A Naturopathic approach to ADHD

A Naturopathic approach to ADHD

by Dr. Mohammad Shegeft

shutterstock_536819794Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is an increasingly pervasive condition in both pediatric and adult community.  Most recent data suggest that 10% of all children in US are diagnosed with ADHD disorder.  As a result, this illness is now considered the most common childhood behavior disorder with a six fold increase in boys over girls.  It is also important to note that United States claims the greatest prevalence of ADHD over all other nations.

Production of the medications used to treat ADHD has skyrocketed in recent decades.  In this diagnosis driven society, it is very easy to present to a doctor’s office with a symptoms and get a quick prescription aimed to cure the symptom.  But to believe that there is only one medication or remedy for every symptom, condition, disorder and disease is being uninformed.  In the field of Naturopathic Medicine, there is always multiple ways to approach every health problem and ADHD is no different.

In our practice we have witnessed many cases where diet, family and lifestyle changes along with appropriate nutrient supplementation has help avoid medications and create optimal health.  In my experience, in most cases, the more natural means can achieve positive results, address the underlying factors and avoid side effects that can come with stimulant medications.

When it comes to ADHD, one of the first words that pops into most heads is either Ritalin or Adderall.  But with side effects like nausea, insomnia, headaches, psychosis and in rare cases death, it is no surprise that many are looking for a non-prescription treatment options.

Stimulant medications like Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine increase dopamine, a brain chemical known to balance motivation, attention and pleasure.  In the US, these drugs are used a greater percentage of time to treat ADHD over any other part of the world.  Although these medications are appropriate for some cases, I believe they should be used for judiciously than currently prescribed.  In many cases there are natural, non-drug treatments that can help our patients balance and focus.

In many cases, any one recommendation alone may not necessarily create the desired behavioral change.  Appropriate testing and plan of action and willingness to make sacrifices and lifestyle changes is necessary to achieve optimal health.  Here are some alternative approaches to treating ADHD in both children and Adults:

Dietary Changes – Forgo food coloring and preservatives.  Almost all diet plans aimed to treat ADHD and similar neurological disorders revolve around stabilization of blood sugar by avoiding high glycemic foods while assuring adequate intake of protein. Most common food additives to avoid include Sodium benzoate, Yellow #5, #6 and #10 as well as Red #40.  British journal Lancet reported that almost 80% of children with hyperactivity improved behavior when sugary foods and foods with artificial colors were removed from the diet.

Eliminate food sensitivities.  Easier said than done, eliminating potential feed allergens or sensitivities may play a crucial rule.  Start experimenting by eliminating milk and eggs, chocolate, foods containing refine sugars, soda, chocolate and foods containing salicylates such as tomatoes, berries, chili powder, grapes and oranges.

Home Environment – Recent evidence shows that children who watch TV 2 hours or more per day have higher blood pressure.  Early TV watching has also been linked to ADHD symptoms by age 7.

diabetes-prevention-foodEssential Fatty Acids – Approximately 10% of our brain is composed of fat.  These fats are called essential fatty acids (EFA) because they cannot be made by the body.  Foods with adequate amount of EFAs include coldwater fish, raw nuts and seeds, and flax meal.  Recent research at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital recommends a high Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to be the first choice in treatment of ADHD as well as other mood disorders.

Other Supplements – Similar to fish oil intake, zinc and iron deficiency can play a significant rule in ADHD.  Minerals like zinc aid in producing dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter raised by stimulant medication.  However it is important to note that long term zinc supplementation may lower coper status and should be supplemented accordingly.

Adequate levels of Iron, L-carnitine, vitamin B6,  B12 and D are also associated with mood disorders and should be addressed before starting any pharmaceutical prescription.

shutterstock_99631379Spending time Outside – There is a strong evidence that spending even 20 minutes outside can benefit kids and adults with ADHD by improving their concentration.  A study in 2011 and several before it support the claim that regular exposure to outdoors and green space is a safe and natural treatment that can be used to help people with ADHD .

Physical Exercise – Yoga, Tai chi and Kung Fu can also be beneficial.  Exercise increases the concentration of both dopamine and norepinephrine, the same neurotransmitters that are being stimulated by most ADHD medications.  Also, exercises like Tai chi and Kung Fu emphasize concentration, calmness and discipline.   Studies have found that teenagers that participate in Tai Chi and Yoga exhibit less anxiety and hyperactivity.  In the same study they found that there was less daydreaming and the participants displayed fewer inappropriate emotions when they participated in Tai Chi classes twice a week.

shutterstock_497282461Addressing the gene snips – ADHD does have a genetic component.  Although this area of medicine and research is still new, we have seen a significant association between certain gene snips like MTHF-R and ADHD.  If you have not had yourself and/or your child tested for MTHF-R gene mutation, it may help identify the missing link to treatment options and the root cause.

ADHD is a challenging condition to manage, both for the provider, the patient and in many cases the parents of the patient.  That being said, many of our patients have responded well to natural treatment options.  The key is taking the time to sort out which factors are most needed for each individual.  So before you jump on the Adderall or Ritaline bandwagon be sure to weigh all of your options.  When it comes to ADHD treatment there are many choices.  Prescription medication is just one of them.

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The Midas Touch, but for Pregnancy

The Midas Touch, but for Pregnancy

By Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz


shutterstock_271960607As I was prepping to write this article I came across a website that noted “The average woman in the U.S. spends 3 decades of her life (not necessarily all in a row) trying to avoid pregnancy and about 5 years trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, and going though the postpartum period, to get the 2 children most women say they want.” This is an amazing statement, but if you really think about it, ladies, it’s true!

Some women are fortunate to be very fertile and have no problem getting pregnant, others have to try for years and spend thousands of dollars to figure out why they are having trouble conceiving.  I’ve had success for over ten years helping people get pregnant without even trying, and have promoted this view at our clinic.  We even joke that there is something in the water, because people don’t come to us specifically for fertility very often, but it has been a wonderful side benefit of helping people become more healthy.  At AIM, we believe that optimizing your nutrition, lab values and mental/physical health are the basics needed to prepare your body for the most amazing journey it will go on.  Do that, and then just get out of your body’s way.

shutterstock_263812754First, optimizing your labs.  When you look at lab results, there are reference ranges.  Unfortunately, many of these ranges have not been updated in decades, so the idea of being inside the “normal range” I believe is not taking into account the individual person’s needs.  For example, the top end of normal for TSH (a thyroid marker) is 4.5 for a non-pregnant adult, but if you were pregnant in the 1st trimester that top number is 2.5.  So it would make sense to me, that if you were trying to conceive, having numbers more in line with where your body should be when you are pregnant would help to maximize the chance that you become pregnant and maintain a pregnancy.  At AIM, we tend to tighten the reference ranges for things like thyroid and iron not only for those who are looking to have a child, but for everyone!  I find that raising thyroid hormone levels and making sure iron is at least at 50% is a huge step towards supporting a healthy pregnancy.

shutterstock_497282461Next, genetics.  Most people think about genetics only in how it pertains to what color eyes or hair their child is going to have or serious diseases that might run in the family.  I want people to think about genetics before they even think about becoming pregnant.  One genetic mutation that has been key in helping people conceive and maintain a pregnancy is MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase).   This gene has to do with the activation and utilization of folate in the body.  If there is not enough, a baby can be born with neural tube defects, but most common is for the baby to be spontaneously aborted around the 6-8 week mark.  I have asked genetic counselors when do they check for this in a woman having trouble conceiving, and they said only after they have had 3 miscarriages.   Because of the early miscarriage timing, I believe that many women don’t even know they were pregnant when they have these miscarriages, they just thought that they had a late period.  For this reason, many women don’t get tested for this mutation, which is easily treated with a special form of folate.  Supplementing this vitamin has been a huge turning point in many women coming to us for pregnancy support.   In fact, when I start people on MTHF treatment I warn the women that this will make them more fertile because I have seen pregnancies occur within a month of starting treatment!

Now, we already discussed optimizing your labs, but what about optimizing your mental and physical health.  The easy things to talk about are cutting down on alcohol and if you are smoking, stop!  The harder thing to discuss is the mental health and stress around becoming pregnant.  The first thing I tell couples trying to become pregnant is that they are no longer in charge of worrying about being pregnant… I am.  I don’t want people peeing on ovulation sticks every 24 hours and worrying about their ovulation window.  Sometimes the stress of planning the timing of sex to correspond with ovulation puts more stress on both partners to perform, meaning that the act is more robotic and sterile…in other words, not fun!  I want people to enjoy sex and their partner.  Having a general idea of the week you are most likely to get pregnant is fine, but checking basal body temperature daily and lying in the fetal position after sex may be taking it a touch too far.   To help deal with the stress and also the toxic burden our bodies have due to environmental pollution, alcohol, drugs, and stress, I recommend people use acupuncture.  Not only is it great at detoxifying the body, but it also is a great stress reliever.  In addition, a good acupuncturist can also help optimize the gynecological cycle and help in preparing the uterus for pregnancy.

In my experience, pregnancy is a process that for some seems easy but for others can be a burden.  No matter where you fall, there are basic tips to making sure your pregnancy is optimal, for both you and the baby.  Diet and nutrition, stress reduction, and optimization of mental and physical health are tools that every person, both male and female, should consider when planning a pregnancy.  Here at AIM we don’t claim to be a fertility clinic, but we find that by making sure people are as healthy as they can be, we have a pretty good success rate.



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IV Spotlight: Chelation Therapy and Heavy Metal Detoxification

By Dr. Mohammad Shegeft, ND


Heavy Metal Chelations using EDTA

IV Drip MaleEthyl Diamine Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA) was developed in Europe in the first half of the last century for use in industry and water purification (removal of lead).  In 1940s, the US naval physicians began noticing numerous incidents of lead poisoning among sailors assigned the duty of painting warships.  Since EDTA was found to have particular affinity to Chelation properties, especially in regards to heavy metals, the physicians used IV EDTA Chelation Therapy to remove the lead with excellent results.  Historically, chelation was used to reduce plaque in heart patients, but in the past half century, with the advent of other conventional heart medicine, EDTA therapy has lost favor and has been regarded as “alternative medicine”.  That said, it is still the only FDA approved treatment for the removal of lead, and its benefits reach far beyond just that.


What is Chelation Therapy?

Chelation Therapy is an intravenous (IV) therapy using synthetic amino acid “EDTA” to bind with metal ions forming a stable structure.  This in turn transports the toxic metals to the kidneys and then excreted through urine.  As previously mentioned, the FDA has approved chelation as the only treatment for lead poisoning.

Improving circulation by the removal of accumulated build up that damage the vascular system throughout the body, physicians in 1950s not only noticed the benefits of removing heavy metals, but that their patients with Angina no longer complained of chest pain after EDTA treatments.  For that reason EDTA can also be a good adjunctive treatment for those with atherosclerosis, diabetes and other circulatory and vascular diseases.

Since EDTA has the ability to bond with some trace minerals as well as other minerals, it is highly recommended for patients to receive vitamin and mineral IV in addition to EDTA treatments.


What is the difference between chelation and detoxification?

Detoxification is a metablic process by which the toxic qualities of a poison or toxins are reduced by the body.  However, depuration is the process of helping the body to remove these unwanted materials that are incompatible with health.  Therefore detoxification is one portion of depuration, using a substance or substances to specifically promote removal of a class of unwanted toxins.


Who may need Chelation Therapy?

Although it might sound like something only tried to rare circumstances, heavy metals are more common than you may think.  If you have mercury filling in your teeth, have been vaccinated, consume foods that are grown in foreign countries or healing from radiation and chemotherapy treatments, you’re likely experiencing some degree of heavy metals in your body.  Some common symptoms of heavy metals include fatigue, brain fog, headaches, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and cognitive decline, pain, depression and anxiety.  To get tested for heavy metals, consider talking to one of our providers to see if it is the right option for you.

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TCM Diet for Spring and a Detox Tea Recipe!

By Ko Ching Lu EAMP, LAC


chanda trilliumSpring is the season, which we see trees blossom and rebirth of many living life.

According to Chinese medicine, spring is the season associated with liver organ and belongs to the wood element.  It is a season to set new goals and to redirect life.  This is a great season to work on body detoxification and to nourish our digestion system for the upcoming summer.


What to eat:

Leafy greens


Bean sprouts

Bamboo shoots









Fruits that are in season (Strawberries, cherries, etc)



Uncooked foods

Cold foods


Detox Tea recipe:

 1-2 Dandelion root(s)

1 cup of water


Put 1-2 dandelion root(s) in 1 cup of water

Let the water come to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes

Remove the dandelion root(s)


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Put a Spring in your Health!

by Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz


Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ -Robin Williams


shutterstock_563369479           This year, this quote seems even more pertinent here in Washington.  After just breaking records for rainfall, the flowers and blossoms are bursting at every little shred of sunlight they can absorb and sprouts are crowding each other for space as they reach for the sun.  No matter the rain, Spring is one of my favorite times of year.  Everything is so fresh and so clean; it gives us all the itch for some spring cleaning, including our bodies.

Maybe some of us have partied or indulged a little too much over the Fall and Winter, or maybe it is just time to brush the dust off and start moving again, but Spring is the time to get our bodies tune-up started.  So immediately people think of a cleanse or Continue reading

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The Acupuncture Face Lift!

by Ko Ching Lu EAMP, LAc


Greetings!  My name is Ko Ching Lu, and in case you have yet to hear about me, I am your new favorite Acupuncturist and just joined up with AIM last month.  When we were discussing topics for this newsletter, I was excited to share something that you may have never considered that can have pretty amazing results.

shutterstock_175402388We all have heard of Western Botox injections, collagen injections, laser treatments and chemical peels.  However, have you ever heard of facial rejuvenation with cosmetic acupuncture? Can facial acupuncture really help to give you tighter and more youthful looking skin? Can facial acupuncture give you “face-lift” like results without going through surgery? Does cosmetic acupuncture help get rid of dark circles and puffiness under the eyes?

You may be surprised when you read that the answer to all of these questions is Yes!

Our faces are constantly exposed to harsh chemicals like makeup, air pollution, UV rays, molds and many other irritants.  All of those daily toxins can cause long term stress on our delicate faces and can lead to faster facial aging that contributes to wrinkles on the forehead, crows’ feet around the eyes, dull looking complexions or even sagging facial fascia.  We all have emotions like stress in life, work, children, and relationships that can also reflect on our skin, speeding up the skin aging process.

The facial cosmetic acupuncture doesn’t have any side effects and is a gentle and safe alternative if you don’t want to put extra toxins into your body, or you just want to try something low impact that can make a big cosmetic difference.  It also provides a longer sustained effect without the need of frequent maintenance.


How does facial acupuncture work, and what can it do for me?

Our facial cosmetic acupuncture procedure uses incredibly fine needles to target troubled facial lines around the foreheads, lines between the eyebrows, crows’ lines, and lines around the mouth.

The treatment starts with a couple qi (vital energy) moving points on the limbs to help with circulation of the body and calming the spirits during the treatment.

Next the procedure uses a technique called lift and pins. This is a technique where the facial fascia from under the chin is rolled in upward directions and passes the hairline and  3 needles is used to pin the fascia for both  sides of the face.

After that tiny needles would be used to target the specific fine lines that concern the individual patient.

Each session is an hour long.   When the session is done, essential oil like chamomile will be applied to calm the skin and light rose water or lavender will be applied to the face to help calm the redness.

Facial cosmetic acupuncture:

  • Lifts /tightens droopy saggy facial fascia
  • Improves circulation and reduce puffiness
  • Dissipate heavy eye bags and blackness under the eyes.
  • Improves facial elasticity and collagen productions
  • Improves collagen production to look younger and plumpier skin
  • Reduces and prevents fine lines/crow lines
  • Improves/speed skin cell regeneration
  • Reduces old/acne scaring and sun spots
  • Gives brighter complexion


When is a good time to start?

After the age of 35, it is strongly recommended to start the facial treatment regime. As we pass the age of 30, the skin cell generations start to decline and our collagen productions decreases as well.  The skin start looking dull, droopy, dry and fine lines start forming.  It is a good time to start the facial acupuncture to prevent skin from further aging.


Those with the following are not advised to use this treatment:

  • Chronic migraine
  • Hypertension
  • Skin cancer
  • Colds and flus
  • Diabetic
  • Pregnancy


Treatment plan:

Facial acupuncture requires a committed treatment plan.  The initial treatment consist of 12 visits.  A Patient needs to have it twice a week for 6 weeks and after that, based on patient needs.  The treatment plan can become once a week for a month or as needed.  Then, a patient can come in 1-2 times per month as needed and then the long-term plan would be once every half a year.

You should notice increased lift and tighter facial fascia and a brighter complexion as well as diminishing fine lines and eye bags.  Additionally, you will notice reduced water retention on the face and around the eyes.   Again, it is strongly recommended to follow the treatment plan in order to see the results.

If the whole protocol is followed, the facial rejuvenation can last for years without       frequent maintenance.



massage faceFacial rejuvenation acupuncture can support anti-aging by speeding up skin cell generations, reducing fine lines, and giving you a tighter and brighter face.  Along with facial acupuncture, it is also recommended to have a healthy diet by consuming more vegetables like cucumbers, celery, bell peppers and fruits like berries (high in anti-oxidants), apples (collagen, elastin and polyphenols), oranges, pomegranates and many more. Avoid too much sugar, spicy, greasy, and fried foods.

Keep your system hydrated to keep your cells happy by drinking tea with anti-oxidants like green tea.  Applying sunscreen on the face regardless of the weather can also help.  Even maintaining stable emotional control, regular exercise routines, and healthy life styles (going to bed early) are important.


If you are interested in finding out more about The Acupuncture Face Lift, reach out to Ko Ching to book a visit by calling (425) 949-5961.


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Free Radicals and Anti-Aging

By Dr. Mohammad Shegeft

As an integrative practitioner of family medicine, in addition to working with chronically ill people using IV nutritional therapy, I work with athletes to improve their performance and to speed their recovery and even to regenerate smoother and healthier skin.

In today’s society, it feels like we are always on the go and oftentimes we forget to take care of ourselves.  As a by-product of our busy lives, we fall into the pattern of poor nutrition, improper sleep, lack of sleep and lack of physical activity until before we know it we look in the mirror and see all the signs of premature aging.

shutterstock_223518646Premature aging shows up in the form of skin elasticity, weight gain, anxiety, depression, skin problems, fatigue, digestive disorders and chronic illness.  To help slow down the aging process and retain that youthful glow, it is best to eliminate as many obstacles to cure as possible and replenish your body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and anti-oxidants.  Currently one of the most plausible and acceptable explanations for the mechanistic basis of aging is the “Free Radical Theory”, which hypothesizes that aging and its related diseases are the consequences of Continue reading

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