ADHD, Autism, and Food Sensitivities
About ADHD, ASD & Food Sensitivities
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects approximately 5-10% of children and 2-5% of adults worldwide. The condition is characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, which can significantly impact a person's daily life. While the exact causes of ADHD are not fully understood, recent research suggests that food sensitivities may play a role in the development and severity of ADHD symptoms.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. While the exact causes of ASD are not fully understood, recent research suggests that food sensitivities may play a role in the development and severity of ASD symptoms.
Food sensitivities are adverse reactions to certain foods that are not related to an immune response. While food sensitivities do not typically cause life-threatening reactions, they can cause a range of symptoms, including gastrointestinal distress, headaches, fatigue, and brain fog.
Recent studies have suggested that food sensitivities may also play a role in the development and severity of ADHD and ASD symptoms. In one study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, researchers found that children with ADHD were significantly more likely to have food sensitivities than children without ADHD. The most common sensitivities were to milk, eggs, and wheat.
Another study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Neurology, found that children with ADHD who had food sensitivities experienced significant improvements in their ADHD symptoms after following an elimination diet. The elimination diet involved removing all common allergens and sensitivities from the child's diet for a period of four weeks, followed by a gradual reintroduction of foods to identify any triggers.
Additional study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, researchers found that children with ASD were more likely to have food sensitivities than typically developing children. The most common sensitivities were to gluten, casein, and soy.
The mechanism by which food sensitivities may contribute to ASD & ADHD symptoms is not fully understood. Some researchers hypothesize that food sensitivities may cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, which can impair neural function and exacerbate ASD & ADHD symptoms. Others suggest that food sensitivities may disrupt the gut-brain axis, leading to changes in neurotransmitter production and regulation.
John is a 7-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the age of 3. John's parents noticed that he had difficulty with communication, social interaction, and behavior, and he was often irritable and had frequent tantrums. They had tried various treatments, including behavioral therapy and medication, but had not seen significant improvements in John's symptoms.
John's parents began researching alternative treatments and learned about the potential role of food sensitivities in ASD symptoms. They decided to have John tested for food sensitivities and discovered that he was sensitive to gluten and dairy.
With the help of a healthcare provider, John's parents developed a plan to eliminate gluten and dairy from his diet. They replaced gluten-containing foods with gluten-free alternatives, such as rice and quinoa, and substituted dairy products with non-dairy alternatives, such as almond milk and coconut yogurt.
Within a few weeks of starting the new diet, John's parents noticed significant improvements in his behavior and mood. He was more calm and focused, had fewer tantrums, and was more communicative and interactive. They also noticed improvements in his gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating and diarrhea, which had previously been a problem for John.
Over time, John's parents gradually reintroduced gluten and dairy into his diet to identify his specific triggers. They found that John was able to tolerate small amounts of dairy, such as cheese, but that gluten seemed to be a significant trigger for his symptoms.
With the help of his healthcare provider, John's parents continued to monitor his diet and made adjustments as needed.
Today, John is a happy and active 9-year-old boy who has made significant progress in his ASD symptoms. While he still faces challenges related to his diagnosis, his parents believe that identifying and managing his food sensitivities has played an important role in his overall improvement.
In conclusion, food sensitivities may play a role in the development and severity of ASD & ADHD symptoms. For some individuals with ASD, identifying and managing food sensitivities through testing and dietary changes may lead to significant improvements in behavior, mood, and gastrointestinal symptoms
If you or your child has been diagnosed with ADHD/ ASD and you suspect that food sensitivities may be a factor you can definitely test it!
By identifying and managing potential triggers, it may be possible to improve ADHD/ASD symptoms and overall quality of life.
Schedule your free 15 minutes consultation meeting today!