Experts believe that there are at least eight risk factors that can lead to the onset of ADHD. These are toxicity of heavy metals and other environmental toxins, allergies from food and additives, deficiency of essential fatty acids and phospholipids, deficiency of amino acids, low protein/high carbohydrate diets, deficiency of vitamin B, thyroid disorder, and mineral imbalances especially of iron and zinc. Since most of these are related to the diet, supplementation has become an integral component of ADHD treatments.
Heavy metals have been linked to many behavioral problems. Many clinical studies have been conducted to establish a link between heavy metals and the onset of behavioral problems like ADHD. Most of these studies have linked the onset of behavioral problems with the exposure to heavy metals. One such study, conducted in 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences, reported that toxic chemicals and other environmental factors cause about 3% of all neurological and developmental disorders. As a result, heavy metals, which are a class of toxic chemicals, are becoming the focus area for the health professionals.
The developing brain is susceptible to permanent damage by exposure to heavy metals. Lead and mercury are the two most common heavy metal toxins. Apart from these, polychlorinated biphenyls have been reported to impair development at the level of exposure that is being experienced by most of us.
These heavy metals are found in most of our routine consumables like dental fillings, children’s vaccines, paints, bleached flour, processed food and even in the drinking water! It is important to know about the products that contain these heavy metals, and an effort should be made to eliminate these to a large extent, if not completely, from our lives.
Some of the things that we can do are:
- Eat organic food, including organic milk. Since most of the foods that we eat are contaminated, especially with pesticides, it is prudent to switch to the organic options. Switching to organic food does not require a change in lifestyle and hence can be an effective strategy.
- Breast-feed your child. This will ensure that the child does not run the risk of developing food allergies, a common cause of ADHD. Also, you can avoid the heavy metals found in baby powder and even the water that you may be using to make the food.
- Avoid use of pesticides like insect repellants at home.
- You may be surprised that heavy metals like mercury are used in the vaccines for children. Ensure that you talk to your doctor about it and ask him to prescribe a vaccine that is free of these toxins. You can also try natural medicines for ADHD.
Natural remedies for ADHD treatment like detoxification and chelation therapy can be potent to counter the effects of heavy metal toxicity. These, when used in combination with medicines and behavior therapy, can provide a long-term benefit to the ADHD child or adult.