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ADHD and Food Sensitivities

By Expert HERWriter
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ADHD related image Photo: Getty Images

In the February, 2011 medical journal, The Lancet, researchers looked at the effect of a restricted elimination diet based on IgG food testing in children with ADHD. Typical symptoms are grouped into three categories, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Their goal was to evaluate the connection between this behavior and diet changes.

Children were screened for positive IgG food sensitivities (note this is different than traditional IgE testing done at most health care providers offices) and assigned to a control group or a diet group. Those children who eliminated their IgG foods for five weeks were then challenged with those particular foods and observed for behavioral changes. The researchers found 63 percent of children had a relapse of symptoms when inappropriate foods were reintroduced. Their point was to demonstrate that foods can induce ADHD behavior.

IgG stands for immunoglobulin G and it is an important part of your immune system. Just like you can be allergic to a particular food like shellfish or peanuts, you can be sensitive to it through your IgG system. It is not commonly tested because it is not viewed as a "true allergy, and while it’s not, IgG foods can cause a lot of problems in your body. They may create gastrointestinal issues, hormone problems, skin rashes, fatigue, headaches, behavior changes, sleep problems, fertility problems, and more.

The most common IgG foods are wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs. Anecdotally, I see sugar as a top contender as well. Finding a practitioner who tests for sensitivities may be difficult, however many holistic doctors, integrative clinics, and naturopathic physicians use them regularly and are skilled at interpreting the results. If you’re looking for an alternative to ADHD treatment (or perhaps you have some of the other IgG related symptoms) consider eliminating some of the foods for a good five weeks (like the study) and then challenge them back in one at a time.

Pelsser L, et al. Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet.

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EmpowHER Guest

It is very difficult to define the symptoms of ADHD in adults, mainly because there was no proper research conducted on this disorder in adults. The symptoms can be categorized into two types - symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity and inattentiveness symptoms. Other conditions which may be related to the symptoms of this chronic disorder are obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorder and bipolar disorder.
ADHD in adults

April 22, 2011 - 12:10am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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