Could ADHD be a form of food allergy? While little is known about the causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a research center in the Netherlands is treating children with diet–and it seems to be working.
Dr. Lidy Pelsser at the ADHD Research Center believes that the condition is often triggered by a hypersensitivity to foods, and that diet should be modified before resorting to drugs. She put 100 unmedicated children diagnosed with ADHD on a special diet. The diet begins with a wide range of foods, and then over the course of five weeks the diet is narrowed. According to her research, about 64 percent of the children in the study saw improvements.
The results surprised teachers and parents alike. “After the diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior,” says Pelsser. The children were less distracted, fidgety and less prone to temper tantrums.
Moreover, Pelsser says that the whole approach to ADHD needs to be modified. “It’s just a couple of symptoms — it’s not a disease,” she says. “There is a paradigm shift needed. If a child is diagnosed ADHD, we should say, ‘OK, we have got those symptoms, now let’s start looking for a cause.’ ” The problem, however, will be convincing other doctors and medical experts to learn how to implement the diet, and to move away from medication-based treatments. If diet modifications do not work, then parents and doctors should consider medication.
In the United States, about ten percent of children are diagnosed with ADHD.