The Paleo Diet and ADHD

The knee-jerk reaction of doctors these days when they diagnose a child with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is to prescribe Ritalin which has questional benefits and definite side effects. Side effects include:

Child taking a prescription drug. Why? Photo by EMarq

  • Nervousness
  • insomnia
  • hypersensitivity
  • anorexia
  • nausea, and more.

But why subject your child to such a drastic course of action? ADHD is not caused by a drug deficiency, it’s caused by a nutritional deficiency and is easy to remedy. Just feed your child the right foods. The Paleo diet can help eliminate ADHD because it contains an abundance of the right foods. One of the main causes of ADHD is a deficiency essential fatty acids, especially of omega-3 fatty acids.

Nutritionists and nutrition-oriented physicians have noted for years that omega-3 fatty acids are in very short supply in the standard American diet (aptly abbreviated “SAD”). Even mainstream medical research has repeatedly noted the association between low omega-3 fatty acids and ADHD.

One research paper published in 2006 noted, “Lower levels of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, in blood have repeatedly been associated with a variety of behavioral disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” But despite the fact that their observations had consistently linked ADHD to omega-3 deficiency, the authors still concluded their study by saying, “continued research in this field is encouraged.”

Fortunately, doctors in the natural and alternative medicine fields, have been recommending omega-3 fatty acids for ADHD for a long time. It has been found to improve symptoms in virtually all cases of children with ADHD.  It is very obvious that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is causing these cases of ADHD.  Omega-3s are safer than drugs and are essential for brain development. Children eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) do not get enough of this nutrient, or any other nutrient for that matter.

Pastured eggs. Great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Photo by CycloneBill

Here is where the Paleo dietcomes in. All of the foods that we are encouraged to eat on the Paleo diet contains high levels of this essential nutrient.

The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are wild fish and fish oils. Walnuts, flaxseed, rose hips, and hempseed (and their oils) are also decent sources, although not nearly as good as fish. Meat from free-range, grass-fed, organic beef, chicken, buffalo, and pigs also contains more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from the same commercially raised animals. And deer, elk, and other “wild game” are also good sources, as are “omega eggs,” which usually come from chickens fed purslane, a “weed” rich in omega-3 fatty acids. ….Click here to read the full article…

The solution is simple. If you feed your child the Paleo diet, ADHD will no longer be a problem. And then there are added bonuses. Overall health will improve. Cognitive function will improve. The cardiovascular system will stay healthy and diabetes won’t even be on your radar. In fact it will do your entire family some good, to follow the Paleo diet.


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One Response to The Paleo Diet and ADHD

  1. Colleen March 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    You can’t say omega 3 deficiency is the cause of ADHD, but there is a correlation. Since people with ADHD usually have the same or similar diet as non ADHD people it is more likely a matter or malabsorbtion– something is blocking the omega 3s from getting to the brain. Supplementing Omega 3some can help but it isn’t addressing the root cause or answering the root question: why is this person deficient while others are not. In reality, whatever the cause, omega 3 deficiency is likely 1 of many deficiencies. Malabsorbtion begins in the gut either because the flora is outta whack or celiac present. The good news for paleos is that the pale diet, with its high protein and (potentially) low fiber intake requirements, is a great way to heal a gut. Or see the GAPS diet (gut and psychology syndrome). Thanks for you attention to this epidemic. Yay for healthy bodies!