If you or your child has Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) then it is likely that you’re searching for any and all solutions to help manage the typical symptoms of hyperactivity, short attention spans and even anti-social behavior. While pharmaceutical therapies are available and have certainly proven helpful for many, we can all clearly see how building a foundation for a safe and effective treatment plan for ADHD begins with a proper diet. And recent research suggests that zinc should be included in our ADHD treatment plans.
But first, let’s review: Zinc is an essential mineral which plays an important role for both neurological and the immune system’s health. When zinc is taken in the daily recommended dosage, it helps to adjust the brain chemicals activity, aids to maintain melatonin levels and regulates the fatty acids in the body. All these are directly related to actions such as impulsivity and anti social behavior, which are the main symptoms of ADHD.
A research study exploring zinc’s role in treating ADHD was conducted in Turkey where 400 children with ADHD were given either zinc or a placebo pill. The children taking zinc supplements showed improvement in hyperactivity and impulsivity over a 12 week period, but there was no difference to inattentiveness even in those children. On the other hand, the children receiving only the placebo showed no behavioral changes at all. This led the researchers to conclude that zinc does play a role in treating ADHD to a certain extent.
Although this research study was successful in itself, we need more information in order to prove that zinc can treat ADHD for sure. That being said, many specialists tend to agree that even if the chances of improvement are low, increasing zinc consumption may still be worthwhile as the likelihood of improvement is far more than that of no improvement.
Zinc can be added to an ADHD patient’s diet through supplements or a variety of foods with high zinc levels, such as:
- Seafood, especially oysters
- Red meat
- Whole grains
- Dairy products
You can find several fortified cereals containing the daily recommended dosage of zinc at your local grocery story. Zinc supplements are also commonly available over the counter (OTC) at all leading pharmacies.
However, please be aware that higher than the daily recommended dose of zinc can also be dangerous. Therefore, speak with your child’s doctor about the dosage and benefits of zinc before starting any new treatments or therapies.
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