|Vol. 4, No. 1, 1998 Page 2|
Kenneth Blum and fellow researchers have reported that supplementing the diets of recovering alcoholics and addicts with amino acids and other nutrients can dramatically reduce their relapse rates (See related article, Crime Times, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 1, Page 1). A new study, this time of healthy subjects, suggests that such nutrients aid addicts by improving their attention.
Study author Jon DeFrance and colleagues (including Blum) gave 18 healthy, non-substance-abusing males a supplement called KantrollTM which contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Noting that "alterations in attention or concentration both precede and accompany sustained substance abuse," the researchers tested subjects to see if the supplement improved measures of attention.
DeFrance et al. report that after four weeks of supplementation, subjects showed significant amplitude enhancement of a brainwave pattern associated with selective and sustained attention. In addition, they say, subjects showed improved cognitive processing speeds.
The researchers note that the manufacture of brain chemicals involved in attention is dependent on nutrients in the diet. They say, "It is noteworthy that the ingredients for relevant neurotransmitters (including vitamins and minerals) have [not only] been found deficient in active alcohol and drug abusers but often remain in deficit well into recovery."
Noting that this was a non-controlled study, DeFrance and colleagues say that a placebo-controlled study of the effects of nutritional supplements on both abusers and non-abusers is underway.
"Enhancement of attention processing by Kantroll(TM) in healthy humans: a pilot study," Jon DeFrance, Chris Hymel, Michael Trachtenberg, Lawrence Ginsberg, Forrest Schweitzer, Steven Estes, Thomas Chen, Eric Braverman, John Cull, and Kenneth Blum, Clinical Electroencephalography, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1997, p. 68-75. Address: Kenneth Blum, Department of Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Texas-Houston at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78284.