Naturalnews.com, March 11, 2016 by: J. D. Heyes
The condition known as ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – is largely treated with potentially harmful and addictive medications like Adderall, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, according to a growing body of research, adjusting dietary intake can go a long way towards helping to control the condition naturally.
As reported by EcoWatch, ADHD is not caused by diet alone, but research indicates that certain diets or foods may actually worsen the condition. And for this reason, certain changes to the diet of an ADHD sufferer can help better manage the symptoms. In fact, one diet has been demonstrated to improve symptoms in 50-82 percent of kids diagnosed with ADHD.
For starters, the condition is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. A number of factors can affect the development of ADHD, and while the exact cause is not yet clear, research shows that there is a large genetic component.
The condition can greatly affect the quality of life, especially when you consider the negative impact the condition can have on academic and career outcomes. And since there is no cure for ADHD, most treatments are aimed at controlling the symptoms, with the most popular treatments being behavioral therapy and Big Pharma. However, research has also been done to study dietary interventions.
There are two primary types of studies that have examined the effect of diet on ADHD symptoms. They are:
— Supplement studies: These studies have analyzed the effects of dietary supplementation like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
— Elimination studies: These have looked into the effects of taking certain foods out of diets, including certain additives and ingredients.
“However, it should be noted that dietary modification as a treatment for ADHD is still viewed as controversial,” EcoWatch reported.
One diet known as the “Few Foods Diet” works like this:
— Elimination: For between one and five weeks, sufferers follow a diet that consists only of foods that are not very likely to trigger adverse reactions; if symptoms improve, then the second phase begins.
— Reintroduction: Every three to seven days reintroduce foods that could trigger symptoms. If the ADHD sufferer experiences adverse affects, that food is then considered “sensitizing.”
— Treatment: At this point a personal diet plan can be developed that phases out all sensitizing foods as much as possible, thereby minimizing the child’s symptoms.
The bottom line is that the Few Foods Diet mimics other approaches to treating certain conditions. This three-phase approach can have very positive effects.
There are additional health benefits from the Few Foods Diet as well, EcoWatch reported, noting that a dozen studies have examined the effects of food on ADHD specifically. Five were uncontrolled trials while the remaining seven were all randomized, controlled studies. Eleven of them found a decrease in symptoms for anywhere from 50 percent to 82 percent of children involved in the studies; one found improvements for about 24 percent of children. Also, some of the children in the studies showed more than 50 percent improvement in behavior after the elimination phase of the diet.
Effective and convincing
As EcoWatch reported further:
“Many of the children also reported fewer headaches, stomach aches, fits, muscle pains and nasal symptoms. Parents reported fewer problems with sleeping and fewer nighttime awakenings in their children …
“In one of the studies, these effects were even noticeable on a brain scan when the children ate a sensitizing food.”
In 2012 a macroanalysis of eight of the studies reported an overall effect size that was very close to the average effect size of common ADHD medications like Concerta or Ritalin. Several researchers and other experts agree that considering the evidence, there is support for the Few Foods Diet, because it is convincing and has been effective for a number of ADHD sufferers.
“The Few Foods Diet has been shown to decrease ADHD symptoms for some children—often more than half. Less headaches, fits and sleeping problems have also been reported,” the site reported.