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    ADHD Caused by Digestive Disorder?


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 05/08/2009 - In 1996-1997, in an effort to test a hypothesis by scientist Karl Ludvig Reichelt, Norwegian researchers began a long-term study of 23 children aged 4 to 11 from the southwestern Norwegian town of Stavanger. All of the children suffered from hyperactive disorders including ADHD. All children showed abnormal levels of peptides in their urine.


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    Dr. Reichelt believed that metabolic disorders impair the effective breakdown of certain proteins in children and thereby cause mental problem, such as hyperactive disorders. Related international research has established links between protein disorder and the conditions of autism and schizophrenia.  A growing number of studies also hint that some cases of ADHD are tied to digestive disorders. Data from this Norwegian study supports the idea that ADHD may also arise from a digestive disorder.

    This study indicates that consumption of certain foods, such as milk and gluten, may contribute to ADHD in children who lack the enzyme that breaks down proteins like casein, a component of milk--which also helps in the formation of cheese.

    Interestingly, when children who lack this enzyme eat foods that require the enzyme to properly digest proteins like casein, their brains experience an opium-like effect, which might explain at least some of the spaciness and impaired attention these kids exhibit.

    According to Reichalt's theory, hyperactivity can be controlled by reducing the intake of foods that require the presence of this missing enzyme to properly break down the offending proteins.

    In the study, 22 of the 23 children were placed on strict milk-free and/or gluten-free diets. They were taken off milk products and other foods containing casein. All exhibited a rapid improvement in general well-being, including improved mental health and general behavior, improved attention-span and better learning abilities. After a year, 22 of the 23 families reported clear improvements in their child's behaviour and attention-span.

    When the kids were taken off their diets, their symptoms returned nearly immediately. Before changing their diets, most of the children were taking medications, like Ritalin, to treat their symptoms. After their diets were established, their medications were discontinued.

    By 2004, a number of the children had ceased their diets for various reasons and some have returned to medication. Still, six children remained milk-free and several had also cut out gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and to some extent oats.

    Due in part to the small sample size, and limited amounts of data from comprehensive studies on the number of ADHD children who suffer from peptide-breakdown abnormalities, the study has been met with a certain resistance among the medical community, where most doctors still believe that the evidence best supports medications like Ritalin as the best way to treat the ADHD.

    Still, the results carry weight among the parents, and among the Norwegians, as hundreds of other Norwegian children with ADHD, mainly in and around Stavanger, have in recent years been put on milk-free and/or gluten-free diets to help control ADHD and related disorders.

    Agence France Presse 2008.
    Yahoo! News 2008

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    Ever since my now 9 year old son started preschool, I have repeatedly been told that I should have him tested for ADHD. I thought that was pretty young to just jump the gun and conclude that he has a behavioral disorder, so I waited to see how he was after he matured a little bit. His behavioral issued stayed and when it started to impede with his academics, I decided that I should consider that he may in fact have ADHD. That was about two years ago. Around that same time, however, I read an article about digestive issues and behavioral/autistic problems. My son has had years of digestive problems that we have repeatedly seen the doctor for. Back then, when I first inquired about a gluten intolerance, I was succinctly dismissed and my son's digestive problems, I was told, were due to his nervousness. Funny, I told them, that he didn't seem nervous to me. Since then, he was diagnosed with ADHD and about a month ago, I made the decision to put him on Concerta. Not two weeks ago, fed up with the run around about the simple blood test to check for a gluten allergy, I put him on a gluten and dairy-free diet and stopped his meds. He was pretty sick for about five days, but after that he's been a normal kid without the behavioral issues and the digestive trouble that has plagued him for years. Maybe I haven't given enough time to see for sure, but the change has been wonderful, if not miraculous.

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    Hi, I have a 12 year old and people have also always told me to take him to doctors for his behavior issues. I honestly just thought he would grow out of it. Anyway, last year he was diagnosed with ADHD. He has also suffered from chronic acid reflux for about 4 years now. I will definitely try this diet! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    The following piece was written by Ronald Hoggan who is a teacher at Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
    The Polish one is: Kozlowska, Z.E. Results of Investigation on Children with Coeliakia Treated many Years with Gluten Free Diet Psychiatria Polska 1991; 25(2): 130-134.
    The German one is: Paul, et. al. EEG-befunde Zoeliaki-kranken Kindernin Abhaengigkeit von der Ernaehrung Zeitschrift der Klinische Medizin 1985; 40: 707-709.
    The first indicates that 71% of celiac children, when newly diagnosed, demonstrate EEG abnormalities. Now please note this caution: I HAVE NO TRAINING IN THE INTERPRETATION OF EEG READINGS.
    Nonetheless, when I compare the authors descriptions of the EEG abnormalities in celiac children, and the abnormalities in children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, there are some startling similarities.
    Paul, et. al. are paraphrased by Reichelt et. al. in THE EFFECT OF GLUTEN-FREE DIET ON GLYCOPROTEIN ATTACHED URINARY PEPTIDE EXCRETION Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 1990; 5: 223-239.
    They say: In celiac children provocation with gluten after diet causes alarmingly high frequency of EEG changes that persist up to a year (Paul et al 1985).
    I would urge (those with ADD) to be very careful to avoid contamination in (their) diets, and I would ask you to consider some alternatives to stimulant therapy (Ritalin is a brand name of the most commonly used stimulant.).
    The concept of drugging a child to facilitate learning is upsetting to me, especially when there is cause to suspect that, on the Gluten-free diet, she may improve without intervention. I know that she is falling behind now, but if her experience is similar to mine, many of my ADD type symptoms did go away during the first year. I will also forward a part of report that was forwarded to me, that showed that vitamin B-6 supplementation was as beneficial to a group of children with attention deficits, as Ritalin was. Especially in celiac disease, where vitamin deficiencies are so common, that seems a viable alternative.

  • Recent Articles

    Jefferson Adams
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    Ingredients:
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    Directions:
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    Roast in oven at 350F until browned on both sides.
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    Chop cauliflower, or break into small pieces and set aside.
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    Roxanne Bracknell
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    Jefferson Adams
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    Bakery On Main started in the small bakery of a natural foods market on Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Founder Michael Smulders listened when his customers with Celiac Disease would mention the lack of good tasting, gluten-free options available to them. Upon learning this, he believed that nobody should have to suffer due to any kind of food allergy or dietary need. From then on, his mission became creating delicious and fearlessly unique gluten-free products that were clean and great tasting, while still being safe for his Celiac customers!
    Premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes, and happy customers were our inspiration from the beginning— and are still the cornerstones of Bakery On Main today. We are a fiercely ethical company that believes in integrity and feels that happiness and wholesome, great tasting food should be harmonious. We strive for that in everything we bake in our dedicated gluten-free facility that is GFCO Certified and SQF Level 3 Certified. We use only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients and all of our products are certified Kosher Parve, dairy and casein free, and we have recently introduced certified Organic items as well! 
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/20/2018 - Currently, the only way to manage celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. That could be set to change as clinical trials begin in Australia for a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. 
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    Read more at the website for Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre.

    Source:
    FoodProcessing.com.au