The use of diet interventions to treat symptoms of ADHD in children and adolescents: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

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Background: For over forty years diet interventions have been investigated as a treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents and, with the new discoveries of the microbiota-gut-brain axis, this research becomes more relevant than ever. The aim of this systematic review was therefore to investigate the current knowledge of diet interventions as a treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents Methods: A systematic literature search in PubMed was conducted, identifying randomized controlled trials investigating diet interventions to treat ADHD in children and adolescents. Results: The study populations were generally small and the studies varied in duration and nature of the exposure. Overall 10 out of 12 studies spoke in favour of an elimination diet, 2 out of 6 of eliminating artificial food colourings from the diet and none in favour of eliminating sucrose or aspartame from the diet to treat ADHD. Conclusion: The current evidence is not enough to recommend treating ADHD with diet interventions, but a subgroup of children and adolescents might warrant from elimination of certain food-items. Further investigations of the mechanism and effect of diet interventions to treat ADHD is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)558-568
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • ADHD, adolescents, children, diet-intervention, Systematic review

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ID: 200982204