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Dr. Stephen Whiting
An Orthomolecular Approach to ADD/ADHD

The science, or perhaps better stated, the philosophy of Orthomolecular nutrition is not yet 30 years old. Still, in that short time, research has isolated several factors that have a significant connection to learning disabilities. Some of the obvious factors include toxic metal poisoning of soft tissues, an impaired ability to manage glucose, food and environment allergies, and an inattention to the optimal requirements of the nine-month gestation period.

In preparing to address any learning disability condition we must ensure that these pivotal factors are established, examined, and explained, all as part of common education, if we have any hope of producing beneficial results.

Many of the serious social problems we face as adults have roots in childhood disorders. The tragedy of labeling learning disabled children as "retarded" is another factor of neglect to be considered. Thousands of children are imprisoned in institutions by ignorant, unscrupulous medical doctors and/or frustrated parents. Children are placed in residential facilities simply because they have behavioral problems or are developing at a slower rate than other children.

how many such individuals fell into a life of crime because they were unable to cope
A recent survey by the Bureau of Prisons shows that a vast number of the inmates in our nations jails are totally or functionally illiterate. While there are many causes for this illiteracy, one cannot help but wonder how many such individuals fell into a life of crime because they were unable to cope with their learning disabilities.

Even if the child manages to escape the destructive process of institutionalization, he will not achieve his full potential unless the cause of his problem is addressed.

How do we go about addressing the cause of a condition that has so many facets, faces and combinations? It is not as difficult as it might seem. Orthomolecular nutrition offers potential hope for many forms of learning disabilities. Does that mean that this approach is a panacea? No. Unfortunately the human mind is still a mystery, and there is much we do not yet understand. No form of treatment is 100% effective 100% of the time. But the natural Orthomolecular approach using properly adjusted dietary supplements has shown to have the greatest single percentage of success.

Does that mean I am totally against the use of medications in all instances? No. There are some situations where medication can be of benefit---but only for the short term, not as a lifelong sentence. Medication, if needed, should only be used until the body chemistry of the child is properly adjusted through the use of natural substances.

We should also keep in mind that over half of the children with learning disabilities are not helped at all by drug therapy. And what of those that seem to be helped? What have we really accomplished if we succeed in quieting a fourth grade child with medication, but he still has only a fist grade ability in reading?

We should be asking many questions and using the answers to plan a management strategy.
Instead of covering up symptoms with drugs, we should be looking at these symptoms with great interest for the information that they can give us. We should be seeking answers to how the child relates to family, teachers and peers. We should be asking about the factors of the mother's pregnancy and child birthing processes. Were they normal? Did the mother have adequate nutrition during the formative nine months of her child's growth and development? What was the child's state of health at birth? During the first few years? What types of behavior did the child exhibit? What kind of diet was the child fed? Are there any connections between diet and variances in behavior? Does the child have certain food and drink cravings? The answers to these questions can help to build an Orthomolecular program that can alter the root of the child's disabilities instead of masking it.

Prevention is the best answer.
Prevention is the best answer to minimize the effects of learning disabilities. This can be done by educating women of child-bearing age so that the children they bear can start out on the "Right Foot" instead of the "Wrong Foot."

The disadvantages of poor health accrue from the time of conception. Pregnancy is the most important time in our physical lives. What good and bad happens to us during the nine-month fetal period has lasting effect upon us for the rest of our lives.

The mother's state of health at the time of conception, and all during the nine-month period, is vitally important for both mother and child. Lack of proper nutrients in adequate supply can produce deficiencies with catastrophic consequences. Further, if the expectant mother pollutes her internal biochemistry with drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or even caffeine, she is poisoning the child's environment. The child is subject to that poison for nine months.

Malnutrition during pregnancy can often result in impaired social skills and slow emotional development during the child's formative years.

Fortunately, breast feeding is once again gaining popularity with women in the United States. It seems amazing that something so primal and vital to an offspring's life and well-being seems to be governed by fads and popularity. A few years ago very few women took the time nor had the inclination to engage in breast feeding. It was said to be too time-consuming, too inconvenient. Society did not support its vital nature. In so many ways, these faddists cause us to remove ourselves from our human impulses. This separates us from nature, and we lose something of our humanity.

Breast milk contains all of the right ratios of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for human growth and development. Further, the natural antibodies present in human milk help to strengthen and activate the immune system of the newborn child.

Anyone who is planning to have a child should ensure that the nutrition of both mother and father is adequate several weeks or months prior to conception, and that BOTH mother and father avoid the use of potentially gene-altering substances such as recreational drugs, alcohol and nicotine. The sacrifices we make for our children before and after conception will reward them with better health throughout life.

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