I Can Help You Help Your Child.
There is no "ADHD diet", there is no "autism diet". But there are many things parents can do with diet and lifestyle that have been shown to turn around ADHD behaviour in children and lessen the symptoms of autism.
When you improve the health of the body you help resolve neurological issues because the body and the brain are connected.
In my book, Raising Resilience, I go though a two pronged approach to building a healthier body so we can build a healthier brain.
PRONG ONE is to reduce irritation. PRONG TWO is to improve nourishment.
People with ADHD and autism seem to share some typical nutrient deficiencies. These deficiencies can be the result of poor intake or they can also result from poor absorption or metabolic imbalances that render the nutrients unusable for the cells.
For a variety of reasons that differ from person to person, children with behavioural, learning or mental health challenges tend to have a higher toxic burden than most. This includes the accumulation of metals and environmental contaminants, but also internally generated chemicals coming from pathogenic organisms in the gut and the process of metabolism. These waste products can interfere with nutrient absorption, can contribute to inflammation, and can generally interfere with function.
There is now a vast body of research connecting the health of the digestive tract with the function of the brain. When the probiotic gut flora are not healthy pathogenic bacteria and fungi are allowed to proliferate. This causes damage to the gut lining and creates neurotoxins that can affect brain function, behaviour, mood and learning. Imbalances in the gut flora also interfere with the function of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin & GABA.
When food is not digested properly the nervous and immune systems can become activated. A number of inflammatory chemicals are released which can lead to extremely diverse symptoms including depression, skin problems, respiratory issues, poor focus & hyperactivity. Over 200 symptoms have been associated with adverse food reactions, some which overlap with symptoms of ADHD & autism.
A diet high in carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates like flour and sugar), along with impaired glucose metabolism (common in kids with Autism & ADHD), can cause blood sugar swings and hormonal shifts which can contribute to ADHD behaviour and exacerbate autistic symptoms. Some children (and adults) are more sensitive to blood sugar fluctuations.
Well, yes and no. There are certain genes that, when present and “turned on”, make a body more prone to developing neurological symptoms. There does seem to be a genetic factor for ADHD and there likely is one for autism as well.
We know however, from Epigenetic research that, to quote Dr Kenneth Bock, “genes might load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger”. That is, even if someone inherits a gene that predisposes them to a particular condition such as ADHD, environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle determine if that gene will be switched on. In utero and early childhood are critical times for genetic expression and nutrition plays a key role.
There are also nutrition and lifestyle-related issues that can exacerbate or even mimic symptoms of ADHD and autism. These factors are independent of, but might be related to, autism or ADHD genes.
When we do that, symptoms reduce, medical treatments and other therapies become more effective, and your child can function their very best.
We'll send you the 4 Pillars Of Resilient Health™ cheat sheet to get you started and you'll hear from us periodically via email.