Diet has a Significant impact on ADHD Symptoms in Children

Diet has a Significant impact on ADHD Symptoms in Children

Protein has been shown in studies to increase brain alertness. Carbohydrates have the opposite effect. Even worse are artificial colors and flavors. This could explain why Fruity Pebbles are so bad for your ADHD child.

Here’s another reason why kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should eat their fruits and vegetables: According to a new study, it may help reduce inattention issues. Researchers asked parents of 134 children with ADHD symptoms to complete a detailed questionnaire about the typical foods their children ate, including portion sizes, over a 90-day period as part of a larger study.

Another questionnaire asked parents to rate their children’s symptoms of inattention, which is a hallmark of ADHD, such as difficulty staying focused, not following instructions, difficulty remembering things, and difficulty regulating emotions.

According to Irene Hatsu, co-author of the study and associate professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, children who consumed more fruits and vegetables had less severe symptoms of inattention.

“Eating a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, may be one way to reduce some of the symptoms of ADHD,” Hatsu said. The study was published online recently in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

Our studies suggest that it is worthwhile to check the children’s access to food as well as the quality of their diet to see if it may be contributing to their symptom severity.

Irene Hatsu

The data for this study came from the Micronutrients for ADHD in Youth (MADDY) Study, which looked at the efficacy of a 36-ingredient vitamin and mineral supplement in treating ADHD symptoms and poor emotional control in 134 children aged 6 to 12.

The study that evaluated the supplement’s effectiveness found that children who took the micronutrients were three times more likely than those who took a placebo to show significant improvement in their ADHD and emotional dysregulation symptoms. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry last year.

Another study involving the same children, published earlier this year in the journal Nutrients, showed that kids whose families had higher levels of food insecurity were more likely than others to show more severe symptoms of emotional dysregulation, such as chronic irritability, angry moods, and outbursts of anger. The three studies all paint a similar picture, Hatsu said: A healthy diet that provides all the nutrients that children require can help reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.

Diet plays key role in ADHD symptoms in children

“What clinicians usually do when kids with ADHD start having more severe symptoms is increase the dose of their treatment medication, if they are on one, or put them on medication,” Hatsu said. “Our studies suggest that it is worthwhile to check the children’s access to food as well as the quality of their diet to see if it may be contributing to their symptom severity.”

Children in the MADDY study were recruited from three different locations: Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The research was conducted between 2018 and 2020. Participants were either not taking medication or had stopped taking it two weeks prior to the start of the study.

The studies on fruit and vegetable intake and the role of food insecurity were based on data collected when the children were first enrolled in the study, prior to beginning to take the micronutrient supplement or placebo.

Why may diet be so important in ADHD?

According to Hatsu, researchers believe that ADHD is linked to low levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, and vitamins and minerals play an important role as cofactors in helping the body make those important neurochemicals and in overall brain function.

Food insecurity may also play a role.

“When people are hungry, they become irritable, and children with ADHD are no exception. If they aren’t getting enough food, their symptoms may worsen” She stated. Furthermore, the stress of parents who are upset about not being able to provide enough food for their children can cause family tension, which can lead to increased symptoms in children with ADHD.

According to Hatsu, the MADDY study is one of the first to look at the relationship between ADHD symptoms and diet quality in children in the United States and Canada. This is significant because Western diets, unlike many others, such as the Mediterranean diet, are more likely to fall short on fruit and vegetable intake, according to her.

“We believe clinicians should assess children with ADHD’s food security status before developing or changing a treatment program,” Hatsu said. “Some symptoms may be manageable by assisting families in becoming more food secure and capable of providing a healthier diet.”