Research has found that many children and young adults with ADHD/ADD are deficient in zinc. Zinc is found in the brain's hippocampus and interacts with other chemicals to send messages to the sensory brain center, enhancing memory and thinking skills. It has a significant effect on visual memory, learning, emotional and behavioral state and overall cognitive function. A deficiency may result in learning impairments, poor memory and emotional and behavioral problems.
A study carried out on 135 males aged between 3 and 20 with a history of aggressive behavior found that many of the subjects were likely to have high levels of copper and low levels of zinc compared with non-aggressive people. Zinc and copper compete for absorption. Because of this inverse relationship, zinc supplements can be effective for lowering copper levels. Proper mineral balance is essential for the production of chemical signals in the brain that influence behavior. Both copper and zinc tend to be concentrated in the hippocampus of the brain, which is the area known to be associated with stress response.
Since it usually takes two to three months to overcome a copper-zinc imbalance, treatment with zinc supplements should be continued for a minimum of four months before determining effectiveness. Zinc deficiency can result from exposure to heavy metal toxins, such as cadmium (usually from exposure to cigarette smoke) and lead, which prevent its absorption. Poor dietary habits such as excessive consumption of sugar or carbohydrates are also known to reduce zinc absorption.
Dr. Julie Howard is CEO of The Howard Clark Corporation and founder/director of Youth Essential Solutions, Head Out Rehabilitation Camp, and Texas Preparatory Academy. For more information visit, http://docjhoward.com/.