Friday, February 04, 2011

Study supports restricted diet for kids with ADHD

Courtesy of Reuters

Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be fed a special diet to help their carers determine whether certain foods are making their condition worse. In a study of 100 children with ADHD -- one of the world's most common child mental disorders -- scientists from Radboud University and the ADHD Research Center in the Netherlands found that a restricted diet led to significant improvements in the symptoms of some ADHD sufferers. "Dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD, provided parents are willing to follow a diagnostic restricted elimination diet for a five-week period, and provided expert supervision is available," the scientists said in their study in The Lancet medical journal.ADHD is estimated to affect around 3 to 5 percent of children worldwide.

Previous studies have suggested that in some children, ADHD might be an allergic or hypersensitivity disorder that could be triggered by any type of food that can cause allergic reactions. In this study, children aged four to eight years diagnosed with ADHD were divided into two groups and given either an elimination diet or a general healthy diet for five weeks. Jan Buitelaar of Radboud University, who led the study, said that the elimination diet was restricted to rice, water, white meat such as turkey, and some fruits and vegetables that are generally considered as unlikely to cause allergies. Foods such as wheat, tomatoes, oranges, eggs and dairy products were kept out of the diet as they are often linked with allergies or food intolerances.

After five weeks, children who reacted well to the restricted diet went into a second phase in which different groups of foods were gradually added to their diet and their symptoms monitored to see if they worsened. The foods were different for each child, based on blood results.In the first phase, 64 percent of children in the diet group had significant improvements in their ADHD symptoms, Buitelaar said, and showed a decrease in "oppositional defiant disorder symptoms" such as challenging behavior.

Bonnie - it is nice to see a group of scientists had the courage to perform this study. Those of us who have working with ADHD children and their parents have known for years how efficacious removing food triggers can be. This is a diet proven to work by Dr. Feingold and other US researchers from over thirty years ago. When all of the ADHD drugs came out, this diet and its proponents were ridiculed.

No comments: