The Connection Between DNA Methylation, ADHD, and Personalized Nutrition

November 1, 2023 8 mins to read

As I was preforming researching for my Nutritional Guide to ADHD, I discovered a complex relationship between DNA Methylation, ADHD and Nutrition. This isn’t anything new, in fact it’s well documented…it’s just not fully understood yet. So In this article I’m going to go over why DNA methylation could unlock the secrets to improving your ADHD, specifically by unveiling genetic differences in how your body processes certain nutrients. With the insights DNA methylation testing provides, you can create a nutritional plan tailored to your specific genetic makeup, which could be a game changer for your ADHD. It could transform your health and change your life!

Video | DNA Methylation and ADHD


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♬ original sound – JDNutrition

Understanding DNA Methylation | A Key to Unlocking Personalized Nutrition

DNA methylation is a fundamental epigenetic process, which involves the addition of methyl groups to our DNA. Allot of medical jargon there…in simple terms it means DNA methylation is involved in gene expression. Explaining it a bit further, DNA methylation as a process, can switch genes on or off, influencing their expression. Or in other words, affects genes which can also be involved in ADHD and how it presents in the body. It’s like having a dimmer switch on your genes; you can’t change the bulbs (DNA), but you can adjust the brightness (gene expression). There’s 2 main aspects I want to look at:

  1. DNA methylations affect on ADHD development and genes related to things like neurotransmitter signaling
  2. DNA methylations affect on nutrient absorption and how that can in turn affect ADHD development and how it presents in the body (symptoms)

ADHD, a complex and multifaceted disorder, is shaped by both genetic and environmental factors. In other words there are allot of different things that can be involved in ADHD and how it affects each person differently. Research suggests that differences in DNA methylation patterns may play a role in ADHD’s development. These methylation changes are observed in genes related to neurotransmitter signaling and brain development. It’s important to note that ADHD manifests differently in each individual, and epigenetic (gene-expression) mechanisms like methylation, might be a big part of this puzzle.

Environment & Gene Expression

Environmental influences such as stress, toxins, or nutrition can lead to epigenetic (gene-expression) changes. These changes could increase the likelihood of developing ADHD. Being an Integrative Nutrition student in College, this highlights the importance of the holistic approach to nutrition – considering both genetics and lifestyle in managing ADHD.

Western Medicine & DNA Methylation

If scientists consistently link specific DNA methylation patterns to ADHD, these could become potential targets for treatment using both traditional and alternative medicine. This promising area, however, requires more research to fully understand and apply. But what we do know is that DNA methylation can provide concrete insights into how our body processes certain nutrients, and nutrition can play a big role in ADHD, especially in how it presents in the body (symptoms).

DNA Methylation & Nutrient Metabolism | A Personalized Approach

Methylation doesn’t just play a role in ADHD; it’s also pivotal in how our bodies process and absorb nutrients. As I mentioned previously “nutrition can play a big role in ADHD, especially in how it presents in the body (symptoms)”, and if a nutritional plan is adjusted (personalized) to accommodate these DNA methylation differences, it could greatly improve quality of life for those with this condition.

Gene Expression & Nutrient Absorption | How it works

Some genes, when activated by methylation, can enhance our bodies ability to process certain nutrients. Conversely, suppressed genes could indicate challenges in metabolizing other nutrients. This mechanism can also impact the production of enzymes needed for nutrient absorption, tailoring your body’s nutritional wants and needs.

Nutrient Sensitivity

Methylation can determine how responsive you are to certain nutrients. This knowledge can guide you towards foods or supplements that are beneficial for you, or suggest moderation for others. For example you may require higher amounts of certain nutrients like B12, or may require a different form such as prescription injected or sublingual B12. Methylation differences could also help you steer away from certain forms of nutrients, whether in foods or supplements.

Personalized Nutritional Plans

Basically, by understanding your unique methylation patterns (via DNA methylation testing) you can start creating a nutrition plan tailored to your genetic predispositions, rather then just guessing and supplementing for the sake of supplementing. This approach can optimize nutrient intake and address potential imbalances, potentially improving your ADHD, quality of life and could transform your life!

The Big Picture in Personalized Nutrition

While DNA methylation does provide valuable insights, it’s just one part of the ADHD puzzle. A comprehensive (holistic) approach to personalized nutrition it what I promote, which should consider all aspect including: lifestyle, health status, and dietary preferences. DNA Methylation testing in my practice as a Nutritional Counselor (Canada) & Holistic Nutritionist (in BC, Canada) is used to address the “dietary preferences aspect” but can have a profound impact on over-all health and even open up more freedom in lifestyle through the potential for it to improve ADHD symptoms.

Conclusion | A Journey Towards Personalized Health

The relationship between DNA methylation, ADHD, and nutrition is complex and multifaceted (involves allot of different things). DNA methylation testing can unlock (some of) the secrets to ADHD, by unveiling differences in how your body processes certain nutrients, which can be used to create a nutritional plan personalized to your unique genetic makeup. As a nutrition professional, I’m excited to see this area of research evolve, and the possibilities it opens for uncovering hidden doors behind various health issues, including ADHD.

Just remember that your journey to optimal health and wellness, is a path unique to only you, and DNA methylation testing can be a powerful tool to get started optimizing your health, potentially improving your ADHD and living the life that you deserve.

Always do your own research, ask for a second opinion, and as always….stay Healthy!


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or healthcare advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health concerns.

The content in this article may discuss general health-related information but does not address individual circumstances. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

This article does not endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

The information provided is applicable to the general population and may not apply to specific individual health conditions. Regulations and health practices may vary between Canada and the USA, and this article does not cover region-specific medical practices or legal requirements.

Before starting any new treatment or nutrition plan, consult with a healthcare professional. The author and publisher are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application, or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this article.


  1. DNA Methylation and ADHD:
    • Gervin, K., Nordeng, H., Ystrom, E., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., & Lyle, R. (2017). Longitudinal DNA methylation changes in newborns with prenatal exposure to opioids. Epigenetics, 12(3), 230-240. DOI: 10.1080/15592294.2017.1287656
    • Walton, E., Pingault, J.-B., Cecil, C. A. M., Gaunt, T. R., Relton, C. L., Mill, J., & Barker, E. D. (2017). Epigenetic profiling of ADHD symptoms and its relationship to prenatal stress. Translational Psychiatry, 7(2), e1014. DOI: 10.1038/tp.2016.286
  2. Gene-Environment Interactions in ADHD:
    • Nigg, J. T. (2018). Annual Research Review: On the relations among self-regulation, self-control, executive functioning, effortful control, cognitive control, impulsivity, risk-taking, and inhibition for developmental psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(4), 340-356. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12842
  3. Methylation and Nutrient Metabolism:
    • Jones, M. J., Goodman, S. J., & Kobor, M. S. (2015). DNA methylation and healthy human aging. Aging Cell, 14(6), 924-932. DOI: 10.1111/acel.12349
    • Remely, M., Lovrecic, L., de la Garza, A. L., Migliore, L., Peterlin, B., & Haslberger, A. G. (2015). Therapeutic perspectives of epigenetically active nutrients. The British Journal of Pharmacology, 172(11), 2756-2768. DOI: 10.1111/bph.13074
  4. Personalized Nutritional Plans and Methylation:
    • Fenech, M., El-Sohemy, A., Cahill, L., Ferguson, L. R., French, T.-A. C., Tai, E. S., … & Hesketh, J. (2011). Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics: Viewpoints on the current status and applications in nutrition research and practice. Lifestyle Genomics, 4(2), 69-89. DOI: 10.1159/000327772

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