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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Study says diet is a possible ADHD treatment

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms may be controlled through a restrictive elimination diet, a new study suggests. 

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Symptoms include difficulty focusing and paying attention, struggling with controlling behavior and hyperactivity.

The authors of The Impact of Nutrition on Children with ADHD study said certain foods can cause a negative reaction, like asthma, in children, and that they wanted to test if the same was true for the brain and triggering ADHD symptoms. Specifically they examined the effect of IgG.

IgG, Immunoglobulin G, is the most common antibody produced by the body’s immune system. The higher the IgG levels, the more negative a reaction was to certain foods.

Jaswinder Ghuman, an associate professor of psychiatry, wrote an editorial on the study. She said IgG blood levels are not helpful in determining what foods trigger ADHD symptoms, but that parents can control what foods their children eat if they notice them having an adverse reaction.

Ghuman said because the study did not go into the long-term effects of the restrictive diet, it is hard to determine whether or not it would be helpful to students at the UA with ADHD.

“”The study needs to be replicated with another set of children to confirm the findings,”” Ghuman said.

In her comments about the study, Ghuman wrote, “”concerns about side effects of psychoactive drugs, and barriers to access to and commitment needed for psychosocial treatments, often lead to consideration of other interventions.””

The study introduces a new treatment, other than medication, that may lead many parents to consider the diet.

Ghuman advised against initiating the diet without a consultation of and close supervision by a nutritionist and a pediatrician.

The study’s authors recruited 100 children all diagnosed with ADHD and randomly separated the children into two groups. The control group received the restrictive elimination diet for five weeks. The other group only received instructions for a healthy diet.

The restrictive diet began with rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water. Researchers then incorporated potatoes, fruits and wheat into the diet.

From there, according to the study, researchers “”proceeded with a 4-week double-blind crossover food challenge phase, in which high-IgG or low-IgG foods (classified on the basis of every child’s individual IgG blood test results) were added to the diet.””

But according to the study, after challenges with either high-IgG or low-IgG foods, relapse of ADHD symptoms occurred in 63 percent of the children, independent of the IgG blood levels.

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