ADHD Symptoms and Pesticides
Most parents of ADHD children and ADHD adults alike have suspected that eating too little protein and too many simple carbohydrates seems to aggravate problematic ADHD symptoms such inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity/restlessness. But now there seems to be another sinister villain residing in our bowls and on our plates that has been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; pesticides.
The link between ADHD symptoms and pesticides is a strong one with children who were exposed to fruits and vegetables containing only trace amounts of pesticides being more likely to show attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms according to a recent study involving 1,139 children all across America. The study found that children with above average levels of one common byproduct were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. If you would like to reference this study it can be found in the journal Pediatrics under ADHD and pesticides.
The type of pesticide associated with ADHD symptoms are known as organophosphates. Surprisingly this information is nothing new, with numerous studies being conducted on farm workers, migrant workers, and other high risk populations. What makes this most recent study exploring the link between ADHD and pesticides unique is that it encapsulated every day America, far away from the fields of pesticide riddled food.
How do organophosphates work?
Have you ever pulled out your handy dandy bug spray, sprayed that menacing bug, and noticed how the insect was seemingly stopped in its tracts. That is what makes these toxins so effective. They are able to do this by producing a toxic effect on the central nervous system of the insect. While this information alone may not enough to set off warning sirens in the head of an ADHD parent, if you were to add that organophosphates also impact brain chemicals closely linked to ADHD symptoms now all of the sudden the link between ADHD and pesticides seems to be a much more plausible one.
Could ADHD symptoms be found on the shelves of my favorite grocery store?
We think of our grocery store/supermarket/superstore as a safe place to buy food. And in most cases this is indeed true with the United States having one of the strictest set of health codes in the world. But a 2008 study conducted by the U.S. department of agriculture (USDA) found an alarming amount of produce contained detectible levels of pesticides. In a representative study of sample produce test by the USDA it was determined that 28% of frozen blueberries, 20% of celery, and 25% of strawberries contained traces of at least one type of organophosphates. Other types of organophosphates were found in 27% or green beans, 17% of peaches, and 8% of broccoli. The conclusion here is obvious, as we have tried to give or ADHD children the very best in nutrition we may have been inadvertently giving them a small dose of ADHD inducing pesticides as well.
In conclusion it seem that there is a growing amount of research suggesting that ADHD and pesticides may be linked. Nevertheless, more research needs to be done to confirm these most recent findings. In the mean time buying organic produce when possible, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables (even if frozen), and eating a nutrient rich varied diet seems to be the best defense against ADHD and pesticides at this time.
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Rob Hawkins is an enthusiastic advocate for the use of natural health products and natural living with over 10 years experience in the field.
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