Safe Alternatives to ADD Drugs
ADHD drugs such as Ritalin are responsible for more than 3,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That recent announcement comes on the heels of a FDA advisory panel recommendation that stimulant drugs for ADHD should have a black box warning to let users know that these drugs can prompt serious heart problems. An FDA report notes that between 1999 and 2003, 25 people died after beginning treatment with the drug - 19 of them were children.
FDA panel member and Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen, M.D., told the New York Times: "I have grave concerns about the use of these drugs and grave concerns about the harm they may cause."
These developments must give pause to any adult who uses ADHD drugs and any parent who gives one of these drugs to their child before school each day.
So - why not try a safer, nutrient-based approach that might smooth out the edges of hyperactivity, minimize attention problems, and benefit overall health?
Young research scientist Natalie Sinn appears to have a very promising future.
The University of South Australia Ph.D. candidate recently won a prestigious Australian science award for leading a placebo controlled, double blind intervention study. Sinn and her team enrolled more than 130 children, aged 7 to 12, who were all diagnosed with ADHD.
· For 30 weeks, about half the group received 3 grams per day of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 from fish oil and omega-6 from evening primrose oil), along with a multivitamin (including vitamin E) and mineral supplement
· Half the group received a placebo for 15 weeks, then began receiving the same supplementation as the intervention group for the remaining 15 weeks
· At 15 weeks, and again at 30 weeks, parents were asked to complete Connor's Parent Rating Scales, a method that judges ADHD severity with 14 assessment scales
· After the first 15 weeks, parents of children in the intervention group reported significantly higher improvements compared to reports from placebo group parents
· Areas of improvements included inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, behavioral problems and cognitive problems
· After 30 weeks, the original intervention group continued to improve their scores significantly in 10 out of 14 scales, while the original placebo group showed a marked improvement in scores as well.
Overall, the vocabulary of the children also improved over 30 weeks. Sinn told NutraIngredients that previous fish oil studies showed improved reading ability in children with learning difficulties.Sinn also noted that there is currently no evidence that ADHD medications provide benefits beyond four weeks, "whereas, in the present trial, symptoms continued to improve after 15 weeks of supplementation."
About the author
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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