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Attentive Child
 


[Comprehensive Brain Support | Sweeteners with Low Impact on Blood Sugar
[Physical Health | Nutritional Health: Feeding the Brain | Lifestyle Health]
[Multiple System Support for Active Kids | References]

Most children are creative, energetic and spontaneous, but sometimes they don’t focus on requested activities.  Sometimes kids find it difficult to apply themselves to the task at hand.

Your child’s brain also may work differently than most people’s brains – just like the 5% of the population that is left-handed.  Most people think an ultra-active child means an active brain, but active children may actually need a boost in brain metabolism. 

Consideration needs to be made for the multiple systems that affect children’s ability to focus: neurotransmitters and brain metabolism, nerve cell communication, antioxidant defense, and essential fatty acid metabolism. 

Comprehensive Brain Support

Parents are looking for a safe and natural product to support their children's ability to focus. Based on the latest breakthroughs in cerebral and nervous system biochemistry, each of the following supplements plays a role in brain and nervous system struc­ture or functioning, or is involved in important biochemical pathways.

DMAE, a substance normally found in the brain, boosts brain metabolism and has been shown to enhance concentration. L-Aspartate is an amino acid neurotransmitter that stimulates brain activity. Research has shown that some ultra-active children may have special dietary needs for magnesium, zinc and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Magnesium is necessary for the transmission of nerve signals, and, along with zinc, for the processing of essential fatty acids into other vital biochemicals. DHA is an essential fatty acid that is very important for cerebral development and effective communication between nerve cells in the brain.  Lecithin contains four phospholipids -- fatty acid building block molecules in nerve cell membranes. Phosphatidylserine (PS), in particular, is vital in nerve cell communication and the electrical activity of the brain.  Grape seed extract is a plant-derived antioxidant that protects the integrity of fatty acids in nerve cell membranes.

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Sweeteners with Low Impact on Blood Sugar

We recommend carefully reviewing product labels. They may contain honey, glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin, and maltose -- all of which have moderate-to-­high glycemic indexes (GI). In addition, maple sugar, molasses, malt syrup, rice syrup, and beet sugar contain varying amounts of high-glycemic-index sugars, which can set off blood sugar fluctuations that may affect concentration. Beware of children's nutritional bars designed to enhance focus and concentration. Most have over 20 grams of sugar per bar. 

The glycemic index is a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It measures how much your blood glucose increases over a period of two or three hours after intake. The higher the glycemic index (GI), the greater the fluctuations in blood sugar.

Sweetener                   Glycemic Index

Stevia                                     0.0
Xylitol*                                    7.0
Crystalline Fructose*              23.0
Organic Agave Nectar             10.0
High Fructose Corn Syrup       62.3
Sucrose                                65.0
Honey                                   73.0
Glucose                                97.0
Maltodextrin                         105.0
Maltose                               105.0

* Glycemic index based on rate of 100 for glucose

Physical Health

Have your child's overall health checked by a well trained holistic health care professional, such as a naturopathic physician. It is particularly important to examine the functioning of your child's thyroid gland (the master regulator of the body metabolism, which influences mood and energy level), and blood sugar metabolism (the brain depends on a steady supply of glucose to function properly, particularly when you are trying to concentrate).

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Nutritional Health: Feeding the Brain

Help your child maintain a steady supply of energy and brain fuel by providing a balanced diet. Small, frequent meals are preferable since they dispense a steady level of glucose to the brain. Include foods high in the amino acid tyrosine, a precursor to neurotransmitters that support an alert state. Tyrosine is found in protein foods, such as meat, poultry, beans, tofu, lentils and seafood. Also include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which are metabolized slowly and yield a steady supply of glucose. 

The simple sugars found in candy, cookies, sodas and other processed foods can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, followed by an abrupt decline, and should be discouraged. It is important to include essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in the brain and essential for its development and normal functioning.  Encourage your child to eat cold-water fish, such as salmon. Avoid the hydrogenated fats found in processed foods and margarine, as well as chemicals and food additives. A nutrition program consisting of fresh, unprocessed natural foods is the healthiest choice for everyone.

Lifestyle Health

Some experts believe extended time watching TV and playing video games does not support optimal health or school performance. EEG studies have shown that these activities decrease brain activity rather than activating the brain. Encourage your child to spend time in outdoor physical recreation and in creative, challenging activities.

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Multiple System Support for Active Kids

Concentration                                 DMAE

Brain Metabolism                            L-Aspartate
                                                     DMAE

Building Blocks of Brain Cell Membranes        Phosphatidylserine
                                                                   Phosphatidylcholine
                                                                   Phosphatidylethanolamine
                                                                   Phosphatidylinositide
                                                                   DHA

Nerve Cell Communication                Magnesium
                                                      Phosphatidylserine
                                                      DHA

Essential Fatty Acid Metabolism       Magnesium
                                                      Zinc

Nerve Cell Membrane Antioxidant      Grape Seed Extract

 

References

Amen, D. Windows into the....Mind. Fairfield, CA: MindWorks Press, 1997.

Foster-Powell, K. & Miller, J.B. 1995, International tables of glycemic index. Am J Clin Nutr 62:871S-93S.

Natah, S.S. et.al. 1997. Metabolic response to lactitol and xylitol in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. Apr; 65(4):947-50. 

Schmidt, Michael. Smart Fats. Berkeley: Frog, Ltd., 1997.

Sears, William. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1998.

 

Reprinted with exclusive permission by Source Naturals, Inc.

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