To the outsider, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might seem like a minor condition that makes it hard for someone to pay attention or focus. But parents of children with ADHD know the disorder can be socially and academically crippling.
To help their children, parents have tried all sorts of diets, from eliminating sugar to avoiding artificial flavorings and dyes.
A new review published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics concludes that there’s little evidence a specific diet can treat ADHD.
“Elimination diets may help in a very small percentage of patients,” wrote author J. Gordon Millichap, a neurologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
But that doesn’t mean healthy diets can’t help children with ADHD, researchers wrote. Parents should make sure their children eat nutritious foods. Some studies suggest that giving children omega-3 supplements, such as those found in fish oil capsules, may help with attention as well.
“In patients failing to respond or with parents opposed to medication, omega-3 supplements may warrant a trial,” researchers wrote. “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.”
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