ADHD and Dietary Factors: What really influences?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) consists of a neurodevelopmental disorder, which presents inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity as a symptomatology characteristic of the condition. It is marked by losses related to periods of attention, in the management of impulses and level of activity. Thus, understand below the relationship between TDHA and dietary factors.

Thus, it can be said that they consist of a complex and heterogeneous disorder, of a chronic nature, of multifactorial etiology, mainly due to genetic and environmental factors. Currently, it is one of the most frequent neuropsychiatric disorders and, although common in childhood and adolescence, many adults have been diagnosed taking into account the persistence of symptoms.

Similarly, it is observed that preschool children diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to become socially or academically inefficient, while adolescents tend to risk abuse of substances such as alcohol and nicotine, in addition to being more likely to engage in promiscuous behaviors. Thus, the increasing number of diagnoses makes the discussion about the role of dietary interventions and supplementation in the management of the timely condition.

Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and 6

The literature demonstrates low levels of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in plasma and red blood cells of children with ADHD when compared to healthy groups. The potential mechanisms that lead to these abnormal levels of essential fatty acids (EFA) in ADHD patients may include reduced intake, reduced conversion from EFA to LC-PUFAs as well as increased metabolism of these molecules.

Based on reports of efficacy and safety, we used doses of 300 to 600 mg/day of omega 3 and 30 to 60 mg/day of omega 6. However, in almost all cases for treatment to be administered effectively, medication is also required.


Iron deficiency is associated with several neurological disorders, besides having several reports of low serum ferritin in children with cognitive and learning disorders, besides being correlated with baseline in attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and also by interacting with amphetamine doses, optimizing clinical responses. Therefore, it is essential to include the dosage of sea ferritin in the battery of requested laboratory tests. For this, it is suggested a control range of serum ferritin levels of 300 ng/mL, with a minimum of 22 ng/mL in men and 10 ng/mL in women.


It is found in several studies reports on zinc deficiency in ADHD as low levels in serum, red blood cells, hair, urine and nails of affected children are demonstrated. In addition, zinc is a cofactor for the metabolism of neurotransmitters and fatty acids in addition to being involved in regulating dopamine metabolism that is directly involved in ADHD.

Clinical practice

TDHA and dietary factors: in what clinical practice is important, it is possible to observe that a “healthy” dietary pattern containing fibers, folate and omega 3 fatty acids is effective in the treatment and remission of ADHD. In addition, patients with known deficiencies supplemented with iron and zinc tend to be better effective in stimulating therapy.

Bibliographic references

Reading Suggestion:
Which nutritional factors are related to the cognitive development of babies?

Watch nutritionist Pedro Carrera’s video on the Science Play platform –
Synergism in the Prescription of Micronutrients

Millichap JG, Mm Yee. The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129(2):330-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2199. Epub 2012 Jan 9. PMID: 22232312.

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