The Health Sciences Institute is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

How to dismantle an '89 Ford

adhd_vidLast month I wrote to you concerning some shocking developments concerning Ritalin, the drug most commonly prescribed for ADHD (“A Patchwork Orange” 5/16/02). Because I received so many responses from concerned parents and grandparents asking for more information about the natural alternatives to Ritalin, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to call in an expert opinion. So I asked HSI Panelist Dr. Allan Spreen, M.D., to give us some information on ways to treat hyperactive children without medication. In his book “Nutritionally Incorrect,” Dr. Spreen devotes an entire chapter to children’s behavioral concerns, and as you’ll see, he has some strong opinions on the subject of kids who just act like normal kids.
ADHDWhat to do?

Ah, Ritalin – the universal answer to hyperactivity (or rather Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder- ADHD- you haven’t arrived unless your medical concern is described by capital letters). I remember when an upset attorney came into my office and wanted me to help her with a campaign to make it illegal to use Ritalin or similar drugs in children. I mean, after all, Ritalin is an amphetamineit’s SPEED, for God’s sake!

As much as I sympathized with her crusade I had to decline. I’ve had truly hyperactive kids in my office, and oh, man, I can’t believe more parents haven’t been guilty of child abuse with these kids (personally I’d consider killing ’emyou have no idea if you haven’t experienced a real one). These demons can systematically dismantle an office (home, classroom, ’89 Ford, whatever) in mere minutes, and destroy any remnant of patience you might have even faster. Putting them on Ritalin by parents who don’t know of options can do amazing things: save a marriage, promote improved concentration, make life livable again, keep me out of jail for murder.

But there are two really big rubs here. The biggest is that of options. Don’t think for a second that there aren’t any, including completely non-toxic ones (Ritalin is anything but non-toxic, and its long-term effects can be devastating – again, it’s an amphetamine) . The other rub is defining a hyperactive kid. Now, almost everyone’s hyperactive (or at least schools and conventional docs are telling us so), and a huge proportion of kids are on drugs (medication rather) because of it.

That wouldn’t be because schools get more money from their respective states by having increased numbers of ‘hyperactive’ students now, would it? Or maybe it’s just easier to ‘medicate’ any active troublemaker for more peace in the classroom.

Whatever the reason, ultimately medication is not the answer. First of all, even truly hyperactive kids are not suffering from a Ritalin deficiency- something else is going on. But more important for their future is that kids that respond to amphetamines at a young age tend to respond to other drugs later.

Parents: Options do exist

It’s amazing how many hyperactive children are chemically sensitive. If it’s not all of them, it’s a really high percentage, in my opinion (and I’ve treated more than a few). The trick is finding out what the sensitivity is, and that can take patience and a fair amount of Sherlock Holmes-type digging. There are, however, places to start, and most of them are right at home and cost zero to evaluate.

Food allergies are chemical sensitivities, and they must be ruled out first. This starts by cutting out the historic offenders – milk (or other dairy), wheat, corn, soy, peanut, and adding to the list anything (ANYTHING) that the child craves (or just insists on eating everyday). Carpet fumes, molds or fungi, insecticides, lawn treatments, fabric softeners/detergents, and a bunch of other evildoers may need to be examined, but foods are first. Bear in mind also that sugar is a chemical. It’s purified and concentrated to a point w-a-a-a-y beyond what our bodies were genetically designed to comfortably handle, and blood sugar swings resulting from its use can absolutely have an impact on behavior. Obviously, this must be eliminated, too.

Now, no one’s saying this is going to be easy but cut these items out, completely, for seven days. If a thimble-full gets into the kid’s mouth the seven day period starts over (bad news: in the case of dairy it’s 21 days). If the kid gets worse after 2-3 days then you’re on the right track (read that again). Yep, withdrawal can happen, from anything, and it’s irritating to the victim (and it may help to realize the kid is really a victim). Once you discover that your kid is hyper because he’s been constantly tortured by some irritant that wasn’t of his own choosing, and not because he’s a just a rotten kid, the game gets easier (not easyjust easier).

While testing the foods, go through the pantry and dump anything with artificial colors, flavors or additives. If we just emptied your kitchen you’re probably on the right track. This is no joke, and must be taken very seriously if you want a normal household without prescription medications all over the place. Get more information on such possibilities by acquiring any of the books written by the masters of handling hyperactivity (yep, they exist): Doris Rapp, MD, Ben Feingold, MD, Billy Crook, MD, and Lendon Smith, MD. Parents, you must get educated if you’re going to beat this without drugs, and I’m here to tell you it can be done. The preceding list is a group of experts, so seek out their books and get cracking (better you than your kid!).

Improvement can be absolutely amazing, and then maddening to discover that so much control was available from within the refrigerator. Keep your eyes open. Unfortunately, ‘the eye’ for picking up on these changes is usually the momdad seems to often be a bit slower here. You’ll know you’re on the right track when mom comes home and immediately shocks dad by possessing the prescient knowledge that dad allowed the child a banned food. It’s the ‘but honey how’d you know?-I only gave him one!’ syndrome. Once dad recognizes that a kid peeling ceiling tiles with his teeth is abnormal behavior, things tend to improve rather quickly.

Supplements follow up diet changes

Besides tracking down offending foods, odors, and other chemicals, there are supplements that can make a great difference (but locating the allergies must not be ignored). Vitamin C, in high doses, is a great detoxifier, as is alpha lipoic acid. I use both, but only in conjunction with a good basic multi-vitamin/mineral regimen. (The basics have been put down in my beginner’s guide, Nutritionally Incorrect: Why the Modern Diet is Dangerous & How to Defend Yourself, so there’s my self-serving promo.)

Most ADHD kids have deficient diets, and essential fatty acids (important for proper nerve formation and conduction) are often undersupplied. Fish oil supplements, along with extra vitamin E to assist in its metabolism, can be very helpful.

Sometimes, magnesium (in doses not high enough to loosen stools) can be a big calmer in the mineral department, and certain amino acid-type supplements like GABA and L-tryptophan can be amazingly effective. However, get educated by starting at the beginning and don’t quit until you have the answer.

We’ve just scratched the surface, and there’s a lot more out there that you may not have (will not have) heard from your conventional doc or school nurse. Whatever you do, do not give up, and NEVER ASSUME THAT DRUGS ARE THE ONLY ANSWER.

Get a free copy of 5 Household Items that Cause Cancer

By texting HSI to 844-539-1128, you are providing your electronic signature expressly consenting to be called and texted (including by prerecorded messages, using an autodialer, and/or automated means) with alerts, stories, reports, and marketing communications from Institute of Health Sciences, LLC. and its authorized representatives at the phone number you provide, including landlines and wireless numbers, even if the phone number is on a corporate, state or national Do Not Call list. You also consent and unconditionally agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, including the arbitration provision and class action waiver contained therein. Msg&data rates may apply. 15 Msgs/Month. You are not required to agree to this as a condition of making a purchase.

Terms & Conditions

The following Terms and Conditions apply to your use of the website located at (the “website”) and any text messages that you send to or receive from the Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C. These Terms and Conditions constitute a binding agreement (“Agreement”) between you (“you”) Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C (“we”, “us”, etc.)  Please read these terms carefully. 

By providing your telephone number to us, texting us a short code listed on the website, or otherwise indicate your agreement to these Terms and Conditions, you are agreeing to the mandatory arbitration provision and class action waiver below. 


Text Messaging and Telemarketing Terms and Conditions

When you provide your telephone number on this website or send a text message to us with or from a short-code, you agree to receive alerts and communications, and marketing messages including those sent via automated telephone dialing system, text messages, SMS, MMS, and picture messages from Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C at the phone number you provide on this website or the phone number from which you text the short code, including on landlines and wireless numbers, even if the phone number is on a corporate, state or national Do Not Call list. You also agree to the mandatory arbitration provision and class action waiver below. Your consent is not required to purchase goods or services. Message & data rates may apply.

You may opt-out at any time by texting the word STOP to the telephone number from which you receive the text messages.  Call 1-888-213-0764 to learn more.  By providing your telephone number, you agree to notify us of any changes to your telephone number and update your account us to reflect this change. Your carrier may charge you for text messages and telephone calls that you receive, or may prohibit or restrict certain mobile features, and certain mobile features may be incompatible with your carrier or mobile device. Contact your carrier with questions regarding these issues.

Dispute Resolution by Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver

Any dispute relating in any way to telephone calls, emails, or text messages that you receive from or on behalf of Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C this website, or this Agreement (collectively “Disputes”) shall be submitted to confidential arbitration and shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the State of Maryland, excluding its conflict of law provisions.  For the avoidance of doubt, all claims arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and state telemarketing laws shall be considered “Disputes” that are subject to resolution by binding individual, confidential arbitration.

If a Dispute arises under this Agreement, you agree to first contact us at 1-888-213-0764 or Before formally submitting a Dispute to arbitration, you and we may choose to informally resolve the Dispute.  If any Dispute cannot be resolved informally, you agree that any and all Disputes, including the validity of this arbitration clause and class action waiver, shall be submitted to final and binding arbitration before a single arbitrator of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) in a location convenient to you or telephonically. Either you or we may commence the arbitration process by submitting a written demand for arbitration with the AAA, and providing a copy to the other party.  The arbitration will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the AAA’s Commercial Dispute Resolutions Procedures, Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes, in effect at the time of submission of the demand for arbitration.  Except as may be required by law as determined by the arbitrator, no party or arbitrator may disclose the existence, content or results of any arbitration hereunder without the prior written consent of both parties. Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C will pay all of the filing costs.  Without limiting the foregoing, YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE TO SUBMIT TO ARBITRATION ALL DISPUTES RELATING TO ANY TEXT MESSAGES OR TELEPHONE CALLS YOU RECEIVE FROM OR ON BEHALF OF US OR ANY ENTITY WITH WHOM WE MAY SHARE YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER.  Further, we both agree that all entities with whom we share your telephone numbers shall be third party beneficiaries of this Agreement to Arbitrate Disputes, and that those entities have the same rights as Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C to enforce this arbitration provision.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following shall not be subject to arbitration and may be adjudicated only in the state and federal courts of Maryland: (i) any dispute, controversy, or claim relating to or contesting the validity of our or one of our family company’s intellectual property rights and proprietary rights, including without limitation, patents, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, or trade secrets; (ii) an action by us for temporary or preliminary injunctive relief, whether prohibitive or mandatory, or other provisional relief; (iii) any legal action by us against a non-consumer; or (iv) interactions with governmental and regulatory authorities.  You expressly agree to refrain from bringing or joining any claims in any representative or class-wide capacity, including but not limited to bringing or joining any claims in any class action or any class-wide arbitration.

The arbitrator’s award shall be binding and may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, no arbitration under this Agreement may be joined to an arbitration involving any other party subject to this Agreement, whether through a class action, private attorney general proceeding, class arbitration proceedings or otherwise.

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WOULD HAVE HAD A RIGHT TO LITIGATE IN A COURT, TO HAVE A JUDGE OR JURY DECIDE YOUR CASE AND TO BE PARTY TO A CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION.  HOWEVER, YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO HAVE ANY CLAIMS DECIDED INDIVIDUALLY AND ONLY THROUGH ARBITRATION.  You shall have thirty (30) days from the earliest of the date that you visit the website, the date you submit information to us through the website, or the date that you send a text message to us, to opt out of this arbitration agreement, by contacting us by email at or by mail Health Sciences Institute, PO Box 913, Frederick, MD 21705-0913. If you do not opt out by the earliest of the date that you visit the website, the date you submit information to us through the website, or the date that you send a text message to us, then you are not eligible to opt out of this arbitration agreement.

Electronic Signatures

All information communicated on the website is considered an electronic communication.  When you communicate with us through or on the website, by text message or telephone, or via other forms of electronic media, such as e-mail, you are communicating with us electronically.  You agree that we may communicate electronically with you and that such communications, as well as notices, disclosures, agreements, and other communications that we provide to you electronically, are equivalent to communications in writing and shall have the same force and effect as if they were in writing and signed by the party sending the communication.

You further acknowledge and agree that by clicking on a button labeled “ORDER NOW”, “SUBMIT”, “I ACCEPT”, “I AGREE”, “YES”, by texting a short code to us in response to a request on this website, or by clicking or similar links or buttons, you are submitting a legally binding electronic signature and are entering into a legally binding contract.  You acknowledge that your electronic submissions constitute your agreement and intent to be bound by this Agreement.  Pursuant to any applicable statutes, regulations, rules, ordinances or other laws, including without limitation the United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, P.L. 106-229 (the “E-Sign Act”) or other similar statutes, YOU HEREBY AGREE TO THE USE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES, CONTRACTS, ORDERS AND OTHER RECORDS AND TO ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF NOTICES, POLICIES AND RECORDS OF TRANSACTIONS INITIATED OR COMPLETED THROUGH THE WEBSITE.  Furthermore, you hereby waive any rights or requirements under any statutes, regulations, rules, ordinances or other laws in any jurisdiction which require an original signature, delivery or retention of non-electronic records, or to payments or the granting of credits by other than electronic means You may receive a physical paper copy of this contract by contacting us at

Privacy Policy

Please read our Privacy Policy, which is incorporated herein by reference.  In the event of any conflict between these Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy, these Terms shall control.

Contact Us

You may contact us by telephone at 1-888-213-0764 or by email at