Maintain Iron Levels
Many parents and professionals are unaware of the important role iron plays in controlling ADHD symptoms.
A study done in 2004 showed that the average iron level of children with ADHD (measured as ferritin) was 22, compared with 44 in non-ADHD children. Another study showed that increasing ADHD children's iron levels improved their symptoms almost as much as taking a stimulant. The children in these studies were not anemic. The fact that your child has a normal "blood count" does not mean that his ferritin levels are normal. Because too much iron is dangerous, I do not recommend giving iron without first checking the ferritin level. Ask your pediatrician to test it.
If iron levels are low, below 35, say, talk with your doctor about starting your child on an iron supplement and/or increasing consumption of iron-rich foods, which include lean red meat, turkey and chicken, shellfish, and beans. The ferritin level should be rechecked in a few months.
This article appears in the Winter 2011 issue of ADDitude.
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