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In 1987, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was voted into existence by members of the American Psyychiatric Association (APA) during the compilation of its DSM-III-R mental illness register. Within one year, 500,000 children in America alone had been diagnosed with an affliction, created by a show of hands, which had no apparent corresponding physical brain disorder and no science. Many children have subsequently been prescribed dangerous, mind-altering drugs to control their behaviour. By 1997, 4.4 million citizens had been labelled ADHD.
In 1975, US federal law had provided funding and psychology-based education for ‘learning disabilities’. By 1989, 1.9 million had been diagnosed as having Learning Disorder (including Attention Deficit Disorder). At the end of 1996, 2.6 million American children had been branded ‘special needs’. Did funding play a factor in this mass diagnosis? Today, ADHD is said to account for a third to half of all child mental health referrals.
In my book The Mind Game, I expose the cynical manipulation and deceit practised by psychiatry and the truth behind what ‘mental illnesses’ actually are. They are physical problems that affect the way we think and behave, and the phenomena of ADD and ADHD are no exception. If you, or someone you know, suffers from behavioural abnormalities that have been diagnosed ADD/ADHD, before you or your family resort to the proffered drug treatments, which include mind-altering substances such as Ritalin and Prozac, often provoking mental aberrations of their own, please read the remainder of this chapter.


Little Billy has a problem. He doesn’t finish his homework. He is rowdy in class. He can’t sit still at mealtimes and fidgets constantly. When his parents buy him a new toy, he smashes it or wears it out. He is a beast with the furniture, tumbling around the room and getting into things with boundless energy.
But Billy’s temper tantrums have caused problems at school as well as home. He is unpopular with his peers, defiant of authority, sometimes exhibits a speech impediment and lies to get out of trouble. Billy’s parents have been warned by the principal to ‘get something done’ or Billy won’t be allowed to return to school to disrupt others. “Billy needs help,” the head intones sombrely. He gives them a telephone number to call. Drugs such as Ritalin, Halcion, Xanax, Dexedrine and Prozac are routinely prescribed.
Physiological indicators to watch for in a child labelled ADD/ADHD are those symptoms usually associated with allergy: excessive mucus, ear infections, skin rashes, facial swelling, tonsillitis, discolouration around the eyes, bloating and digestive problems, bad breath, bedwetting, eczema and asthma. These symptoms are linked to chronic dehydration and an inability of the body to manufacture prostaglandins (chemical mood modulators that affect the brain). Chronic dehydration has become routine since the advent of popular, mostly carbonated and sugared beverages aimed at the young. Bad diets resulting from an over-dependence on junk foods has also risen to the fore since the ‘70s fast-food revolution. A combination of these two paradigm shifts is more than sufficient to account for the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, resulting in an inability of children to convert essential fats into prostaglandins and neurotransmitter hormones, and lack of sufficient water to avoid the inevitable ‘drought-management’ procedures from being implemented in the body.

Why ADD/ADHD are not ‘diseases’

In millions of households across the world, parents have noticed behaviour in their children far more aberrant than expected with their particular age-group. These traits have been prescribed bogus medical epithets or disease classifications by psychiatry. But do these ‘mental diseases’ have more straightforward explanations? How likely is it that millions of children have suddenly become ‘mentally ill’?

Retired California neurologist Fred A Baughman Jr sent a letter in January 2000 to US Surgeon General David Satcher in response to Satcher’s Report on mental illness. “Having gone to medical school,” Baughman wrote, “and studied pathology — disease, then diagnosis — you and I and all physicians know that the presence of any bona fide disease, like diabetes, cancer or epilepsy, is confirmed by an objective finding — a physical or chemical abnormality. No demonstrable physical or chemical abnormality: no disease!”

“You also know, I am sure,” Baughman continued, “that there is no physical or chemical abnormality to be found in life, or at autopsy, in ‘depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.’ Why then are you telling the American people that ‘mental illnesses’ are ‘physical’?’”

Baughman concluded his six-page letter to Satcher by declaring that “your role in this deception and victimization is clear. Whether you are a physician so unscientific that you cannot read their [the American Psychiatric Association’s] contrived, ‘neurobiologic’ literature and see the fraud, or whether you see it and choose to be an accomplice — you should resign.”

Researchers Bunday and Colquhoun tested the theory to see whether supplementing with essential fatty acids would make any difference. They tested evening primrose oil, a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (omega 3), on children who had been diagnosed ADD/ADHD. The following, provided by the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group, is typical of such anecdotal reports:

“Stephen, aged 6, had a history of hyperactivity, with severely disturbed sleep and disruptive behaviour at home and at school. Threatened with expulsion from the school because of his impossible behaviour, his parents were given two weeks to improve matters. They contacted the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group, and evening primrose oil was suggested. A dose of 1.5g was rubbed into the skin morning and evening. The school was unaware of this, but after five days the teacher telephoned the mother to say that never in 30 years of teaching had she seen such a dramatic change in a child’s behaviour. After three weeks, the evening primrose oil was stopped, and one week later the school complained. The oil was then introduced to good effect.”

Scientists at Purdue University in the US have found that children exhibiting hyperactivity have altered fatty acid metabolism and lowered levels of these essential nutrients in their blood, compared to controls. One fatty acid, DHA, has shown to be low in children marked with low mental performance. Fish oils are rich in DHA. Other evidence however demonstrates that genuine hyperactivity and attention deficit may not be caused by poor nutrition alone. Two other elements play large in causation – that of chemical toxins and food allergies.

Homing in on the problem – Hydration

Water expert F Batmanghelidj MD indicts modern medicine for its failure to understand the causes and effects of chronic long-term dehydration in the young and associated (organic) salt deficiency. Dehydration is known to produce the histamine inflammatory system, resulting in the ‘body’s many cries for water’ – asthma, allergies, depression, hyperactivity and bedwetting. Children raised on junk diets and sodas can expect to suffer serious physical and neurological problems which often abate once diet and hydration needs are addressed. Children are particularly prone to dehydration, Dr Batmanghelidj contends, since their growing bodies are producing billions of new cells which require 75% of their volume to be filled with water (not sodas!).

Homing in on the problem – Diet

Essential fats can only be converted into prostaglandins by two enzymes, which themselves are dependent upon the presence of vitamins B3 (niacin), B6, biotin, zinc and magnesium. Dr Abram Hoffer explored the possibility of a link between B3 and B6 deficiencies and ADD. Hoffer gave 3 g of vitamin C and over 1.5 g of B3 (niacinamide) to 33 children. Only one failed to respond favourably. Children with low levels of the essential neurotransmitter hormone serotonin have been helped with B3 and B6 supplementation. Zinc and magnesium deficiencies are well known to cause immune system problems, coupled with excessive fidgeting, anxiety, loss of co-ordination and learning difficulties in the presence of a normal intelligence. The magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and calcium levels of plasma, erythrocytes, urine and hair in 50 children aged 4 to 13 years with hyperactivity were examined by atomic absorption spectrometry. The average concentration of all trace elements was lower when compared with the control group.

Homing in on the problem – Chemical toxins

Certain chemicals, now extremely common in our environment, can act as ‘anti-nutrients’ – that is, they bleed away or bind essential nutrients in the body. Lead produces symptoms of aggression, poor impulse control and attention span. Refined sugar and sugary foods produce a kaleidoscope of problems with poisoning and hyperactivity. Excess copper and aluminium cause hyperactivity and have been found in significant amounts in children with behavioural disorders. “Copper and lead deplete zinc levels and may contribute to deficiency,” Dr Pfeiffer remarks. Monsanto’s infamous artificial sweetener aspartame is another major causative factor (contained in products such as chewing gums and foods and drinks sweetened with Nutrasweet, Equal and Canderel (see Aspartame Disease).

As mentioned, perhaps one of the most dangerous pastimes a child can indulge in is the consumption of soda beverages. These contain high levels of phosphoric acid and up to seven teaspoon equivalents of refined sugar in one aluminium can. Children drinking 6-8 sodas a day may be ingesting over 50 teaspoons of sugar just from the soda drinks alone. In addition, there are the excess sugars found in their processed foods and candies to consider.

Homing in on the problem – Allergies

Perhaps the leading cause of ADD/ADHD worthy of investigation is in the realm of food toxins and allergies. Dr Neil Ward is a scientist who has been at the forefront of additive research. A press release from his university in Guildford , UK , reports:

Children’s disruptive behaviour can be linked to food choice. Hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder… and antisocial or aggressive behaviour in children can be traced back to what they eat. According to Dr Neil Ward, from the University of Surrey ’s Chemistry department, some children can react to the additives, preservatives and colourants in food products, causing certain behavioural problems. “Parents should identify the products which cause the reaction and eliminate them from the child’s diet,” he said.

Dr Ward monitored groups of children in schools. He aimed to find out whether behavioural disturbance linked to chemicals appeared in isolated groups or if all children were at risk. He found that certain colourants could lead to an adverse reaction within 30 minutes of consumption. He identified toxic metals like lead and aluminium and food colourants as the main culprits. Reactions to these chemicals included behavioural or body reactions like rash or physical impairments.

The soda additive tartrazine is a known problem. Dr Ward discovered that adding tartrazine to drinks increased the precipitation of zinc in the urine. Ward speculated that tartrazine was binding to zinc, rendering it unavailable to the body, which then excreted it. Ward found behavioural changes in every child who consumed the drink containing tartrazine. Four out of ten children in the study had severe reactions, three developing eczema or asthma within 45 minutes of ingestion. Ward concludes in the above press release:

“Children in primary schools are under a lot of peer pressure to consume certain products, and they tend to favour products containing a lot of sugar. The problem is that these products often also contain some ‘nasty’ chemicals. Consumers often don’t understand the information on food labels. They were a bit more conscious of labels when concerns about e-numbers were first raised, but since organic food hit the shelves, people seem to think everything is safe now. It is very important that not only children but in many cases their parents should be encouraged to learn more about the foods they choose to consume, how they are stored, prepared and cooked in terms of providing optimum nutritional value to their diet.”

Homing in on the problem – Fungi, yeast and parasites

High-sugar diets also have another downfall for the child. They feed opportunistic fungi and yeasts within their body, resulting in a release of potentially hazardous mycotoxins into the child’s bloodstream. Reactions may range for the annoying rashes and skin blemishes through to serious side-effects and illnesses. These problems may be cleared up with, once again, a consistent and permanent change in diet, along with simple herbal treatments (see Candidiasis).

Other somatic indicators

Gluten allergies to wheat, barley, rye and oat products are very common and lead to bloating and an auto-immune reaction known as coeliac disease (see Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Studies show that 1 in 33 of us may be susceptible. Others indicate that the incidence of gluten/gliaden intolerance may be as high as 1 in 10. The unmanageable, sticky gluten protein can disrupt the lining of the intestinal wall, destroying villi which absorb nutrients, and allow the permeation of food particles and toxins through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. Resultant immune system reactions to this range from self-poisoning conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and leaky gut syndrome through to the symptoms listed earlier.

In 1975, Dr Ben Feingold reported successful treatment of ADD by removing chemical additives, dyes from the diet, as well as foods containing salicylates, coffee, tea, as well as some fruits, nuts and berries. Sensitivity, even to some natural foods, is believed to be the result of auto-immune reactions to known chemical antagonists found in processed problem foods, such as junk foods, pizzas, sweets, candy, sodas and their ‘diet’ equivalents. Dr Schoenthaler found an empirical connection between sugar/junk food intake and anti-social and criminal behaviour. Other problem foods connected with ADD/ADHD may involve eggs, chocolate, rape oil (canola) and unfermented soy food derivatives (soya ‘milk’ and meat substitute foods) 

Nutritional versus drug approach

The optimal approach to helping a child, or indeed any adult, with hyperactivity problems involves a strategy which tackles all the above factors. But first, let’s see whether true hyperactivity exists by asking some interesting questions:

  1. Is the child really hyperactive, or is this a simple case of ‘a kid just being a kid’?
  2. Was the ‘hyperactivity’ label put on your child by a teacher who simply cannot keep control of their classroom, and so the children took advantage of the uncontrolled environment?
  3. Is the school your child attends part of a grant system where it can earn money from the government for every child given a ‘mental illness’ label?
  4. Do YOU, as a parent, think there is anything wrong with your child?

To me, the parent is sovereign over their children in spite of the steadily encroaching nanny state, and yet many mothers, who unwittingly assume the role of the family nutritionist, tacitly allow their children to wander aimlessly through a nutrient-deficient and chemical minefield with the diets they consume today. Many parents also, cramming white bread, biscuits, doughnuts, hot dogs and pizza down the throats of their co-operative brood, still believe the old adage that if the kids are ‘full’, they have eaten well. As this book demonstrates, bad food always has consequences.

One of the first measures recommended by specialists like Dr Pfeiffer and nutrition expert Patrick Holford, founder of London’s Institute of Optimum Nutrition (ION), is to have a problem child undergo a full medical examination. Pinpointing problem foods and chemicals in the early stages precludes the need for a trial and error approach with diet. Removal of potentially harmful foodstuffs from the diet for a period of time (60 days) will highlight whether these food(s) are the ‘trigger’ for any food sensitivity problems.

ADD/ADHD – the nutritional approach

There are a number of well-designed studies showing the efficacy of nutritional supplementation for learning and hyperactive disabilities. There is also abundant evidence for the addictive and psychological damage drugs prescribed to children can do, with little appreciable upside, save that of altering the child’s behaviour, or, in the case of Prozac, drugging the patient so they cannot remember what they were worried about in the first place. Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics overwhelming endorses the use of these drugs as first resort for ADD/ADHD conditions. There is not one mention of nutrition in the American Academy of Pediatrics position paper on ADHD. In 1995, the AAP did produce a video on nutrition however. It was funded by the Sugar Association and the Meat Board.

The title of a fact sheet promoted by the American Dietetic Association, focussing on ADHD, is “Questions Most Frequently Asked About Hyperactivity”. The fact sheet asks two questions: “ Is there a dietary relationship to hyperactivity?” and “Should I restrict certain foods from my child’s diet?” These were answered with the same word – “ No.” The source quoted for the fact sheet is The Sugar Association (again), which also produced its own consumer guidelines, including the laughably asinine statement: “Sugar has a mildly quieting effect on some children.”  

Researcher Egger showed that 79% of hyperactive children improved when artificial colourings, flavourings and sugar were eliminated from their diet. In fact 48 different foods were found to be allergy-positive, producing medical symptoms among the children tested. For example, 64% reacted to cow’s milk, 59% to chocolate, 49% to wheat and gluten-bearing products, 45% to oranges, 39% to eggs, 32% to peanuts and 16% to sugar. Researcher Schoenthaler’s immense work in this area indicated that 47% of his juvenile delinquent subjects noticeably improved their problem behaviour (theft, insubordination, violence, hyperactivity, suicide attempts, etc.) when artificial colourings, flavourings and sugar were eliminated from their diet (see Criminal Violence).

Take action ♥

Dr Carl Pfeiffer and Patrick Holford recommend the following dietary changes for those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. In addition, I have added further protocols that will benefit the child immensely. This routine is also great for teenagers and adults experiencing behavioural problems. Please note that a qualified health practitioner should supervise each individual case to ensure protocols and safety measures are observed. Patients MUST NEVER discontinue any psychiatric medications unsupervised:

  • HYDRATION: The child should commence drinking half their body weight in ounces of water a day. e.g. a 100 lb child should be consuming 50 0z of water a day (approx 6 x 8 oz glasses). Half a teaspoon of organic Himalayan salt should be consumed per 10 glasses of water.
  • DIET: Eliminate chemical additives
  • DIET: Discontinue junk foods, especially sodas and other chemically-laden, high-street food attractions
  • DIET: Avoid sugar, refined flour and polished (white) rice
  • DIET: Avoid pork, aspartame, saccharin, synthetic/fake fats, sweets/candy and fluoridated water
  • DIET: Eat good quality fish, rich in oils
  • DIET: Ensure that 70% of the diet comprises high-water-content, high fibre, living, whole organic foods
  • DIET: Drink 3-4 pints of clean, non-chlorinated, non-fluoridated water a day
  • DETOXIFICATION: Test for and detoxify toxic elements
  • Flax seed oil, 1 tbsp per day / B-complex (inc. B1, B3, B5, B6), calcium, magnesium, zinc and other key nutrients
  • PREVENTION: ENSURE ADEQUATE EXERCISE to burn off excess energy
  • PREVENTION: Avoid foods that may contribute to allergies. These are typically wheat, dairy, sugar, eggs, oranges and chocolate
  • PREVENTION: Examine and evaluate high lead levels in the child’s environment, together with any other chemical factors which may be relevant
  • PREVENTION: Watch for somatic, allergic reactions in the child, including bloating or irregular bowel movements, excessive mucus, ear infections, skin rashes, facial swelling, tonsillitis, discolouration around the eyes, bloating and digestive problems, bad breath, bedwetting, eczema and asthma
  • TIP: Apply a firm but loving discipline to the child
  • TIP: Ensure that the child is co-operative with dietary changes. Sometimes this is not easy. Ensure consistency in applying dietary amendments. Discontinuing psychiatric drugs may be considered by a qualified health practitioner familiar with an orthomolecular (nutritional) approach to these conditions. Discontinuing psychiatric medication must never be undertaken without professional supervision.