreasing sleep latency, increasing total sleep time and improving sleep quality in both children and adults with primary sleep disorders.
Sleep problems are very common among those with attention disorders. Several trials examined the efficacy of melatonin in reducing sleep problems in cases with hyperactivity and chronic sleep onset insomnia. Results demonstrated a significant benefit of melatonin on primary sleep measures including decreased time to sleep onset and increased total sleep time.
Some amino acids have been shown to produce direct or indirect effects on the levels of specific neurotransmitters. therefore they are conceded as potential treatment for psychological and mood related issues as well as attention disorders. Amino acids such as glycine, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, taurine, acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), GABA, 5- hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and s-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), are all studied for their beneficial effects on hyper activity and attention disorders.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a natural form of amino acid L-Carnitine, which plays a role in metabolizing fatty acids and cell energy production. Both animal and human trail with Acetyl-L-Carnitine showed its long term use is effective in reducing the symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity, as well as improving social behavior. The animal study suggests that Acetyl-L-Carnitine works by balancing the altered levels of certain neurotransmitter metabolites in the brain.
L- Theanine is an amino acid derived from in both green and black teas. Because of its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, L theanine provides a greater spectrum of therapeutic benefits in most pertinent. The therapeutic benefits of L theanine have been attributed to regulation of dopamine and serotonin and an increased production of inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA.
It has been reported that L theanine also creates improvement in selective attention during performing mental tasks by modulating alpha brain wave. Aside from its application for attention disorders, L theanine has also been suggested to be beneficial for bipolar disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Nutritional surveys have found those with attention disorders are significantly lower in vitamin B6. Pyridoxal 5-phosphate is the biologically active form of vitamin B6 that is utilized and absorbed by the body much better than conventional B6. Inadequate levels of plasma Pyridoxal 5-phosphate can lead to depression, insomnia, irritability, muscle twitching, convulsions, hypertension, water retention, and other health conditions.
Minerals such as Zinc and iron are both involved in dopamine production, so deficiencies in these minerals could have effects on dopamine neurotransmission. For example, in children with hyperactivity, when their treatment included 55 mg of zinc daily, resulted in a much better response in comparison with those who did not take zinc. Zinc is crucial for the activity of those cell membrane stabilizing enzymes, and in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, melatonin and prostaglandins. Zinc has indirect role in dopamine metabolism and provides antioxidant functions.
Also, it is found that children with attention disorders are often iron deficient , and the severity of the iron deficiency is related to the severity of their symptoms. Iron is a cofactor of an enzyme called tyrosine hydroxylase which is necessary in synthesis of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Magnesium has demonstrated positive influence in the prevention and treatment of hyperactivity in children and adults. When magnesium level was assessed, 95% of the cases with attention disorders showed magnesium deficiency. The analysis indicated the correlation between levels of magnesium and the degree of distractibility.
Dietary and lifestyle considerations
A growing body of research indicates dietary changes can substantially improve attention disorder symptoms. Diet is not a direct cause of attention disorders, but food can and does affect the mental state, and eventually is reflected by behavior. Monitoring and modifying what , when, and how much to eat can help decrease the symptoms of attention disorders ADD/ ADHD.
Eating fresh foods, regular meal times, and avoiding junk and processed food is important to prevent missing meals and developing eating disorders especially for those with impulsive behaviours and attention disorders.
Statistical studies have found higher rate of attention disorders in those who were on western diets (high in fat, sugar, processed foods), while this pattern was not found on those with healthy diets.
Artificial additives and food color exclusion, and elimination diet produce great favorable results specially in individuals with food sensitivities.
Reviews of 23 controlled studies on the effect of food dyes and other dietary constituents on the behavior of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other behavioral problems, found that in 17 of the 23 studies some children's behavior significantly worsens after they consume artificial colors or certain foods such as milk or wheat. Limited research with utilizing electroencephalography indicates that certain foods trigger physiological changes in sensitive individuals.
Health palace provides an extensive food sensitivity tests, to get your test kit please contact us.
Articles and products featured by Health Palace are collected from a variety of sources and are provided as a service by Health Palace. These newsletters, while of potential interest to readers, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Health Palace. Presented materials are only for information purposes and do not intent to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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