More research is unveiling a link between neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and gluten intolerance. Currently, functional and holistic doctors suggest a gluten-free diet to curb or manage ADHD symptoms such as poor focus, irritability, impulsivity, hyperactivity, fidgeting, and forgetfulness.
The functional medicine approach to combating many diseases and medical conditions is an exclusionary diet. This is when certain foods are cut out of someone’s diet to manage or get rid of symptoms for better overall health. Clinical trials show that exclusionary diets can be advantageous for the physical and mental wellness of patients diagnosed with ADHD and autism (1).
Link Between Gluten and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains and many foods including soups, sauces, cereals, and baked goods. In fact, gluten is becoming an increasingly common food additive. Many people cannot digest gluten properly and therefore suffer from GI and digestive issues.
Specifically, holistic doctors have found that children and adults suffering from neurological system dysfunction also commonly suffer from gluten intolerance. To highlight, patients with ADHD are commonly found to also be diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an auto-immune condition (2).
Unfortunately, wheat contains gluten and is sometimes contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), synthetic chemical compounds (3). PCBs dissolve in fats such as oils and spread in live organisms like our body’s gut microbiome and immune system. Multiple studies have found that children who were prenatally exposed to high PCB levels were discovered to also have lowered intelligence, inattention, impulsive behavior, and shortfalls in learning and memory (4).
Wheat gluten has also been found to have excess levels of nitric oxide (NO) (5). High NO levels can put oxidative stress on the body (6). Increased intestinal inflammation has also been discovered as a result of high NO levels from wheat gluten (7).
Nitric oxide can be very beneficial for the body and is used as a supplement. For example, it is responsible for physical processes in the body connected to immunity and radical cell death (8). Dark leafy greens, beets, garlic, meat, citrus, carrots, broccoli, and watermelon all contain NO. These foods boost immunity and help your body fight free radicals that cause cancer and other diseases.
Comparatively, NO in wheat gluten has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (9). Plus, high NO levels in wheat gluten have also been connected to neurodegenerative disorders such as ADHD and autism (10).
Functional Holistic Doctors Treat ADHD and Gluten Intolerance
Holistic doctors may prescribe a gluten-free diet to patients with ADHD and autism for improving digestive health and managing neurological disorder symptoms.
The first step in deciding if a gluten-free diet is right for you or your child is to speak with a functional holistic doctor. An in-depth consultation with a licensed functional doctor includes a complete review of a patient’s diet, sleep, daily habits, and any health concerns. From here, the proper lab work and tests can be done to detect gluten intolerance, Celiac Disease, ADHD, or anything the doctor thinks is necessary.
If you or a family member has ADHD, your holistic family doctor may encourage you to cut out gluten from your diet to avoid Celiac disease and manage symptoms. Along with a gluten-free diet, holistic doctors suggest other paired lifestyle changes.
- Consume nitric oxide from fruits, vegetables, meats, garlic, and other healthy foods.
- Look at the food label before you buy something. Gluten is a sneaky food additive.
- Use an air purifier in your home to remove other allergens and toxins from the air.
- Supplements may also strongly curb or manage your GI or digestive issues.
Luckily, most grocery stores now have a gluten-free aisle or a plethora of gluten-free pasta, bread, cereal, soups, snacks, and more!
Are you or someone you love struggling with ADHD symptoms? You might have to cut out gluten from your diet.
Contact CentreSpringMD today to book an appointment with one of our licensed functional holistic doctors. Our team will help you and your family get on track to optimal health and wellness.