Saturday, December 22, 2007

ADHD and Iron Deficiency

Children with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are usually pumped full of drugs (Ritalin and Concerta), often with no long-term benefits and potential negative side effects like stunted growth. Do you really want to subject your child to that, when there are natural alternatives that could help alleviate the problem?

The results of a French research study (published in the December 2004 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) found that children without ADHD had normal serum ferritin (iron) levels, whereas the children with ADHD had about 50% lower levels than those without. They also discovered that the greater the iron deficiency the more severe the symptoms were, including oppositional behaviour and cognitive scores. Although none of the children were actually diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia (their hemoglobin and hematocrit tested normal), when they were treated with iron supplements their ADHD symptoms eventually improved.

However, before you start giving your child iron supplements, get a serum ferritin test to determine if the child is even deficient. And confer with your doctor. Although you can build up iron toxicity (in too great amounts) choosing an iron supplement specifically for children, or better yet, increasing iron-rich foods into your child's diet could only help. There are also liquid iron supplements like Floradix (that are safer) that you might want to consider, although for severe anemia it doesn't seem to help. When I was first diagnosed with anemia (when I got R.A.) I tried Floradix After 3 months or so and no improvement, I finally gave in and started taking an iron supplement. I still take it.

Remember, Iron should always be taken with Vitamin C to help with absorption. Check with your health professional for the appropriate amount.

As with any supplementation, the dosage for children will differ substantially from that of adults.


Anonymous said...

"often with no long-term benefits"

Right. But the point is the *short* term benefits.

Now let's see if you allow my comment, since it goes against your pre-conceived notions and/or agenda...

Incognito said...

Hello Anon. Why should I not allow your comment? I'll just assume you are somehow affiliated with the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture either ritalin or concerta.

Short term benefits versus potential negative side-affects? I think, if it were *my* child, I would prefer trying the natural route before I filled him/her up with chemicals.

And, for the record, I have no agenda. I'm wondering what agenda that might be? I'm just trying to share information about holistic remedies that might help others. There are times when allopathic medicine might be necessary, but for the most part, it has *never* helped any of the health issues I have had to deal with.

I hope you can open your mind, whoever you might be.

Pat Jenkins said...

can adhd even be "cured" incog. do parents, teachers, coaches over react to attention problems? my concern is the need to medicate so quickly when any "innormality" is diagnosed. without allowing an individaul to mature at his or her own pace. hyper activity can be tough to deal with (ask my parents), but all will "slow" down as time ages us!!!