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ADHD Causes: Leaky Gut

What we call attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, should not be considered a disorder in itself, but rather the symptoms of an underlying problem in the body and brain.  In the last decade, several research studies have started linking leaky gut syndrome to ADHD and other chronic conditions. According to their findings, children with ADHD experience a lot of gastrointestinal problems, even if they do not exhibit any gastrointestinal symptoms!  You might be wondering what a leaky gut has to do with a behavioral disorder like ADHD, especially since the former is a digestive problem and the latter is a neurological, brain problem.  If you read on, you'll find out neurological dysfunctions often find their root in that gastrointestinal problems.  

The human body's gastrointestinal system is quite unusual because, like the skin, it is in direct contact with the external environment. The gastrointestinal system is also the only bodily system with its own nervous system, which is called the enteric nervous system.  It contains as many neurons as the spinal cord, and is so well developed that scientists refer to it as the "second brain."  As a matter of fact, 95% of serotonin – the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good and relaxed – is produced by our gut.  Besides being our body's second nervous system, the gastrointestinal system host about 60% of our immune system.  It also contains a complex ecosystem of gut flora – hundreds of species of healthy and friendly bacteria that keeps us in good health.

Not all the bacteria in the body are beneficial though; some of them are detrimental to our health if they are allowed to overdevelop. When bacterial overgrowth occurs in the gastrointestinal system, the bad bacteria steal nutrients, produces toxins ,and activates the immune system. All these result in an inflammation of the gut lining.  If the gut is inflamed, it cannot filter out toxins and peptides properly.  Instead of absorbing vitamins and minerals and keeping toxins out, it does the opposite –vitamins and minerals don't get absorbed optimally while the body absorbs harmful toxins.  When this happens, we say that the person has a permeable intestine or leaky gut syndrome.  

Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome are varied and may include gluten intolerance, abdominal pain, poor memory, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and depression.  It's not surprising that these symptoms are also some of the health problems experienced by children with ADHD.  

Because 50-70% of children with ADHD experience gastrointestinal imbalances, healing a leaky gut is an essential part of the UnRitalin Solution's 14 Keys to Overcoming ADHD.  Correcting leaky gut syndrome requires a specific protocol that can only be done by a doctor trained in functional medicine, a holistic chiropractor, or a naturopath.  The process is done in four stages.

  1. Remove. In the first stage, everything that overburdens the gastrointestinal tract is removed. This includes food allergies, artificial food additives, casein (from wheat), and gluten (from dairy products), as well as harmful bacteria, which are neutralized using plants.
  2. Replace. Digestive enzymes are given to help the proper digestion of foods. 
  3. Reinoculate. In the third stage, healthy bacteria are reinoculated (added back) to restore balance in the gastrointestinal flora.  This is done by giving probiotics (supplements of healthy bacteria) and/or prebiotics (food that helps healthy bacteria grow).
  4. Repair. The final stage involves repairing the intestine lining so it can recover its role as a filter.

Check out the UnRitalin Solution if you would like to know more about the important role the gut plays in ADHD and how restoring proper gut function is an essential step to overcoming ADHD naturally.