By now, you know that diet and exercise play a crucial role in ADHD. Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and iron all have the potential to improve ADHD symptoms. This week, we will turn the focus on zinc. Zinc is a trace element and a micro-mineral. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Zinc has many important functions: it regulates the activity of intracellular brain signals (including dopamine); it regulates the activity of fatty acids and melatonin; and it plays a structural role in protein. Each of these functions plays an important role in the symptoms of ADHD, which is why zinc is the nutrient to focus on this week.
Some studies have shown that children with ADHD have lower levels of zinc than children without ADHD, which suggests a relationship between zinc concentrations and ADHD symptoms. Another research study suggested that zinc may help improve ADHD related behavior and symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to be the most effective nutrients in reducing ADHD symptoms through diet. Zinc provides protection against oxidative damage of Omega-3 fatty acids. Without zinc, these benefits may be compromised if the omega-3 fatty acids oxidize and form free radicals. Zinc supplements have shown to alleviate some symptoms of ADHD including hyperactivity and impulsivity. I believe that you and your child can meet your daily Zinc needs by including the right foods in your diet. The best sources of zinc are animal proteins including meat, fish and poultry. Pork shoulder is a great source of zinc, with 4.2 mg in a 3 ounce serving, which is why I have chosen Pork Carnitas as today’s recipe.