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ADD/ ADHD: 7 Ways you can reduce symptoms - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

ADD/ADHD: 7 Ways you can reduce symptoms

As we all know, there seems to currently be a continuing epidemic of ADD and ADHD, with more and more adults, children and youth being diagnosed with the disorder.

The symptoms of attention deficit, impulsiveness and restlessness can severely impact everyday life, and the ability to focus and to achieve whether at work or school.

The medical profession has few answers beyond medication, so I would like to offer some simple ways in which you can help to reduce or even resolve your symptoms.

1. Increase exercise

It has been shown that incorporating exercise into your everyday routine can significantly reduce symptoms.

I remember reading many years ago about Daly Thompson. He was an Olympic medalist in the decathlon in the 1980s. He was unable to focus at school and was doing badly academically until he was sent to a special school for ‘Troubled Children”.

The school was unique in that it provided several hours of Phys-ed classes every afternoon. His grades improved dramatically, and he commented that it was such a relief to be able to MOVE instead of being tied to a desk all day.

2. Address Food Allergies and Intolerances

As a natural allergist, I see many people, especially children, who’s ADD / ADHD is being triggered, at least in part, by what they are eating.

The common allergens I see are wheat, milk, nightshade vegetables (in particular tomato, bell peppers, potato), food additives/colours. It is possible, however, to react to any food that you are eating.

I had one notable case where the mother complained that her two-year-old was sleeping only a couple of hours a night, was a nightmare to handle during the day, being aggressive and confrontational. She was exhausted. Following removal of milk products and potatoes from his diet, he started sleeping 9 hours per night and became much better behaved during the day.

3. Nutrition and Real Food

“We are what we eat” – nothing could be truer.

Changing the diet to include more fresh vegetables, fewer sugars (processed grains, fruits, potato, candies, etc.) and little-processed foods can have a significant impact on ADD / ADHD symptoms. It also helps to ensure proper nutrition.

Supplementing the diet with Vit D, Vit B12 (fish, poultry, meat, eggs) and B6 (beef, poultry, organ meats), Omega 3 oils (fish / chia/flax / hemp, etc.), and zinc (nuts, beans, red meat, seafood) can also be beneficial.

It has also been shown to be helpful to eat more protein, especially at breakfast and lunch.

Talk to your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor or holistic nutritionist about the right nutrition for you or your child.

4. Mindfulness

This is about being able to be present in the here and now.

Even small children can benefit from mindfulness. It can be as simple as asking them to describe what they hear, smell or see at that moment, or what the food they are eating tastes/feels/smells/looks like, allowing them to connect.

For older youngsters and adults yoga and developing a meditation practice can be helpful.

5. Disconnecting and Unplugging

We all spend far too much time in front of screens, whether for work, school, or gaming and staying in touch with our friends and family.

In addition to the addictive nature of these devices and the fact that it removes us from reality, every electronic device emits its frequency, whether the TV, computer screen, laptop, gaming console, etc. Even after they are turned off, they continue to emit for upwards of an hour. Reducing screen time has been shown to assist with ADD / ADHD symptoms so try to build in other activities and games that do not require screen time.

6. Chemicals and Toxins

When choosing household cleaning products, body products, shampoos, etc. select those which are natural and unscented.

Consider seeking advice from your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor regarding the possibility of heavy metal toxicity such as mercury and lead and the ways that this can be resolved.

And finally.

7. Get out in Nature

Getting regular outdoor time has been shown to be extremely beneficial to those with ADD / ADHD.

I hope these suggestions assist you in controlling your ADD / ADD symptoms.

If you have any questions or simply want to know more, please contact me today.


This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Does your child have ADHD? What have you tried to help their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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hidden signs of food sensitivities in children

Hidden signs of food sensitivities in children

Food sensitivities are on the rise in Canada and most worryingly among children. In my practice, the most common food sensitivities I see are to wheat, dairy, corn, eggs and soy. If I were to ask you what symptoms you would expect to see from a food sensitivity, I would suspect you to say digestive. Beware, this is not always the case. In this blog, I talk about the hidden symptoms of food sensitivities in children, what causes them and how best to identify them.

Peter is ten years old and has been brought to see me by his mum and dad complaining of lower back pain. They found me by looking for a local osteopath on Google and had been recommended osteopathy by a family friend. All osteopaths are trained to look for and treat physical causes of pain. Physical causes are usually the result of some trauma such as a fall. Peter’s pain had begun two months previously without any trauma. He noticed the pain only when he was playing hockey and running.

When physical pain, of any kind, develops for no apparent reason it makes me very suspicious and leads me to suspect that there may be an underlying factor at play.

On examination, I found that Peter’s muscles were very tight, and his lower back muscles were not functioning very well. These two clinical findings, to me, are a sign of chronic low-grade inflammation. There are four main causes of inflammation:

  1. Food sensitivities
  2. Infection
  3. Toxins
  4. Stress

Symptoms of Hidden Food Sensitivities

The most common cause of inflammation in children is food sensitivities. Peter had no digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea. Despite this fact, I asked whether he experienced any of the following extra-digestive or hidden signs of food sensitivities. These symptoms include:

  1. Recurrent ear and throat infections
  2. Canker sores
  3. Frequent nosebleeds
  4. Unexplained muscle and joint pains sometimes diagnosed as “growing pains”.
  5. Black circles under your eyes, known as “Shiners.”
  6. Insomnia
  7. Hyperactivity and ADHD
  8. Anxiety
  9. Rash and other skin complaints
  10. Fatigue

Peter had some these other symptoms, which confirmed my suspicions and prompted me to suggest to his parents that we investigate whether he does have any food sensitivities.


There are three different ways I recommend to determine food sensitivities including:

Elimination diets

A food elimination is the scientific “gold standard” method for determining food sensitivities. Foods are avoided for 30 days. If symptoms improve then each food is reintroduced, one at a time, to determine which are the triggers.

Blood Food sensitivity testing

Blood food sensitivity testing in Canada measures IgG food antibodies to different foods. The problem with this testing is that there are two other antibodies, IgA and IgM, that your bodies immune system might produce. More comprehensive testing is available through Cyrex Labs in the US that measures both IgA and IgG antibodies.

Muscle testing

Muscle testing or applied kinesiology measures the response of your body’s nervous system to a substance. Muscle testing has not been validated by any scientific research however I have found a very reliable way of screening in clinical practice.

I always give my clients the option of what method of testing they would like me to use. For Peter, we used only muscle testing and identified dairy as a problem.

After three weeks of avoiding dairy, Peter returned my office and reported that he could now play hockey and run pain-free, and many of his other symptoms had lessened.


This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.