Fish Oil & Protein: The Natural Edge in Soothing ADHD Symptoms?

Over the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 9 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with this disorder.

While medication is an option for treating ADHD, it may not be effective for all children. Furthermore, some parents may have reservations about giving their child a prescription pill. Research has been exploring alternative treatments and found that making specific changes in diet could help reduce ADHD symptoms.

The Impact of Diet on ADHD

A study published in the journal Pediatrics suggested that paying greater attention to a child’s diet could possibly be one of the simplest and most practical complementary treatments for ADHD. This might be especially beneficial for children who don’t respond well to medications.

According to the researchers, embracing a healthy dietary pattern that omits items known to predispose to ADHD may be the most promising way to combat the disorder. A diet that is low in sugar and additives and high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with ADHD.

Why Protein is Important

Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet, and its consumption may play a role in helping control ADHD symptoms. Protein is responsible for the growth and repair of tissues, and it’s also needed for the proper functioning of enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.

One of the reasons protein may be helpful for ADHD is that it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Balanced blood sugar can result in better concentration, focus, and attention. Furthermore, protein stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which help to maintain focus and attention.

Incorporating lean protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, beans, and nuts, into a child’s diet can help ensure they get adequate amounts of this important nutrient.

The Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are another critical component of a healthy diet. These are essential fats that must be obtained through food or supplements, as our bodies cannot produce them on their own.

Research has shown that children with ADHD display lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared to their peers. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health and cognitive function.

Including good sources of omega-3 fatty acids in a child’s diet, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, can have potential benefits for combating ADHD symptoms. Additionally, fish oil supplements have been shown to help improve attention and reduce hyperactivity in children with ADHD.

Reducing Sugar and Additives

A diet high in sugar can result in spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Research has shown that children who consume a diet high in sugar may display an increased risk of developing ADHD or worsening its symptoms. To help maintain balanced blood sugar levels, it’s essential to limit sugary foods and beverages, such as candy, cookies, and soda.

Moreover, some additives commonly found in processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of ADHD. These include artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers. Trying to focus on a whole-foods diet with fewer processed products, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help limit exposure to these additives.

Other Lifestyle Changes for ADHD

In addition to making dietary changes, there are other lifestyle modifications that can be beneficial for children with ADHD. These include ensuring regular physical activity, implementing a structured daily routine, and providing support through counseling or therapy.

Physical activity not only helps improve overall health but can also aid in boosting focus and attention in children with ADHD. Scheduling regular exercise and outdoor playtime can help improve symptoms in the long run.

Maintaining a structured daily routine can also make a significant difference for children with ADHD. Consistency and predictability can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that may worsen symptoms. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, setting aside time for homework and chores, and incorporating relaxation techniques can all help create stability and reduce ADHD symptoms.

Lastly, counseling or therapy can provide children with ADHD an opportunity to express their feelings and learn coping strategies. This can empower them to manage their symptoms and lead a more fulfilling life.


While medication may be the first line of treatment for many children with ADHD, it’s not effective for everyone. Making specific dietary changes – such as incorporating more protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and reducing sugar and additives – has shown potential for combatting ADHD symptoms. Alongside these changes, incorporating regular physical activity, maintaining a structured daily routine, and seeking counseling or therapy can also provide the necessary support to help children with ADHD lead a happy and healthy life.