Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Schram

What Can I Do For ADD and Optimal Brain Function?

Q: My child is really struggling with being able to focus and seems to be very anxious. I am afraid he has ADD. What are some natural things I can do to help him?

A: ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder seems to one of the most common neurological disorders in our children today. Many adults also suffer from it. The condition is associated with different types of behavior, such as; hyperactivity, lack of focus, learning disabilities, fidgeting, and problems with organization or impaired judgment. When constant motion and disruptive behavior are the main problems, this is usually classified as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

Scientific studies indicate that there is a coordination failure within the brain. There are many irritants that may have a role in this. Pollutants such as heavy metals or artificial food additives can contribute. Allergies are another consideration. You must eliminate all dyes from food products. Artificial sweeteners have been linked with ADHD. A well-balanced diet is a must. Include plenty of raw foods; fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Avoid all sugar, white flour, carbonated beverages and processed meats. Many times, just by changing the diet you will see a noticeable behavioral difference.
A multivitamin with minerals is essential to supply the vital nutrients that may be missing from the diet. Calcium with magnesium before bedtime can be very calming.

The following nutrients have been recognized for their effects on optimal brain and nervous system function:

  • GABA – Helps to elevate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and calm down excess brain activity.
  • DMAE – A naturally occurring nutrient present in small quantities in the brain. This enhances the production of choline, which is utilized by the brain to create acetyl-choline, an important neurotransmitter that increases learning ability and memory.
  • Ginkgo Biloba – Increases oxygen utilization and blood flow to the brain. Recommended for improving memory and learning capacity.
  • Grape Seed Extract – Powerful antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier to protect brain cells and nerve endings against free radical damage.
  • L-Glutamine – The only amino acid capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. It is converted to glutamic acid where it is used as fuel for the brain. Also acts as a detoxifier of ammonia build-up, which can cause confusion, inability to concentrate, and mood swings.

Essential fatty acids are essential to brain function since the brain is mostly composed of fat. Flax seed oil is a good choice.
These nutrients are considered safe and effective and can be taken by both adults and children to enhance memory, mental focus, clarity of thinking and overall learning ability.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.