Research has found that gluten sensitivity could be at the root of many neurological and psychiatric conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may sound strange to find that a grain you eat, and found in most of your food in some form or other, can have a negative effect on a brain function, but it is possible. If you want to improve your memory should you avoid Gluten? If this is the case changing diet could make a big change in the lives of ADHD children and their families, and they could possibly eliminate the drugs they have been taking that have adverse side effects.
Being gluten sensitive is not an easy life. If you look at the grocery shelves, most items contain gluten in some form. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley and many oats.
Gluten has long been known that people with celiac disease are also more likely to suffer from ADHD, and it can cause significant damage. Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy.
Chronic inflammation, like that found in celiac disease, can cause problems in the brain. Grains are known to make worse any condition that has its root in chronic inflammation. It’s important then that the inflammation be reduced to improve mental health. By eliminating gluten from the diet many people who experience a wide variety of mental and emotional health issues can see vast improvements.
Sugar has most often been cited as the culprit when treating ADHD, even though grains act as sugar in the body. Gluten sensitivity is often overlooked in the treatment. Scientists know that wheat, dairy and soy contain exceptionally high levels of two amino acids — glutamine and aspartic acid, which eventually, through several chemical processes, end up as glutamate, an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the development of the brain, long-term memory, and for learning.
In gluten-sensitive people glutamate may react differently than in normal brains, and when it comes in contact with particular brain cells it could cause them to become excessively excited – a chemical process called “excitotoxins.”
Excitotoxins are stored inside the brain instead of outside of it in a gluten sensitive people. This can lead to calcium-induced cell damage and lost connections between brain cells (synapse) – to the point the brain cells will eventually die off. This process may contribute to nervous system disorders such as epilepsy, ADD/ADHD and migraines as well as neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, and others. Excess glutamate has been shown to cause significant impairment of brain development in babies and can lead to mental retardation.
Two recent studies have show that the amount of glutamine in the brain could predict the brain damage seen both in pediatric brain injury and brain damage as an offshoot of seizures. By adding large amounts of glutamine to the diet you increase the amount that is processed in the brain and converted to glutamate.
Dietary changes that could help in the treatment for gluten-sensitive people include:
- Taking most grains and sugars out of your diet
- Drinking non- fluoridated waster instead of soft drinks, milk and fruit juices
- Eat more foods that contain Krill oil and Omega3 fatty acids. Krill oil is more absorbable than the omega-3s in fish oil, but both are excellent for brain health.
- Eliminate as much processed fats as possible, especially trans fats that interrupt nerve cell communication.
- Try to avoid all processed foods – especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, fructose and preservatives that may trigger or worsen symptoms.
Finding gluten can be a tricky business. It is commonly hidden in processed foods like ready-made soups, soy sauce, candies, cold cuts, and various low- and no-fat products, as well as refined grain products like bread, pizza crust, pasta, cookies and pastries. Food-borne excitotoxins are included in such additives as MSG, aspartame, hydrolyzed protein and soy protein extract. So if you are serious and want to improve your memory not only is memory training a key but perhaps removing Gluten.
You have to become an expert at reading labels and knowing the key words gluten can go by. Extensive research may be necessary, but in the long-run it will pay off by lessening to eliminating any symptoms of ADHD, and also the need for medication that has some serious side-effects — like Ritalin.
This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. Hopefully, with the elimination of gluten in the diet people who suffer from ADD/ADHD may see an improvement in their symptoms and go on to a more normal life, free of drug therapy.
PubMed.gov – A new paradigm for depression in new mothers: the central role of inflammation and how breastfeeding and anti-inflammatory treatments protect maternal mental health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17397549?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_SingleItemSupl.Pubmed_Discovery_PMC&linkpos=3&log$=citedinpmcarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed
Mercola.com – Child Have ADHD? Stop Feeding Them This: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/02/gluten-contribute-to-adhd.aspx?e_cid=20111102_DNL_art_2