Q. Dear Terry, “My son is eight years old and really struggled with focus last school year. With a new school year starting soon, what are some things I can give him to help with focusing?” – Lacey B., Alberta, Canada
A. Dear Lacey, I think diet is incredibly important when it comes to focus and attention. I would start by removing dairy products (with the exception of cream, butter, and eggs), sugar, soft drinks, and all grains from your son’s diet. While I understand this takes a huge effort, it can make a real difference. Some additional diet resources include: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com, www.drperlmutter.com, and www.dietdoctor.com. You should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
I believe omega-3s are necessary for proper brain function. Omega-3s have been shown to help increase focus and attention. I prefer to get my omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids and bioactive peptides, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients. This is the way you’d get your omega-3s by eating fish – which means a big difference in stability and ability to transport omega-3s to where they are needed most. I would have your son take an omega-3 phospholipid peptide complex twice per day, either 214 mg of a capsule or 292 mg as a tablet.
There is also a combination of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids that are essential to promoting focus, calm, and emotional balance. These nutrients help support the function of neurotransmitters, which are messengers in the brain. For example, the herb rhodiola has long been used for its ability to increase focus, concentration, and memory, especially during stressful times. I would take 5 mg of vitamin B6, 100 mg of DHA, 50 mg of DMAE bitartrate, 30 mg of phosphatidylserine, 25 mg of rhodiola (standardized to rosavins and salidroside), 25 mg of tannin-free, French grape seed extract, 25 mg of L-tyrosine, 15 mg of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and 15 mg of L-taurine. Each of these ingredients influences focus and concentration from a different perspective, which is why I like to recommend them in combination. I would have your son take these ingredients two to three times per day.
Terry . . . Naturally