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ADHD in Children Health Center

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ADHD Caused by Infant Formulas?

Manganese Found in Soy-Based Products Causes Symptoms in Rats


"Certainly, excess amounts of any sort of metal or element could be associated with ADHD symptoms. While the best evidence indicates that ADHD is related to genes, there is plenty of evidence that it can be acquired environmentally -- diet, food additives; even too much television and video games can produce a consistent symptom profile," he tells WebMD.

There is no official Recommended Daily Allowance for manganese, but the suggested daily "adequate intake" is 0.3 mg for infants aged 0-6 months, and 0.6 mg for those aged 7-12 months. A single 5-ounce serving of Isomil, the most popular soy-based formula, contains 0.025 mg. Most babies consume four to 10 servings per day, which falls well within the suggested intake.

"Manganese is a nutrient essential for human growth and skeletal development. It is widely distributed in nature and required by law to be present in infant formulas," Mary Beth Arensberg, a spokeswoman Ross Products, the manufacturer of Isomil, tells WebMD. "The higher levels of manganese in cow- and soy-based formulas reflect higher levels in the protein sources used to make these formulas. However, these are within the recommended ranges for infant nutrition. Infant formulas, and soy formulas in particular, have a long history of safe use and there are no reports of either manganese deficiency or toxicity unless there is some type of severe medical condition with the child."

Both Crinella and Hallowell maintain that breast milk is the best choice for infants and should be used, whenever possible, over commercial formulas -- an opinion shared by most physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, the Academy says that soy-based formulas, which are lactose-free, are appropriate for infants with lactose intolerance.

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