Interesting Food Additives that can Impact ADHD

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by susiestar, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Many of us have kids who have ADHD in addition to other problems. WHen it was first diagnosed many docs implicated things added to food, esp food coloring. At least that was the first treatment that was given to the first kid I knew who had adhd. It was a friend's little bro and he had really severe problems for that time.

    I haven't heard a doctor EVER mention food or food additives other than 'too much sugar' in talking about adhd with us. When I asked I was told that it really isn't a big deal.

    Then there was an article on a health related website that I just ran across. It listed 9 food additives that can affect adhd. Only one was NOT a food color!! Maybe it is silly of me, but I was surprised. i have gotten a LOT of heat from other parents for cutting as much food color as I can out of our diets. I have been told that making our own mixes for foods like cakes, pancakes, even taco seasoning is overkill and "extremist". I have even been ridiculed for it by people in my hometown, some of them after I have given gifts of homemade mixes. Of course that hurt, but it also gave me doubts.

    I know that they trigger my migraines and Jessies. Not so much thank you, but he doesn't get them unless the weather changes drasticaly in a short time. I know none of you have made fun, that isn't the point of this.

    I just wanted to share this because if I haven't ever had a doctor say they are a problem I am not sure you have. I don't know why some docs are reluctant to say that things added to our foods cause no problems, but they are do unless a big stink is made. I ahve even had docs in the last five years tell me that MSG does NOT trigger migraines, that it is all imaginary and all I need to do is to tell myself I won't get a migraine and then I can eat it by the spoonful if I want. I don't, of course, and I know the guy has a bigger beak than Donald Duck cause I have heard his quackery.

    Anyway, here is the link if you want to look at the article. Sodium benzoate is a preservative and the only item mentioned that is not an artificial food color.,,20439038_1,00.html
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Susie, I'm not saying this info is right or wrong, but I like to see scientific proof. You have provided the link to a consumer magazine rather than a clinical journal. It's not something that a doctor is going to believe.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I realize it is a consumer journal, but I have seen quite a few of those lately who have "debunked" the food additive-healht issue link, so it was interesting to see one that had it the other way around.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Here is a link from the Sydney hospital dietary clinic that has been working on this. They said there is a link in about 30% of ADHD/autism/Asperger's cases, where certain food chemicals (natural ones) OR artificial additives, seemed to cause more problems. Eliminating the problem foods was not a cure, but it did make it easier to cope.

    They were very balanced in their approach when we were working with them. No attitude of "We are the only ones who have the Truth" which always cheese me off. No, they said, "Try it, see if it helps. Here is how we can help you. It is not for everybody and it is not a cure."

  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I have seen articles about it, but it was in UK health journals, not US ones. Susie, I'd have just figured you liked cooking from scratch if I didn't know otherwise.
  6. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Here is a study in the Lancet.

    Here is a study from 1994

    Smallworld, I think it will be difficult to find much scientific proof of this because who will fund a study? It is my understanding that most studies are funded or partially funded by drug companies. There is nothing in it for drug companies if food additives are found to be a contributor to ADHD. In fact, it is in their interest to show that there isn't a link.

    Luckily, to try it on your own child, no doctor is needed. Anyone can do their own experiment.

    Personally, I have never tried eliminating additives from my kids' diets. They have a hard enough time with their girlfriend/CF restrictions.
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Actually, NIMH is doing a study right now of whether natural supplements (not medications) help kids with mental illness. So there is interest out there in other things besides medications. Maybe NIMH will someday do a study on food additives. You just never know.
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    It will be interesting to see the results of that study. I spend more time reading natural health articles than mainstream medicine articles. There, I am led to believe that the studies are conducted by people with ties to the pharmaceutical companies, even NIH or NIMH studies. When I have checked some of this, it appears to be the case. How much of a tie and how that influences their study, I don't know, but it does make me not necessarily take it as a fact when the study shows OTC supplements don't work.

    Again, people can try supplements for themselves without a doctor needed. We have tried them in the past, but are using prescription medications right now for B.

    As you know, my daughter is fine when she is on her girlfriend/CF diet. Studies show that doesn't work either. For her, it works perfectly, when she does it, so that started my skepticism about the scientific studies showing natural health remedies don't work.

    Think of the upheaval it would cause if the NIMH did a study that showed food additive caused mental illness! The whole food industry would feel pressure to change their ways.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I know the studies done in Australia were funded by the government. I have been reading research into this for over 30 years here, have met the researchers (in various capacities) and can vouch for them. I have also met other doctors who dabble in research and make a mess of it, especially who then scream that the inability to get published for them, is conspiracy by the conservative medical fraternity. No, it has nothing to do with poor research methodology! yeah, right... The RPAH studies do get published because they have been carried out meticulously and written up accurately.

    Susie, the concept has gone beyond just additives. Yes, additives are one group of potentially problem-causing chemicals. But I have met too many people who also have problems with some groups of foods. I'm sure we all know people who can't eat too many onions (or members of the onion family) because it makes them feel bloated or sick in some way. It is similar for other food groups and other natural chemicals. It's ironic but in our house, although we have done our best (successfully while we thought we needed it) to avoid all additives, as we had to have the additive in medication, we discovered that three of us in the family are allergic each to one artificial colouring. To be more accurate, two of us are allergic (urticaria) and another as a sensitivity reaction (cerebral irritability). Otherwise - no problem.

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You don't need to convince me, SusieStar. I've been on that bandwagon for ages. (And I finally gave up M&Ms a yr ago when I went to a lecture on the Feingold diet. :) )

    And I think you should get some new friends. They need to get their heads screwed on straight. Not to mention, they're not good friends if they're that critical of you.
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I've noticed that curbing foods with nitrates/nitrites helps kiddo, so we've stopped buying hot dogs and have cut down on the bacon a lot. Sugary food can wind her up and drop her, not sure if it's a blood sugar thing or all the other additives in that stuff, milk chocolate seems to be a big culprit but not dark. She also did better when I was able to keep her on foods high in omegas, like flaxseed bread.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Interesting example. Many years ago (at least 30) we had a TV show in Australia called "A Country Practice". It was set in an Aussie country town and centred on the local medical practice (which also had a local hospital) as well as the local vet. It was a soapie in that the main characters' story lines continued on week after week ("Will the new young doctor and the pretty girl vet get married? Or will she dunk him in a vat of pig poop?") but they also had a sort of "disease of the week" which usually included two main cases, plus some side issue stuff with the main cast. I used to watch it to try to diagnose the problem before the tV doctor did. yeah, I know. Tragic. I gave up watching "House".

    But I tell you about this, because one early episode (it was before the brash young doctor married the pretty vet, I think even before she dunked him in pig poop) was dealing with a 12 year old boy who was struggling at school despite being quite bright, because he had a migraine hit every Monday morning. The older doctor had prescribed mild sedatives to reduce anxiety, and suggested psychiatric counselling. The boy was unimpressed because it hadn't really helped. Besides, he liked school and was upset to be sick every Monday. The new doctor (fresh from medication school and the city) explored those options again, but as he got to know the boy, realised there was something else. He considered the possibility the boy was being bullied. A little, but it wasn't the reason. The new doctor checked out diet, even inspected the farmhouse kitchen cupboards. Finally it came out in conversation that every Sunday night, the family ate dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. It was such a part of their routine that they had forgotten to list it. So the brash young doctor said, "Tommy, this week when you go out to dinner, either you stay home, or go to the italian place instead."

    Next day - no migraine. Another win for the brash young doctor. (meanwhile, the pretty girl vet has been treating that family's dog for a tricky, possibly psychsomatic skin condition, probably turns out to be detergent in the stuff used to wash the floors).

    So there you are - they would not have included it in the story line for this show, if it was not already well accepted in the mainstream medical community. And now I come to think of it - guess which hospital was advising the scriptwriters? Yep, the same one I posted the link to above.

  13. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    My sister in law is homescooling her two school aged kids and she thinks that my nephew has ADHD (I actually think he's on the autism spectrum, and I think that she does too, but won't get him diagnosed because she says she is homeschooling so he wouldn't get any services anyway. She doesn't see the point in put those labels on him.). She has said for a long time that colorings in food are a huge problem for him. She tries as best as she can to read labels and only use products that are gluten free and have natural colorings. While it doesn't "cure" the problems, she feels that it makes him easier to deal with.

  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In the l970's I stopped purchasing food that had artifical color or additives to benefit GFGmom. It was difficult because even the Publix meats had additives! It didn't result in miracle results but it seemed to help. Furthermore the rest of the family became more aware of what they were eating. It takes a long time to locate the right products but once you've found them you just change how you purchase. DDD
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One of the things that I find incredibly annoying in my docs and in many people I meet here in the US is that if the study isn't done in the US they are positive that it is not valid and that there is NO possibility that it was well done and came up with the correct conclusions. I have even had doctors tell me that whatever the study showed might be true of people in Europe but it isn't true of people in the US. Sort of like we are our own separate species, which we all know is just plain stupid. The university crowd is not inclined to be this way because we have one of the highest % of international students here of many universities largely because our ag school. It is the people in the town and the docs in the big cities that we have to drive to in order to find specialists.

    It shocks me that so few docs can see the effect of big pharma on the research done in this country. I took a class on how to design a study or survey so that it is statistically valid when I was in college. It was a graduate class but the prof was a family friend and let me take it (he knew my adopted Gpa was a stat professor and had me neck deep in surveys from lots of angles from jr high on.). It was a huge eye opener. So many people in the US and the rest of the world don't realize how many well-done studies about medications and medical issues are NEVER allowed to see the light of day. The studies that are published are often not as reliable as one owuld think because they were designed to get a certain answer. Big Pharma is legally allowed to refuse to release as many studies as they want to if they paid for them and they pay for almost all of them in one way or another. If a study says it is not safe or doesn't do whatever then it is NEVER published. period. It is how things are done in the US and other parts of the world. As many studies as show medications are safe, there are at least as many with different results - and many of these are very reliable.

    It may be very different in Australia, but that is how things are done in the US. There was a very reliable study that showed that amoxicillin did nothing to help ear infections. My prof reviewed it with us as an exercise. It was very well done - there were flaws but every study has some - it is virtually impossible to avoid all flaws in a study. There was a stink made about the study being covered up - even made the Wall Street journal and it was shown to be true. To this day doctors still insist that if youdon't use amoxicillin then ear infections won't get better. (Many people here call it the pink bubble gum medicine and learn that it will stain flooring and tables if not wiped up right away!) I remember seeing the article in WSJ and Wiz was not yet 3. A big part of the reason people think that amox works is because the infection gets better on its own. It has taken fights, but we never brought amox home for an ear infection after that - to the frustration of several docs.

    There are a lot of other examples like this that are just not publicized. Heck, do any of you remember when neurontin was the hot medication to rx for bipolar? And other mental illnesses? Then it came out in a giant lawsuit settlement that it did NOT treat bipolar and that this was shown in studies but the company told the drug reps to tell docs it worked anyway? They claimed it helped a whole lot of mental illnesses that they KNEW it did not help and they ended up paying what seemed like a giant settlement. Janet and some of the other long time members may remember this.

    I do agree that I need some new friends - it is why I cut contact with several a couple of years ago. As for liking to cook from scratch, it is fun when you have plenty of time but if you don't it can be a hassle. Using mixes can be really handy unless they make you very ill. That is why I learned to make my own mixes - and was shocked at how easy it is and how little time it takes to make them!
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie, I generally cook from scratch but also try to do it fast. I have a few slow-cook recipes that are favourites, but we avoid those in summer.

    Salad from fresh ingredients is always fast! Fastest of all is when you pick a couple of tomatoes and a leaf of basil as you walk past (high in salicylate, though).

    I hear you on the research. I would have thought that doctors with a brain would recognise good overseas research.

    Some years ago I was involved with a research group or two. The brightest boy of the lot went to the US for a couple of years and did research with CDC in Atlanta. He brought over a couple of colleagues and the papers they published, via CDC, are still recognised as the gold standard in that area. They're back in Australia now, still publishing. Not sure if they're getting the same international recognition, I'm working in a different area now.

    I'll ask husband if this flows on to other non-medical scientific research areas. I do know that we Aussies have invented some amazing technology, but it can take a while for it to get adopted around the world and often the Aussie origins are not well known. Ugg boots, for example (a sore point for us Aussies, we still get cranky about it).

  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Forget who said it, but recall the quote being something like "There are three kinds of lies: lies, d*** lies, and statistics."
  18. vtheartmama

    vtheartmama New Member

    Thought I'd jump on the bandwagon sis homeschools and her daughter is "something"..ADHD/ODD but she doesn't dwell on diagnositcs too much, any case her daughter reacts really bad to red food coloring. Food additives are something you really don't want to learn about because when you do, it's disgusting. My husband won't eat margarine because it has the same ingredient as jet fuel (he was an airline tech). Then there's all the "fortified" stuff. There have been studies (Dutch) showing that consuming more than 100% of the RDA of Vitamin K increases TGA (heart defect my son has) by 80%. Also consuming to much Vitamin E and Vitamin A increase heart defects. Prenatals only a year ago used to have 100% of the RDA in them..and I am doing a food diary and every day I am over the Vitamin A limit..yesterday I was 658% over the limit! How is that possible!! Manufacturers are fortifiying us to death. And then we're preserved on top if it.. ; ) I'd love to eat all organic but can't afford I just stay away from aspartame and buy organic meat when possible (ever see Food, Inc.??..your McDonald's hamburger has pieces from 300 different cows).. happy eating! : >)
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Your body can process extra that's from less-processed foods (think fresh meat, veggies, fruit, etc.), it becomes an issue when the extra is from supplements like adding in vitamin pills. Fat-soluble vitamins are more of an issue than water-soluble vitamins, because your body will flush the excess of water-soluble vitamins routinely, but store excess of fat-soluble.
  20. vtheartmama

    vtheartmama New Member

    That's very it's OK if you are eating natural foods with natural sources, but most fortified sources (like the ones found in cereals, breads and pastas) are not natural sources. If you look on the back most Vitamin A is in the form of palmitate which is the fat-soluable kind (correct me if I'm wrong it's been awhile since i did this research) and luckily most companies have started using the natural form of Vitamin K. I just think it's interesting...I always assumed more vitamins and minerals were better, even drank the Vitamin Water's during pregnancy and didn't learn about the over use of them until I started researching causes into my sons TGA, not saying that's what caused it, won't ever know that, but if I see something has a ton of fake vitamins I'm more likely to put it back on the shelf..