ADHD and Gut Health
ADHD and Gut Health – A Study Review
Human gut microbiome changes during a 10-week Randomised Control Trial for micronutrient supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
It has been found that your diet impacts your microbiome (gut health) and plays an important role in the regulation of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviour. There is growing evidence suggesting nutritional supplements and your diet affects both mental and physical health.
A 10-week study was conducted to investigate the effects of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (building blocks of muscle, skin and all tissues in the body) impact on gut health and overall ADHD symptoms. 17 boys took part in this study between the ages of 7 to 12 diagnosed with ADHD. There was both a treatment group who received the treatment and placebo (control) that did not receive the treatment.
It is believed that the diet can have an impact on what is called the gut-brain axis which influences neural, immune system and hormones which affects be behaviour overall.
The impact that our diet and nutrients have on the microbiome has been shown with anxiety in animals and in humans with irritable bowel syndrome. There is growing evidence that suggests nutrition plays an important role in ADHD behaviour with long term studies showing early malnutrition may be a risk factor.
Future long-term studies are required with a larger population base however the results do show possible changes occur in the short term with increasing nutrients.
For both the treatment group and placebo (no treatment), the types of bacteria in the gut shifted from Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes although Firmicutes remained consistent. Actinobacteria decreased significantly in the treatment group with an increase in Bacteroidetes with Proteobacteria having a slight increase. In the Actinobacteria consisting of Bifidobacteria (B.longum, B.adolescentis were the two major species of Bifidobacterium found).
There is a general trend in this study that suggests increased Actinobacteria may be associated with ADHD. Several studies have found Bifidobacterium including B. longum appeared to have a protective effect against developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including ADHD, whereas Aarts et al. report a higher abundance of Bifidobacterium in ADHD cases compared to controls.
The findings in this study suggest that small non-specific changes involving many different bacteria are likely to have contributed towards a minor shit in the microbiome.
This is a small study and was conducted over a short period of time however still provides some valuable insights into gut health and the changes that are possible.
Increase fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet daily.
Quality protein is important for the development of all tissues, organs and hormones of the body and is exceptionally important in the developing growing child and teenager.
Increasing home made meals at home increases the potential for healthy eating.
Sugar and processed meals are meant as a treat and are not meant for daily consumption. Eat fresh fruits, nuts and seeds for those sweet cravings.
Increase prebiotics (specific fibres that can help to populate the nutrients necessary for probiotics to establish.
Seek the help of an experienced professional who can recommend stool analysis to determine types of bacteria present and to assist in re-balancing the gut microbiome. This study suggests that perhaps B.longum may assist ADHD. Flower essences may also assist.
Stress impacts your health overall including gut health. Finding ways to de-stress is super important.
Aaron J. Stevens, A., Purcell, R., Darling, K., Eggleston, M., Kennedy, M., and Rucklidge, J. (2019). Human gut microbiome changes during a 10-week Randomised Control Trial for micronutrient supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, 9:10128 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46146-3
Ian White, Bush Flower Essences, 1991 Bantam Books.
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