4

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ADD/ADHD and Carnitine

Commented on April 04, 2016
Created July 28, 2011 at 10:44 PM

So far I've found the ADD-related content on Paleohacks to be pretty disappointing. I've thus been independently researching ADD and its potential relationship to diet and lifestyle. I've wondered on PH if persons with ADD who take stimulants should follow a specific supplement routine, but the best response I got was from Dr K, who recommended getting off of stimulants, which doesn't seem like a viable option for me. Finally, several months in the making, I may have found an answer, but is it right?

This article suggests that this supplement is carnitine:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hyla-cass-md/is-your-medication-robbin_1_b_691711.html

And the idea is further elaborated on this blog post which reviews the literature:

http://adhd-treatment-options.blogspot.com/2009/04/10-ways-carnitine-can-help-treat-adhd.html

Paleohackers with ADD/ADHD and others with informed opinions or ideas, what do y'all think, should we be taking Acetyl L-Carnitine with our fish oil?

322a2783dfe4086591f323c6d2c086d6

on April 04, 2016
at 07:20 PM

HAIL FROM THE FUTURE!!! :-D

I'm wondering how things are going with you??

I, myself, am planning... haha, "planning", yeah right... to go very-low-carb and do ketogenic. I have often heard good things regarding "clarity of thought" by feeding your brain ketones rather than glucose.

Cheers!

349894c67ef07710515c2d291645fce4

(45)

on October 17, 2011
at 01:17 AM

RN thanks for this comment. I read the comment and decided to check out the book (mood cure) and have been following many of the protocols. So far so good. None of the side effects of previous medical/pharma protocols I've followed and a lot of progress!

Dc8bcab58161b2add8725b41a3cea1ce

(0)

on August 24, 2011
at 06:53 PM

This is such a relief to hear RN... I am 32 and have been told I have ADD. I've been searching for over 2 years now for natural remedies, and believe that I can do a lot through diet and supplementation to show improvement. I can't wait to read these books!

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 29, 2011
at 01:38 PM

You could get a lot of info off of her website, and if you were going to have a consultation with her, you could totally skip the books if it feels like too much...if you are interested in formulating your own protocol, read The Mood Cure, and you'd be fine skipping The Diet Cure, which is more about fixing the effects of low calorie high carb dieting and eating disorders.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:29 PM

Well, I took l-carnitine recently for several years and have recently quit due to budget issues (it can be quite expensive). As an n=1 answer - so take it for what it is worth, I may be seeing a slight difference but that could also be attributed to a major shift in my lifestyle and increased stress levels (separated and now living alone after 30 years of marriage). So, IDK, really. If I get the money to go back on the supplement, I will edit with my results.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I'm with you - while environmental conditions may aggravate (or enhance - depending on your point of view) ADD/ADHD, I agree that it is most probably something we are born with. Our brains are just wired differently. And a lot of the new research using advanced brain scans is showing just that.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:22 AM

Interesting question. I know nothing about it. I so would love to sit down and talk with someone who has it. I really want to hear what it's like.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:12 AM

That edit is very interesting. The main objections my friend give is that I consume so much meat that I can't be carnitine deficient. But, relative to paleos who don't take Adderall, I must be. Do you only take it when you can't find time to eat, or when your meat consumption is low?

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:10 AM

Cool, thanks, though I was hoping to be able to avoid reading another book or two :)

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 28, 2011
at 11:05 PM

This is helpful and informative, but I made sure to link to a review so that the strengths or weaknesses of any one particular study do not distort the overall state of knowledge about it. Even if we paleos eat enough meat, those of us who take stimulants - and there are many of us - might still end up with lower carnitine levels than desirable. This is good, though, because this is the kind of stuff that I/we want to figure out. So thanks for the answer! This is a good start.

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4 Answers

6
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 29, 2011
at 01:42 AM

My daughter has ADHD(so does my husband, but he won't stick with my treatment plan!). I am a nutritional therapist, and have studied with Julia Ross(The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure). My daughter's symptoms improved DRAMATICALLY when I got her on an amino acid protocol in addition to her already clean diet. I highly recommend reading both of her books, studying her website, and having a consultaion with her. Just for focus, L-tyrosine is great, but there is a whole process for figuring out just the right aminos and dosages for you. There are also other vitamins and minerals that Julia recommends, including fish oil, to take every day. Her recommended diet is not paleo, but it's not far off...she's into organic, grass fed, etc., lots of protein and fats, etc. Her and her books have been a HUGE support for our family...good luck!

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 29, 2011
at 01:38 PM

You could get a lot of info off of her website, and if you were going to have a consultation with her, you could totally skip the books if it feels like too much...if you are interested in formulating your own protocol, read The Mood Cure, and you'd be fine skipping The Diet Cure, which is more about fixing the effects of low calorie high carb dieting and eating disorders.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:10 AM

Cool, thanks, though I was hoping to be able to avoid reading another book or two :)

Dc8bcab58161b2add8725b41a3cea1ce

(0)

on August 24, 2011
at 06:53 PM

This is such a relief to hear RN... I am 32 and have been told I have ADD. I've been searching for over 2 years now for natural remedies, and believe that I can do a lot through diet and supplementation to show improvement. I can't wait to read these books!

349894c67ef07710515c2d291645fce4

(45)

on October 17, 2011
at 01:17 AM

RN thanks for this comment. I read the comment and decided to check out the book (mood cure) and have been following many of the protocols. So far so good. None of the side effects of previous medical/pharma protocols I've followed and a lot of progress!

3
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on July 28, 2011
at 11:14 PM

I don't even take fish oil. I have taken it in the past, never noticed any effects. I'm not big on supplements unless they contain something I can barely get in real food (like vitamin D and iodine).

I am also not taking medication for my ADD, but I've been struggling enough lately that I am beginning to feel it's necessary for me.

Maybe carnitine is part of why beef makes me feel so fantastic.

Since I don't think ADHD/ADD is 'disordered' per se - just a type of brain functioning which is somewhat incompatible with modern life - I'm doubtful that nutrition will cure all. Good nutrition is, of course, key, and can help us in so many ways - but it's not going to make my brain average. Nearly two years of a paleo lifestyle have proved this true for me, personally.

Maybe my future kid's brains will have a better chance of being typical, though.

ETA: I don't think lifestyle creates ADD, either. I was born this way - was more typical ADHD/hyperactive for the first 9 to 11 years of my life - grew up in a household with nourishing food, no television or electronics, and a dad who passed on his child and adult ADD to both my sister and I.

322a2783dfe4086591f323c6d2c086d6

on April 04, 2016
at 07:17 PM

Stardate 2016 ;-)

"I don't think ADHD/ADD is 'disordered' per se - just a type of brain functioning which is somewhat incompatible with modern life"

Thom Hartmann, the author of several books on ADD/ADHD, has a view that would resonate with many Paleoites... He likens it to the difference between "farmers" -- the "normal", stay focused people who MUST get the crop in on time, no matter what... and "hunter/gatherers" -- those who need to be distracted by whatever pops up off to the side... either prey or preditors.

I like that comparison. :-)

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I'm with you - while environmental conditions may aggravate (or enhance - depending on your point of view) ADD/ADHD, I agree that it is most probably something we are born with. Our brains are just wired differently. And a lot of the new research using advanced brain scans is showing just that.

3
09c1f18b662aa13e7b2c072c1b105a41

(330)

on July 28, 2011
at 11:09 PM

Raw milk kefir and green tea really help my ADHD. It helps to have suitable glucose as well (so at least 150 grams of protein + carbs, or just carbs and additional protein). Proper sleep and focusing exercises also. So much of ADHD has been programmed into us by our lifestyles. Stuff like facebook and the internet, and even the way they edit movies and TV (super fast, quick cuts) aggrevate and perhaps give birth to ADHD. So it is a mind issue and a dietary issue IMO.

EDIT: I will also add that 2 caps of Carnitine on an empty stomach has definitely helped too. It doesnt last all day, but really clears any morning fog and helps you get focused. I get really jittery on it though just like ADD meds so I don;t use it all the time. I found it also seems to mess with sleep a bit at higher dosages.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 29, 2011
at 02:12 AM

That edit is very interesting. The main objections my friend give is that I consume so much meat that I can't be carnitine deficient. But, relative to paleos who don't take Adderall, I must be. Do you only take it when you can't find time to eat, or when your meat consumption is low?

2
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on July 28, 2011
at 10:59 PM

Van Oudheusden L, Scholte H. Efficacy of carnitine in the treatment of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002;67:33

Well this study had a positive result using carnitine, and that's just what I found from a quick search. Still, only 50% (or around there, I don't remember the exact number) responded, which, while significantly better than the placebo, is not huge. Most of the other studies seemed to see a small net positive effect from carnitine as well.

One thing to consider though is meat intake. If you're eating a lot of beef, you may well be getting enough carnitine already and so it may not be worth it to buy the supplement, especially since it doesn't seem all that effective anyway.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 28, 2011
at 11:05 PM

This is helpful and informative, but I made sure to link to a review so that the strengths or weaknesses of any one particular study do not distort the overall state of knowledge about it. Even if we paleos eat enough meat, those of us who take stimulants - and there are many of us - might still end up with lower carnitine levels than desirable. This is good, though, because this is the kind of stuff that I/we want to figure out. So thanks for the answer! This is a good start.

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