Changes in our diets can be used as a treatment intervention for ADHD. And according to a recent study from Norway, it seems that at least a sub-group of children with ADHD have a particular type of protein imbalance that may be contributing to a child’s ADHD symptoms, or maybe causing that child’s ADHD problem entirely.
The study began back in 1996 as a group of researchers and educators in Norway began a study of 23 children with ADHD. They placed the children on a milk-free diet and have followed the performance of the children since.
The researchers wanted to see if the ADHD symptoms in the children, particularly hyperactivity and impulsivity, would improve by avoiding milk, or more specifically the casein in the milk.
Since one of our long-held ADHD diet recommendations has been to stop
drinking cow’s milk for two weeks, then add it back into the diet and see if there is
any adverse reaction to it, we were very interested in the observations from this
Milk is one of the most common food allergens in children. Studies in several
countries around the world show a prevalence of milk allergy in children around
2% to 5%. Some estimates are much higher, as the researchers in this study
propose. Cow’s milk contains at least 20 protein components that may cause
allergic responses. The milk proteins casein and whey are the main problems.
Caseins give milk its “milky” appearance and are the protein in milk that makes it
possible to make cheese. Whey makes up the remainder of the milk substance.
We have been familiar with the theories of Dr. Kalle Reichelt and have offered Dr. Reichelt’s thoughts on diet, particularly milk and gluten, and mental illness to our readers for several years on our websites. So I have always been interested in studies that have investigated these positions. This study caught my eye.
The group was working under Reichelt’s theory that a metabolic disorder makes it
difficult to break down certain proteins might cause mental problems including
All twenty-three children in the long-term study had symptoms of ADHD and had
been shown to have abnormal levels of peptides in their urine.
The children followed a strict casein-free diet a year, and all but one had “clear
improvements” in their behavior and attention span.
One of the researchers noted, “One of the kids I worked with started on the diet on Wednesday and by the weekend his parents said they saw a huge positive change in his behavior.
Not drinking cow’s milk is certainly a simple and safe intervention to try. And, as we like to say, if what you are doing works, don’t mess with it. But if it doesn’t work, try something else.
Learn more about our recommended Eating Program or ADHD Diet at
http://newideas.net/adhd/adhd-diet or to read more about ATTEND with amino
acids for a natural but effective treatment for ADHD at http://newideas.net/attend.
The ADHD Information Library at http://newideas.net serves over 300,000 parents
and teachers each year by providing accurate and timely information on ADHD.
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter with Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., the clinical
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