Sugar intake

  • In 2011 Nutrition Research and Practice published a study examining the relationship between sugar intake and the development of attention deficit hyperactive disorder in 107 fifth grade students. The researchers found that low consumption of sugar from fruit sources and low intake of vitamin C were associated with ADHD.

Sugar-sweetened beverages

  • In 2016 the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study which found that children who consumed sugar sweetened beverages at high levels had 3.69 times greater odds of having ADHD compared with children who did not consume sugar sweetened beverages.

Magnesium and vitamin B6

  • In 2006 Magnesium Research published a study in which 40 children with clinical symptoms of ADHD who were put on a magnesium and vitamin B6 regimen for at least 2 months had significantly reduced hyperactivity and aggressiveness and improved attention. When treatment stopped symptoms re-appeared within a few weeks.

Nutrient deficiencies

  • In 2014 Children published a review which presented associations between nutritional deficiencies and ADHD in children, based on clinical evidence. The authors recommend that children presenting symptoms of ADHD be screened for deficiencies in zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamin D.

Omega-3 and Omega-6

  • In 2010 Lipids in Health and Disease published an observational study in which 810 children with ADHD, ages 5-12 were given a supplement containing omega-3, omega-6. magnesium and zinc for 12 weeks. Results showed that most subjects showed considerable improvements in ADHD symptoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • In 2009 Pediatrics and Child Health published a double-blind study in which 26 children were given either an omega-3 or an omega-6 supplement for 16 weeks. Children from the omega-3 group saw greater symptom improvement, with 8 children from the omega-3 group achieving and maintaining symptom control, particularly related to inattention.
  • In 2011 the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials involving 699 students. The combined data showed that omega-3 fatty acids had a small but significant effect in improving ADHD symptoms.
  • In 2015 Neuropsychopharmacology published a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 40 boys with ADHD and 39 boys without ADHD. Compared to a control group, boys who consumed 10 grams/day margarine enriched with 650 mg of DHA and EPA (omega-3) for 16 weeks saw improvements in ADHD symptoms – the effect was strongest in developing children.
  • In 2016 Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment published a meta-analysis based on 25 ADHD studies published between 2000 and 2015. The data showed overall positive results using omega-3 fatty acids to treat ADHD with mild side effects and the potential to reduce stimulant dosage when used in combination.

Omega-3 deficiencies

  • In 2014 Clinical Psychology Review published a meta-analysis which found that, in 9 studies totaling 586 participants, omega-3 blood levels were lower in children with ADHD compared to controls. Part-two of the review found that, in 16 studies totaling 1408 children, omega-3 supplementation improved ADHD symptoms.

Zinc deficiencies

  • In 2015 The Chinese Journal of Contemporary Pediatrics published a review of 17 studies which found that zinc levels were lower in children with ADHD compared to controls.

Omega-3 and zinc

  • In 2016 the Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice published a double-blind trial on 150 children with ADHD, comparing zinc, omega-3 and a placebo. The results showed that both zinc and omega-3 supplementation, when taken in combination with methylphenidate (ADHD drug), were more effective in improving symptoms than drug treatment alone (placebo group).

Bacopa Monnieri

  • In 2014 Advances in Mind-Body Medicine published a study in which 31 children with ADHD between the ages of 6 – 12 received received 225 mg/day Bacopa monnieri extract for 6 months. Restlessness was reduced in 93 percent of the children and attention-deficit was reduced in 85 percent.

Green outdoor settings

  • In 2014 the American Public Health Association published a study which found that after-school and weekend activities conducted in green outdoor settings reduced ADHD symptoms significantly more than the same activities conducted in built outdoor and indoor settings.

Gluten-free diet

  • In 2011 The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders published a study in which 10 individuals with ADHD who also tested positive for celiac disease were placed on a gluten-free diet. After initiation of the diet, patients or their parents reported a significant improvement in symptoms and behavior. The researchers noted that celiac disease is significantly over-represented in individuals with ADHD.
  • In 2006 the Journal of Attention Disorders published a study involving 132 subjects (aged 3 -57 years) affected by celiac disease. Significant symptom improvement was seen after remaining of on a gluten-free diet for 6 months. The authors noted that ADHD is markedly over-represented in untreated celiac patients.


  • In 2004 Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry published a double-blind trial in which 400 children with ADHD were given either 150 mg/day zinc sulfate or a placebo. The zinc treatment was superior to the placebo in reducing ADHD symptoms, especially in older subjects with higher BMI and lower zinc and free fatty acid levels.


  • In 2013 The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics published a study involving 372 children aged 5-17 years which found that children with ADHD were more likely to be overweight.
  • In 2002 BMC Psychiatry published a study based on 215 patient records which found that ADHD was highly prevalent among individuals with obesity and highest in those with extreme obesity.
  • In 2013 The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study based on face-to-face psychiatric interviews with 34,653 adults. The results showed that childhood ADHD symptoms are associated with obesity in women.
  • In 2014 the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a study which found that ADHD symptoms predicted obesity rather than the reverse. Symptoms of ADHD were linked with childhood inactivity, but not binge eating. The authors note that physical activity may be beneficial for both behavior problems and obesity.

Synthetic food colors

  • In 2012 the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a meta-analysis based on 24 studies which found that an estimated 8 percent of children with ADHD may have symptoms related to synthetic food colors.

Restriction diet

  • In 2011 Lancet published a study which found that, based on a sample of 100 children with ADHD, a strictly supervised elimination diet is a valuable to determine whether ADHD is induced by diet.


  • In 2015 PLOS One published a study involving 56 children in which children which ADHD completed a task on a computer game after a 5-minute run. Compared to children with ADHD who did not run, the running group showed improved performance on tasks that required attention. Children with ADHD who ran had similar scores to non-ADHD students who did not run.
  • In 2013 the Journal of Pediatrics published a study in which a 20-minute bout of exercise improved attention control and lead to greater performance in the areas of reading and arithmetic in children with ADHD.
  • In 2015 Child: Care, Health and Development published a meta-analysis of 8 studies totaling 249 participants, which suggested that short term aerobic exercise and Yoga have a moderate-to-large effect on controlling core ADHD symptoms including attention deficit, hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, social disorders and anxiety.
  • In 2016 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a study in which 32 adult men with self-reported ADHD who spent 20 minutes cycling experienced motivation for cognitive tasks, increased feelings of energy and reduced feelings of confusion, fatigue and depression.
  • In 2014 the Chinese Journal of Pediatrics published a study involving 91 ADHD-children which showed that and exercise-based treatment program know as DDAT (dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention-deficit treatment) was effective in improvement hyperactive symptoms for ADHD children with standing balance dysfunction.
  • In 2016 the Journal of Medicine and Life published study in which 40 male students with ADHD, between the ages of 7 and 11, completed a exercise program consisting of twenty-four 90-minute sessions. Compared to a control group (no exercise) the exercise group showed improved cognitive function.
  • In 2015 the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology published a 12-week study involving 202 children which found that physical activity for 31 minutes each day before school was superior to a sedentary classroom based intervention for controlling ADHD symptoms.

Aerobic exercise

  • In 2015 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a study involving 35 adolescents with ADHD in which MRI scans founds that 6 weeks of an aerobic exercise program increased the effectiveness of methylphenidate (ADHD drug treatment) on brain activity, whereas an ADHD-education program combined with methylphenidate did not have this effect.
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