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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurobehavioral condition observed in children and adults. A recent study in mice suggests that a ketogenic diet reduces symptoms of ADHD via alterations in the gut microbiota.

Researchers conducted experiments using two groups of rats: one with ADHD-like symptoms and another without. They further divided each group into three subgroups: those fed a standard diet, those treated with methylphenidate (an ADHD drug commonly sold as Ritalin, Concerta, or others), and those fed a ketogenic diet.

They found that both the methylphenidate and ketogenic diet interventions reduced ADHD-like behaviors, such as increased activity and hypermobility. In addition, both groups demonstrated elevated levels of various neurotransmitters, including serotonin, norepinephrine and others, in brain tissue, along with changes in the expression of key proteins related to neural signaling. Interestingly, the ketogenic diet also altered the gut microbial composition in ADHD-like rats, especially microbes involved in amino acid and sugar metabolism.

These findings suggest that the ketogenic diet may hold promise as a novel approach for mitigating ADHD-related behavioral challenges, possibly by influencing the gut microbiota. It also underscores the robust effects the ketogenic diet has on the brain. Learn more in this clip featuring Dr. Dominic D'Agostino.

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