Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Followup to "Eggs, phenylalanine, and hyperactive behavior": Iron deficiency and ADHD

After noticing the egg consumption-related hyperactivity of my children and writing the post below, I looked at whether there has been any research on iron and ADHD. Indeed, there has! Several researchers have found lower serum ferritin levels associated with ADHD. (, and

One study in France even said that "iron supplementation (80 mg/day) appeared to improve ADHD symptoms in children with low serum ferritin levels....Iron therapy was well tolerated and effectiveness is comparable to stimulants." (

Hyperactive children in US classrooms are a common sight. Combine the apparent connection between ADHD and low serum ferritin with the frequent inclusion of dairy, which interferes with iron absorption, in the typical US school lunch, and it looks as though we might have a simple way to reduce hyperactivity via tweaks to school lunch menus. (See for a survey of diet factors affecting iron absorption in meals.) Why couldn't we have dairy-free, iron-rich meals that enhance iron absorption twice a week? We could easily serve orange juice instead of milk on those days. It would certainly make the Florida orange growers happy. Sure, "milk does a body good," but it doesn't have to be consumed at every single meal.

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