Pediatrics: Food isn’t medicine enough for AD/HD

Sugar, by the way, was ruled out as a cause of hyperactivity years ago.

If you google “Food is medicine”, you’ll get 242,000 hits. Parents of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have long sought a menu-based answer to their kids’ trouble with distractability.   A new study published this month in Pediatrics runs a meta-analysis of multiple studies from recent years on the topic. Authors J. Gordon Millichap, MD, and Michelle M. Yee, CPNP, found changes in children’s meal plans may be helpful – in cases where medication has already failed.

A greater attention to the education of parents and children in a healthy dietary pattern, omitting items shown to predispose to ADHD, is perhaps the most promising and practical complementary or alternative treatment of ADHD.

I’ll bet the researchers wish APA style would let them underline the words “complementary or alternative”. They agree that Omega-3’s are worth further research and that iron and zinc supplements may enhance medication’s effects. Hyperactivity due to food-dye sensitivity isn’t AD/HD, by definition. Unfortunately for parents who are suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry or reluctant to medicate their kids, it doesn’t look as though diet changes will be a magic bullet for hyperactivity or inattention.

@ 2012 Jonathan Miller All Rights Reserved

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1 Comment

Filed under AD/HD

One response to “Pediatrics: Food isn’t medicine enough for AD/HD

  1. jkvegh

    I had a college friend who took her child to a Canadian specialist, where they were citizens still, and learned her son had allergies to certain foods and other items. This helped with his behaviors and she swore by it. I have also read studies from Europe where they are not so keen to put their kids on meds and have found other resources for dealing with their children. After having worked in foster care for 8 years and seeing children used as guinea pigs for drugs, I do not feel drugs are the right first choice. I think one should always research alternative treatments first and research the symptoms, rule out other possible situations before being stuck in a theory. Too many children are automatically lumped into the AD/HD category. Too many times I have seen “AD/HD” children who were not acting out but were the products of parents who didn’t know how to properly parent. I think the term is often used to pacify parents and give them an answer. It is defintely overused just as I have seen a psychiatrist who overused Bi-polar in children. You really have to wonder when one person keeps coming up with the same dx over and over again for the same population.

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