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:
And the idea is further elaborated on this blog post which reviews the literature:
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?
asked byEric_S (5002)
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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!
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.
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.
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.