Dietary Profiles, Nutritional Biochemistry Status, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Path Analysis for a Case-Control Study.
This study aims to investigate dietary and nutritional biochemistry profiles of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to explore their potential relationship by path analysis. We enrolled 216 children with ADHD and 216 age-, height- and gender-matched controls from 31 elementary schools in Taiwan. Dietary intake of the participants was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Fasting blood samples were collected to determine the serum levels of multiple nutritional markers. Moreover, we employed a structural equation model (SEM) to link diet, nutritional markers and ADHD. Compared to healthy control, ADHD children had significantly lower serum levels of vitamin B12, folate, vitamin B6, ferritin concentration, and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), but higher levels of serum saturated fatty acids (SFA), n-6/n-3 fatty acid ratio, and inorganic phosphorous concentration. Children with ADHD had more intake of nutrient-poor foods such as high sugar and high fat foods, and had less intake of vegetable, fruit, protein-rich foods than their counterpart. SEM analysis showed that the poor nutritional biochemistry profiles linked the association between unhealthy dietary patterns and ADHD. In conclusion, an unhealthy dietary pattern may be a predecessor of the poor nutritional biochemistry status, and managing diet and nutrition conditions should be considered to improve ADHD symptoms in children.