From Dr. Karnik’s Desk
Q: Is there any validity of using Vit D as a therapy for ADHD?
A: Vit D has come a long way from its use for rickets and bone disorders. Osteoporosis affects more than forty million people is prevented by adequate intake of Vit D. Many clinical studies have shown that some cancers can be prevented by Vit D intake. In a recent clinical trial using Vit D and Omega 3 combined showed that in a certain group, there was a reduction in cancers with Vit D supplement. A growing number of studies indicate benefits in conditions such as multiple sclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, and immune disorders.
However, in a few recent studies done on children, Vit D supplements in addition to stimulant therapy resulted in an improvement in ADHD symptoms. These finding needs to be studied further to draw definitive conclusions.
Q: What is the role of zinc in treating ADHD?
A: It is currently believed that this condition is due to brain chemical imbalance. The role of dopamine and nor-epinephrine has been identified. Zinc has a role in regulating dopamine and many children have shown a deficiency of zinc. Studies have shown an improvement in attention and hyperactivity by adding zinc which can be given in supplement form or by increasing a diet that has it in high levels such as shrimp, pumpkin seeds, spinach, or red meat. Serum Zinc level should be monitored if it is given in a supplement form as it accumulates in the body.
Q: Can I use Magnesium to treat ADHD?
A: Magnesium is very important in many enzyme reactions especially in the function of dopamine and serotonin receptors. It plays a role in the inhibition of excitatory glutamate neurotransmitter and promotes inhibitory GABA reception. In addition, magnesium deficiency is frequently in the general population and low levels have been associated with lower IQ, AHD symptoms, and anxiety. Magnesium supplement also improves sleep which is beneficial for academic functions. Many studies have shown an improvement in ADHD symptoms in children.
Q: Should I give DHA omega 3 to my child?
The importance of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) for brain development has been clearly recognized for many years and recent evidence has supported well that DHA is essential for cognitive neurodevelopment. An adequate supply of DHA has resulted in an increase in gray matter volume and overall brain size, depression, moods, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. A deficient amount of DHA has shown to cause a decrease in brain size, reading issues, and behavioral problems.
Studies have shown that DHA has an action on brain formation during pregnancy. It affects brain cell differentiation, normal neuroblast migration, and formation of synapsis. Rat pups show behavioral problems, dopamine, and serotonin alterations when pregnant rats were given DHA deficient diet. Current studies have linked DHA deficiency to reading disorders.
I have been recommending supplementing DHA in the diet for children for a long time now.