Dr. Fuhrman's Anti-ADHD Plan

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child:

Nutritional excellence combined with classroom and behavioral modification for rewarding positive behavior is a promising approach for treating ADHD. Often family therapy is necessary as well to address behavioral, emotional, and self-esteem issues. Combined with a vegetable-based, high nutrient diet, great results are the norm, not the exception. The essential features of my dietary approach for ADHD are as follows:
  • A high-nutrient, vegetable-nut-fruit-based diet
  • One tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily, easily added to oatmeal, shakes, and desserts
  • At least one ounce of raw walnuts daily, with the addition of other raw nuts
  • DHA supplement of 100-600 mg daily
  • No processed foods, no dairy fat, no trans fat
  • Little or no oils; essential fats are supplied from raw nuts and seeds and DHA supplementation
  • Some children also must avoid gluten (from wheat products) and/or casein (from dairy products), as they appear to be bothered by these frequently difficult-to-handle dietary proteins
Flax seeds and walnuts are rich sources of beneficial but hard-to-find short-chain omega-3 fats, plus they are rich in lignans, minerals, and vitamins.

Until recently, the primary source of DHA dietary supplements was fish oil. However, new products are available that contain DHA from algae, the fish’s original source. Unlike fish oils, the algae-derived DHA, grown in the laboratory, is free of chemical pollutants and toxins that may be present in some fish oil-based brands. I recommended favorable DHA products that are designed for purity and are suitable for children. Neuromins is a common (non-fish-derived) brand of DHA sold in most health food stores, and I also have designed and manufactured an all-plant-derived DHA supplement, available on my DrFuhrman.com and in my office.

To feed DHA-rich oil to a child is not difficult; just slice open the capsule with a serrated knife and mash it into a banana or mix it in orange juice or in morning oatmeal to disguise the taste. The dose may vary from 100 to 600 mg daily depending on the age and condition of the child. A child over the age of six with ADHD can be started on the higher dose for the first six months, and then the dose can be decreased to 400 mg daily for the next six months. I generally recommend supplementation with 100 mg a day for seven and older. However, this dose should be doubled for those with ADHD until the symptoms resolve.

Many families who have adopted my diet of nutritional excellence, combined with judicious use of nutritional supplements, report that they begin to see improvement in as little as three months. Keep in mind, this nutritional approach to ADHD does not magically make the problem disappear overnight; it could take six months to observe a significant change in behavior. The chief factor that indicates a successful outcome is the entire family’s willingness and desire to adopt a new healthy eating style for the benefit of all members. The child with the ADHD problem is never singled out as the only one required to eat healthy. In fact, I encourage the children to take responsibility in helping the parents to eat healthy, too. This prescription calls for nutritional excellence for the entire family. When families choose to work as a unit to improve the child’s emotional environment and nutrition simultaneously, it is rare that psychostimulant medications are necessary.