7 Potential Causes of ADHD and ADD

1. Pesticides in fruits and vegetables. Three studies published in 2011 found that women who ate fruits and vegetables which had been treated with pesticides had contaminated urine and umbilical blood. Prenatal development is a critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems are woven together. The umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also whatever other exposures the mother has suffered. Industrial chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides are transferred as readily as cigarettes and alcohol. This contamination could trigger the onset of ADHD/ADD in children. These three studies were conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Berkeley's School of Public Health and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, published in Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Linked to Diminished IQ: Some Popular Fruits and Vegetables Contain Highest Levels.

2. Cleaning products. Products such as the Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser ® contains Formaldehyde (1,4,9), Acetaldehyde (1,2,3), Benzene (3,4,5), and Chloroform (1,2,8), a potent mix of proven carcinogens and neurotoxins. Other cleaning agents such as bleach and dishwasher detergents release dangerous chemicals that often react with other chemicals to form more potent compounds. The truth is that mild soap and hot water are the best methods for preventing disease. Anti-bacterial disinfectants are based on a misunderstanding of “germs”. Take a look at Digestive Health Ann Arbor's January newsletter on the importance of probiotics and bacteria.

3. Cosmetics. Scientists from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York released a report in January 2011 that identified a common ingredient found in numerous cosmetics and fragrances as a possible cause of ADHD/ADD. The ingredient is known as low molecular weight (LMW) phthalate metabolites. This chemical can be absorbed through the mother's skin and transmitted to her unborn fetus.

4. Household products such as carpets and furniture. Children that were exposed to flame-retardants such as polychlorinated biphenyl were 76% more likely to suffer ADHD compared with those who had the lowest exposure, in a study conducted by Sagiv S.K. and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health. Polychlorinated biphenyl was banned, but its remnants persist in the environment. The newest flame retardant used in carpets and furniture, polybrominated biphenyl, may have the same affects as its predecessor.

5. Artificial food additives and genetically modified organisms (GMO's). Artificial food additives (such as colors and preservatives) and hyperactivity were first linked by Ben Feingold, MD, Chief of Allergy at San Francisco Kaiser Permanent Medical Center. Author of books such as Why Your Child is Hyperactive (1975) and Feingold Cookbook for Hyperactive Children (1979), Dr. Feingold championed dietary changes and achieved high success rates among children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. He was often quoted as saying: "Any compound, natural or synthetic, can induce an adverse reaction if the individual has the appropriate genetic profile, i.e., disposition." By removing potential aggravates such as synthetic additives and produce that has been genetically modified, we can help our children's brain biochemistry return to normal.

6. Undetected food allergies. Dr. Rapp was a pediatric allergist who noticed a drastic physical and behavioral change among children exposed to certain foods. The children were labeled violent, aggressive, distracted and hyper, often burdened with an alphabet soup of prescriptive medications. Removing certain foods, specific to each child, resulted in behavioral, mental and physical improvements. Dr. Rapp quickly realized that undetected food allergies may be causing the ADHD/ADD symptoms in many of the children in her practice.

7. Sugar. Though sugar may not be a direct cause of ADHD/ADD, it still robs a child's body of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and increases blood sugar levels. If your child suffers from ADHD/ADD, removing or restricting sugar intake is a good place to start. Unfortunately, much of the foods marketed for children contain an unbelievable amount of sugar. Paul Pestano, MS, and research analyst at the Environmental Working Group, stated that in a recent study on cereals marketed towards children, “three cereals have more sugar than a Twinkie” and “forty-four others have more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy cookies.” The three Twinkie-trouncing cereals are Kellogg's Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisps, and General Mills Wheaties FUEL.

Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall: Dangerous, Expensive and Ineffective

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) was founded in 1987 by Ciba-Ceigy (now Novartis), the original maker of Ritalin. Not surprisingly, drugs like Ritalin have been pushed by supposedly unbiased health organizations, such as CHADD, as the only viable method to ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD. However, these drugs are dangerous, expensive, and often ineffective.

How effective are common treatment methods like Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall?

Currently, the amphetamines Ritalin and Concerta or an amphetamines “cocktail” (Adderall) is used to treat ADHD. Though Dr. Braly, author of The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief  (2008), confirms that the “short-term effectiveness of these medications in reducing hyperactivity and improving concentration and learning is about 60 to 70 percent,” (57) these medications have very common and detrimental side effects.

Common Side Effects of Ritalin

  • Addiction
  • Nervousness including agitation, anxiety and irritability
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations

Other Serious Side Effects of Ritalin Include

  • Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
  • Seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
  • Eyesight changes or blurred vision
Less Common Side Effects of Ritalin
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse rate (and other heart problems)
  • Tolerance (constant need to raise the dose)
  • Feelings of suspicion and paranoia
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Depression  
  • Dermatoses (infected or diseased skin)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Infection or viral infection
  • Elevated ALT enzyme levels in the blood (signaling liver damage)

Overdose Side Effects of Ritalin

Since methylphenidate drugs are highly addictive, overdose side effects may result. Here are some of the more common symptoms of an overdose:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremor
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic states
  • Hyperreflexia (overactive reflexes, which can include twitching or spasms)
  • Personality changes
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Seizures or abnormal EEGs
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Swelling of hands/feet/ankles (for example, numbing of the fingertips)
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Rhabdomyolysis and kidney damage

Chronic abuse can manifest itself as psychosis, often indistinguishable from schizophrenia 

A Call to Action

If you or a loved one suffers from ADD or ADHD, take your health into your own hands. Visit an appropriate health practitioner who will talk about the most simple and least invasive methods of healing. Throwing dangerous drugs at the problem is clearly not the solution.

ADHD and Big Business: What the Drug Companies Don't Want You to Know

In 1985, A Respected Doctor Discovers Food Can Cause ADHD

Dr. Joseph Egger, head of the Pediatric University Hospital in Munich, Germany, could not believe his results. Of 76 children with severe ADHD put on the strict hypoallergenic diet for a month, 82% got better. These were children with severe epilepsy, antisocial behavior, who were sometimes even prone to violence. Yet, in little over a month's time, it was as if they were entirely new people.

Dr. Egger's 1985 study created an uproar. Scientists scrambled to conduct their own research to see if these staggering results were true. Over the years, peer review corroborated Dr. Egger's findings repeatedly - removing artificial food colors, preservatives, and common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts and eggs, lead to drastic improvements in some of the worst cases of ADHD in both children and adults.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

Despite mounting evidence that food allergies correlate directly with the onset of ADHD, organizations such as CHADD do not even mention food allergies and diet as a potential cause for Attention Deficit Disorders. Why would they disregard these studies, which could lead to complete improvements for many patients?

CHADD: Brought to You By the Makers of Ritalin

CHADD was founded in 1987 by Ciba-Ceigy (now Novartis), the original maker of Ritalin, the popular ADD drug. A 1995 PBS Merrow Report found that CHADD consistently distributed misleading information to hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers which exaggerated the benefits of ADD drugs, such as Ritalin. In response to this report, the Drug Enforcement Administration put a stop to CHADD's efforts to relax controls on Ritalin, and the US Department of Education withdrew videos which were created by CHADD as educational tools for teachers and parents.

Take Your Health Out of Corporate Hands

It's time to start listening to scientists that are not backed by a multi-million dollar drug company agenda. Disorders such as ADHD are big business for pharmaceutical companies feeding off the distress of uninformed parents. You have the power to educate yourself and take your family's health into your own hands. Talk to an appropriate health practitioner today.

The ADHD Epidemic: Food Allergies and Children

Children Suffer Most for Changes in American Diet

James Braly, M.D., graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1970 and pushed for a deeper understanding of food as an integral element of optimal performance for Olympians and as a mechanism for illness, particularly among children. In his book The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief  (2008) Braly writes that “of all people, children show most clearly that our twenty-first-century diets and lifestyles are resulting in more and more food allergies and sensitivities. And along with those allergies go a wide range of childhood illnesses and other conditions...” (56) One of which is ADHD.

3 Surprising statistics about ADHD

  • 1990: around 750,000 American children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 2008: an estimated 3 million children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 1/3 or more ADHD children will grow up to be ADHD adults

*statistics from “The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief” by Dr. James Braly, 2008

13 Symptoms Watch

1. inattention, easily distracted

2. antisocial behavior and emotional problems (depression, anxiety, irritability etc.)

3. hyperactivity

4. chronic insomnia

5. headaches

6. seizures/fits

7. abdominal pain or discomfort

8. chronic rhinitis (nonseasonal)

9. frequent sinus and middle ear infections

10. leg aches (“growing pains”), joint pain

11. skin rashes

12. mouth ulcers

13. dark circles under eyes

How is ADHD most commonly diagnosed?

Dr. Braly points out in his book that “There is no laboratory or clinical test available yet that definitively diagnoses the condition; a diagnosis is based on observations of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity so serious they impair a child's ability to function.” (56) For all the talk of the importance of biochemical testing in determining diagnosis, it seems surprising that a mere observation is information enough to throw additional chemicals (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall) at the problem. Of course, diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medications means more money in the doctors pocket, and an ADHD epidemic means dollar signs for pharmaceutical companies. For plenty of reasons, the role of food allergies and chemical-food-additive sensitivities in children with ADHD remains, in Dr. Braly's words, “largely ignored.” (57)

Food Allergy testing and ADHD: A Simple, Cost-Effective, and Scientific Solution

The most comprehensive food allergy diagnostic tool is the ELISA blood test, which examines the bodies reaction to 96 different potential food allergens, including gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and peanuts. This simple test also allows health professionals to efficiently check for the severity of allergies, ranging from IgE (most severe), IgA (moderate) and IgG (least severe). This test can quickly and precisely point to exactly which foods may be causing such a severe reaction in a child.

A Call to Action

If your child has ADHD, speak to the appropriate health practitioner about a food allergy test. ADHD medications are potentially harmful, and usually only effective in the short-term. Don't be another tally in the pharmaceutical companies profit margin. Take control of your health today.