Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Is ADHD a Mineral Deficiency? Advice on the Chemistry behind ADHD

Is ADHD a Mineral Deficiency? Advice on the Chemistry behind ADHD

By Dr. Albert Mensah, M.D.

Did you know that 90 percent of children with ADHD are very low in zinc? In over 60% of the ADHD cases we've seen, our patients lab results showed abnormally high copper levels. It's a pity this information isn't widespread among the general population because on average,  children outgrow ADHD in only about one third of mainstream medical cases. As most parents know, the standard treatment protocol for ADHD is medication, and has been for the last 30 years.

A lot of frustrated families have opted to try a more natural approach to management of ADHD symptoms. Many alternative therapies may include dietary adjustments to help aid in a reduction of symptoms. We've seen patient families who have avoided artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives  but have still seen symptoms. Other families may avoid certain foods to improve attention and brain function.

What does this mean?

If you are unusually high in copper, as most of our patients exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, you need elevated zinc supplementation. When zinc is prescribed in the right dose based on your body chemistry, it will reduce your body's copper stores and lesson your symptoms of ADHD, without the need of a medication that includes possible side effects. Copper pushes the conversion of dopamine into norepinephrine. Children with ADHD and elevated levels of copper often exhibit more anxiety. Patients high in copper are low in dopamine, which is an essential neurotransmitter.

Many parents are aware of the commonly prescribed ADHD medication, Ritalin, which is used to increase the body's level of dopamine. But can you increase dopamine levels without Ritalin? The answer is yes, by balancing the body's copper / zinc ratios.

If you've avoided ADHD medications and tried alternative therapies with less than optimal results, then targeted zinc supplementation is probably necessary for your child with ADHD.

We are Often Asked, when Adding Zinc, What's the best Dose?

I tell all my patients not to try this at home. The target dose of zinc is determined by specific lab testing, and the age, height, and weight of your child. While avoidance of damaging food additives are healthy in general, they won't correct a nutrient imbalance with laser sharp effectiveness like a targeted nutrient therapy protocol based on lab results can. Targeted nutrient therapy can have a direct and positive impact on the functionality of your child's nervous system because it's individualized to your child's specific lab results. Zinc in isolation is not as effective as it is in a compounded nutrient blend that creates a synergistic result in the body's chemistry. Just like a cook in the kitchen, we develop a protocol with the optimal ingredients for your child's body chemistry. Rather than rely on prescription medication, at Mensah Medical we normalize the neurotransmitters by balancing your child's metals with natural substances that don't cause harmful side effects. 

What are Signs of Zinc Overload?

We don't recommend families self-prescribe high doses of zinc to combat what they think is a copper overload. High doses of zinc can be damaging to the body and need to be monitored by a physician. Taking high doses of zinc can lead to changes in the way iron works in your body, can cause anemia, and can create low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol when they are done without careful monitoring and lab testing. Patients who experience nausea, vomiting, or increased urinary tract infections after beginning a high dose regiment of zinc are likely experiencing zinc toxicity.