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The Role of Mitochondria in Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Published on July 22nd, 2019 by Dr. Meghan Haggarty

Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.  The mitochondria have many roles in the body, as their main function is to produce ATP, the body’s source of energy.  Mitochondria dysfunction has been identified in many chronic diseases including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, ALS, Autism, Dementia, and Multiple Sclerosis. A study by Verma in 2016 also identified mitochondrial dysfunction as an underlying pathology for ADHD.

The brain is incredibly rich in mitochondria and when mitochondria aren’t working optimally it can affect brain function. Mitochondria provide the fuel that brain cells need to work. Their function can be affected by genetics, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, infections and exposure to toxins. Blood tests for markers such as lactate and pyruvate and organic acid testing can help to evaluate mitochondrial function.

If tests identify any abnormalities a number of naturopathic therapies can help to support mitochondria function. In addition to avoiding toxins and treating any underlying infections there are a variety of supplements that I use as a naturopathic doctor. Some of the more common supplements used include alpha-lipoic acid, L-carnitine, and CoQ10. Optimizing mitochondrial function using naturopathic medicine can help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

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