Can Dietary Changes Alleviate ADHD Symptoms?

by on December 27th, 2011 at 7:00 am

ADHDAttention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become a significant problem in the United States. This year, the CDC reported that ADHD had become more prevalent in American children and was affecting 9% of them between 2007 and 2009.1

A previous CDC report showed that food allergies in children had also increased during a very similar time period.2

So, is there a connection between diet and ADHD? That’s what a group of scientists tried to determine in a report entitled, Dietary Sensitivities and ADHD Symptoms: Thirty-Five Years of Research.3

Hyperactivity and Food Additives

The report summarizes thirty-five years of studies of diets with no artificial food colors or natural allergens. Laura J. Stevens and several co-authors say these studies were conducted to test the validity of Doctor Benjamin Feingold’s Kaiser Permanente diet.

“[This diet] was free of foods containing natural salicylates and all artificial food colors (AFCs) and flavors,” say the authors in their report.

The report details several studies that found that artificial food colors increased behavioral problems in children. One such study found that these food additives increased hyperactivity in three-year-old, eight-year-old, and nine-year-old children.4

However, today’s highly processed foods often contain these additives. So, how can you get additive-free food? Organic food may be a possibility.

Organic Food

The USDA says, “Organic regulations ban or severely restrict the use [of] food additives, processing aids…and fortifying agents commonly used in non-organic foods including preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).”5

There are several major food suppliers that provide organic food: Earth’s Best, Newman’s Own Organics, and Organic Valley.

Earth’s Best makes organic baby food such as infant formula, cereals, fruit- and vegetable-based baby food, yogurt, and snacks. The company’s Web site provides a form enabling consumers to locate stores that sell its products.

Newman’s Own Organics makes organic pretzels, chocolate bars, cookies, popcorn, balsamic vinegar, dried fruit, coffee, and tea. The company’s site has an online form showing which retailers carry its products in each state.

Organic Valley is a farming cooperative supplying organic milk, cream, yogurt, butter, cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, juice, snacks, and meat. The cooperative provides an online form showing consumers which retailers sell its products.

In addition to organic food manufacturers, there are also major retail stores specializing in organic and additive-free food. Among these stores are Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.

Whole Foods Market has stores in thirty-nine U.S. states and offers a large product selection. It also lists itself as the first national certified organic retailer authorized by the USDA.

Trader Joe’s is another source of additive-free food. It’s located in thirty-four U.S. states and supplies food products containing no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Thanks to organic food suppliers and stores, parents have more dietary options for children who suffer from hyperactivity.

BrightSpark™ homeopathic remedy relieves hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsiveness in children with attention problems.

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Sources:

  1. Lara Akinbami et al, “NCHS Data Brief Number 70,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Branum AM and Lukacs SL, “NCHS Data Brief Number 10,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Laura J. Stevens et al, “Dietary Sensitivities and ADHD Symptoms: Thirty-Five Years of Research,” Clinical Pediatrics.
  4. Donna McCann et al, “Food Additives and Hyperactive Behaviour in 3-Year-Old and 8/9-Year-Old Children in the Community: a Randomised, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” The Lancet.
  5. National Agricultural Library, “Should I Purchase Organic Foods?,” USDA.

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