Seeing the light: Shedding full-spectrum light on ADHD

Question: I have read a good amount of your advice on managing ADHD with nutrition. Do you have any other advice?

Dr. Wright: One of the most surprising ways to help reverse ADHD is actually the simplest–and it’s something you can do on your own at home right away. All it involves is changing light bulbs.

John Ott pioneered this approach as part of his research into the effects of full-spectrum lighting. Unlike “regular” fluorescent lighting, “full-spectrum light” is the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that exactly matches sunlight.

In one of Ott’s experiments, he outfitted an elementary school classroom with a dual lighting system: regular fluorescent tubes and full-spectrum fluorescent tubes. The lighting was arranged so that either the regular or the full-spectrum lighting could be turned on and off without any notable change in brightness over-all. Neither the teacher nor the children were aware which lighting system was on or when.

In co-operation with the school, Dr. Ott had placed a hidden camera in the classroom and recorded the activity of the students throughout the day. When he reviewed the recordings, he noticed a definite difference in the level of physical activity of certain students that depended on which lighting system was on.

When the full spectrum lights were on, these children stayed at their assigned places more, were more attentive, and less disruptive. But within just a few minutes after the full-spectrum lights were switched off and the regular fluorescents were switched on, these children became more nervous, noisy, and disruptive, less attentive, and got up form their places and moved about the room much more. In other words, they became hyperactive!

When the full-spectrum lights were turned back on (the lights were “overlapped” to keep the changes un-noticeable) and the regular ones were turned off, these same children went back to less hyperactive behavior within another few minutes.

Despite Dr. Ott’s visible recorded evidence, it’s usually very difficult to convince schools to change from regular to full spectrum fluorescent lighting. It is more expensive, but I know some parents who have offered to pay for the change and have still been turned down, usually on the advice of school “health authorities”–proving once again that “there are none so blind as those who will not see!”

Even if you can’t change the lighting in your child’s classroom, you can install full-spectrum light bulbs, fluorescent or incandescent, in every room in your home, making sure to put more where your child spends the most time.


Related articles of interest:

Fatty acids prove “essential” for ADHD

Beat and Treat ADD and ADHD without Drugs

Could This be the Key Factor Spiking the Rise in ADHD?


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Dr. Jonathan Wright

Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.

Thousands of doctors respect Dr. Wright as the author of the best-selling Book of Nutritional Therapy and Guide to Healing with Nutrition, as well as other classics in the field. Yet he regards all the above as secondary to his family medical practice. For more than 27 years, he has devoted his talents to helping heal many thousands of patients. Combining the most advanced new natural techniques with the best in traditional medicine, he takes a truly holistic approach.

As of today, Dr. Wright has received over 35,000 patient visits at his now-famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State.

To learn more about Dr. Wright please visit

Dr. Jonathan Wright

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  1. Lori says

    Check vitamin D levels, add omega-3’s, avoid all food additives and cut out all refined carbs, avoid household chemicals, and make sure the kid gets plenty of whole, real fats in the diet.

  2. Boomer12k says

    If we go by this experiment, it would seem that this condition is at least affected by DEFICIENT lighting. Like deficient food. People will react to deficient levels of varying things. So, I am not surprised that light deficiency may be a cause for some things. Some ADULTS suffer in Winter, but are OK in Summer. They are LIGHT DEFICIENT PEOPLE. So it can have an effect. I get under the weather when it changes. It changed two days ago, and I felt the difference.

    Be well and happy, and get sufficient!

  3. Anonymous says

    ADD and ADHD are not real diseases that can be measured with any scientific test. They are a group of questions dreamed up by a bunch of psychiatrist. Yes, children need better quality food. I agree with the lighting issue. But the disease is a larger problem of having NUTS tell us what is wrong with our kids. Feed them right. See the Weston A Price Foundation for how to feed children. Love your kids and get them outside to exercise. Then there will be no ADD or ADHD. I know this because I adopted two kids with supposed ADD & ADHD. Within three months of a good diet and exercise, the two doctors that lived three houses down could not tell that they had been diagnosed with this “disease”.

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