July 11, 2014

What therapies does Dr. Weil recommend for ADHD?

As you know I love Dr. Weil. For me he's the perfect balance between natural medicine and western medicine. 
For those of you that don't know him here's a little bit about him:

Dr. Andrew Weil is an American medical doctor and naturopath, and a teacher and writer on holistic health. He is founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He received both his medical degree and his undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University and established the field of integrative medicine which aims to combine alternative and conventional medicine. Weil says that patients should take the Western medicine prescribed by the doctor, and then incorporate alternative therapies such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and herbal remedies, meditation and other “spiritual” strategies.

Dr. Weil just released this month what he recommends for ADHD. Look at the highlighted recommendation...food sensitivities!!!! No wheat, soy, or dairy (& a few others)....we're on to something people!! 
* I don't know if I've ever mentioned it but we don't eat peanuts either.

First, make certain that the underlying cause of your child's disruptive behavior really is ADHD, and that he or she isn't acting out difficulties at home or expressing frustration with a learning disability. Be sure to rule out hearing or vision problems, allergies, depression, learning disabilities, or even boredom in a gifted child. In addition, try these measures:
  • Take a supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats are critical for normal, healthy brain development and evidence suggests they may be present in lower levels in people with ADHD.
  • Consider food sensitivities. While there's no evidence that a dietary approach helps in all cases, a 1993 Cornell University study found that eliminating dairy products, wheat, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, eggs, chocolate, peanuts, artificial colors and preservatives seemed to decrease ADHD symptoms. An even earlier study showed that a low-allergen diet supplemented with calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins produced favorable results.
  • Make sure that basic nutrition is sound. Starting the day with high-sugar or highly  processed foods can lead to hypoglycemia in mid-morning and ADHD type behavior.
  • Check the levels of ferritin (iron), zinc, and magnesium. Deficiencies of all of these have been shown in some studies to worsen ADHD symptoms.
  • Explore Neurofeedback.. This technique helps people learn to control their own brain waves and can teach people with ADHD how to improve their brain wave patterns.
  • Exercise: Working out on a regular basis has a natural calming effect; it also raises levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, which facilitates the ability to focus attention. Martial arts including tai chi and karate can improve self-discipline, boost concentration and slow the restless cascade of intrusive thoughts.
  • Meditation: Mindfulness meditation refers to the various forms of practice that involve focusing on body sensations, especially breathing. A preliminary study at UCLA trained participants in meditation, and required them to conduct mindful sitting and walking sessions over eight weeks. Result; cognitive tests revealed participants had increased ability to focus even when other stimuli were competing for their attention.
  • Make sure your child is getting the appropriate accommodations at school. Sometimes relatively simple school interventions can make a big difference.
  • Employ consistent and positive behavior management at home. Children with ADHD are often subject to almost constant ongoing criticism. Focus on what they do well, not just the areas of difficulty.
  • For a comprehensive guide, see ADHD Without Drugs by integrative pediatrician Sanford Newmark, M.D. Dr. Weil strongly recommends the book to all parents, relatives, and friends of children with ADHD.

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