We are working with our son, the one we affectionately call Clark Kent, to modify his diet and lifestyle, in the hope that it will reduce his need for Concerta. I’ve been so excited to try this. I’m a huge believer in minimizing prescription medications.
My determination to make these changes started when I talked to a doctor the month before that had taken ADHD meds as a child. He theorized that ADHD meds can cause early onset of Parkinsian symptoms. I honestly don’t know if he is right, but we do want to wean CK off the meds if we can, or at least reduce his dosage over time. But he has a drivers license. And a job as a lifeguard. So we can’t go cold turkey on the meds.
We decided that what we should do first was establish a lifestyle change, because without a rock-solid commitment on the changes, we’d never know whether it helped, and we were pretty sure this would be a monumental challenge. Did I mention Clark has a drivers license, and a job? He does a lot of his eating outside our presence. Ugh.
So, here are the recommendations that my natural health and wellness clinic gave us to try. I am very interested in your feedback if you’ve had experience with any of these diet changes or supplements.
1. Eliminate gluten, dairy, and soy from his diet.
2. Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store, and strive to keep him away from processed foods.
3. Add coffee or an energy drink to his morning routine.
4. Add supplements in the following amounts (keep in mind, my “baby” is 6’2″ tall and 180 pounds at 16 years of age, so if your kids are much younger, obviously the dosages would look quite different):
a. Fish oil – 3 teaspoon once a day (actually, we are using a Pro-Omega oil that tastes a little less fishy): helps with memory, concentration, focus, mood, attention, and overall neural health
b. Magnesium – CK is doing a powder called Natural Calm. It helps with metabolic reactions. Here’s the link: http://www.vitacost.com/natural-vitality-natural-calm-plus-calcium-organic-raspberry-lemon. He takes 3 teaspoons 1-2 times a day, in liquid.
c. Gingko Biloba – He’s taking 60 mg twice a day. It works as a vasodilator or artery opener to help get nutrients and oxygen to the active cells in the brain
d. Acetyl Carnitine – He takes 500 mg per day. It is for the brain as an nootropic substance or brain nutrient to help with neurotransmitter production specifically acetylcholine which leads to better memory, focus, concentration, and creativity in our thought processes
e. B complex — He takes one of these per day: http://www.physicianspreference.com/B-Complex-100-capsules_p_476.html. It’s for the heart and brain and provides them with energy.
f. Thyroid — CK takes thyroid support: http://www.physicianspreference.com/Dr-Hotzes-Thyroid-Support_p_457.html.
g. Multivitamin “Power Pack” — CK takes one of these per day: http://www.physicianspreference.com/Dr-Hotzes-PowerPak-tm-60-Packets-_p_498.html.
I’d also received recommendations to try neural stimulation therapy (utilizing light and sound), but I haven’t been successful in finding a provider with whom I am comfortable. I’ll gladly take your referrals, if you have them!
Finally, but not least importantly, we needed to ensure that he gets 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week, 8 or more hours of sleep a night, and that he minimizes his gaming to an hour a day.
Then came time to make changes with CK. First, we sat down with him to discuss our plan and why we wanted to try it. He was on board. Next, we cleaned out the pantry and coached him on food choices. He said, “Sounds great.” Finally, we lined up the supplements he would take and explained the dosage. He raised his eyebrows.
CK does not like to swallow pills. In fact, he spent two years pretending to swallow Concerta that we’d find hidden in odd places all over the house and in our cars. Because of that, and because this supplement routine is daunting, we chose the actual ProOmega Fish Oil (not the gel pill) and the Natural Calm powder for magnesium.
Week one was a flop. All the grown-ups in Clark’s life work, and it is summertime. If Clark did not get up before our work days started, we couldn’t monitor his supplements. He took them one day out of seven. This was exactly what we had always gone through with his Concerta, as well. It was hard to get someone that had focus issues to remember to take anything, as I’m sure anyone reading this can relate to. But it wasn’t just the supplements. He kept coming home with Subway and Whataburger sandwich wrappers. These were not on the diet. We had another conversation about gluten and dairy, and what had it and what didn’t.
Week two was better. I placed all his supplements in a pill organizer. I talked to his girlfriend about the timing and the dosage. She was on board. With her on board, we achieved three days out of four. I heard them discussing food choices. They even asked if they could grocery shop together and find things they both liked that were gluten and dairy free. I handed CK the credit card and beamed.
Week three was mixed. CK took his supplements four days out of seven, but he was staying at his dad’s. Dad didn’t follow the diet plan. Meanwhile, though, CK was asking me better questions all the time about food. And he’d noticed a difference in how he felt, physically, the week before, when he ate “right.” He felt more alert when he ate “right,” and when he ate bad it hurt his stomach.
Week four+ was a flop. CK left for a two-week backpacking camp, a time period in which he didn’t take a single pill or supplement the whole time, and he had to eat whatever they had or starve. He did get a ton of exercise though, and his trip leader said it really seemed to keep him centered.
But CK came back with a startling announcement that I’ll share with you next month, something of a game changer.
So, that’s our journey. We haven’t gotten very far. We’ll start over in August. *sigh* I’ll keep you posted.