PT on the Net Research

ADD and ADHD - A Modern Epidemic!


A friend of mine has a six year old boy with extreme Attention Deficit Disorder. He is currently being evaluated by a physician for therapy involving medication. In as much as his father also has ADD, I suspect that this will be a long-term issue. I would like to know if there have been any studies involving exercise as part of a "treatment" for ADD or ADHD. Also can ADD or ADHD be, in part, related to the long periods of inactivity that children experience more often than ever? Would a sport activity or regular cardio type of program be beneficial in calming down this child's body and mind?


On a recent trip to England to lecture, I happened to catch a TV documentary on the topic of ADD and ADHD, which is now a huge problem in the UK. In this documentary (put out on BBC, I believe), a clinical psychologist was presented with identical twin boys about age six. The psychologist performed an evaluation on them, including tests of cognitive and behavioral function. The mother then put one of the twins on a food additive free diet for two weeks. The boys were brought back to the psychologist for re-evaluation (remember, the psychologist had no idea which one was on the diet). His evaluation accurately spotted the boy that had been on the additive free diet, and there was something along the lines of a 25 percent improvement in cognitive performance (you may want to contact the BBC to get exact details)!

Today, we are experiencing a huge problem in this regard – and it is a NEW problem. The problem is so bad, in fact, that current statistics published by Lynne McTaggurt's "What Doctors Don't Tell You" newsletter indicated that today, fully 20 percent of American fifth graders are on Ritalin, a drug that has been found to behave chemically very much the same way as cocaine in the brain! It is important to realize that today, the average person consumes about 150 pounds of additives each year or about his/her own body weight! These additives are ingested in the form of:

In fact, there are now as many as 15,000 chemicals used in or on food from ground to stomach ("Surviving the Toxic Crisis" by William Randall Kellas, Ph.D. and Andrea Sharon Dworkin, ND).

Unfortunately, this list of chemicals is NOT inclusive of the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and other chemicals used in commercial Farming. Last year in the US alone, two BILLION pounds were applied to crops! In a New Zealand study, scientists went into a typical elementary school and stood in line to collect the same lunch the children were eating. They then took it to the lab and analyzed it for pesticide residues. They found 19 residues, many of which were several times the safe limit for DAILY consumption in that meal alone!

Current research also shows that we not only need to be very concerned with the pesticide residues themselves, but there are new chemical combinations created whenever such foods are heated in the cooking process. Even more damaging is the use of a microwave oven because it creates radiolytic compounds. Our liver can be damaged by these compounds, and if you should be deficient in the many very important nutrients needed to run the liver's primary pathways of detoxification (Cytochrome P450 and P448), these chemicals may either be shuttled into your fat cells to wait "on deck" while you (hopefully) seek out more nutritious foods that contain the needed nutrients or your liver makes it half way through the process of converting these chemicals into a water soluble chemical that can be excreted by the kidneys and gets STUCK due to lack of nutrition to run the phase II detoxification processes (P448). If this occurs, the chemicals sit in your liver and have been found to cause sclerosis of the liver, as commonly seen in alcoholics and other drug addicts who suffer this fate due to bad habits and poor nutrition. Consider the stats on Ritalin use and the nutritional status of children today and you have basically the same situation seen in addicts with damaged livers!

This is all very relevant to ADD and ADHD. Even a short tour through books like "The Safe Shoppers Bible" by Steinman and Epstein and "A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives" by Ruth Winter or some of the web sites that list the side effects of commonly used pesticides will clearly reveal numerous symptoms that are part and parcel of symptoms used to define ADD and ADHD! See the following for examples:

Yet another issue is the massive quantity of sugar children are eating today. An excellent book describing the correlation between diet and cognitive function and behavior in children is "Crazy Makers - How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children" by Carol Simontacchi. She shows that many of the breakfast cereals eaten by children contain as much sugar as soda pop when compared by the ounce. In fact, some were TWICE as sweet as Coke, which contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar per can! In "Beating the Food Giants" by Paul A. Stitt, (previously a food scientist for Quaker and others), Stitt informs us that the average breakfast cereal is between 46 to 53 percent sugar. Now, you won't really comprehend what processed sugar does to your body until you read "Sugar Blues" by William Dufty.

In brief, when you eat any meal that contains too much carbohydrate for your metabolic type (see "The Metabolic Typing Diet" by William Wolcott and Trish Fahe), your body releases insulin to break down the sugar and protect your cells from the excessive sugar levels. Unfortunately, the feedback loop that controls the insulin release is slow, and it is common to become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) before the body stops the sugar lowering process associated with insulin. When this happens, people generally eat MORE sugar or consume stimulants such as caffeine to pick them up again. Usually, they drink sugar and caffeine together! While you are pondering your next skittle, muffin or Coke since you've dipped too low in blood sugar, there is a release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) followed shortly by adrenaline, soon after by cortisol. Cortisol triggers the release of stored glycogen from the liver, which is then used to elevate your blood sugar (remember now that most of you are about to consume more sugar and caffeine - yes, even the children!). Because adrenaline and cortisol, as well as insulin, are very powerful stimulators of the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system, your body is now reacting to the adrenaline and cortisol as though you are running from a lion at full speed since. Now, take all this into consideration (which I've tried to keep relatively simple, by the way) along with the fact that just one teaspoon of sugar has been shown by recent research to suppress your immune system for up to four hours (see Dr. David Getoff's nutrition videos), and you can begin to understand why children are behaving so radically! You can also begin to understand why their parents behave so radically as well! Believe me, many of them are not only patients of my students, but they are setting an example for their children by keeping a pocket full of pills all day long. In fact, there are children all around the world today who've never seen either parent go a single day without using some kind of drug – thus, the children are now thinking this is normal!

All of this is completely unnecessary and can easily be corrected by eating quality organic foods from microorganism rich soils. While many complain of price and lack of availability, I say "hog wash!" The average American now spends $4,000 a year on medical help. We are the 37th ranked nation in the world for health, in spite of spending the MOST money on health! In addition, I personally work in 12 countries and travel six or more months of the year, during which time I not only maintain a vigorous exercise regimen, but I also seek out organic foods. Quite often, in fact, people in my seminars tell me, "We can't find organic foods here.....blah, blah, blah" and I say, "Is that right? Have you tried such and such farm just down the road here?" They usually reply, "I never even knew it was there!" Quite simply, you can find anything you want if you LOOK for it! If all else fails, you can have anything sent by air mail today. Yes, even organic foods – I do it often!

We all better stand up for our future now and quit buying garbage foods and drinks and quit letting schools sell our children soda pop and garbage foods because these children will be running your country in 20 years! If you keep buying crap with your money, then the commercial farmers and chemical corporations have no reason to stop ruining our soils and poisoning our waterways. Today there are NO unpolluted waterways left in the world! Even at the North Pole, there are dangerously high levels of PCBs found in whale and seal blubber, and the Inuit people (a tribe of Eskimos), who are as far removed from modern civilization as you can possibly get, are having tremendous problems with ADD, ADHD and learning disorders.

You can't run, you can't hide, all you can do is change the situation by not buying crap food. When all of us demand CERTIFIED ORGANIC foods and stop buying garbage, not only will the farmers be forced the care for and respect the soils that feed us, the chemical companies will either be forced out of business or have to come up with natural alternatives for farmers to use! Children learn primarily from their parents, so as I tell the parents in my clinic all the time, "If you want to get rid of your child's ADD or ADHD, you've got to get rid of your own first!" MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO! Native populations eating their natural, organically raised foods DID NOT have ADD or ADHD. In fact, they often didn't have a word for cancer in their language (see "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston A. Price).

If you want healthy, happy children, make healthy happy parents. To make healthy happy parents, the exercise, rehabilitation and medical professionals must become healthy leaders. We must move beyond flipping our hair and flexing in the mirror as we sip Red Bull! I am not suggesting you are guilty of this, but the truth is that many of today’s trainers are!

Toward health!