I recently read a short article proclaiming that there couldn’t possibly be a connection between ADHD and gluten. While it seem like a logical conclusion in some ways, when dealing with a mysterious and somewhat biologically unknown condition of the brain such as ADHD it is difficult to know for sure. In this informational article we will cover gluten, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the gluten diet giving you the information you need to form an opinion as to the relationship as to whether gluten ADHD is real or imagined.
Gluten is protein found in grain (barley, rye, wheat) that can cause damage to the lining of the small intestines over time. The resulting condition is known as Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a hereditary intolerance to gluten that affects about 1 out of every 300 people in Italy and southwestern Ireland, yet it is almost never seen in Africa, Japan, and China. The primary concern with this condition is malabsorption of nutrients and varies depending on the damage to the small intestines. When malnourishment occurs, a whole host of problems is sure to follow, including learning problems and a poor attention span.
ADHD is a behavioral condition with biological roots that is thought to be caused by one of two neurotransmitters (brain messengers) norepinephrine and/or dopamine. The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity with only inattention in two places having to be present for a diagnosis. Attention deficit disorder also has a genetic component. First degree relatives have a five times greater chance of also having ADHD than someone who has no close relatives with the condition.
After reading the above information and making a comparison we can say for certain that both ADHD and Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy (Celiac Disease) both have a strong genetic and behavioral component.
Next, let’s explore the ADHD gluten diet.
This diet is basically very straightforward. This diet is free from barley, wheat, oats, rye, and triticale. Buckwheat and millet are commonly excluded as well. Although buckwheat is from the grass family and millet seems to be more closely related to rice they do contain proteins similar to gluten. Also, milk and milk products should be eliminated until the small intestines are able to heal in cases where Celiac Disease is present. Also, those struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity are very susceptible to behavior disruption brought on by simple carbs (white flour, pasta, potatoes, corn, white rice, and junk snacks). These should be eliminated as well.
In summary, while diet may not be the cause of attention deficit disorder certain foods can without a doubt make the symptoms much worse. For those with gluten sensitivity consuming carbohydrates such as bread and pasta makes it difficult for them to concentrate. As to whether gluten ADHD is real or not does not really matter, what matters is that the ADHD gluten diet you have employed is making a positive difference in the behavior of your child.