Is it ADHD or an Iodine Deficiency?
The CDC says that ADHD is the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children and the numbers are steadily rising as time goes on. One fascinating fact about ADHD, though, is that the states with the largest number of kids with ADHD are around the Great Lakes and the former Goiter Belt, where soils are known to have low levels of iodine, leading to increasing numbers of iodine deficiency.
There are a growing number of doctors, including Dr. Kenneth Bock and Dr. Brownstein, who believe that ADHD symptoms can be reversed by doing a nutritional and hormonal evaluation and by correcting deficiencies. Dr. Brownstein is of the belief that iodine is often the missing nutrient in kids with ADHD.
Children are sensitive when it comes to their iodine levels. When kids have low iodine levels, they may be at risk for poor language and memory skills, and motor development. Some kiddos even receive a diagnosis of mental retardation. The good news, however, is that this can be easily reversed with supplementation.
Recommended Daily Iodine Intake According to the WHO
Preschool children (0–59 months): 90 mcg
School-age children (6–12 years): 120 mcg
Adults (above 12 years): 150 mcg
Pregnant and lactating women: 200 mcg
Dr. Brownstein believes that these recommendations are much, much too low and recommends iodine intake based on weight at 0.11 mg per pound, per day, so a 50-pound child should get 5.5 mg (milligrams) of iodine daily.
He states in his book that over 96% of nearly 5,000 patients have tested positively for iodine deficiency. He admits to seeing more adults than children, but the deficiency occurs at the same rate in both. Dr. Brownstein says that iodine deficiency may explain ADHD and says that it is an effective treatment in his practice.
A study on ADHD and iodine was published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2004 by Vermiglio. This study found that mothers who were deficient were more likely to give birth to children with ADHD. We tend to think of nutritional deficiencies as a Third World problem, but this particular deficient is actually quite common in industrialized, modern societies, as well, and can have devastating effects.
Easy ways to get more iodine:
Use sea salt
*Some recommend the use of iodized salt, but I do not. Iodized salt is very refined, having had most of the minerals in the salt leached out and unnatural amounts of iodine added back.
I use Nascent Iodine, which is a high quality, bioavailable form of iodine. My kiddo gets just one drop in a glass of water in the mornings.
Have you given your child any nutritional supplements for ADHD symptoms? Have you seen anything make a difference in any major way?
Here is a quick video of Dr. Brownstein discussing iodine and ADHD.
This is super interesting information! I don’t have any children diagnosed with ADHD yet but I would definitely want to try these types of things before medicating them.
Elle (CleverlyChanging) says
Iodine deficiency is definitely linked to hypothyrodism which can cause depression, lack of focus, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, etc. I can easily see how these symptoms can also produce similar ADHD symptoms and affect a person’s behavior.
Entirely Kristen says
This is very interesting, I never even had any idea that it was highly concentrated in the great lakes region (I live there). To be honest I didn’t know about the Iodine deficiency in the region either, Now I have some research to do lol.
This is really interesting. I do believe a lot of our issues can be related to deficiencies of some sort!!
I am so happy I just read this!! Im about to google that supplement and try it on my son!!
This is an interesting idea. I have a child with severe ADHD and so I’ve read on this topic before. Diet does play such an important part in their development.
Jasmine A says
I use Dulse flakes in my green salads often to get more iodine. I don’t notice a flavor difference,but my mom does so it may be personal preference.
Jennifer Brock says
I never knew that Iodine deficiency was a thing. This was very informative thanks!
Jamie Lynn | Hectic Mommy Material says
My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and I have never heard of deficiencies possibly making it worse. I am going to look more into this because if this is the case then it can definitely be helped in more natural ways. Wonderful post!
I really hope this helps! Nutrition seems to be the cause of almost everything these days!
I’ve just started my teenage daughter on iodine (and all the accompanying supplements that Dr Brownstein recommends). I’m seeing a huge difference in her moods and focus already and its been 3 weeks.
Wow, I’m pretty obsessed with iodine..!! I love the stuff.