Another school year is here, and with it comes a renewed focus on children’s and teens' health. One of the most common disorders among school-age kids is ADHD, characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. A new book, Finally Focused, by James Greenblatt, MD (jamesgreenblattmd.com), maps out one of the best natural treatment plans for this common syndrome that we’ve ever seen. Of particular interest, Greenblatt stresses the importance of magnesium supplements for those with ADHD. Here’s an excerpt from his new book:
I’ve been treating children with ADHD for 30 years—and I can’t remember one child with the disorder who didn’t benefit from taking a magnesium supplement. Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 enzyme systems, biochemical spark plugs that ignite cellular activity. For example, if magnesium is minimal, so is ATP, the fundamental fuel that powers every cell. Blood sugar isn’t correctly regulated, and the immune system is weakened. Most important for your ADHD child, the brain is compromised.
Stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall that are intended to help ADHD might actually be complicating the problem—because they leach magnesium from the body. In my experience, a deficit of nerve-nourishing magnesium is often behind ADHD drug side effects like irritability, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, facial tics, and nail-biting.
In one study, doctors measured the magnesium levels of 114 children with ADHD and found that 110 of the children—96%—were deficient in magnesium. My clinical experience is similar, with rates at 90%. I recommend every patient with ADHD take a supplement of the mineral.
Signs That Your Child Is Low in Magnesium
- Poor concentration
- Irritability and anxiety
- Depression and apathy
- Mood swings
- Sleeping problems like insomnia
- Pumpkin seeds
- Yogurt and kefir
- Black beans