Am I Nutritionally Supporting My ADHD Genes? September 03 2015
The DSM-V confirms there may be a genetic predisposition to dopamine imbalance resulting in ADHD symptoms. Fortunately, if you have ADHD science suggests you don’t blame yourself. Just blame the genes responsible for making dopamine.
In biology and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused in DNA sequence. It refers to external modifications to DNA through diet and lifestyle that turn genes “on” or “off.” These modifications do not change DNA sequence, but instead, affect how cells read genes. Thus, if you have a predisposition to ADHD, epigenetics confirms that these genes can be nutritionally strengthened with specific nutrients; namely vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Many think that diet and food only correlates with physical health. In actuality, nutrients support every system of the body, including brain physiology and mental health. Nutrient-rich foods are those highest in beneficial-energy containing elements that humans can live on to grow. Examples include vitamins, minerals, glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. Plants are typically the most nutrient-rich foods and like humans, have external influences that determine how well they develop. Photosynthesis requires water, oxygen, sunshine, and healthy soil. The better nourishment the plant has from nature directly determines if the plant thrives or dies. The livelihood of the plant has direct influence on how healthy humans are too.
Eating a diet high in nutrients is no easy task though. Anything outside the produce section at the grocery store is filled with foods that have been processed in one way or another. The more chemically changed or genetically altered a food is, the more un-alive it becomes and the less beneficial it is for the body. There’s no question that eating the fortified version of vitamins and minerals out of a box of cereal is significantly less healthy than getting natural nutrients from an orange. Despite this, more and more people are relying on processed foods to fill their plates. This type of diet is referred to as a Standard American Diet. Accordingly, its acronym “SAD” has a double meaning.
The SAD diet consists mostly of conveniently made processed or fast foods that are high in sugar, hydrogenated fats, and other harmful chemicals. Modern society has scientifically manipulated foods to look better, taste better, and last longer by adding synthetic chemicals, preservations, food dyes, and hiding extra sweeteners and sugar in products. Excessive amounts of SAD foods have detrimental effects on brain health and do not support cellular growth or function. Not only that but these types of foods are recognized in the body as toxins.
Because there is not a natural housing unit (receptor) in the body for toxins, they travel immediately to the liver to undergo filtration. Alcohol, hydrogenated oils and trans fats (commonly found in fast and restaurant foods), artificial colorings, high fructose corn syrup, and other ingredients in processed foods react in the body the same way pesticides, chemicals, air pollution, and both prescription and illegal drugs do. So what’s a person to do… AVOID THESE FOODS!
As more people eat a SAD diet high in nutrient-void foods, brain and body health increasingly suffers. The liver along with the immune system is forced to do extra work as a continual flow of non-nourishing, toxic molecules gets put into the body. If these types of foods even occasionally part of the diet, nutritionally supporting the liver should be a top priority so that overall health does not decline as rapidly. Just like the brain needs specific nutrients for optimal cognition, the liver needs certain nutrients to be able to effectively perform needed phases of detoxification.
The easiest way to ensure the brain and other organs of the body are performing at optimal levels is to provide healthy nutrients to support their function in the first place. Brain supporting nutrients include foods that the body will recognize. Such foods are naturally grown, environmentally supported, and harvested with loving intention. Start reviewing your daily impact of natural versus processed foods and ask yourself, “Am I nutritionally supporting my ADHD genes?”
Written by Melissa Warner