For all of you who are trying to avoid artificial food dyes–Red #3, Red#40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Blue#2, and Green #3–there is good news. First, the California legislature is considering legislation that will require food manufacturers to post a warning label on products that contain food dyes that the product may affect children’s behavior. Second, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins today committed to phase out most of the artificial food dyes from most foods and beverages by the end of 2018. Dunkin Donuts is the 7th largest restaurant chain in the United States, and Baskin-Robbins is 79th. Both are reformulating a wide array of products, including doughnuts, ice creams, and beverages. This is progress, but even without dyes, their foods are high in sugar and saturated fats and are good for no one–except perhaps as an occasional indulgence!
Just a reminder that next Wednesday, February 22, I’ll be giving a Webinar for CHADD, the large organization that does a super-duper job of helping parents of children with ADHD.
Just go to CHADD’s website and register for the talk–it’s free! There will be a file you can print before or after the webinar of all my slides so that you can follow along. You’ll also be able to ask questions. Then the webinar and slides–both audio and visual will be available here following my talk. Hope you can join us!
Sucralose (Splenda) is an artificial sweetener used in many foods and beverages. In a new study of adults and children scientists measured the amounts of sucralose (Splenda) in the blood after an oral serving of a beverage sweetened with sucralose. The research was published in Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry. Eleven adults drank 12 oz (the amount in a can of pop) of a mixture of sucralose and water and another 11 adults drank a can of diet Coke sweetened with sucralose and another artificial sweetener (acesulfame). Eleven children drank 12 oz of water containing sucralose. The children essentially drank the same amounts as the adults. Next blood was taken at 10, 20, 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes to test blood levels of sucralose. Concentrations were adjusted for weight. The researchers were surprised to find that plasma concentrations in children were twice as high as the adults!
Do we really want to have sucralose circulating in our blood and that of our children? Were humans designed to process this foreign substance? The researchers pointed out, “Early life sucralose exposure may influence a child’s future taste preferences, diet, and metabolic health. Furthermore, we have recently reported that sucralose is present in human breast milk.”
For more about sweeteners–natural and artificial–please see Chapters 8 and 9 in my book, Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child: Natural Solutions for Hard-to-Raise Children. It’s cheapest at Google Books in the electronic format!
Today I’ll be recording a podcast with Jill Castle, the author of the website, The Nourished Child. We’re going to talk about artificial food dyes and ADHD. When I find out when it will be available, I’ll let you know. Have a great day!
Have you ever noticed whether or not your child reacts to things
like fragrances, the odor of paints, chlorinated products, gas fumes, magic markers, and so on? If yes, your child has a lot of company!
In a new study just published in the medical journal Air Quality and Atmospheric Health researchers reviewed questionnaires about reactions to common fragrances from 1136 adults. They were surprised to find that 34.7% of the population reported health problems, such as migraine headaches and breathing problems when exposed to fragranced products. 7.2 % had neurological problems, 5.8% had cognitive symptoms an 15/7% migraine headaches. They concluded that scented products can trigger a wide range of health problems in the general population.
Although the researchers didn’t address the issue of fragrances contributing to ADHD they do! Do you wear perfume? Does your house have scented products? What about your child’s teacher? Does the new car smell bother your child? Is he worse in a gas station around the fumes? If yes to these any of these questions, your child may be chemically sensitive. Try to set up fragrance-free zones for your child.
You can find much more info about Chemical Sensitivities in Chapter 19 of my book, Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child: Natural Solutions for Hard-to-Raise Children. You may be surprised by what you learn!
A recent article (October 2016) appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics about very high lead levels in 145 children in New York City. I mean very high–greater than 45 ug/dL. If you know anything about blood lead levels you’ll realize that those levels are huge. Scientists now know that even levels around 5-10 ug/dL cause problems in brains of children, and some scientists say that there are no safe lead levels. ADHD-type symptoms, developmental delays, and autism can result from high lead levels.
So how did these children in this study get such high levels? Many lived in very old buildings. Some put lead paint chips in their mouth or even ate them (they taste sweet). Other children ate soil or sand. 82% of the children in this study had homes with lead paint hazards. 37 % homes had engaged in home repairs. Some children had household members engaged in occupations or hobbies at risk for lead exposures. Imported spices, cosmetics and medicines and other products such as pottery and jewelry have been linked to lead-poisoning in children.
Does your child engage in any of those activities or is exposed to products that might contain lead? If yes, see your doctor for a blood lead level. This could save your child’s life!
Four prominent ADHD researchers recently published an outstanding summary article on the influence of diet on ADHD which appeared in Psychiatric Times. Here’s where you can read it:
The authors discuss research using elimination and restriction diets, studies of essential fatty acids, micronutrient intake and provide important clinical recommendations. I know you will really find this article interesting!
Shortly after my ADDitude Webinar I shared with you the results of an interesting study that concluded that children’s reading skills improved on an omega-3 supplement, but I didn’t know the name of the brand. The company contacted me so I could let you know that the supplement is Equazen PRO and is available in the US. No, I don’t own stock in this company!
In a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine–a prestigious, well-respected medical journal–reported that the Sugar Industry and researchers supported by the Sugar Research Foundation misled the public about the dangers of sugar and heart disease as early as 1965. For example, one professor of nutrition at Harvard University co-directed the first research project sponsored by the Sugar Research Foundation from 1965-6. They deliberately promoted a low-fat diet while encouraging the sugar industry to lower fat and increase sugar consumption even though they knew sugar was harmful and could elevate cholesterol levels in the blood!!! That a top university like Harvard could conspire with the food industry just boggles the mind! Was there any conspiracy in promoting the idea that sugar had nothing to do with ADHD?
Here are the recommendations of amounts of sugar for children according to the American Heart Association. Some children with ADHD do not tolerate this much sugar!!
There’s an interesting new article in the prestigious Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry just recently: “Omega-3/6 fatty acids fo reading in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 9-year-old mainstream schoolchildren in Sweden.”
Researcher Mats Johnson and his team gave a supplement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to mainstream schoolchildren in Sweden and tested their reading skills before and after. Seventy-eight children took the fatty acids while 76 took the placebo (a look-a-like capsule with no fatty acids.) The researchers, teachers, and families did not know who was getting the real “stuff” and who was getting the “phony” for three months.
Children who took the omega3/omega6 fatty acids showed significantly improved reading ability! Those children with attention problems also showed definite benefit.
I’m not sure which supplement they used but here are the amounts of each ingredient that were taken each day for 3 months:
-EPA 558 mg
-DHA 174 mg
-GLA (an omega-6 oil) 60 mg
You may not be able to find a supplement that is exactly like this but you want one in that ballpark that has 3 times as much EPA than DHA with also some GLA. The preparation should also contain some vitamin E to protect the delicate molecules. Good luck!
If you want to learn more about fatty acids and other natural solutions that are backed up by scientific studies, please see my book Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child. It’s cheapest at Google Books in the e-book format.