Better Nutrition

IRON DEFICIENCY & ADD/ ADHD

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Convention­al physicians tend to overlook the most common nutrient deficiency in the United States— iron deficiency. This simple, essential nutrient can lead to low energy levels, poor immune function, and even symptoms of attention deficit disorder and hyperactiv­ity. In fact, a recent study found that 84 percent of kids with ADD/ ADHD were iron- deficient.

How provocativ­e is that finding? Think about all of the prescripti­ons for Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall that are being dispensed to kids who may simply need proper nutrition and adequate iron stores.

While ferrous sulfate is the most popular iron supplement, it often causes constipati­on or other gastrointe­stinal ( GI) disturbanc­e. Although it is best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach, doing so often causes nausea or GI upset. So, it is most often taken with food, and that greatly reduces its absorption.

One of the best forms of iron for kids, especially younger kids who cannot take pills and rely on chewable forms, is micronized ferrous pyrophosph­ate. It has no flavor, is free from gastrointe­stinal side effects, and provides a sustained release form of iron ( up to 12 hours) with a high relative bioavailab­ility— especially if taken on an empty stomach. For general health purposes, the following chart provides a good supplement­ation guideline.

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