View Full Version : ADHD specific nutrition (only *specific* food/supplements and *specific* no-go's)

02-04-13, 05:22 PM
Good evening,

Back in 2012, when I was in an ADHD clinic for my very first time, I quickly realized how important sleep, proper medication intake and regular food intake is to manage ADHD symptoms. One of my main problems was the fact, that either I did not find a medication that "worked" for me or that I had false expectations of how the meds should work like. However, I also had serious sleep disorders for many years, which I now was able to manage (the more or less).

Since proper sleep time is not a problem anymore, I want to focus on "food optimization". Like sleep, that's also an important factor to make ADHD medication work like it's supposed to.

I want to be as specific as possible on that matter (as setting priorities is a central issue for people with ADHD). Therefore, specific questions about nutrition:

1.) Sugar:

I'm hardcore-addicted to all kinds of sweet stuff since my childhood - chocolate, cookies, desserts and so on, as well as potato chips and other snacks. A few months ago, I quit smoking and started taking clomipramine against OCD and mirtazapine for sleep (the latter two are both strong appetite stimulants) - well, a couple of weeks later I noticed I had the urge to ingest sweet stuff almost every hour. Especially when I'm bored, frustrated or have to commence new tasks, I automatically feel a strong impulse to eat something (preferably sweet stuff). Since then, I gained almost 20 pounds and my belly became apparent. Because of OCD and my current medications as well as my unhealthy food intake, I also have problems doing "big boy" (no comments on that:rolleyes: ).

So, the main question is: is sugar good or bad for ADHD symptoms? After eating something sweet, I feel a decent euphoria and mental stabilization (a sort of calmdown) for a limited period of time. Whenever I have the urge for candies and don't get them, I become nervous, restless, agitated and mentally crippled. On the other hand, continuing eating candies in this fashion will further increase my weight and the chance to acquire diabetes in my later life. So, what's the answer?

2.) Food priorities:

Flesh or vegetables? Any specific ones?

3.) Vitamins and supplements:

I'm only interrested for the ones *specifically* recommended for ADHD. Omega 3 is the only one currently on my mind. Any other recommendations?

4.) Restricted foods and substances:

Please only mention the ones restricted for ALL ADHD sufferers (no specific ones) - if any exist of course;)

Thx 4 help,


02-04-13, 05:39 PM
Eating excessive sugar is definitely bad, and is a very common way of trying (well, failing) to self-medicate. It would be great if it worked, and if it didn't have the dangerous long-term side effects which you already mentioned.

Fatty cold-water fish augment the omega-3's and are good. Vegetables - well, eat a lot of vegetables but I don't know any specific ones with any special characteristics for ADHD. I have heard claims that eating some protein around the time of taking stimulant medication can improve its effectiveness, but haven't seen any proof. Stimulants tend to decrease appetite so make sure you do eat well while they are in your body - otherwise it can lead to excessive or inappropriate eating after the medication wears off.

Vitamin B6 takes part in dopamine production, but I don't know if there is any proof of effectiveness in this situation. I'm taking some anyway.

I don't believe there are any across-the-board restricted foods other than "Eat good food, not trash". Caffeine plus medication causes major side-effects for some people, not for others. There is a (somewhat vocal) group of people who suspect that their personal ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms have been caused by particular food sensitivities. I am not certain how much of this is truth and how much is media-inspired fad. If you suspect that you are sensitive to a certain food then I suggest talking to your doctor about that.

02-04-13, 05:40 PM
So, the main question is: is sugar good or bad for ADHD symptoms?Barkley mentioned in his latest video that sipping sweet drinks may be useful in helping executive functions. Refer to op at

2.) Food priorities: Flesh or vegetables? Any specific ones? None that I know of.

3.) Vitamins and supplements:

I'm only interrested for the ones *specifically* recommended for ADHD. Omega 3 is the only one currently on my mind. Any other recommendations? So far the only one that has some backing is omega 3. None of the others have much scientific validation. That does not mean that they might help a few but for most they will have little or no impact.

4.) Restricted foods and substances:Some foods (gluten for example) and food additives can have an effect on those sensitive to them but for most, they will not have an impact. Might be worth a try if you suspect a connection for yourself. Otherwise I don't know of any food restrictions that would affect many people with ADHD.

Good questions,

Good luck in your search for information


03-13-13, 07:59 PM
I have heard that soy is helpful for some people, in which case I'd suggest edamame. It's good, healthy and very easy to travel with.