II. Factors That Contribute to Causing ADHD (Continued from PART 1)
Another common factor that is found with children suffering from ADHD is constipation. This is no surprise and many children and adults alike experience a range of digestive issues.
A 2013 Journal Pediatrics study shows that children with ADHD were more likely to have constipation than children who didn’t suffer from ADHD. (1)
6. Gluten Sensitivity
Another common symptom often found in individuals with ADHD is Gluten Sensitivity. German researchers published a study that proved that children and adults with ADHD showed significant improvement in mood and behavior when a gluten-free diet was administered. (2)
7. GABA Deficiency
If a child’s gut is imbalanced, not only will the intestinal barrier most often be permeable, but the gut will be unable to produce important brain chemicals which are needed for the brain to function properly.
One of the most vital brain chemicals we all need to function optimally is the neurotransmitter GABA. Research shows that individuals with ADHD often are deficient in GABA. Some experts speculate that a GABA deficiency may even be the cause of ADHD. (3)
8. Food Intolerances/Allergies
Many research studies are showing the powerful impact that diet has on ADHD. Food Intolerances/Sensitivities and Allergies to common Allergen foods are often present in Individual with ADHD. (4)
It is not surprising that many ADHD patients have shown incredible improvement in behavior and ADHD symptoms by following an elimination diet. (4)
III. What Does Gut Health Have to Do With ADHD?
In looking over the 8 factors that are discussed in the previous section, half of the factors have to do with birth and early childhood factors such as C-section births, chronic health issues such as ear infections and over-usage of antibiotics.
All these factors contribute to gut dysbiosis which is when the gut flora is out of balance. This is when pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites far outnumber the beneficial, healthy gut microbes in the gut. An unbalanced gut will then lead to Intestinal Permeability, a.k.a. a Leaky Gut. Leaky Gut causes then causes the gut to be in a constant state of low-grade inflammation which negatively affects the brain. (5)
If an individual’s gut is imbalanced, not only will the intestinal barrier be compromised and permeable, but the gut will be unable to produce important brain chemicals and neurotransmitters NEEDED for the brain to function properly (such as GABA, Serotonin, Tryptophan, Glutamate etc.)
In order to recover those suffering from ADHD as well as help prevent children from developing ADHD, we must look to healing and balancing the microbiome, first and foremost.
IV. How to Prevent and Recover from ADHD
The first step an individual can take to heal a leaky gut is to go on a temporary elimination diet. It would be wise to eliminate gut irritating foods for a season while focusing on nutrient dense, gut healing foods. The reason for this is the cells in the gut wall renew every 5 days days. By eliminating the foods that can irritate the gut your gut while eating gut healing foods, the damaged gut wall can heal faster. The duration for the elimination diet is subjective depending on the severity of the intestinal permeability. However, a good place to start is 30 days following the protocol below:
30 Day Protocol:
Foods To ELIMINATE:
•Nuts: These can be added later and after learning how to properly prepare them through soaking.
•Gluten: I think it’s best to eliminate gluten grains all together.
•Soy, Corn, Peanuts: Unless organic, these are best avoided because they are usually GMO. They also can have aflatoxin (mold) which sin’t good for you. In general avoid them.
•Dairy: Go dairy free for a few weeks. Then try some grass-fed cultured dairy such as goat kefir. Stay away from A1 Casein conventional, pasteurized cow dairy.
•Processed foods/Fast Food/High Fructose Corn Syrup, Etc.
•Hydrogenated Oils: These oils are rancid and oxidized meaning they are toxic. Most Plant/vegetable oils fall into this category such as: canola, soy, grapeseed, rapeseed, flax oil etc.
•Excessive amounts of sugar: Going over 25g of sugar a day is too much. This may be hard but it must be done.
•No Fruit: Avoid fruit for at least 30 days as fructose can cause digestive issues for a weak, unhealthy gut.
•No Sugar and Carbohydrates: Avoid most simple carbs for 30 days. This includes white rice, processed foods, white potatoes, etc. These raise your insulin levels in your body. Limit even complex carbs and healthy sugar. Things like gluten-free grains, fruit, sweet potatoes and other starches should also be avoided in the beginning of this protocol.
Foods TO Eat:
•Gut Healing Foods: Bone Broth, Collagen/Gelatin, Coconut oil, Slippery Elm Tea
•Gut Healing Supplements: Krill oil, L-Glutamine, Licorice root, Collagen/Gelatin
•Fermented Raw Grass-fed Kefir: sheep or goat is easier to digest than cow’s milk
•Organic Protein: Grass-fed beef, wild game, organic free-range chicken, organic free-range eggs, fish, seafood etc.
•Healthy Fats: Coconut oil, Avocados, Gee, Animal fats such as Duck fat etc.
•Green Leafy Veggies: Lots and Lots of green veggies!
Also, adhere to this general rule to attain an alkaline body: at least fifty percent of your plate should be GREEN veggies.
Stay Tuned for Part 3 Coming Next week! I will cover more tips on how to Prevent and Recover from ADHD
4. Pelsser, Lidy M., et al. “Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial.” The Lancet 377.9764 (2011): 494-503.
6. Perlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain-for Life. Hachette UK, 2015. Print. pp. 92-94