Laura's Corner

New Research: Diet & ADHD

by in Health Tips June 29, 2022

It has long been known that people with ADHD are deficient in a number of nutrients. So, it is surprising that there has been so little research on diet and ADHD. Well, all of that just changed very fast.

In the past few months, three studies have come out on diet and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and they all arrived at the same conclusion. Eat more fruits and vegetables!

The first looked at the DASH diet, which is high in fruits and vegetables. Eighty kids between 6 and 12 years of age were put on the DASH diet or a control diet for 12 weeks. Even in that short time, the kids on the DASH diet had significant improvement compared to the control group (Eur J Nutr. 2021 Oct;60(7):3647-3658).

The second looked at the Mediterranean diet, which also stresses fruits and vegetables. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, beans and olive oil. It is low in meat, eggs, dairy, sugar and saturated fat and moderate in fish. This study looked at 360 kids between 7 and 13 years old. It found that the kids who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 51% less likely to develop ADHD than the kids who least closely followed it (Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2022 02 ;47:346-350).

The third was just published. It looked at the diets of 134 kids with ADHD and asked their parents to rate their symptoms of inattention. Like the first two studies, it found that eating more fruit and vegetables was associated with significantly less inattention (Nutritional Neuroscience May 2022;doi:10.1080/1028415X.2022.2071805).

The data for the third study was part of a study that also found that children with ADHD were 3 times more likely to have significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms when they took a supplement that included 36 vitamins and minerals: 54% of the supplement group responded versus 18% of the placebo group (J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2022 May;61(5):647-661).

This explosion of news on how to safely improve symptoms of ADHD is great news for the 8-10% of kids in the US and the 5% of kids in Canada with ADHD.