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Nutritional Therapy for ADHD

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that relates to a collection of behavioural symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattentiveness. It is most commonly diagnosed in childhood between the ages of 6 and 12 when disruptive behaviour begins to show, however, due to a growing awareness of the condition, it is also becoming common among adults.


The aetiology of ADHD is multifactorial, meaning that there are varying influencing factors that drive the symptoms.


Here are some important contributing factors that would be addressed with Nutritional Therapy…


A key area that has been widely researched is the link between the microbiome (bacteria) in the gut and the brain. The hypothesis is that alterations in bacteria due to changes in our environment such as increased hygiene, increased exposure to antibiotics, refined and processed foods and stress, have led to disturbances in short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs), which are byproducts of fermentation in the gut when bacteria come into contact with indigestible fibre found in food.


One SCFA in particular, called propionic acid, has been identified as a driver for abnormal behaviour that is related to both ADHD and the autism spectrum. This SCFA can alter metabolic and immune pathways, as well as gene expression, which can affect the functionality of the brain cells and their receptivity to neurotransmitters, as well as their ability to regenerate and regulate inflammatory responses. Certain strains of pathogenic bacteria, such as clostridia, have been implicated in producing large amounts of propionic acid. This strain of bacteria is naturally present in the gut, however, an overgrowth can occur when good bacteria levels are compromised and/or there is an acute infection. In addition, processed wheat and dairy products often contain propionic acid as a food preservative in the form of calcium propionate. 


Exposure to toxins and heavy metals has also been implicated in the aetiology of ADHD. Research shows that significant childhood exposure to heavy metals and chemical compounds promotes neurodevelopmental toxicity and may be one of the underlying drivers of behavioural disorders among children. 


Other major factors that need addressing are blood sugar balance and liver detoxification.


If you or your child suffers with ADHD and you would like more support and guidance then please contact me for a FREE 10 minute discovery call.