This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Addressing ADHD With Dietary Changes

A study was recently published in the medical journal The Lancet that found that special diet was an effective treatment for ADHD in 64% of cases.  While the results of the study are interesting and support what many of us already know- that many behavioral or emotional symptoms are the result of underlying physiology- the perspective of the lead author Lidy Pelsser is what really caught my attention:

"ADHD- it's just a couple of symptoms, it's not a disease.  We should look for the cause of it.  Like in eczema, the skin is affected, but a lot of people get eczema because of a latex allergy or because they are eating pineapple or strawberries.  And I think there is a paradigm shift needed, if a child is diagnosed ADHD we should say okay, we have got those symptoms, now let's start looking for the cause."

According to her research, 64% of children improved from the dietary intervention used in the study.  She concludes that this means that the reactions to food are the cause of the ADHD, I would argue that the reactions are the result of underlying biochemical issues that lead to the food sensitivities.  The reason this matters is that if you conclude that the food is the cause, then the solution is to remove the foods indefinitely.  If you view the reactions as a result of another cause, you can try to identify and heal the cause so that the child can then eat the foods again. 

The other comment that I have regarding this study is that it is not entirely clear what the effective special diet that they used was based on.  There are many different ways that various foods, and categories of foods, can lead to symptoms of ADHD.  If one dietary approach doesn't work, or leads to only limited improvement, there are many other possibilities to explore.  There is no "one diet" for ADHD, just as there is no "one diet" for autism.  The optimal diet for each person is highly individualized and you cannot conclude that "diet doesn't work" for someone- just that "what has been tried so far has not been the right thing".

More on Diet and ADHD

Hyperactivity, ADHD and the Yeast Connection