Is it possible that your child is being medically undertreated?

Do they have major constipation, stomach upset, tics, or sensory issues that go unaddressed?

Is medication not a fit for your child, not working well enough, or do you have to keep increasing the dose?

            The biomedical model for treating ADD/ADHD addresses both the genetic and individual physiology of your child. This means that their digestion, liver health, heavy metal burden, and genetics are all taken into consideration when treating them, regardless if they are on medications or not.

Our goal for you or your child is to remove their obstacles to optimal functioning, meaning eliminating as much junk from their body so the brain can stop being under attack and function to the best of its ability.

Do you think a medieval castle constantly under siege is able to build another tower or strengthen it’s army? This is the principle on which the biomedical model operates.

            ADHD has strong social, genetic, nutritional, immunological, and environmental toxicity components which means it may require a more complex treatment protocol.

  • ADHD is the most common child-onset psychiatric condition and is considered under diagnosed world wide.
  • Other psychiatric conditions are commonly linked with this diagnosis: anxiety, depression, bipolar, increased accidents, criminality, and drug use among others. 1
  • People are also at higher risk for inflammatory diseases into adulthood such as: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. 2

            In a world of chronic disease, environmental factors such as heavy metals, pesticides, chronic infection, and food sensitivities are showing up in these children.7 The same applies to Autism, PANDAS, Tics/Tourette syndrome, and OCD. Traditionally in ADHD, the neurotransmitter dopamine is at lower levels than in controls, along with lower receptors within the frontal lobe. More specifically the “orbitofrontal cortex” which is closely tied with visuospatial and emotional interpretation. This makes motor tone/motor planning, staying on task, mood/aggression outbursts, and motivation harder than neurotypical people.

Brain Inflammation

            As mentioned above, there are a number of inflammatory diseases associated with ADHD taking place in the body. Some research also points to inflammation at the level of the brain. 3 This means that the brain is constantly being harassed by inflammation, which activates the white blood cells called microglia. The microglia release even more inflammatory cytokines, including glutamate which can cause excitotoxicity of the brain cell. This is also thought to be one of the causes of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. In one study, reducing the inflammatory particle IL-6 with omega 3 fish oil showed improvements on the Conners ADHD rating scale. 4 Interestingly, ADHD medications such as methylphenidate, atomoxetine, and the SSRI antidepressants have preliminary evidence to support an anti-inflammatory mechanism.

            Things that are pro-inflammatory include a diet high in refined carbohydrates, diets low in fruits and vegetables, gastrointestinal distress, sugar consumption, and low antioxidant status. Antioxidants that have been studied and have shown some improvements in ADHD symptoms are zinc, fish oil, vitamin C, NAC, CoQ10, and pycnogenol among others. 4-7,9

What is Methylation?

            The methylation cycle is the main biochemical cycle that we evaluate in your child. It is responsible for making the major detoxifying antioxidant glutathione in your liver and brain.

The most common defective gene that stops glutathione from being made is called methyltetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR. Studies have shown mothers of those with ADHD, and people diagnosed with it themselves have defects in this gene (among others).10 This means the brain cannot detoxify things like lead or glutamate, and it becomes overburdened and doesn’t function up to its ability.

            Biomedical treatment comes up with nutritional ‘work arounds’ to help these genes to function at their best. Most needed in the beginning are vitamins methylB12, methylfolate, B6, and magnesium. These donate methyl groups (one carbon molecules) to the tissues so they can make things like glutathione, serotonin, dopamine, and healthy hormones for a healthy puberty.

            Some altered gene functioning found in ADD/ADHD, Autism, Tics/Tourettes, and pediatric anxiety are MTHFR, COMT, and IDO to name a few.11-13 Biomedical treatment using the methylation cycle can directly impact these genes.

The bottom line is that your or your child’s cause of ADHD is very complex. One drug or therapy cannot be the ‘cure all’ if multiple systems are inflamed. By using biomedical treatment that complements the other health care providers in your team, restoring daily function and regulated moods can be a common goal.

References:

  1. Polyzoi M, Ahnemark E, Medin E, Ginsberg Y. Estimated prevalence and incidence of diagnosed ADHD and health care utilization in adults in Sweden – a longitudinal population-based register study. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2018;14:1149-1161. Published 2018 May 7. doi:10.2147/NDT.S155838

2) Cortese S, Tessari L. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obesity: Update 2016. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017;19(1):4.

3) Anand D, Colpo GD, Zeni G, Zeni CP, Teixeira AL. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder And Inflammation: What Does Current Knowledge Tell Us? A Systematic Review. Front Psychiatry. 2017;8:228. Published 2017 Nov 9. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00228

4) Hariri M, Djazayery A, Djalali M, Saedisomeolia A, Rahimi A, Abdolahian E. Effect of n-3 supplementation on hyperactivity, oxidative stress and inflammatory mediators in children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Malays J Nutr (2012) 18(3):329–35.

5) Garcia RJ, Francis L, Dawood M, Lai ZW, Faraone SV, Perl A (2013) Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder scores are elevated and respond to N-acetylcysteine treatment in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Rheum 65:1313–1318. doi: 10.1002/art.37893

6)Joshi K et al (2006) Supplementation with flax oil and vitamin C improves the outcome of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 74:17–21. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2005.10.001

7)Kinga Polanska, et al. Review of current evidence on the impact of pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and selected metals on attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder in children. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 2013;26(1):16–38 DOI 10.2478/s13382-013-0073-7

8) Monika Dvořáková, et al. (2007) Urinary catecholamines in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Modulation by a polyphenolic extract from pine bark (Pycnogenol®), Nutritional Neuroscience, 10:3-4, 151-157, DOI: 10.1080/09513590701565443

9) Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Jan;169(1):1-7. doi: 10.1007/s12011-015-0395-3. Epub 2015 Jun 12. Changed Plasma Levels of Zinc and Copper to Zinc Ratio and Their Possible Associations with Parent- and Teacher-Rated Symptoms in Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Viktorinova A, et al.

10) Baykal S, et al. Altered methyltetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphism in mothers of children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Jan 10;88:215-221. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.07.020. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

11) Saha T, et al. Genetic variants of the folate metabolic system and mild hyperhomocysteinemia may affect ADHD associated behavioral problems. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 8;84(Pt A):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.01.016. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

12) Millenet SK, Nees F, Heintz S, et al. COMT Val158Met Polymorphism and Social Impairment Interactively Affect Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Symptoms in Healthy Adolescents. Front Genet. 2018;9:284. Published 2018 Jul 31. doi:10.3389/fgene.2018.00284

13) Aarsland TI, Landaas ET, Hegvik TA, et al. Serum concentrations of kynurenines in adult patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a case-control study. Behav Brain Funct. 2015;11(1):36. Published 2015 Nov 5. doi:10.1186/s12993-015-0080-x