MindCheck Blog

Do you suspect your son or daughter has ADD/ADHD/hyperactivity? … If so, you should consider our Empirical Nutrition Approach.  If you live in Ontario, Toronto, GTA, Niagara, Hamilton, Burlington, or Western New York you are in our catchment area.

An Empirical Approach to treating ADD and ADHD


Our orthomolecular nutritional approach is an empirical method.  It is a method that gains knowledge or a working hypothesis by observing symptoms (severity, frequency, quality) or interpreting lab findings.  At the beginning stages of treatment we can rely on minimal lab testing and if needed, introduce lab for specific purposes to refine treatment.  I have broken this down into three steps.

Step One: The Healthy Lifestyle Approach

This is a basic approach that relies on changes to diet and other lifestyle factors.  Here nutritional counseling on our protein diet, or for those that are proactive, our gluten- or dairy- free approach, is often a good start.  Other lifestyle factors addressed here include social media habits, sleep hygiene, hydrotherapy support, etcetera.  Some focus is also placed on determining a narrative of the experiences of your life which is the basis of Naturopathic Lifestyle Counselling.

Step Two: A more advanced approach that looks at symptom specific nutrient correlations

Here we develop a working hypothesis/rationale of the nutritional factors that may be at play with the use of minimal lab testing as needed.  Lab testing can be increased if needed on subsequent visits.  You test the working hypothesis by doing supplement and dietary trials between follow-up visits.  This minimal lab protocol works well for cases that are less severe.

Step Three: The advanced lab-based approach that assesses a broad yet focal spectrum of factors

Establishing a baseline on specific blood/urine/hair indicators can help determine the core of the problem.  Although this is not always necessary, sometimes it is.  To get an idea on the nutritional syndromes at play in ADD and ADHD please read my five part kid’s mental health series and my behavior disorder review which document an array of factors for consideration.  This empirical method develops a working hypothesis based on symptoms and lab findings.  For your reference, Case #5 of our clinic treatment response article describes in detail, the treatment of an adult case of ADHD and dyslexia.

Common Questions on ADD and ADHD


Why vitamins?

Vitamins can address areas of metabolism intimately associated with ADD and ADHD behavior. You may not be getting enough nutrients from food to correct a metabolic imbalance that is ingrained.  There are about 15 top nutrient imbalance that should be looked at.

How many vitamins are necessary?

There is a balance between getting enough nutrients from food to correct a problem versus getting them from supplemental sources. Nutrient deficiency risk factors may not be addressed by diet alone.   If you opt to try this approach vitamin compliance is important.  The cost-benefit is the potential for improved quality of life.

Do you need to consider drugs or an alternative approach?

Our protocols can be done safely alongside medication.  Many who see an Orthomolecular Naturopath have already considered the drug approach and opted to try an alternate approach that addresses their individual needs while avoiding medication side effects.


MindCheck provides in-depth information on Orthomolecular and Naturopathic approaches to achieving general and mental health.  This series by Dr. Ray Pataracchia ND is endorsed by the Mindful Network – ‘A Better Future for Children’s Mental Health’.

Disclaimer: Information provided is not to be used for self-assessment, diagnosis or treatment.  We advise the public to discuss these topics with their health care provider or book an appointment with our Toronto clinic.