August 7, 2013

ADHD and Leaky Gut

I’ve been reading a lot of studies that suggest that ADHD is associated with a leaky gut. 

What is leaky gut?
The cells that line our intestines are closely knit together and have a glue-like substance that keeps the space between these cells secure, which makes sure the barrier function of our intestines is working optimally.  The good bacteria that fills up our intestinal lining (100 Trillion of them) help to make sure this glue and barrier are working.
In some cases, this glue between our cells breaks down and causes openings between the cells which allows yeast, undigested food particles and bacteria to leak into our blood stream and is identified by our immune system which lies beneath the surface of the intestinal lining. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome.
When we have an overgrowth of yeast, parasites or harmful bacteria or we don’t have enough good bacteria in our guts, we have what is called Dysbiosis and this is what can lead to a leaky gut.
When Johnny was born I tested positive for group b strep (every woman is checked for this). That means I was given an antibiotic during labor. That antibiotic given to me intravenously is then passed onto the baby. This ties into leaky gut because all Johnny’s bacteria (good and bad) were instantly wiped out the moment he was born. This triggered an imbalance in his intestines/gut causing him all sorts of symptoms associated with leaky gut—Autism, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontal disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn's disease and colitis stem from the inflammation triggered by a leaky gut. Malabsorption of nutrients, candida and parasitic infections along with food sensitivities and allergies are also connected with this syndrome. Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne indicate a leaky gut too.
It would be interesting to see how many ADHD children were born to mothers who were give antibiotics (for whatever reason) during labor or pregnancy.
Here’s what you can do to help leaky gut:

1) Take a daily Probiotic Supplement to promote good digestion, facilitate absorption of nutrients, boost the immune system, and help prevent an overgrowth of more harmful organisms in the digestive tract. Read the label—to make sure the product contains live cultures and check with your doctor for the optimal dosage.
2) Try an elimination diet to test for food sensitivities –  gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy and eggs are the most common foods that cause problems.  Eliminate one at a time for a week or two take note of how your gut feels and what happens to your other symptoms. *The foods you crave are usually the ones you are sensitive to.
3) Eat alkaline, fiber, and mineral rich foods such as: leafy greens (kale, lettuce), fruits (apple, berries, tomatoes, lemons), seeds and nuts (almonds, walnuts), and beans.
4) Take extra omega 3 fat supplements, which help cool inflammation in the gut.
5) Add multivitamin and Vitamin B12 supplement to restore deficiencies caused by the leaky gut. Good gut flora is important for synthesizing B Vitamins, which are crucial for a healthy metabolism, growth, calcium absorption, nervous system and more. Many children with ADD/ADHD are deficient in B vitamins

We have eliminated most of the suggested items however I’ve never given Johnny a Probiotic before. And the fact that he was born with all his good bacteria destroyed it make sense that it needs to be replaced / built-up (even if it’s years later! It’s never too late!)

This is the Probiotic I’m using. I got it at Costco.

I am also giving him a B complex vitamin too.

This leaky gut has me wondering….if we cure the leaky gut would his body then be able to tolerate wheat, dairy, and soy?

Remember Johnny was born with these issues…could it simply be because all his good bacteria was damaged when he was born so he wasn’t able to tolerate much in is gut and that the triggered an array of symptoms, intolerances, conditions, etc…?


  1. Awesome blog. You've got me thinking; things have spun out of control, and I cant imagine my son is doing these things by choice when he knows there will be consequences he wont like. Im going to try eliminating wheat first, and be SURE he takes his B, Probiotic and omega3, which he probably takes less than half the time. Keep sharing - you helped me today!!!

  2. Kim,
    I think taking out wheat will make a big difference and the probiotic, B vit, and omega 3 will help him heal. Let me know how it works. I agree with you that it doesn't make sense that our boys have these behavior by choice...I KNOW it has to do with their bodies...finding what the triggers are is what takes time. Good Luck!

  3. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comOctober 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Hi Christin,

    Healthline just published this infographic outlining ADHD statistics and numbers in a visual guide. You can see the graphic here:

    Our users found this info very useful as it showcases the high cost of ADHD and which states ADHD is most prevalent in, and I thought it would be a great resource for your page:

    Please take a look at the guide and consider adding it to your page. The graphic is also embeddable, so you can embed just the images if you choose to do so.

    Thanks again and let me know if you have any questions.

    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

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