SpectraCell Blog

The Role of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, May 05, 2017 @ 11:27 AM

ADHD.jpgAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become an increasingly prevalent condition, afflicting children, adolescents, and adults. Some hallmarks of this brain disorder include an inability to focus and/ or a failure to see projects/ activities to completion. Unbeknownst to most, ADHD can be exacerbated by micronutrient deficiencies. Evidence of the relationship between micronutrient status and ADHD-associated behaviors is compelling; the list below represents some examples of the micronutrient status-ADHD connection: 

Vitamin B6: Evidence suggests that high-dose supplementation of B6 is as effective as Ritalin for ADHD, probably due to its role in raising serotonin levels.

Folate (AKA Vitamin B9): Low maternal folate status during pregnancy has been linked to hyperactivity in children. Persons with the MTHFR (methyl tetrahydrafolate reductase) polymorphism are predisposed to folate deficiency, and are more likely to have ADHD.

Magnesium: A deficiency in this micronutrient is linked to poor functioning of the neurotransmitters that control emotion, social reactions, hyperactivity, and attention. Magnesium has a synergistic effect with vitamin B6.

Zinc: This nutrient is a cofactor required for the synthesis of dopamine, which impacts mood and concentration. Low zinc depresses both melatonin and serotonin production; this affects behavior and one’s ability to process information.

Carnitine: Reduces hyperactivity and improves social behavior in people with ADHD via its role in fatty acid metabolism. Some consider carnitine a safe alternative to stimulant drugs.

Serine: Administration of phosphatidylserine in conjunction with omega-3 fatty acids improved ADHD symptoms (attention scores) significantly more than omega-3 fatty acids alone, suggesting a synergistic effect. Phosphatidylserine increases dopamine levels.

Glutamine: A precursor to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the calming neurotransmitter that affects mood, focus, and hyperactivity. Disruption of glutamine-containing neurotransmission systems may cause ADHD. 

Choline: A precursor to acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that regulates memory, focus, and muscle control (hyperactivity). 

Antioxidant status: Oxidative imbalance is prevalent in ADHD patients and likely plays a causative role. Glutathione, a very potent antioxidant, is commonly deficient in ADHD.

To evaluate your micronutrient status, order your micronutrient test today!

For a copy of SpectraCell's nutrient correlation wheel on ADHD, click here.

 

Topics: micronutrients, Nutrition, ADHD, micronutrient deficiencies in ADHD, mental health in children, micronutrient status

The Role of Omega-3s in ADHD & Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 @ 02:24 PM

ADHD-Autism.jpgResearchers first linked ADHD to essential fatty acid deficiency in the early 1980s, and recent years have seen an unprecedented rise in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Since our nerves and brain are composed primarily of fats, poor omega-3 fatty acid status can alter neurotransmitter function and inhibit brain performance on many levels.  This deficiency has a greater impact on males because their requirements for essential fatty acids are, in general, much higher (and one reason why autism occurs more frequently in boys).

Brain and nerve growth throughout childhood is extraordinarily rapid, and the need for omega-3 fatty acids remains critical all the way through adolescence and into adulthood. The brain can actually create nerve pathways in response to new experiences and learning environments. Called “neuronal plasticity,” this phenomenon is crucial for long-term memory and learning.  Adequate levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are needed for this to occur.

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (both types differ in structure and function) also affects neuronal plasticity. Scientists now agree that this ratio is just as important as the actual levels of each, especially in autism and ADHD. A lower ratio is better and when this ratio is improved, symptoms of autism and ADHD often improve.

Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin are commonly prescribed for ADHD, but studies show that supplements can be equally effective in treating symptoms of ADHD. An Oxford University study demonstrated that fatty acid supplementation for three months to children struggling with ADHD resulted in improvements in reading, spelling and behavior; these results were not observed in the placebo group. Following administration of the same supplements to the placebo group in the study as a second part of this trial, the same improvements were eventually observed.

Discover whether your child has an essential fatty acid deficiency and learn how our solutions can aid in treating symptoms of ADHD and Autism. 

GET TESTED


 

Topics: autism, DHA, ADHD, autism speaks, Omega-3s in ADHD and Autism, Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency

Studies Show How Micronutrients can Help

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 @ 03:04 PM

Vitamin D protects telomeres: a randomized, controlled trialTelomeres

Telomerase activity was measured before and after 37 people were given either placebo or about 2000IU of oral vitamin D supplements per day for 16 weeks.  Serum vitamin D levels for those taking the supplement increased almost 200%.  The telomerase activity increased over 19% as well, while the telomerase activity of those on placebo did not change. (International Journal of Obesity, June 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Increased telomerase activity and vitamin D supplementation in overweight African Americans.
LINK to FLYER ON NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS WITH TELOMERES

Vitamin C helps antidepressant drug work better
Vitamin C In this randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, a group of patients with major depressive disorder (n=12) were given fluoxetine plus 1000mg of vitamin C daily and compared to a group (n=12) that were given fluoxetine plus placebo.  After six months, those receiving vitamin C in conjunction with fluoxetine showed a significant decrease in symptoms when evaluated using three different standardized depression rating systems compared to the placebo group. (Nutrition Journal, March 2013)

LINK to ABSTRACT Efficacy of vitamin C as an adjunct to fluoxetine therapy in pediatric major depressive disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT
LINK to FLYER ON NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS IN DEPRESSION

Serine improves ADHD symptoms
serine resized 600In this randomized, double-blind trial, 36 children diagnosed with ADHD received either 200mg of phosphatidylserine or placebo daily for two months.  Those receiving phosphatidylserine showed improved memory, attention and control of impulses compared to placebo.  Serine’s key role in psychiatric and neurological health has been gaining attention from studies such as this.  The authors concluded that phosphatidylserine “may be a safe and natural nutritional strategy for improving mental performance.”
(Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, March 2013)

LINK to ABSTRACT The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
LINK to FLYER ON NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS IN ADHD

Are micronutrients underrated when it comes to pregnancy chances in assisted reproduction?
pregnancy resized 600Several recent studies are suggesting that micronutrient status prior to and during pregnancy should get more attention.  One study showed that low blood values of B vitamins and high homocysteine in mid pregnancy reduced fetal growth rates.  Another study showed that low homocysteine, determined by B vitamin status, was linked to a better chance of pregnancy in women undergoing assisted reproduction.  Yet another study showed that subfertile women undergoing ovulation induction who were taking a multi-micronutrient vitamin were more likely to get pregnant than women who took only a folic acid supplement.  Finally, a recently published review demonstrates how increasing a woman’s ability to fight oxidative stress increases her chances of successful pregnancy via assisted reproduction.
(Maternal of Child Nutrition, April 2013)
(Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, April 2012)
(Reproductive Biomedicine Online, January 2012)
(Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, June 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 and homocysteine: impact on pregnancy outcome.
LINK to ABSTRACT
The association between homocysteine in the follicular fluid with embryo quality and pregnancy rate in assisted reproductive techniques.
LINK to ABSTRACT Prospective randomized trial of multiple micronutrients in subfertile women undergoing ovulation induction: a pilot study.
LINK to ABSTRACT The effects of oxidative stress on female reproduction: a review.
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT
LINK to FLYER ON NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS IN FEMALE FERTILITY

Study sheds light on CoQ10’s role in healthy spermsperm resized 600
Sixty infertile men were given 200mg of CoQ10 or placebo for 3 months.  CoQ10 lowered oxidative stress in semen (measured by isoprostanes and superoxide dismutase activity) and improved sperm function significantly. (Andrologia, January 2013)

LINK to ABSTRACT Effect of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation on antioxidant enzymes activity and oxidative stress of seminal plasma: a double-blind randomised clinical trial.

 

For more information on micronutrients and telomeres CLICK HERE

 

Topics: SpectraCell, serine, micronutrients, Coenzyme Q10, Antidepressants, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Telomere testing, telomere, deficiency, micronutrient test, ADHD, Nutritional Deficiency, Heart Health, Nutrient, telomere test, Hormones, Aging, Reproductive Health, infertility, Testosterone, Women's Health

Nutrition Correlation Chart on ADHD

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 @ 04:54 PM

 

Antioxidant StatusADHD Disease wheel resized 600
Oxidative imbalance is prevalent in ADHD patients and likely plays a causative role; Deficiency of glutathione common in ADHD.3,4,5,6

Folate
Low folate status in pregnancy linked to hyperactivity in children; People with the MTHFR (methyl tetrahydrafolate reductase) gene are predisposed to folate deficiency and more likely to have ADHD.1,2

Vitamin B6
Evidence suggests high dose supplementation of B6 is as effective as Ritalin for ADHD, probably due to its role in raising serotonin levels.7,8,9

Magnesium
Deficiency linked to poor function of the neurotransmitters that control emotion, social reactions, hyperactivity and attention; Synergistic effect with vitamin B6.8,9,10

Zinc
Cofactor for dopamine synthesis which affects mood and concentration in ADHD; Low zinc depresses both melatonin and serotonin production which affect information processing and behavior in ADHD.11,12,13,14

Carnitine
Reduces hyperactivity and improves social behavior in people with ADHD due to its role in fatty acid metabolism; Some consider it a safe alternative to stimulant drugs.15,16,17

Serine
Administration of phosphatidylserine with omega 3 fatty acids improved ADHD symptoms (attention scores) significantly better than omega 3 fatty acids alone, suggesting a synergistic effect; Phosphatidylserine increases dopamine levels.18,19,20

Glutamine
Precursor for the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that affects mood, focus and hyperactivity; Disruption of the glutamine-containing neurotransmission systems may cause ADHD.21,22,23

Choline
Precursor to neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which regulates memory, focus and muscle control (hyperactivity).24,25,26

Antioxidant Status
Oxidative imbalance is prevalent in ADHD patients and likely plays a causative role; Deficiency of glutathione common in ADHD.3,4,5,6

To download a copy of the ADHD Nutrition Correlation Chart, click here.

Topics: SpectraCell, serine, micronutrients, zinc, folate, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin B6, Antioxidants, nutrition testing, Nutrition, Glutamine, micronutrient test, ADHD, Children

Nutritional Considerations of ADHD & Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 @ 01:58 PM

ADHD & AutismADHD and AUTISM ON THE RISE
Recent years has seen an unprecedented rise in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Although researchers speculate on the reason for this rise, many factors likely contribute, including more accurate diagnosis. However, overwhelming evidence suggests that nutritional deficiencies may be a contributing factor.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS ARE KEY
Our brain and nerves are composed mostly of fat. The most important of these are called omega-3 fatty acids and are found primarily in fish or fish oil supplements. Also called EPA and DHA, they are absolutely necessary for human health, and their concentration in the brain makes them key players in neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD. Brain and nerve growth throughout childhood is extraordinarily rapid, and the need for omega-3 fatty acids remains critical all the way through adolescence and into adulthood. Overwhelming evidence implicates deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids for the rise in autism and ADHD. Research shows that children with low scores on behavioral assessment tests consistently have lower omega-3 fatty acids levels, and when supplemented with fish oils, the symptoms of ADHD in these children such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inability to pay attention - dramatically improve.

Omega 3 & 6WHY MEASURE THE OMEGA-6 TO OMEGA-3 RATIO?
We are familiar with the expression that a child’s brain is like a sponge, ready to absorb information at an astounding rate. A truly appropriate analogy, it stems from the fact that our brains can actually create nerve pathways in response to new experiences and learning environments. Called “neuronal plasticity,” this phenomena is crucial for long-term memory and learning. Proper levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), is important for membrane fluidity. The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids, which differ in structure and function, to omega-3 fatty acids affect neuronal plasticity as well. Scientists now agree that the ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats is as important as the actual levels, especially in autism and ADHD. A lower ratio is better and when this ratio is improved, symptoms of autism and ADHD can improve as well.

ZINC – THE MOOD MINERAL
Zinc deficiency is often implicated in ADHD because it is an important co-factor to several neurotransmitters, which directly affect mood and learning ability. Specifically, zinc affects the production of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in our brains that is needed for learning and certain emotions like motivation and pleasure. In fact, studies show that zinc levels correlate with anxiety and behavioral problems, as well as have a significant effect on information processing in boys with ADHD. Since zinc levels are much lower in autistic and ADHD individuals, children with ADHD show positive behavioral and cognitive results after zinc supplementation.In addition, zinc is essential for proper elimination of the toxic metal mercury from our brain tissue, which has also been linked to autism and ADHD.

Vitamins & AutismVITAMINS AND AUTISM
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with autism and in some cases of severe deficiency, high-dose vitamin D therapy actually reversed some of the autistic behaviors. Some research even suggests that the nutritional status of the mother during gestation can affect behavior in children. One study confirmed that low folate status in pregnancy was associated with hyperactivity in children. Other studies show that persons who carried a common gene that predisposes them to folate and vitamin B12 deficiency (called the MTHFR gene) were more likely to suffer from ADHD. Supplementation with thiamine (vitamin B1) has shown clinical benefit to some autistic children. Specifically, a deficiency in vitamin B1 has been associated with delayed language development in childhood.When deficient, biotin (vitamin B7) can potentially cause neurological problems associated with autism since the brain is quite vulnerable to biotin deficiency.

MAGNESIUM AND VITAMIN B6 – A WINNING COMBINATION
Like most nutrients, magnesium and vitamin B6 work together in improving clinical symptoms of autism and ADHD.

When a group of autistic children were supplemented with magnesium and vitamin B6, 70% of the children showed improvement in social interaction and communication. Interestingly, when the supplements were stopped, the clinical symptoms reappeared. In another study, physical aggression and inattention improved after supplementation with magnesium and vitamin B6 for a few months.

NeurotransmittersTHE ROLE OF NEUROTRANSMITTERS
Neurotransmitters are tiny chemicals that transmit information from the outside world to various parts of our brains and from our brains to the rest of our bodies. Although neurotransmitters, such as choline, glutamine, asparagine and inositol may not be recognized as household names, they profoundly affect emotions, thinking and social behavior. For example, levels of glutamine and asparagine are lower in autistic children and some adults with ADHD.

AN AMINO ACID THAT IMPROVES CARNITINE – BEHAVIOR
Carnitine is an amino acid whose primary function is to transport fatty acids, including the ever-so-important omega-3 fatty acids into cells so they can be used for energy. In autistic individuals, carnitine levels are significantly reduced, which then affects the patient’s ability to use the fatty acids that are so critical to their learning and social development.
A recent study demonstrated that carnitine can reduce hyperactivity and improve social behavior in boys diagnosed with ADHD, and may actually represent a safe alternative to the use of stimulant drugs for the treatment of ADHD in children.

ADHD AND AUTISM – AN OXIDATIVE STRESS DISORDER?
Oxidative stress is a term used to describe damage to our cells that occurs on a daily basis throughout our bodies. Fortunately, our bodies have built-in defenses against the onslaught of internal and external toxins causing oxidative stress in our tissues. Interestingly, several studies show an increase in oxidative stress in both autism and ADHD, resulting in an impaired ability to eliminate toxins. Specifically, adults with ADHD have extremely low levels of some of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. One study linked damage in fatty tissue surrounding our cells to symptoms of autism and ADHD. Minerals such as selenium and copper, antioxidants such as cysteine and vitamin E and several other nutrients ensure the body’s powerful defense systems work optimally.

ADHD & AutismA MULTI-FACETED APPROACH
Since so many nutrients are needed to keep our amazingly complex brain and nervous system functioning properly, a comprehensive assessment of your nutritional status is key. In disorders like autism and ADHD, the potential improvement of symptoms when even a single deficiency is corrected can often be quite dramatic.

For more information, contact us at spec1@spectracell.com or call 800-227-5227.

Topics: zinc, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, vitamin, autism, Omega 3s, Neurotransmitters, ADHD, Nutritional Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Omega 6

Webinar: Nutritional Considerations of ADHD & Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 10:16 AM

PreseMother and childnted by: Dr. Ron Grabowski

Learn how micronutrient testing and nutritional considerations can be implemented into your practice to improve patient care. This webinar focuses the nutritional considerations of ADHD & Autism.

Presentation Topics:

  • What laboratory tests should be ordered with an autistic individual?
  • How does homocysteine play a role in Autism?
  • How does zinc play a role with ADHD?
  • What levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be effective with ADHD? 
  • Case Study Review

Watch the webinar on Nutritional Considerations of ADHD & Autism.

Topics: micronutrient testing, Homocysteine, zinc, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, autism, ADHD