The Potential Influence of the Bacterial Microbiome on the Development and Progression of ADHD

Nutrients. 2019 Nov 17;11(11):2805. doi: 10.3390/nu11112805.


The latest research cumulates staggering information about the correlation between the microbiota-gut-brain axis and neurodevelopmental disorders. This review aims to shed light on the potential influence of the microbiome on the development of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disease, attention-deficit-hyperactive disorder (ADHD). As the etiology and pathophysiology of ADHD are still unclear, finding viable biomarkers and effective treatment still represent a challenge. Therefore, we focused on factors that have been associated with a higher risk of developing ADHD, while simultaneously influencing the microbial composition. We reviewed the effect of a differing microbial makeup on neurotransmitter concentrations important in the pathophysiology of ADHD. Additionally, we deduced factors that correlate with a high prevalence of ADHD, while simultaneously affecting the gut microbiome, such as emergency c-sections, and premature birth as the former leads to a decrease of the gut microbial diversity and the latter causes neuroprotective Lactobacillus levels to be reduced. Also, we assessed nutritional influences, such as breastfeeding, ingestion of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on the host's microbiome and development of ADHD. Finally, we discussed the potential significance of Bifidobacterium as a biomarker for ADHD, the importance of preventing premature birth as prophylaxis and nutrition as a prospective therapeutic measurement against ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD; attention-deficit-hyperactive-disorder; microbiome; microbiota-gut-brain axis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / microbiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Bifidobacterium / physiology
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents