A Natural Approach to ADHD: Drug-free Strategies to Restore Mental Health

Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc.

On the way to work one day recently, I saw a bright sandwich billboard that read, “Do You Suffer From ADHD? Naturopathic Medicine Can Help.” The phone number listed was that of a local naturopathic clinic.

As our children go back to school, there are a growing number of reports that the use of amphetamine drug prescriptions (Ritalin, Methylphena-date, Adderall, Concerta, Vyvance and others) has escalated to an alarming degree.

On May 16, 2014, the New York Times reported on a study which found that over 10,000 toddlers between the ages of two and three were being prescribed these dangerous stimulants for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As pointed out in the article, this prescribing pattern is outside established pediatric guidelines. Nevertheless, it is happening and there are no medical licensing bodies in North America doing anything about it. If anything, it’s encouraged.

The way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness.” ~ Dr. Carl Elliot, University of Minnesota Bioethicist (The Washington Post, 2001)

Chief amongst the side effects of these amphetamines are growth retardation and cardiovascular disease. In fact, the Toronto Star reported in 2012 that Canadian child deaths due to cardiovascular disease resulting from these drugs was on the rise. Childhood strokes, convulsions, tics, hallucinations, psychotic breaks, schizoid reactions, mania, depression and suicide have all been reported as a consequence of ADHD drugs. Ironically, if these ADHD drugs were natural health products sold in health food stores, they would immediately be pulled from the shelves. Not so with ADHD drugs. Health Canada is there to protect the interests of the drug companies which are making millions of dollars from pharmaceuticals. Further, these same drugs are being more and more commonly prescribed to kids who want to study better and get higher marks on their examinations, something that is definitely off label.

Parents are seldom told that methylphenidate (Ritalin) is “speed” – that it is pharmacologically classified with amphetamines and causes the very same effects, side effects, and risks. Yet this is well-known in the profession.” ~ Dr. Peter Breggin, MD

Further verifying the life threatening nature of common ADHD drugs is a Danish study reported in the journal Pediatrics on June 28, 2014. The study done on 714,000 children reported that these drugs doubled the risk for cardiovascular disease – including heart attacks, hypertension and strokes.

Of interest is the fact that one of the more popular amphetamines, Adderall, becomes generic in December 2014. In anticipation of this fact, the drug company, Shire, has quickly introduced Vyvanase to the market. This new amphetamine is likely to be just as big a seller as Adderall. It lists death as one of its side effects.

What Is ADHD?

We can manufacture enough diagnostic labels of normal variability of mood and thought that we can continually supply medication to you…But when it comes to manufacturing disease, nobody does it like psychiatry.” ~ Dr. Stefan Kruszewski, psychiatrist, Pennsylvania Medical Society, 2014

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder of childhood. It affects thousands of infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Some reports claim that one in 10 children suffer from some degree of ADHD, but U.S. government statistics claim that it affects about three to five percent of school aged children.

It shows up as abnormalities in behaviour like excessive, uncontrollable, physical activity, as well as learning disorders and communication problems in early childhood with some remission occurring during puberty. In the past two decades there has also been a growing diagnosis of the disorder in adults.

It is thought that children are usually affected by ADHD before birth and that, left untreated, they continue to suffer from the condition into adulthood. ADHD affects more boys than girls with a ratio of 3:1. A high percentage of hyperactive children have blonde hair and blue eyes and suffer from what appear to be allergic signs and symptoms.

In the history of an ADHD child, the mother often describes that, during pregnancy, there was a great deal of fetal movement and very hard kicking.  As infants, hyperactive babies are colicky, sleep poorly or very little, and cry or scream a lot.  In childhood, they look restless and fidgety and eat poorly.  In more severe cases they may be “rockers” or “head bangers” rejecting affection and mothering.

As the child becomes older, there is a noticeable rushing from one thing to the next, a shortened attention span and easy distractibility.  Behaviour can become destructive with poor coordination and general clumsiness.  Some hyperactive children have trouble integrating what they see and hear due to visual perception abnormalities which, in turn, leads to inabilities to understand basic concepts.

Other conditions that have been documented to occur in many ADHD children are eczema, asthma, chronic infections, hay fever, headaches, stomach aches and fungal infections of the scalp, skin and nails. Some believe that ADHD is a condition that runs in families but there is no consensus among various medical and psychological authorities on the cause of the condition. Most children with ADHD have at least one other behavioural or developmental problem. They may also have a psychiatric problem such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Having now said all this, there are certain well known neurologists and psychiatrists who are of the opinion that ADHD is a fraudulent diagnosis and that people who make the diagnosis haven’t a clue as to what they are really trying to treat.

For example, Dr. Fred Baughman, a child neurologist with 35 years of experience, has been quoted as saying:

I have discovered and described actual diseases, and that’s the background that I bring to my newfound duty of evaluating and critiquing modern-day psychiatry, especially where it pertains to their wholly fraudulent claims that their diagnoses, such as ADHD, bipolar OCD and depression are actual brain diseases when they are not.

•  Symptoms of ADHD in infants, young children:
– crying inconsolably, screaming
– difficult feeding
– restlessness, poor or little sleep
– fits or temper tantrums
– refuses affection and cuddles
– head banging or rocking

•  Symptoms of ADHD in older children:
– impulsiveness, clumsiness
– constantly moving
– destructive or disruptive behaviour
– accident proneness
– bouts of fatigue, weakness, listlessness
– aggressive, self-injurious
– poor concentration ability
– vocal repetition and loudness
– withdrawn behaviour, restlessness
– school failure despite normal or high IQ
– poor sleep with nightmares
– poor appetite and erratic eating habits
– poor coordination
– irritable, uncooperative, disobedient
– nervous, very moody or depressed
– hypersensitive to odours, lights, sound, heat and cold
– nose and skin picking or hair pulling
– bed wetting (enuresis)
– dark circles or puffiness below the eyes
– red earlobes or red cheeks
– swollen neck glands or fluid behind ear drums

Famous People with ADHD

Over the millennia, there are many famous people who had some or all of these symptoms. Imagine what might have happened if these people were medicated with the usual ADHD drugs.

Here’s a partial list of famous people with ADHD:

Albert Einstein
Robin Williams
Hans Christian Anderson
Harry Belafonte
Andrew Carnegie
Jim Carrey
Lewis Carroll
Prince Charles
Ryan Gosling
Britney Spears
Justin Timberlake
Abraham Lincoln
Howie Mandell
Will Smith
Tom Cruise

Physical Causes of ADHD

– genetic abnormalities, birth injuries
– hormonal imbalances
– psychological or emotional problems
– biochemical imbalances caused by toxic heavy metals (lead or cadmium excesses), food allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, amino acid deficiencies
– toxins from chronic infections with bacteria, fungi (e.g. candida overgrowth) and parasites
– digestive enzyme or stomach acid deficiencies
– environmental hypersensitivities, especially to food dyes, chemicals and additives
– multiple food cravings and delayed (Type II-IV) allergies/food intolerances
– dyes, chemicals, inhalants, and other irritants
– hypoglycemia or sugar hypersensitivity

Tests to Consider

– routine blood and urine tests
– hormonal tests for thyroid, adrenal, pancreas (enzymes, insulin, glucagon)
– insulin and glucose tolerance tests
– vitamin and mineral testing via blood, urine and hair
– livecell microscopy
– CDSA and Comprehensive Parasitology
– gut permeability testing
– food allergy testing
– amino acid analysis

ADHD and the Gut Connection

Studies indicate that there’s a strong gut connection to ADHD. Being born by cesarean section dramatically increases the risk for ADHD, according to recent statistics. So does frequent antibiotic exposure. Both of these issues affect gut integrity and the microbial flora balance. A large number of children with ADHD have gut related abnormalities, especially constipation.

A recent study done on 742,939 children with ADHD reported a three-fold greater incidence of constipation compared to children who did not suffer from ADHD. And fecal incontinence was six-fold higher. These findings were the same whether or not the children with ADHD were on medication.

Gut dysbiosis is the term used to describe a situation that involves abnormal gut flora balance and leaky gut syndrome. This bowel disorder may play an important role in terms of how the brain works in ADHD and numerous other brain disorders (depression, anxiety, OCD, memory problems, etc.).

In my practice I have often noticed this bowel connection to a large number of nervous system problems as well as chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease. Rebalancing the gut flora and repairing the leaky gut often improves the brain condition and the inflammatory disorder. The treatment involves avoidance of pro-inflammatory foods (see my article on “Reversing Chronic Inflammation” at https://tinyurl.com/ksf3d7k), along with consumption of anti-inflammatory supplements and effective probiotics.

The Dangers of ADHD Drugs

“Ritalin and amphetamine have almost identical adverse effects on the brain, mind and behavior, including the production of drug-induced behavioral disorders, psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction….Ritalin can cause permanent neurological tics including Tourette’s syndrome……Withdrawal from Ritalin can cause emotional suffering, including depression, exhaustion, and suicide. This can make children seem psychiatrically disturbed and lead mistakenly to increased doses of medication.”
~ Vital Information About Ritalin, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder and the Politics Behind the ADHD/Ritalin Movement Summarized from “Talking Back to Ritalin” by Dr. Peter R. Breggin, M.D.

Some parents reluctantly medicate their children only because they are pressured by teachers, schools and physicians to use stimulant drugs.  There are, however, no long term studies showing that medicated children do better in the long run academically, emotionally, or otherwise compared to the children of parents who say no to drugs.

According to recent scientific research, Ritalin, the deceptive quick fix for hyperactivity/attention deficit disorder (ADHD), interferes with blood flow to the brain and routinely causes gross malfunctions in the developing brain of the child. Some of its damaging effects include:
•  Decreased blood flow to the brain associated with impaired thinking ability and memory loss;
• Disruption of growth hormone, leading to suppression of growth in the body and brain of the child;
• Permanent neurological tics, including Tourette’s syndrome;
• Addiction and abuse, including withdrawal reactions;
• Psychosis (mania), depression, insomnia, agitation, and social withdrawal;
• Possible shrinkage (atrophy) or other permanent physical abnormalities in the brain;
• Worsening of the very symptoms the drug is supposed to improve (hyperactivity and inattention);
• Decreased ability to learn.

Death by Ritalin

My son died by suicide in 2008, but really he was killed by two physicians. As I learned to my horror, physicians killing young people in the way my son was killed is fairly common, and the CPSO sees nothing wrong with it.”  ~ Julie Wood https://tinyurl.com/pxt5ln3

This quote is from a mother who lost her son as a consequence of a drug prescription. Ritalin-associated deaths and serious side effects are being increasingly reported and there are many good reasons for this. The basic problem, as I see it, is that Ritalin is speed. It’s virtually the same drug that’s sold on the streets and it causes the same addiction, dependence, and nerve damage.

According to American psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Breggin, Ritalin and similar drugs “work” by producing robotic or zombie-like behaviour in children, enforcing docility and obedience.  This can produce a few weeks of subdued behaviour but has no positive effect on academic achievement and no positive long-term effects.  There is no scientific evidence that giving Ritalin to a child helps prevent future problems such as school failure or delinquency.  In his book “Talking Back to Ritalin,” Breggin documents how Ritalin brain damage suppresses creative, spontaneous, and autonomous activity in children while producing no benefit for a child’s psychology, academic performance, or achievement.

Doctors have throughout time made fortunes on killing their patients with their cures. The difference in psychiatry is that it is the death of the soul.”  R.D. Laing, MD.

In the early 1990s the production of Ritalin and other amphetamines used to treat ADHD increased by over 500%.  The vast majority of the medication is given to boys between 5 and 12 years of age. IMS America, a marketing research firm in Plymouth Meeting, PA., reported that the number of prescriptions written for the three main stimulant drugs used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Cylert – tripled from 1990 to 1994.  Ritalin’s increasing popularity lead to a shortage of the drug.  That, in turn, caused the Drug Enforcement Administration to increase the production quota for Ciba-Geigy, the manufacturer of Ritalin, to 8,189 kilograms, four times the allotment given four years earlier.

One of the reasons for the increased prescribing of  Ritalin is because it is being used as a diagnostic tool for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by too many primary care physicians.  This often results in misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.  If a child responds to a stimulant, it does not necessarily mean that the child has attention-deficit disorder.

Certain allergy medications are reported to have adverse side effects on learning and behaviour because they affect the central nervous system.  For example, the use of the anti-asthma drug, Theophylline, has been significantly correlated with reports of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, irritability, drowsiness and withdrawal behaviour – these side effects are directly proportional to the length of use. The use of this medication may also cause learning disabilities.

Several other drugs can cause ADHD signs and symptoms. Corticosteroids are used to treat asthma, allergic rhinitis and other allergic conditions.  Unfortunately, these drugs, whether swallowed or inhaled, have a direct and indirect impact on the central nervous system. They have been documented to cause a change in brain electrical activity, mood changes, changes in sleep patterns, increased irritability and even psychotic reactions.  Children on continuous steroids for at least a year have been reported to have lower performance on standardized academic achievement tests for reading, verbal memory, and mathematics.

Commonly used prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines have been reported to cause slower reaction time on visual-motor tasks, worsened attention and cerebral processing speed, and drowsiness.  Antihistamines can cause sedation, dry mouth, and irritability.  There is also some suggestion that antihistamines are associated with a greater cancer risk.  Decongestants have been associated with visual hallucinations in some children.  While spokespersons for the medical profession tend to minimize such side effects, they can be of significant concern to parents of children with ADHD or learning disabilities (LD).

Nutrient Deficiencies in ADHD Patients

ZINC – Micronutrient deficiencies (e.g. zinc) can have deleterious effects on both short and long term memory, yet are nearly completely ignored by mainstream medicine and psychiatry.  White spots on the nails could be a sign of zinc deficiency even when blood tests for zinc are normal. The expression, “No zinc, no think” is not without merit.  Many studies have shown that zinc supplementation is helpful with memory, thinking, and I.Q.  The best way of getting zinc is to optimize the diet.  The most recent RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for adults is 15 mgs. per day.  Food sources of zinc include the high protein foods such as organ meats, seafood (especially shellfish), oysters, whole grains and legumes (beans and peas). Or choose a good quality supplement for consistent daily dosage.

IRON AND B VITAMINS – Studies show that cognitive development can be impaired when there are low iron blood levels.  Deficiencies in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B1 and choline may also be involved.  A biochemical process known as methylation depends on optimal levels of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and folate (5-MTHF, the active form of folic acid). If methylation is not effective, it can be the cause of many neurological and behavioural problems. ADHD could be a result as can depression, bipolar disorder and dementia.

AMINO ACIDS – Since amino acids are precursors to the neurotransmitters, low levels can lead to neurotransmitter deficiency.  Higher than accepted levels may lead to neurotransmitter excess. One example of amino acid excess causing hyperactive behaviour occurs with the artificial sweetener, aspartame. Some children are highly sensitive to aspartame and scrupulous attention should be aimed at keeping this potential neurotoxin out of the child’s diet.  In children who consume large amounts of aspartame in diet soft drinks or other processed foods, amino acids can be significantly abnormal. Once the amino acid levels are determined, treatment can be aimed at balancing brain chemicals more accurately.

Food Allergies and Heavy Metals

A history of allergies has been reported by many authors for behavioural problems like being overtalkative, irritable, inattentive/distractible, hyperactive, impulsive, difficult to handle, drowsy/sleepy, mean, withdrawn, and euphoric. ADHD has been particularly connected with food allergies, chemical allergies, and salicylates. Food allergy testing via a blood test known as the IgG RAST is now available in Canada through Gamma Dynacare to test the immune system reaction to as many as 200 different foods. Any doctor in Ontario can order this test at a patient cost between $250 and $325. Other blood-based food allergy tests are available from assorted labs in the U.S. but the costs are considerably higher.

Toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and lead can accumulate in the body and cause both hyperactive behaviour and learning disabilities in some susceptible children.  A hair mineral analysis can reveal whether or not these toxic heavy metals are building up in the body.  The good news is that, with a natural program of vitamins and minerals, accumulations of lead and cadmium can be removed from the system.

How to Restore Mental Health, Improve Behaviour, and Alleviate Depression

While weaning a child off Ritalin, it is very important to optimize nutritional status.  Tests for food allergies, toxic heavy metal excesses (especially lead and cadmium), hidden parasites and candidiasis as well as the levels of amino acids (protein), vitamins and minerals should be done to individualize diet and nutritional supplements as much as possible.  My book, “Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection” (Prima Publishing, 1997) goes into this in detail. Irrespective of lab testing, any child on Ritalin and drugs like it can take the following nutritional supplements and antioxidants at individualized levels to minimize the brain-damaging effects of the drug and its withdrawal symptoms:
– Free amino acids (multiple) – provides neurotransmitter precursors
– L-Theanine and GABA
– Bee pollen – offsets food and chemical allergies
– Flax seed, fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids) and evening primrose oil – for optimal brain levels of EFAs
– Green food supplement (e.g. barley, kamut, spirulina) – antioxidant and phytonutrient source
– Vitamin B complex – supports neurological function
– Vitamin B12 and folic acid injections – speeds repair of damaged DNA in cases of malabsorption
– Phosphatidyl choline (lecithin) – enhances memory by boosting acetylcholine levels in the brain
– Vitamin C – antioxidant and repair of nervous tissue
– Vitamin E ­– antioxidant protecting nerve cell membranes and their polyunsaturated fatty acids
– Vitamin D – required to reduce inflammation and repair the leaky gut
– Octacosanol – antioxidant, brain function enhancement
– Ginkgo biloba extract – brain and nervous system antioxidant; enhances cerebral circulation
– Calcium – natural calming effect
–  Magnesium threonate – anti-spasmodic, anti-tic effect
– Multiple minerals – balances calcium and magnesium
– Digestive enzymes – enhances nutrient absorption; fights parasites, fungi and bacteria
– L-Glutamine – helps repair the lining of the small intestine, repairing leaky gut syndrome
– Probiotics – reestablish a healthy gut flora

Essential Fatty Acids Deserve Special Mention

Omega-3 fatty acids are also often referred to as essential fatty acids (EFAs) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). EFA’s make up at least 60% of the mass of our brains. These are called essential because our bodies cannot produce them from other nutrients. They must therefore be obtained from either diet or supplements. EFAs are needed as basic elements of our cell membranes. They control the inflammatory response – hence pain and the spread of disease. EFAs also mediate the immune response, control hormone production, and regulate nerve transmission.

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 1:1. The standard North American diet, due to the over consumption of breads, cereals, eggs, poultry, nuts, vegetable oils such safflower, corn, soy and sunflower from processed foods has a ratio of between 20:1 and 30:1. This relative omega-3 deficiency is what is believed to be the cause of numerous health problems.

Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to the structure and function of neuronal membranes. The communication between various nerves could not occur in a normal way without omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, just about every brain condition would benefit from optimal levels of DHA and EPA.

Depression is one of many common conditions that could benefit from omega-3 fatty acids. They influence something called the cytokine system in the brain. These cytokines are known as interleukin-1, -2, and -6, interferon-gamma, and tumour necrosis factor alpha. They can directly and indirectly influence the severity and outcome of depression.

Cognitive health promotion is another area of proven benefit of omega-3 fatty acids. The incidence of ADHD (Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is rapidly escalating with a greater and greater dependency on drugs such as Ritalin (an amphetamine). In fact, at one time in the 1990s, so much Ritalin was being prescribed that the drug companies manufacturing it ran out of stock and couldn’t keep pace with demand.

The good news is that there are now numerous studies supporting the use of EPA and DHA in the treatment of ADHD. EPA and DHA are crucial in proper retinal and brain development.  They improve school performance, learning, focusing on tasks, and behaviour in children.

One study from Australia published in 2007 by Sinn and Bryan concluded that a 30 week treatment of ADHD children with with fatty acid capsules (providing 560 mg/day of EPA, 175 mg/day of DHA, 60 mg/day of gamma-linolenic acid, and 10 mg/day of vitamin E) plus a multivitamin tablet containing low (RDA) amounts of vitamin and minerals, yielded slightly better results than seen in children who used Ritalin. These fish oils reduce ADHD symptoms whether or not a child is on Ritalin.

For those wanting an official seal of approval, Health Canada’s Natural Health Product Directorate (NHPD) recommends a minimum of 1.5 – 3.0 g of EPA and DHA per day including at least 1.0g of EPA per day (at a ratio of 2:1) to support mood balance. As we all know, if Health Canada says so, it must be true.

Omega-3 fatty acids work to preserve the blood levels of vitamin D, now universally acknowledged as being one of the most important nutrients for the prevention of cancer, heart disease, inflammation of any kind, diabetes and all auto-immune diseases. Most scientists now believe that the reason why omega-3 is so important is that it supports the many functions of vitamin D. If you want to learn more about vitamin D, read my new book, “Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin”.

Fortunately, many of these can be combined into one supplement.  Frequent follow-up visits for supervision by a natural health care practitioner are important to ensure compliance and optimal results.

Evening primrose oil is a common remedy recommended for ADD children.  It and numerous herbs have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties through their ability to modulate prostaglandin levels, the hormones responsible for inflammation, pain, allergic reactions and other aspects of the immune system.  Based on the findings of biochemical tests, a personalized nutritional program of diet and supplements can be recommended.

Other Causes of ADHD

Like the other chronic diseases of our times including multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, cancer, asthma and autoimmune disease, ADHD is at epidemic levels in the post-industrial revolution era.  Childhood learning problems are also on the rise.  Some argue that this is because of better recognition and objective testing but respected authors like William Crook and Lendon Smith strongly disagree. Learning disability (LD) was not a major problem for children growing up in the early 1800’s and as late as 1950, there was only one child in each classroom with LD or ADHD.  Today, it is more like five or six.  Ritalin, other amphetamine like drugs or intense psychotherapy have done nothing to change the dramatic rise in incidence of these diagnoses because they do not address the source of the problem.  The answers to why a child develops LD or ADHD lie in the field of genetics, environmental toxicology, and nutrition.

Although genetics, infections and brain damage (trauma) have been cited as causes of ADHD and LD, these cases are quite rare compared to causes like a dysfunctional home, heavy metal toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, and food and chemical allergies. The majority of cases are caused by an immune defect and allergies to food additives, preservatives, chemicals, or inhalants.  To deal adequately with this illness, we must address all these potential imbalances.  Some of the nutritional deficiencies that correlate with LD or ADHD are calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc. On the other hand, high copper, lead, cadmium and aluminum levels have also been seen in learning disabled children.

FOOD DYES AND PRESERVATIVES – According to the Mayo Clinic, certain food colourings and preservatives may increase hyperactive behavior in some children. Dr. Ben Feingold wrote a book called “Why Your child is Hyperactive” back in 1975 and it’s taken over three decades for conventional pediatricians to admit that he was at least partially right about these toxins. Avoid foods that contain these food colourings and preservatives:
• sodium benzoate
• FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow)
• D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow)
• FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine)
• FD&C Red No. 40 (allura red)

Aside from excluding food and chemical (food additives, dyes, preservatives) allergies, there are many natural treatments including a long list of vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, essential fatty acids and enzymes. The treatments all depend on the case history, physical examination and the results of biochemical tests. Complementary and Alternative (CAM) doctors, naturopaths, and other natural health care practitioners should be consulted for testing and treatment of ADHD without drugs.

FLUORESCENT LIGHTS – Dr. Jonathan Wright has observed that ADHD behaviour can be triggered by fluorescent lights and recommends that, at least in the home, parents use full spectrum lighting whenever possible.

WIFI AND ELECTRONICS – One last thing to consider is the excessive use of electronics (computers, smart phones, tablets and video games). Studies do indeed indicate that these gadgets make ADHD symptoms worse. Screen time for kids should be markedly limited in favour of more exercise and contact with real life. Certainly, no electronics should be in use after 10 PM. Since each family is different, the parents should set the rules for these.

(Editor’s note: This information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician. For any changes to your healthcare regimen, please consult a qualified healthcare professional.)


• Death by Ritalin. https://tinyurl.com/pxt5ln3
• ADHD Drugs Tied to Cardio Risk. https://tinyurl.com/l8ebb63
• McCann, Donna, et al. “Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” The Lancet 370.9598 (2007): 1560-1567. Print.
• Feingold, B.F. (1975). Why Your Child is Hyperactive. Random House. ISBN 0-394-73426-2.
• Beating ADHD Naturally – Focus on Alternatives. https://tinyurl.com/kyrbh5h
• Singh, M. (2005). Essential fatty acids, DHA and human brain. Indian J Pediatr, 72(3): 239-42.
• Sorgi, PJ. (2007). Effects of an open-label pilot study with high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates on plasma phospholipids and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nutr J, 6: 16.
• Richardson, AJ. (2006). Omega-3 fatty acids in ADHD and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Int Rev Psychiatry, 18(2): 155-72.
• Batoosingh, Karen. Ritalin Prescriptions Triple Over Last Four Years. Family Practice News, June 1, 1995;4.
• Boris, M. Foods and food additives are common causes of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Annals Allergy 72, 1994, pp. 462-68.
• Breggin, Peter. Talking Back to Ritalin, Revised: What Doctors Aren’t Telling You About Stimulants and ADHD. Perseus Books, 2001.
• Breggin, Peter. Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry. Springer Publishing Compamy: New York, 2008.
• The Hazards of Treating ADHD with Ritalin. https://tinyurl.com/l476tzl
• Breggin, Peter. Psychiatric Drug Facts. https://tinyurl.com/n8yzmke
• ADHD and gut health. https://tinyurl.com/mjeu2jx

Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc, offers consultations on nutrition and natural remedies in Thornhill. He has recently retired from medical practice as a Complementary and Alternative medical practitioner and now strictly offers nutritional consultations. He is the medical editor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing and has also published several Canadian bestselling books, including Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin. To see more of Dr. Rona’s articles, visit: www.highlevelwellness.ca and for appointments, please call (905) 764-8700; office located at: 390 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 19, Thornhill, Ontario

View Comments

  • Hi Dr Rona
    I would like to ask how much magnesium l-threonate I can give to my almost five year old 20 kg son daily. He has been diagnosed with generalised and social anxiety disorder. And about two months ago he developed a very annoying vocal tic, which has got to a point that he almost can't speak because of it. We live in Australia and health carers here don't seem to know much about this rather new form of magnesium. Thank you for your answer in advance.

  • Good article. I am reading Michael E. Platt's book Adrenaline Dominance about some of the conditions related to excess adrenaline. ADHD is included. He recommends 5% progesterone cream to block adrenaline. Otherwise his protocol is similar to Dr. Rona's. Julie Wood's article about the death of her son is a must for every mother.

  • Thank you for dedicating your time and expertise to create such a resourceful and informative blog. Your work is making a positive impact, and I am grateful for the guidance you are providing to those in search of holistic approaches to mental health. Wishing you continued success in your endeavors, and looking forward to more enlightening content from you.

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