I'm new

I just joined a couple of days ago. My oldest is adhd/Learning Disability (LD). He is not able to go on medications. because of a heart condition. We are think of trying Natural Treatments but don't know where to start. Son's dr. is against it. Any ideas.


Welcome!! I'm D'Leah and I'm the moderator of the Natural Treatments area of the board. I have 2 sons who are on the autism spectrum, amongst other diagnosis's such as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), ODD, ADHD, etc etc.
I have found that many doctors are against alternative treatments. It is a sad situation. When I turned to homeopathy, my doctor refused to see me. He said that many people with chronic conditions are "duped by quackery". However I have found my homeopathic physician to be the most professional and helpful physician that I have been to. Homeopathic medicines are non-toxic and can be used by people with serious conditions like your child.


New Member
Welcome and glad the typical teen gave you great info.
Was wondering what the doctors. thought you should do if your child can't take medications? It would seem that natural treatments would give you some alternative.
Is he concerned that some of the natural treatments will interfere with the heart problems or heart medications?
I can't believe he would want your child to suffer with no intervention.


New Member
Natural treatment is a great way to go...but please be aware that even natural...herbs, ect could affect your son's heart...so do this with guidance from a homeopath dr. Some take insurance and many don't so it can get expensive. There are some new methods out there for helping with ADHD...like biofeedback that don't involve taking anything. The biofeed back teaches the child to learn to control their brain waves...sounds werid I know...I guess I shouldn't say its new though...been around for a long time now. Also diet changes can help...getting rid of any foods that could be making the problem worse.

I was reading in a book at the bookstore the other day (couldn't afford to get the book) about how kids don't aborb sugar like adults do and there recation to sugar can cause problems such as hyperactivity. Also caffine can hype a kid up or slow them down...

Avoiding dyes, especially red dye 40, which with my son can cause hyperness, aggressive behavior and well him just getting plain nasty if he gets too much. Red dye 40 is in everything too! Makes me so mad. Look around at the foods, drinks, vitamines, over the counter medications, ect that your son eats/drinks and see how many have red dye 40 in them. The dyes are usually listed toward the bottom of the ingretance.

when I did this I was totally shocked...even my son's juice which I thought was good for him had it in there. I slowly got rid of everything with red dye 40 and replaced those foods, drinks, vitamines, ect with things that did not have red dye 40 in them. Though they keep ADDING this horrible dye to more and more foods. Anything red, purple, pink and sometimes even orange will have red dye 40 in it. I have even found it in baby fourmula and grape juice of all things.

I have read many stories of kids who with diet changes calmed right down...though changing their diets isn't the easiest thing to do its better then dealing with the behavior all the time too. Hope this helps!


New Member
Just wanted to add my two cents about natural treatments. Two of the doctors we saw for difficult child told us "not to bother" with changing his diet because "it doesn't work." Well, I'm here to tell you that it does. As Moonglow mentions, eliminating Red Dye #40 is an important step, as is eliminating Yellow Dye #5. At this point, I've eliminated any foods/beverages with dyes in them at all, just to be on the safe side. We've also moved to a more organic diet overall, to cut down on the amount of pesticides and other chemicals that are added to foods.

In addition to dietary changes, you may want to consider supplementing your difficult children diet with essential fatty acids (EFAs). Studies are showing that depletion of EFAs are, in some cases, causing behavior problems in children.

Finally, I'd really recommend making sure that your difficult child is getting enough sleep. It is important that children get a good 8-10 hours every night.

Good luck on your journey!


New Member
The first thing I would do is start cooking from scratch and using no preprocessed foods. A large percentage of ADHD kids (and kids with other disorders) cannot process artificial ingredients (especially artificial dyes) and it affects their behavior, memory, and behavior. Limit junk food and try to use only fruits and raw veggies as snacks. No Jello, Kool-Aid or popsicles. Read labels like a hawk and don't let him eat anything with artificial dyes. If he drinks a lot of juice, pop, etc, begin a switch to good old water. Use only 100% fruit juice (no artificial dyes or corn syrup), but also limit the amount of juice since there is sugar in all fruits. Kyle can drink caffiene free Pepsi but when he drinks regular Coke or Pepsi he goes off the deep end; he gets one small glass of caffiene free Pepsi per day. He drinks mostly water, and I rotate between tap water and bottled water. Rotate the foods he eats and don't let him eat the same thing in a four day period. If he is reacting to something in his diet this rotation will limit the exposure. I would do this for at least two weeks to see if you see an improvement.

Here is a study using artificial dyes:

Synthetic Food Coloring and Behavior: a Dose Response Effect in a Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Repeated Measures Study
Rowe KS, Rowe KJ
Aust Paediatr J 1988 Apr;24
200 ADHD children were included in this 6-week open trial of a diet free of synthetic food coloring. Parents of 150 children reported improvement on the diet, with deterioration on the reintroduction of restricted items. A behavioral inventory, based on parents observations, was devised to classify the children as "suspected reactors". 34 ADHD children (23 suspected reactors and 11 uncertain reactors) plus 20 control children, ages 2 — 14, were then studied to determine their response to food coloring (tartrazine) in various doses (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 mgs). The doses were double blind, placebo-controlled, repeated measures. RESULTS: the study identified 24 (of 54) children as clear reactors. Reactors included 19 (of 23) "suspected reactors", 3 (of 11) "uncertain reactors", and 2 (of 20) "control subjects". Significant reactions were noted at all six dose levels, with a dose response effect. At doses above 10 mg the reaction was also prolonged.

Food Dyes Impair Performance of Children on Laboratory Learning Task
Science 207:1485-7, 1980
20 hyperactive children were given varying amounts of food dyes —26 mgs, 75 mgs, 100mgs, and 150 mgs. It was found that at 26 mgs there was no change in the children’s behavior, but at the higher doses 17 of the 20 children had significant impairment of learning performance

Whatever he craves most of the time eliminate it from his diet. Kyle craved yogurt, cheese, milk and ice cream on an almost hourly basis. Dairy products were causing part of his tantrums and crying spells. These cravings are causing an addicitve process that negatively affects behavior, thinking, etc. A couple of good books on diet and behavior are "Is This Your Child?" by Dr. Doris Rapp and "Special Diets for Special Kids" by Lisa Lewis.

Adding supplements can also improve behavior, memory and attention since a lot of ADHD kids do not get the nutrients they need from the foods they eat. Most common deficiencies in ADHD kids are magnesium, zinc, calcium and B vitamins. Kyle takes 400 mg magnesium, 25 mg zinc, 600 mg calcium + D and 50 mg B-complex. Antioxidants can help with clearer thinking. Antioxidants include C (250 mg) and E (400 mg). B vitamins also help with attention, especially B6. Kyle takes an extra 50 mg B6 every day along with the 50 mg B-Complex; you have to give all of the B vitamins together in order for them to be absorbed properly. A couple of great books on supplements are "The ADD Nutrition Solution" by Marcia Zimmerman and "Vitamins & Minerals - An Illustrated Guide" by Karen Sullivan. Just make sure any supplements are sugar, yeast, dairy and artificial dye free. It can take up to two months before you see an improvement with supplements.

Here is a study on magnesium:

Disorder (ADHD)
Kozielec T, Starobrat-Hermelin B
Magnes Res 1997 Jun;10(2):143-8
The aim of this work was to estimate magnesium contents in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, (ADHD). The investigations comprised 116 children (94 boys and 20 girls), aged 9-12 years, with recognized ADHD. Magnesium levels have been determined in blood serum, red blood cells and in hair with the aid of atomic absorption spectroscopy. Magnesium deficiency was found in 95 per cent of those examined, most frequently in hair (77.6 per cent), in red blood cells (58.6 per cent) and in blood serum (33.6 per cent) of children with ADHD. The conclusion from the investigations is that magnesium deficiency in children with ADHD occurs more frequently than in healthy children. Analysis of the material indicated a correlation between increasing levels of magnesium and freedom from distractibility.

If he has the symptoms of an essential fatty acid deficiency, you may want to add EFAs to his diet also. Symptoms include dry itchy skin, eczema and psoriasis, asthma and allergies, dyslexia and dyspraxia, vision problems at an early age, excessive thirst and behavior problems (anger, aggression, tantrums). Kyle had all of these symptoms except for psoriasis, but the behavior problems were the worst. He had out of control tantrums and rages 1 - 3 times per day that lasted from 1 - 2 hours. He has been taking Efalex since May 1999, and his tantrums disappeared after only two weeks. Eventually he no longer needed glasses, his asthma and allergies are gone as are his dyslexia and asthma and allergy problems. If you want to know more about essential fatty acids you can read "The LCP Solution" by Jacqueline Stordy and Malcolm Nicholl and "The Omega 3 Connection" by Andrew Stoll.

Here is one of the studies on EFAs and ADHD:

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Burgess JR, Stevens L, Zhang W, Peck L.

Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1264, USA.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the diagnosis used to describe children who are inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive. ADHD is a widespread condition that is of public health concern. In most children with ADHD the cause is unknown, but is thought to be biological and multifactorial. Several previous studies indicated that some physical symptoms reported in ADHD are similar to symptoms observed in essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency in animals and humans deprived of EFAs. We reported previously that a subgroup of ADHD subjects reporting many symptoms indicative of EFA deficiency (L-ADHD) had significantly lower proportions of plasma arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid than did ADHD subjects with few such symptoms or control subjects. In another study using contrast analysis of the plasma polar lipid data, subjects with lower compositions of total n-3 fatty acids had significantly more behavioral problems, temper tantrums, and learning, health, and sleep problems than did those with high proportions of n-3 fatty acids. The reasons for the lower proportions of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) in these children are not clear; however, factors involving fatty acid intake, conversion of EFAs to LCPUFA products, and enhanced metabolism are discussed. The relation between LCPUFA status and the behavior problems that the children exhibited is also unclear. We are currently testing this relation in a double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention in a population of children with clinically diagnosed ADHD who exhibit symptoms of EFA deficiency.

The most important things are to learn all you can (Internet is great!) and try only one thing at a time so you can tell what is working and what isn't. Some of us on this board have been using alternative treatments and doing research for years so feel free to ask as many questions as you need.