Saab 2012: The effect of diet supplementation on children with ADHD

Boy-eating-123RFLebanese American University, Masters Thesis 2012

In a project for her Masters Degree in Education, Linda Saab performed a case study on a 9 year old boy in Beirut who was diagnosed with ADHD.   Although he was observed for 5 weeks, the first 2 weeks were baseline observations, followed by 2 weeks of a diet as follows:

  • No additives
  • No sugar
  • No casein
  • No gluten
  • Some salicylates were removed
  • Additional omega-3 fatty acids were added by changing the cooking oil from corn to flax seed oil and other sources of essential fatty acids.
  • A nutritional supplement called “Bio-Strath”
  • Fruits and vegetables were either organic or carefully washed.

This was followed by one week of observations while adding “offending foods” every 48 hours.

NOTE:  The 2-week dietary intervention was a pretty small window of opportunity, since many Feingold members report that their children do not respond to the diet for several weeks or a month or so.  In fact, some children actually get worse for the first few weeks.  Knowing this, it was a relief to see that the child in Saab’s case study responded to the diet by the 9th day.

Saab gives a very thorough description of the child’s behavior before the dietary intervention, details of improvement, and the specific changes elicited by the “offending foods” (products containing food coloring, gluten or casein) during the post-treatment or challenge week.

NOTE:  The Bio-Strath mentioned above is a whole food supplement that includes vitamins such as B-Complex, amino acids, minerals, beta-glucans and herbs.  While this might have been considered a confounding element of the study, Saab did mention that the vitamin was continued during the challenge phase, and yet the child’s ADHD behavioral symptoms resurfaced with every challenge.

AUTHOR’S CONCLUSION:  “…it is worth the effort given its effectiveness.”

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