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what can help ADD and low dopamine symptoms?

by 1163 · December 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM

I am dealing with pretty debilitating ADD symptoms. I am basically illiterate because I cannot focus long enough to read things I need to read, and holding conversations is difficult too. Unless I am intensely interested in a topic, I tune out constantly. I am also very introverted, which is theorized to be related to low dopamine, and I am very depressed and anxious. I have been pursuing VLC Paleo for about a month but I eat dairy fat products (butter, cream), nightshades, and eggs. I cut out other dairy about a week ago. To my knowledge I have no food sensitivities.

However, I have a very long history of disordered and binge eating. I am wondering if binge episodes mess with my dopamine levels. I still binge on Paleo. Should I make an extra-strong effort to stop bingeing episodes at all costs? Most of the pleasure in my life is from eating, which is sad. Do I need to resensitize my dopamine receptors?

Would supplementing with L-Tyrosine help? I am taking magnesium glycinate, milk thistle for liver, betaine HCL, and sometimes L-carnitine. I am pursuing a ketogenic diet as well as meditation and mindfulness.

help? I think I am going to fail school because it takes me 3 hours to read a homework assignment, and I don't remember what I read anyway.

edited to add: I haven't slept through the night yet this year, and I have early morning wakenings every day. I cannot sleep past 7AM

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13 Replies

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20 · September 13, 2012 at 04:55 PM

I'm ADHD and Asperger's, and have realized that my trigger is a huge caffeine problem. This past week I've started to cut back my caffeine to one or two drinks a day, and have noticed a HUGE difference in my ability to get started and stay focused on tasks. I've realized that 2 or 3 drinks within a couple hours puts me into scrambled brain state.

A few other things that have helped me:

  • drinking lots of water. I now keep water bottles around at all times
  • working out in the morning. I do pushups every other day, following the 100 Pushup Plan
  • using internet blocker software, to block websites I use as quick dopamine fixes
  • deep breathing exercises

Hope this helps!

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10 · December 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM

I grew up with ADD, inattentive type. I'm also a celiac, but didn't know until I was in my 20s. All kinds of awful, but I'm now a decent teacher and a responsible and happy husband and father. I sorted myself by going cyclic ketogenic paleo, getting some Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture support to start, learning to meditate (and doing it daily) and doing vigorous exercise (short, power-based stuff, HIT/HIIT), lots of walking daily and sleeping as much as I can. If any of those pieces come loose, the ADD effects come back. I'd never manage to monitor it on my own, so having my wife and friends/coworkers helping with the monitoring is essential.
I think the key starter was healing my gut. GAPS does seem to do wonders that way, but it's probably a good idea to find some kind of functional medicine, Chinese medicine or naturopath doctor to help out. At least for starters.
Getting the dopamine hits from the exercise and supporting them with sleep and lots of the nutritionally dense bits of animals seems to be pretty essential, because otherwise you go looking for them from coffee, which will destroy your stomach, energy drinks, which will destroy your adrenals, or other things not so good for you. Post WO, when I'm not keto, is big paleo carb fun. Only keto for a couple of weeks every 4 months or so. Benefits seem to peter out otherwise. I can now finish books, not get lost in conversations, manage a classroom (difficult for anyone, as any teacher will admit) and pay bills on time etc. I'm no Richard Branson, but I think I've got the ADD sorted. I do, however, blame gluten for it. Just too many connections and coincidences for it to be cleared of all blame. Vile stuff. Even if it does make tasty pastry.

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7559 · September 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM

Geneen Roth's work helped me a lot with stress eating which I think is the REAL question you are asking maybe...please forgive me if its not--how to stop your binge eating so you feel in control and control ADHD and mood swings/nervous energy.

I read one book and listened to some podcasts. I liked it and I definitely have improved my stress/binge eating.

Keep searching and trying. Good luck.

Her Books

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288 · September 13, 2012 at 05:15 PM

Dual-n-Back or other brain training activities(Harry Kahne Multiple Mentality, Cognitivefun, Mnemonics)

Meditation

Biofeedback(e.g. emWave2)

HEG and Brainwave Neurofeedback

Experimental--Cold Thermogenesis(pour ice water on your head--especially the frontal lobe area)

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800 · September 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM

I am on a ketogenic diets with grass fed meats and eggs and my focus improved. I have ADHD/Auditory Processing Disorder I also got rid of all gluten (even hidden sources, cream, shampoo, even handing pet food and breathing in the dust, condiments, etc...). They found that people with gluten sensitivity can exhibit symptoms similar to ADD/ADHD. Not necessarily celiac, they even argue that everyone is gluten sensitive, and that there are just varying degrees of sensitivity, even though you are not celiac.

Take in more Omega-3. Other stuff might be worthy looking into, vinpocetine , Acetyl-L-Carnitine

click here to Listen to this mp3

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15380 · September 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM

You cannot be basically illiterate because what you wrote makes perfect sense and your paragraphs are coherent.

Actually, there are multiple factors that contributed to ADD in my former students. Some of them were 1. diet 2. exposure to TV vs reading in their early years 3. birth trauma/premature birth 4. infections/antibiotics use.

I am sure others will recommend something for you, let me just ask you this: have you tried GAPS? Because I would start with very very strict GAPS.

If that would not help, I would go for Terry Wahls diet (in terms of meeting your nutritional deficiencies).

If that would not help, I would supplement with Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil and butter oil. I would try just about anything to see if it can be helped.

If you know a very good naturopath that might help too.

I would also find some very goood (alive) yet not very strong probiotic.

Good luck! I wish I had the answer for you.


EDITED - I had not idea you are not strict with gluten. YOU CANNOT HAVE GLUTEN IN ANY SHAPE OR FORM, PERIOD. Also stay away from additives/preservatives, MSG, all of it.

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897 · December 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM

The big change for me came when I began eating 'good' fats, and lots of them. Specifically cod liver oil, eggs, grassfed butter and coconut oil. My foggy brain tornado slows down to a light breeze when I load up on fats. When I dont have enough fat, I feel myself becoming erratic and fidgety. Bullet proof coffee allows me to focus and think analytically, especially at work. Something I could never do in school unfortunately.

Fats have also changed my pallet and I have noticed I crave vegetables more than ever, specifically red or orange veggies. I'm thinking it has some to do with vitimin A.

I believe it is a chain effect.....Eating better led to better brain and gut health, which led to a happier person.

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319 · December 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Your description sounds more like depression than ADD.

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383 · September 21, 2012 at 01:11 PM

Might be worth trying ginkgo giloba, i heard it is amazing for concentration and focus, good luck!!

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14507 · September 14, 2012 at 12:59 AM

Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine, and there is a negative feedback loop, so I do not recommend trying high doses of it (I think up to 5-7g is the maximum, but I may be mistaken and will dig through some old emails for you to double check. Personally, I took just 2g per day, which is the equivalent to 4 capsules).

Macuna Puriens contain a minimum of 15% l-dopa, and is safe at very high dosages. I recommend starting with around 4g per day and you will notice some effect for sure. If you need to go higher, know that you can and that it is safe.

I wish Crowlover still used her account, b/c she knows a lot about this and could really be helpful to you. I can dig through some emails at a later point to see if I can find about more info on the max dosage of tyrosine. I would just be conservative with it, and a little more liberal with the macuna puriens. Assess you tolerance and go from there. Do some research online to, I'm sure there are forums specifically related to the issue.

Personally, I have experience with both. I used to take pre-workotu supplements that contained tyrosine and l-dopa before big mid-terms/exams, but then I got a prescription for Provigil, which was helpful. Now I don't take provigil, and just do the aforementioned supplements in pure form when I need them (also sometimes before workouts). Macuna Puriens can also be helpful if you have any addiction(s) you are trying to stop. Cocaine is one example and I am not sure but I can only guess that eating disorders are another.

Both supplements are cheap and can be found online or at Whole Foods or supplement stores. Best of luck.

Oh, and as far as the diet goes, try to eat high protein (between 0.7-1.5g/lb of lean body mass) and include moderate amounts of healthy fats and as much salad as you wish. Carbs should be controlled. They don't have to be zero, especially if you're an athlete, but I would keep them low and congruent with your activity level. As a percentage of calories, I personally keep protein the highest, and then manipulate fat and carbs depending. Protein has tyrosine, l-carnitine, choline, and if it is seafood EPA/DHA. Each of these nutrients are vital to proper brain development, function, and maintenance, so keep that in mind.

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77342 · September 13, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I've been struggling with this too and I really should get back into walking meditation but instead I've been walking with the Robb Wolf podcast episode after episode. Hyper-focus can get a bit wacky.

What has been helping is Intermittent fasting and cold baths. Gettingstronger.org has soom goo information to start and then just googling hyprotherapy and IF.

Anything that sensitizes your dopamine system should be worthwhile.

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383 · September 13, 2012 at 05:09 PM

Just wondering when does the brain stop developing?? I was told by a psychologist that its 21 and that's why the legal age for alcohol in the US is 21?? If this is true, is it then too late to change ADHD/ADD/ASD if over the age of 21?? Is it possible to reverse ADD/ADHD/ASD (autistic spectrum disorer) in a 5 year old child that was born premature? Thanxs

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383 · September 13, 2012 at 04:58 PM

Hi i see u are taking the Green Pastures cod liver oil, just wondering are u taking this with the butter oil? reason i ask is it is suppose to have a much more powerful effect on the brain if taken together. Hope this helps.

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