Treating ADHD symptoms
A study of the effect of DHA and vitamin supplements on aggressive and impulsive behaviors showed that DHA, but not the vitamins, had a positive effect.
The study group included 200 young men, with an average age of 20 years, with no history of antisocial behavior. They were given 672 mg of DHA per day for 12 weeks. Test subjects were administered several tests before and after the supplementation period that actively measure aggressive and impulsive responses. These tests were primarily games that evaluated the ability to suppress impulsive reactions or measure impatience or the degree of aggressive responses to a stressful animation.
Results of the study showed significant improvement in scores after the DHA supplementation period.
These findings confirm previous studies that evaluated impulsivity and aggressive responses when assessed by questionnaires. This is the first study that observed the effects directly during testing situations. It also confirms the assumption and observation that DHA supplements improve attention functions in children.
Aggression and impulsivity are common symptoms in children and adolescents with a range of disruptive or antisocial behaviors and diagnoses. Children with attention problems (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorders (ASD,) and oppositional behavior all may exhibit easy frustration, intolerance, aggressive outbursts, lack of self-control, and poor impulse control.
A holistic approach
DHA supplementation is a simple way to enhance brain function and alleviate these symptoms without resorting to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Stimulant medications such as Adderall, Focalin, and Concerta commonly used for these children often produce significant side effects including sleep disturbance, nervous tics, and appetite suppression. Other serotonin enhancing drugs such as Zoloft and Prozac used to treat these children have serious side effects including aggravation of violent impulses and suicidal behavior.
Other holistic methods to enhance attention functions and reduce aggressive behavior in children include fortifying serotonin with tryptophan or its analogue 5HTP, decreasing glutamate levels with the amino acid theanine, and using homeopathic medicines. Seek out a holistic pediatric specialist who can develop a safe management plan for ADHD, ASD and related problems in children.
Sara-Jayne Long, David Benton. A double-blind trial of the effect of docosahexaenoic acid and vitamin and mineral supplementation on aggression, impulsivity, and stress. Human Psychopharmacology. Article first published online: 29 APR 2013
One of the lead researchers of the recent study that showed an association between an abnormal marker in placentas of babies at high risk of autism would like to have that test performed for all babies. Because of the dramatic results of their study that showed a remarkable correlation between this finding (trophoblast inclusions or TIs) in the placenta and the identification of babies at high risk for autism, we may be able to identify babies at birth who could benefit from nutritional interventions to prevent or treat autism.
Dr Harvey Kliman, lead researcher said, “I hope that diagnosing this risk by examining the placenta at birth will become routine and that the children who are shown to have increased numbers of [TIs] will have early interventions and an improved quality of life as a result of this test”
Headaches occur more frequently in people who live at higher latitudes. The theory has been proposed that lower levels of vitamin D from reduced sun exposure at these locations may be the cause. A study was undertaken in Sweden to investigate the relationship between vitamin D blood levels and frequency of headaches.
Almost 13,000 study participants completed a questionnaire regarding the frequency, duration, and intensity of headaches. Their vitamin D blood levels were also tested. Results showed that those participants with low vitamin D levels reported significantly more non-migraine headaches. This association proved true when the possible confounding factors of physical exercise and alcohol consumption were considered Migraine headaches did not show any association with vitamin D status.
Treatment of headaches
Certainly on the basis of this study anyone who has headaches should ensure that their vitamin D status is adequate (a blood level of 50-100 ng/ml). This usually requires a supplement of 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day for adults and 2,000 IU per day for children.
Other excellent programs that prevent and treat recurrent headaches include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and neurotransmitter evaluation and support with targeted nutritional supplements. Adequate sleep and stress reduction techniques are also important components of a holistic approach to managing headaches.
Kjærgaard , M, Eggen AE, Mathiesen EB, Jorde R. Association Between Headache and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D; the Tromsø Study: Tromsø 6. Headache 2012; 52:1499.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics found an association between prolonged breastfeeding and low iron levels in children. For every month of breastfeeding the risk of iron deficiency anemia increased by 5 percent. Children who breastfed for more than 12 months had almost twice the risk of developing iron deficiency anemia compared to babies who nursed for less than 12 months. This should alert parents and health care providers to the importance of including iron sources in the diets of babies and young children.
Seeking social media connections
A study published in the journal Pediatrics (April 15, 2013) has determined that parents’ vaccine choices are often informed and influenced by online social networks. Parents who choose not to vaccinate according to the recommended vaccination schedule are much more likely to get information from other parents online compared to a group of parents who follow the schedule.
That is what I have been advising parents for years. Find a network of like-minded people who support your vaccination choices. The pressure to vaccinate children is intense. Doctors, schools, other parents, grandparents and extended family members often exert tremendous pressure on new parents to vaccinate their children. Going against this overwhelming tide of vaccine proponents usually involves some Herculean will on the part of parents who are attempting to make an informed choice. And real information about vaccine risks and side effects is difficult to discover.
Get balanced information
Parents need to discover valid information about vaccines that is free of the propaganda produced by the vaccine manufacturing industry. The first place parents go for information is the Internet. Many resources are available to them including the National Vaccine Information Center and related parent support groups and bulletin board networks online. Parents who choose to make thoughtful decisions will seek out other parents who have already made these vaccine choices.
This study conducted by an anthropologist and published in Pediatrics has uncovered the simple fact that vaccine critics have known all along. Parents seek information and validation for their choices from other parents and professionals in networks that promote informed choice.
Mainstream media has picked up this story and their spin is to try to influence parents to come back to the fold. What we need, they say, is to start parent peer groups to influence and convince wary parents about the necessity of full vaccination coverage for their children. Let’s send vaccine-promoting parents into the preschools and daycare centers to press upon parents the urgency of vaccinating their children. Who dictates to the mainstream media? The pharmaceutical industry. So Time magazine, US News and World Report, MedScape and many other media sources have published articles that tell us it is time for parents to join the ranks of vaccine promotion. Doctors are not doing a good enough job convincing parents, so it is up to the army of vaccinating parents to promote the cause. We can expect more peer pressure and more coercion of young parents who dare to question the dogma of vaccine recommendations and requirements.
Brunson EK. The Impact of Social Networks on Parents’ Vaccination Decisions. Pediatrics. Advanced publication online April 15, 2013.