Does adhd start in the gut? – Food Pharmacy

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Does adhd start in the gut?

You hear a lot about adhd these days. But if you take a look at statistics, you would understand the reason why – there’s been a significant increase in adhd diagnosis recently (15% of U.S. boys have been diagnosed with adhd), and in Sweden, there’s been a several hundred percent increase over the last few years. Some argue that the increasing diagnosis rates are simply due to under-diagnosis in the past. But at the same time, new studies suggest junk food may trigger adhd symptoms. Also, a supplement of good bacteria can actually reduce symptoms. Does gut flora play a role in adhd as well?

A couple of years ago, a Finnish follow-up study of 65 children was published, more than thirteen years after the first study was conducted. In the first study, the mothers (who were pregnant at the time) were divided into two groups. The first group of mothers was provided with a supplement of good bacteria, and the babies in that same group got the supplement until the age of six months. The mothers and babies in the other group were provided with placebo pills.

Thirteen years later, or two years ago, researchers examined the children again. Much to their surprise, they could not find one single child (!) with adhd (or Asperger’s syndrome), in the group whose participants had been provided with a supplement of good bacteria for the colon to feed on. In the other group, 6 out of 35 children (17,1%) showed signs of adhd or Asperger’s.

In the fall of 2015, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm initiated a study. The purpose was to examine the association between mental health and intake of synbiotics (probiotics and fibers), among children and young adults. We interviewed Catharina Lavebratt, head of the trial, and asked for background information. She told us that children with adhd and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often suffer from stomach or colon related problems, and raised levels of inflammatory markers. We all have hundreds of billions of bacteria in the colon, that constitute the gut microbiota – and simply put, you can divide them into evil and good bacteria. The child’s gut microbiota is more sensitive and can be harmed by, for example, antibiotics. An excess of evil bacteria may lead to an imbalance in the gut flora, which can result in inflammation. Therefore, Catharina Lavebrant suggests a healthy diet and synbiotic supplements, as an added treatment for adhd.

When we first started blogging about the gut flora and anti-inflammatory foods almost three years ago, it wasn’t a common topic of conversation. Certainly, scientists all over the world were interested, but we didn’t think “ordinary people” were aware of the importance of a healthy gut flora. Today, it has become a well-established topic, and it’s no longer bold to say that the food we eat significantly affect how we feel, both physically and mentally.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



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