Friday, April 22, 2011

Nutrigenetic specialist, Dr Hein Badenhorst looks at nutrition, supplementation and your child's brain.

Dr Badenhorst and The ADD Lab have been collaborating for a while now. Our ADD and Nutrition workshops have been a runaway success. And I'm glad to say that more and more parents are beginning to understand the consequences of feeding their children bad food. So Dr Badenhorst was the obvious pick for our April piece. Enjoy! - Mitzi

Never in history has the very old saying of Hippocrates – “Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food” – been truer than in the year 2011, where the over prescription of psychotropic drugs is a worldwide phenomenon.
Probably one of the most significant conclusions from research finished in 2010 is that nutrition and lifestyle factors can actually override some genetic disorders. What does this mean for kids and parents influenced by ADD and ADHD?
The message basically boils down to the fact that by purely optimizing lifestyle factors like hydration, nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress reduction and eliminating negative environmental factors like pollutants, food additives and colourants, and correcting deficiencies via supplementation, we can ‘treat’ some disorders like ADD/ADHD, by overriding or “switching off’ the genetic factors responsible for having these conditions.
This is wonderful news for parents struggling with conflicting emotions regarding different treatment options, especially the conventional ‘drug route’. Please do not misunderstand my point. The conventional pharmaceutical way of treatment is still and will still in future be necessary for selected individuals needing and qualifying for the use of these drugs. But the simple corretion of certain lifestyle aspects will offer options to millions of kids worldwide unnecessarily using these drugs, that previously had no other treatment options.
The departure point of this journey is first of all a full clinical evaluation. Following a proper evaluation the first line of treatment should be correcting all factors found in the evaluation. In the vast majority of cases numerous lifestyle factors are found that first need to be corrected before drug treatment is considered.
A very basic overview of these factors includes:
·         Correcting acid – base imbalances by optimizing the bodies pH level
·         Optimizing the hydration status with good quality healthy water
·         Optimizing blood sugar and insulin levels by correcting the intake of the right sugars and complex carbohydrates
·         Reducing inflammation – body and brain – with an anti inflammatory diet consisting of alkaline foods and the correct oils
·         Optimizing the Omega 3 – Omega 6 ratio by adding the right oils and fats and eliminating the bad fats consumed
·         Eliminating allergens – both food and environmental
·         Eliminating food colorants, preservatives and food flavorants
·         Detoxify the body especially if  heavy metal poisoning is biochemically diagnosed
·         Correct protein intake making sure all potential amino acids deficiencies are corrected
·         Optimizing colon health with the correct hydration, fibre and always give an appropriate probiotic at least twice daily on an empty stomach
·         Negative stress should be reduced with appropriate therapy not forgetting regular exercise and relaxation
·         Underlying psychological and relationship issues identified should be professionally addressed before drug therapy is considered
Basic supplementation should at least include the following:
·         Well balanced organic multi-vitamin
·         Additional B-vitamins - providing additional folic acid(especially important when homocysteine levels are raised)
·         Lecithin preferably combined with additional Vit E (“ Lecithin is practically a wonder drug as far as cognitive impairment is concerned” Dr D.S. Khalsa – Brain Longevity)
·         Omega – 3 Complex to provide optimal levels of EPA and DHA
·         Additional Calcium, Magnesium and Vit D3 – especially when indicated by low blood levels.
·         Additional antioxidants – specially when fruit and vegetable intake is low and oxidative stress is detected in the urine sampling
A few essential facts to consider when opting for supplementation are the following:
·         Always use organic whole plant concentrates and avoid synthetic supplements
·         Make sure the product has a NAPPI code and is at least recognized by the regulatory bodies
·         Ensure that the Omega – 3 oils being used is certified to be free of any heavy metal, pesticides, herbicides and organophosphates as these substances tend to concentrate in oils
By applying these very basic principles, having a proper assessment and using these health guideless,  including the correct nutrition and dietary supplementation, most of these neurodevelopmental issues and disorders can be corrected without the use of potentially dangerous drug therapy.
We are indeed what we eat! - Dr Hein Badenhorst
Contact The ADD Lab:
(011) 888 9334

Friday, April 8, 2011

Are certain foods triggering ADD symptoms in your child?

As parents we play a crucial role in the management of our children’s ADD/ADHD symptoms. And in order to do this successfully we have to be able to firstly identify the symptoms and secondly we have to be able to manage them correctly. We manage these symptoms by looking at a few different influencers like sleep, nutrition, exercise, supplementation, the list goes on. If we can optimize these influencers, we can minimize the symptoms of ADD.
“Trigger foods” have shown to increase the negative characteristics of ADD. Thus the correct nutrition is vital in controlling the effects of ADD.

Let’s have a closer look at what good nutrition looks like.

A balanced diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Additionally, a healthy diet is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Consequently, when looking at ADD specifically, colored foods, sweets, candies, sugary cereals and energy drinks should be excluded. I’m reminded of a time when my daughters used to watch the cartoon The Gummi Bears. The Gummi Bears had a secret potion called Gummiberry Juice. It was a bright purple liquid that used to send them bouncing off the walls whenever the bears consumed it. This is what happens in the ADD brain when it’s loaded with sugars, colourants and other trigger ingredients.
Trigger foods commonly include sugar which is the main culprit of altering blood sugar levels and is considered by most experts to stimulate hyperactive behaviors.
The common forms of hidden sugar in foods:
  • white or cane sugars
  • high fructose corn syrups
  • sucrose
  • dextros
  • fructose
Caffeine is also labeled as a trigger food. Since caffeine is a stimulant and most children with ADD/ADHD are already over-stimulated, eliminating it from their diets makes good sense.
As a parent you can consult nutritionists who will be able to compile nutrition plans that will aid in battling the effects of ADD/ADHD. ADD nutrition plans have produced positive results in a number of children. Many parents and teachers report mild to significant improvements in the behaviors of an ADD child who is no longer consuming "trigger foods" on a regular basis.

Recommended ADHD Diet and Nutrition Plans

When compiling diet plans for children with ADD/ADHD you have to consider working towards the maintenance of a stable blood sugar level. Foods that will allow for such stability are high protein options such as eggs, lean meats, nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. There are also a lot of gluten-free options available to substitute breads and snacks. Organic foods, which are additive-free, are commonly included in ADD nutrition plans as well. In addition to ensuring that wholesome foods are widely accessible in the home, parents can also provide ADD children with supplements such as omega-3 fatty acid. Multi-vitamins should also be given on a regular basis.

What can parents do to ensure a balanced, nutritious diet?
  • Make sure to provide your child with many nutritious snacks during the day as to prevent children from becoming hungry in between meals. A child who is hungry is more likely to experience difficulty in maintaining concentration levels.
  • Make sure that your child doesn’t skip meals or snacks during the day. This might cause children to become moody as blood sugar levels decrease, resulting in less energy and difficulty to concentrate.
  • Make sure to include a wide variety of food groups in a child’s meal. Different food groups are burnt by the body at different rates, this allows for stable blood sugar levels.
  • Avoid adding unnecessary sugars to your child’s diet.This causes the blood sugar levesl to increase rapidly causing bursts of energy, only for the blood sugar levels to decrease again often leaving children with feelings of fatigue and the inability to concentrate.
  • Make sure to exclude food additives such as colourings or preservatives.
  • Before indiscriminately eliminating multiple foods, be sure to discuss any dietary changes with a physician and/or nutritionist.
The key thing to remember is that any change, whether it be a sleeping routine, nutrition or regular exercise, should be applied holistically. If your child eats a balanced diet during the week they should do so too over the weekends. It’s almost like growing a tree that only receives care, nurturance and water during the week and not over weekends. A healthy, holistic approach to nutrition will help you manage the effects of ADD.