The 'superfood' which may reduce ADHD symptoms in children says expert

Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to thin yogurt
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to thin yogurt -Credit:SCU

A clinical neuroscientist has shared the findings of a new study which suggests a particular 'superfood' could reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.

Dr Miguel Toribio-Mateas has explained how the study suggests that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be helped by kefir - a fermented milk drink - which is a product readily available in grocery and health food stores as well as many supermarkets. It says the drink - which is made from kefir grains which are inoculated into milk - could help with impulsivity, hyperactivity and even sleep.

The doctor, speaking on Alex’ Partridge’s ADHD Chatter podcast said: “The food is called kefir". And it can be linked to gut health and the neurological condition.

He said: "I’ve actually done some research on it myself as a scientist, looking at the effects on the gut, and then how the effects in what’s going on in somebody’s gut with ADHD transfers to the brain. It can have a beneficial impact on their ADHD symptoms.”

As GloucestershireLive reports, he added: “We’ve looked at young adults, children and young adults, to 18, and we gave them kefir for six weeks, as well as very basic dietary guidelines - basically, along the lines of do not eat ultra-processed foods: so fresh food as much as possible and have 200ml of kefir a day. We noticed improvements in impulsivity, improvements in hyperactivity and also better sleep.”

The research, published in the BMJ Open journal, aimed to explore how kefir impacts ADHD symptoms, sleep, attention and gut 'microbiomes' in children diagnosed with ADHD. Over the six weeks, the participants were given a kefir daily in a double-blind study.

They were also told to stay away from foods that were “most likely to provoke sensitivities” and instead to opt for whole-food items such as lamb, chicken, potatoes, rice and bananas as well as apples. The study looked at whether “compromised” gut microbiomes may lead to certain bad bacteria, viruses and fungi in the digestive tract, which risk being absorbed in the bloodstream.

This then would be carried to the brain, which could ultimately affect someone’s behaviour. The study recommended: “We propose that kefir consumption may enhance composition of the gut microbiota in children with ADHD and could lead to a reduction in ADHD symptoms and improvements in sleep.”

It also noted that the study will further advance research into the impact of kefir on children with ADHD. According to online health and wellbeing site Webmd, Kefir is a drink made from the fermented milk from a cow, goat, or sheep.

It contains around 60 unique species of probiotics: “good bacteria” that improve gut health and may aid the digestive processes. The most common are lactobacillus, lactococcus, streptococcus, and leuconostoc.