ADHD and Food in a Second-Grade Boy: A Case Study

By May 18, 2015ADHD, Nutrition

I love speaking to parent groups and schools about nutrition and children’s health, ability to focus, and behavior. Last week I traveled about an hour outside Charlotte, NC, to speak to the PTO of an elementary school where one of my patients attends the second grade.  

Today’s school teachers deal with behavior and focusing challenges in the classroom like never before, and when a student who struggles with staying on task makes big progress, they take notice and start asking questions. “What changed?”

This was the case with Roy’s teacher. My little patient had such a remarkable improvement in his ability to focus and sit still with some nutritional changes and a few supplements that his teacher wanted to scream it from a mountaintop (something I say ALL the time).

So they invited me to come speak to their PTO. Roy and his family also gave me permission to talk about the details of his case to all of you since he had such wonderful improvements. Their goal is to help other children like Roy.  

Here is a little background about Roy (see if there are any similarities with children you know).

School history

Roy’s teachers had been hinting to his parents since pre-school that he had challenges focusing and sitting still. This seemed to get much worse during his second grade school year and the teacher STRONGLY suggested the possibility of ADHD.  His parents however knew they did not want to start him on a stimulant medication so they came to see me.

Medical history

Roy had the classic history that I look for to determine if a child’s ability to sit still and focus might respond to dietary changes:

  • C-section baby
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Adenoids removed at age three to address recurrent ear infections
  • Tonsils removed at age five to address snoring
  • Annual case of croup requiring nebulizer treatments

Current medical history:

  • Bumps on the back of his arms
  • Mouth breather when sleeping
  • Several headaches each week
  • Dark circles under his eyes with some puffiness

* Note, these are all signs of inflammation in his body.

Nutritional changes

As part of an anti-inflammatory diet we took Roy off of gluten (normally we remove diary first and then gluten but Mom thought it would be easier to remove gluten first).

We also decreased the amount of sugar he was eating, added a green smoothie to his breakfast, increased whole foods and increased his fat and protein intake in the morning (eggs and bacon).

Roy has been a total trooper with these changes because he feels so much better.

Supplements started

Improvements in Roy’s symptoms

Two months later at his follow up appointment, Roy’s parents and teacher reported a 90% improvement in his symptoms:

  • His energy was more controlled and calm
  • He handled transitions better
  • He is better able to focus and sit still at school and at home when doing his homework
  • He was more coordinated with physical activity (even though he was already a great athlete!)
  • His headaches resolved

Best of all, he is more content with himself, is no longer in constant motion (thumping his feet or twirling his books) and his class is gaining a new respect for him.

Roy’s case is similar to that of many many other children I have seen over the years.

Family members feel better too

As a bonus, several of his family members also made the same nutritional changes that Roy did. His mother reported less fatigue, less energy crashes, fewer mood swings, and fewer headaches.

His father lost a couple of pounds and grandma—who was resistant at first but then went off gluten with the rest of the familylost 10 pounds.

Stay tuned for my next blog, where I will discuss the THREE MAIN REASONS why dairy and gluten can cause so many problems with our bodies and with our ability to focus.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have more questions about ADHD, join me for “Ask the Doc Anything about ADHD” on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:30-9:30 p.m. EDT.

If you think your child would benefit from an individual appointment with me, please watch this video.

With much gratitude,

Sheila

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Kudos to you, dear friend.!!!! After reading this, I’m adding fish oil to my regimen, which includes vitamin D3, probiotics, and gluten free. If it’s good for Roy, it’s gotta be good for me.

    • Sheila Kilbane says:

      THANK YOU Phyllis! This is a similar regimen I use for most of my patients! Let me know how it works for you!