How to Improve Diet and Nutrition for Children with AADC Deficiency

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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Since eating can be difficult for children with aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency, it’s important to have a good diet and nutrition plan in place for them.

That will ensure children get all the nutrients they need, even if they aren’t eating as much.

Children with AADC deficiency don’t produce the right amount of the signaling molecules in the brain that carry messages between nerve cells. As a result, they generally have delays in mental and physical development, weak muscles, and muscle spasms. Infants with the disease can have problems with suckling or feeding.

That makes caring for a child with AADC deficiency more challenging. Because of the difficulties with eating, it’s even more important for caregivers to develop a diet plan.

How to develop a diet plan?

It’s important to speak to a licensed dietitian to build a diet plan for a child with AADC deficiency. Dietitians can suggest foods and recipes that will ensure your child gets the nutrients needed.

Some patients may need vitamin supplements if they can’t get them from their daily diet.

Keeping to the plan

It’s important to make nutrition a priority. This may mean restructuring some meals for the whole family. It’s a good idea to communicate with your child’s school, daycare or other caregivers to make sure they are aware of your child’s diet plan. Don’t forget to inform them about any supplements that your child may need to take while at school or during other activities.

Mealtime strategies

There are strategies that can help make mealtimes easier. Some tips include:

  • Don’t rush during meals. Make sure that your children know that they have as much time as they need to eat.
  • Taking small bites may make chewing and swallowing easier.
  • Minimize distractions during mealtimes, like the radio or TV. That will allow your child to concentrate on the meal.
  • Mealtimes are a good time to work on improving posture. Sitting in an upright position also can help with swallowing.


Last updated: September 5, 2019


AADC News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.