Paleo the Next Generation: Children, ADD and School Performance

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 04, 2011 at 10:14 PM

With all the talk these days about teachers and failing schools, I started wondering about the role of nutrition. Certainly not a revolutionary idea, but I think we Paleos are more open to seeing broader nutritional problems. It's easy to notice nutrion related problems in poor inner-city schools, but what about the prevelance of ADD throughout the country? What about general acedemic ennui and the chronic failure of US students to be competitve with students from other developed countries?

There's been a remarkable rise in diagnosis of ADD and ADHD. I tend to be wary of the medical profession's willingness to over-diagnose and over-prescribe, but I think as a community we're more open to the idea of rapid degeneration due to poor nutrition. So here's a question for you paleo parents out there: has your children's school performace changed since going paleo?



on March 04, 2011
at 10:33 PM

link didn't work for me :(

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6 Answers



on March 05, 2011
at 05:09 AM

double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of nutritional supplements on 231 young adult prisoners, comparing disciplinary offences before and during [nutrient supplementation]. Compared with placebos, those receiving the active capsules committed an average of 26.3% fewer offences. Compared to baseline, the effect on those taking active supplements for a minimum of 2 weeks (n=172) was an average 35.1%. bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/181/1/22

schoolchildren, aged 6 to 12 years, who are given low dose vitamin-mineral tablets... randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with pretest and post-test measures of antisocial behavior on school property... 47% lower mean rate of antisocial behavior than the placebo. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10706231



on March 04, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Absolutely, diet is linked to ADHD and ADD and many other "learning disorders" or conditions of the brain. It's also linked to mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, OCD, rage ect.

The main culprits are:

Excitotoxins(MSG, aspartame)


Processed sugar




Herbicides and pesticides

Artificial Colorings in processed food and pharmaceuticals(FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 6 ect.)**

There's so much corruption in the system that's why the most toxic ones such as MSG and aspartame are being conveniently covered up. MSG is used in the food industry to cover up bad food ingredients, cause addicting compulsion to seek out the MSG-laden food, and to cause health problems so more money is made at the cost of people's health. It is also speculated to be used because it dumbs down the population so they rely more on the government. Instead of learning about the truth people are too busy being dumbed down so they can consume more television, culture and anything except being aware of the truth.

Most Americans don't even know what an excitotoxin is and yet they consume it in almost every meal they eat everyday of their life. It's in all restaraunt food, processed food(EVEN BABY FOOD).

Money and power are the reasons that we are being lied to and these things are being covered up by corrupted studies that are funded by the same people who want to keep them in the food. Many studies were never even done because universities were paid by FDA and the elite to shut up about MSG's neurotoxic effects for instance.



on March 05, 2011
at 09:07 AM


Besides diet, there are some other paleo lifestyle things that could (and do) contribute:

outdoor play and activities (see the outstanding website Children and Nature Network for more)

being online and in touch all the time

real social interactions



on March 05, 2011
at 12:10 AM

ADD is caused by a gene that is nicknamed the "migratory gene." The further you get from Africa the more common the gene is. It is theorized that this gene is responsible for human migration and that the people who paved the way had this gene.

“Stronger evidence that natural selection has continued to shape the brain in recent epochs comes from studies of DRD4, a mutation in a neurotransmitter receptor that Moyzis, Wang, and many others have linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children diagnosed with ADHD are twice as likely to carry the variant gene as those without the diagnosis. DRD4 makes a receptor in the brain less effective in bonding to dopamine, which might explain why Ritalin, which increases the amount of dopamine in the space between neurons, is often helpful in treating the problem.

Sequencing studies suggest that the DRD4 mutation arose 50,000 years ago, just as humans were spreading out of Africa. Its prevalence tends to increase the farther a population is from Africa, leading some investigators to dub it “the migratory gene.” At least one allele (or copy of the gene) is carried by 80 percent of some South American populations. In contrast, the allele is present in 40 percent of indigenous populations living farther north in the Americas and in just 20 percent of Europeans and Africans. Children with the mutation tend to be more restless than other youngsters and to score higher on tests of novelty-seeking and risk-taking, all traits that might have pushed those with the variant to explore new frontiers.

In the context of a modern classroom, it may be hard to understand why kids who appear distractible and disruptive might have a survival advantage. But research shows people with DRD4 do not differ in intelligence from national norms; if anything, they may on average be smarter. Moreover, behavior that may seem like a drawback today may not have been so in ancient environments. When broaching foreign terrain filled with unknown predators, “having the trait of focusing on multiple directions might have been a good thing,” Wang says. “People focused in one direction might get eaten.”

  • Discover Magazine



on March 04, 2011
at 10:48 PM

I think the link between diet and ADD is quite plausible. My own ADD (and anxiety, and depression) has been improving over the 7 months I've been paleo(nu). It would be great to see this well studied. I know from my 3 kids that the carb/rush/crash cycle has a huge impact on their behavior and overall happiness (even if they do get pissed that I limit their sugar and flour intake).

My wife is a pre-school teacher, and boy were her kids pissed when she outlawed chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk. (Schools here give kids a choice between 1% white milk, 1% chocolate-flavored, and 1% strawberry-flavored.)



on March 04, 2011
at 10:27 PM

How funny, I'm reading this right now- http://www.filmsforaction.org/External/?oid=11705



on March 04, 2011
at 10:33 PM

link didn't work for me :(

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