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Top Pediatrician Prescribes Nutrition for ADD
6/18/2009
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“Nutrition Deficit Disorder” book links nutrition to attention deficit-hyperactivity; omega-3s figure among famed doctor’s prescriptions
by Craig Weatherby

William Sears, M.D. has been called “America’s Pediatrician,” thanks to his warm manner, extensive experience, and innovative, science-based recommendations.

Bill Sears is the father of eight children, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, and a close reader of the current research… that is, someone who knows whereof he speaks!

Millions have come to know him through countless appearances on more than 100 TV programs such as 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, CBS This Morning, CNN, NBC's Today Show, and NBC Dateline.

We’re proud to call Dr. Sears a friend and inspiration, and he’s always responded with thoughtful advice whenever we’ve asked questions about omega-3s and children.

He’s written many acclaimed books for parents, and his latest will be welcomed by those whose children suffer from attention or hyperactivity disorders.

Titled The NDD Book, his latest work is an exploration of how nutrition affects the brains and behavior of youngsters.

The term Nutrition Deficit Disorder was coined by Dr. Sears, and it describes the well-supported notion that, as he puts it, “if you put junk food into a child's brain, you get back junk behavior and learning.”

In this clear, concise book, Dr. Sears explores the latest findings about the effects of nutrition on the brain.

He presents case studies of his own patients who showed major improvement in learning and behavior with diet change.

Instead of simply medicating his patients, Dr. Sears looked deeper for healthier solutions. And he found that with better nutrition, many of his patients were able to greatly reduce or even stop their medication.

The book also provides parents with tips for food choices and meal planning, and recipes to make his nutritional approach easy.

NDD book recommends omega-3s, wild salmon… and Vital Choice
We weren’t overly surprised to the see the major role that omega-3 fatty acids play in his prescriptions, given their central role in brain function, and documented associations with learning and behavior.

As he writes, “Would you rather pay the fisherman now or the doctor later?”

But we were surprised and gratified to see this on page 110: “A reliable source for safe and tasty fish is www.vitalchoice.com. Our family and patients in our practice have used this site for many years and have found it to be one of the best.”

And Dr. Sears recommends our Wild Sockeye Salmon Oil on page 167, in the chapter on supplements.

He says it’s perfectly safe to start kids on salmon as early as nine months, “beginning with a fingertip of mushed salmon …”

Dr. Sears also makes a distinction between wild and farmed salmon, and recommends the former, due to its superior nutritional profile.

Concerning the benefits and risks of seafood for children, he cites the overwhelming evidence in favor of fish: “The general consensus among doctors and experts in seafood safety is, in a nutshell, ‘The health benefits of seafood far outweigh the risks.’”

We only had one minor quibble, concerning Dr. Sears’ advice on the best (“green light”) and worst (“red light”) fish species, in terms of mercury content.

He placed mackerel and albacore tuna in a “red light/avoid” category. However, the mercury content of mackerel depends entirely on the species, while the mercury content of albacore depends on its age and size.

Only one species of mackerel - called King mackerel - is relatively high in mercury, while the small, canned “chub” mackerel we sell is very low in mercury (See the EPA/FDA guidance on fish and mercury).

And smaller, young, troll-caught albacore like ours test quite low in mercury, compared even with regular “light” (usually skipjack) canned tuna (See our Mercury Chart).

We suspect that Dr. Sears feared that his readers would not remember these distinctions, and thought it safer to lump all mackerel and albacore together in the “avoid” list for kids. This is an understandable decision, given the complexity of the mercury issue to consumers!

To learn more about Dr. Sears, his wife Martha Sears, RN, his two pediatrician sons, and their prescriptions for successful parenting, visit AskDr.Sears.com.
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