ADHD: It’s the Food, Stupid

OK, three people have now sent me this link collection, so I should really mention it. :) Thanks folks!

It seems totally self-evident to me that putting crap into little developing bodies would cause problems. Like, duh. But apparently this is a point of contention. To date, there’s still some controversy over the role of diet in ADHD. Not everyone is willing to accept that nutrition could play a role.

Yet as Grist author Kristin Wartman comments:

Call me old-fashioned, but changing your child’s diet seems a lot “simpler” than altering his or her brain chemistry with a daily dose of pharmaceuticals. It does takes patience, trial and error, and commitment to complete an elimination diet — taking a pill to target symptoms certainly requires less effort on the part of the doctors, family, and child. No one is denying that ADHD is a complicated web of symptoms with potentially many contributing factors. But why not start by examining the most basic and fundamental cornerstone of our health — the foods (and non-foods) we put into our bodies?

A recent piece in The Lancet confirms that ADHD can be strongly affected by nutrition. As Wartman describes,

[Researchers] found that with a restricted diet alone, many children experienced a significant reduction in symptoms. The study’s lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Center in the Netherlands, said in an interview with NPR, “The teachers thought it was so strange that the diet would change the behavior of the child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, the teachers said.”

And for you adults out there who may be struggling with similar symptoms, consider how your nutrition may be relevant.

Food can change our bodies powerfully. We have the power to treat — or at least manage — many of the health conditions that plague us. Major improvements can come from changes as simple as a grocery trip!