Connecting gut health and hyperactivity disorders

 In Opinion

I often treat patients with ADHD, Autism, Hyperactivity and focus issues.
These disorders are all on a spectrum but a lot of them can be linked to gut health. In alternative medical circles it is understood that a happy gut equals a happy mind. I have seen this connection time and time again in practice.
Unfortunately we live in a society where the gut flora and bacteria are easily depleted and compromised. The main culprit in our society is due to overuse of antibiotics but also from the additives in our food, the pollutants that we ingest and breathe in and also the types of food that we choose to put in our bodies.
Here are some interesting facts from Genestra on the connection between gluten and dairy and hyperactivity disorders:
• Up to 50 per cent of Autistic and sufferers of ADHD co-present with intestinal symptoms;
• Proven intestinal pathology alongside Autism and ADHD includes leaky gut, inflammation and overt colitis;
• This gut pathology is related to sensitivity to certain foods especially gluten-containing grains and dairy products;
• Intestinal symptoms and Autism/ADHD severity decrease when exclusion dairy and wheat diets are introduced;
• This link is due to gluten and dairy proteins being broken down in the gut into peptides with opiate properties similar to endorphins and opiate drugs;
• These dietary ‘exorphins’ are absorbed from the gut and reach the brain where they cause symptoms associated with autism.
Removal of these irritating foods is important but also healing the gut to help the system better digest and limit reactivity.
I frequently use probiotics to do this in order to recolonize the gut with healthy bacteria and flora. This also decreases inflammation and increases the way the brain synthesizes neurotransmitters in the brain.
Our gut health is important for our whole body, but especially our brains.

Kate Hunter is a naturopathic doctor who is practising at Body ‘n Balance on weekends.Visit www.katehunternd.com.

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