A.D.D. & Learning Disabilities:
Don’t Get Drugged, Get Better!
By Alex Strande, N.D., Ph.D.



ADD encompasses three separate disorders: 1. Attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity —associated with heavy metal toxicity. 2. Attention deficit with hyperactivity — associated with food allergy, sucrose sensitivity. 3. Attention deficit disorder (residual type) — individuals over 18 years of age.

This disorder is associated with hyperactivity, perceptual motor impairment, emotional liability, general coordination deficit, short-term attention span, distractibility, lack of perseverance, failure to finish things, poor concentration, not listening, impulsiveness, abrupt shifts of activity, poor organizing ability, disorders of memory and thinking, specific learning disabilities, disorders of speech and hearing and EEG irregularities. Of hyperactive children, 86% had elevated eosinophils.

These characteristics are frequently associated with difficulties in school, both in learning and behavior. More than 10% of school children suffer from this complaint. Food sensitivities, artificial color and flavors and sucrose (sugar) ingestion seem to be the prime cause for this disorder. Sucrose (sugar) ingestion in these individuals is associated with hypoglycemia, which promotes hyperkinesia via increased catecholamine secretion. In other words refined carbohydrate ingestion promoted a reactive hypoglycemia.

Artificial colors flavors and preservatives inhibit a number of detoxifying enzymes, (aryl sulphatase, Catechol-o-methyl transferase), which results in toxicity effects of certain foods. The above enzymes can detoxify adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. It is suggested that these artificial chemicals enhance the activity of these catecholamines with associated effects.

Food sensitivities and allergy provoke hyperactivity through partial digestive food (exorphins) entering the blood stream and scrambling the neuronal communicative system.

There are three possible contributing factors to learning disabilities:

1. Heavy metal toxicity, usually lead and mercury 2. Nutritional deficiency, usually B-complex and iron 3. Impaired hearing due to otitis media. Moderate to severe hearing loss tend to impair speech, language development and create learning difficulties. In most cases otitis media is initiated by some inhalant or food allergen which inflames the eardrum. Secondary infections may ensue and thus exacerbate the condition. Breastfed infants have lower rate of incidence than bottle-fed. Antibiotics treatment usually result in increase of incidence or reoccurrence.

Naturopathic course of action in cases of ADD and learning disabilities include: checking for food sensitivities, diet counseling (hands-on approach of what to eat and what to avoid) and the most important, botanical and amino acid treatments. Using this type of naturopathic approach typically results in immediate improvement (within a few days or weeks) in underactive cases.

Example: poor concentration, low energy, short attention span, poor circulation, depression, no motivation, underactivity in any and all areas. Cases where there are predominantly symptoms of over-activity typically require more time (a few weeks to months). These include above average energy, jumping from one subject to another, inability to sit in one place for a reasonable amount of time, feelings of being overwhelmed, irritability and impatience etc. In mixed cases (where there are some symptoms of both over and underactivity), underactive symptoms improve before the overactive symptoms do.

ADD and learning disabilities respond well to therapeutic doses of natural medicines including herbs, amino acids, minerals etc. ADD and learning disabilities will typically not respond, or respond poorly to your average doses sold over-the-counter.

My approach typically is to detox the body including the reduction of toxins and heavy metals, nourish the nervous system with botanicals and amino acids including modulating overactive symptoms and restoring the underactive functions. Removal of offending allergens from dietary and non-dietary sources, lowering the overall allergic load that causes many of these problems, thus allowing the body to heal. I also address the leaky-gut syndrome. I often find that many parents who bring their ADD children to me for help need sometimes to improve their own symptoms of ADD before they can reliably help their offspring to follow the regiment.

Alex Strande, N.D., Ph.D., is a naturopath and a microbiologist. His office is in Irvine, California. He can be contacted for questions and appointments at (949) 553-1882. You may visit his website at www.simplyhealingclinic.com .  

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