It may sound strange to find that a grain you eat, and found in most of your food in some form or another, can have a negative effect on a brain function, but it can happen.Â Research has found that gluten sensitivity could be at the root of many neurological and psychiatric conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Often times when I finish a speech on memory training or how to improve your memory people will ask me if my memory training system will work for someone with ADD. My answer is that it will although the memory training system is not a cure for ADD.
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley and many oats. It can cause significant damage in people with celiac disease. It has long been known that people with celiac disease are also more likely to suffer from ADHD. 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.
Grains are known to make worse any condition that has its root in chronic inflammation, not matter what part of the body the inflammation is. Chronic inflammation can cause enormous problems for your brain, and itâ€™s important 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.
Gluten sensitivity is often overlooked in the treatment of ADHD. Sugar has most often been cited as the culprit, even though grains act as sugar in the body. Scientists know that wheat, dairy and soy contain exceptionally high levels of two amino acids â€“ glutamine and aspartic acid, which eventually, through several chemical processes, end up as glutamate.
Glutamate is 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 could react differently than in normal brains and when it comes in contact with particular brain cells it causes them to become excessively excited. This chemical process is called â€œexcitotoxins.â€
In a gluten sensitive person excitotoxins are stored inside the brain instead of outside, which 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.
So imagine if you are working to improve your memory with memory training and struggling with this issue. Often times, a poor memory can go deeper than just not having memory training.
In two recent studies 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 produced in the brain and converted to glutamate.
The key is to make dietary changes (drug therapy should be the last resort) including:
- Eliminating most grains and sugars.
- Replace soft drinks, milk and fruit juices with non- fluoridated waster.
- Increase Omega3 fatty acids, especially Krill oil, which is easier to absorb than the omega-3s in fish oil
- Minimize your use of nearly all processed fats, especially trans fats as they disrupt nerve cell intercommunication
- Avoid all processed foods, especially those containing fructose, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, which may trigger or worsen symptoms.
Gluten is also 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.
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