Neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD are becoming an increasingly common problem in children, and research suggests that a lot of its symptoms are triggered because of food allergens that we might not be familiar with. This research led me to have my son tested for food intolerances to see if there were things in his diet that were contributing to his ADHD.
One research study conducted in 2011 by Lancet showed the impact of children’s diet on their ADHD symptoms. 100 children with ADHD participated in this research, half of which were placed on a restricted diet (containing rice, meat, pears, and vegetables), and the rest were placed on a normal diet. Four weeks later, 64% of children on the restricted diet showed dramatic improvement in their ADHD symptoms.
One of the first tests we did for our son was the LEAP Mediator Release food intolerance test. It tests hidden inflammatory responses to a large range of foods and food-chemicals.
A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction (IgE response) and is usually severe or life-threatening. Whereas, food intolerances are more common and occurs in your digestive tract where the body can’t break down the food or reacts to the food you’re sensitive too (Igg response). Symptoms are generally less serious but can still cause havoc on the body.
When you continue to eat foods that you are sensitive too, you continue to create inflammation in the body and so anything you do to heal the ailment is not going to work if you continue to eat the foods you are sensitive too.
My son’s food intolerances test results showed me how some of the food he was eating was reacting inside his body. I had to get rid of the problem and the only way to eliminate the impact of food intolerances on my son was through an elimination diet.
When I was studying my son’s food intolerances test report, I made a list of items that were in his diet, and needed to be removed immediately. The report showed some moderately reactive and reactive components in the food, colored separately in yellow and red, which made it easier for me to decide what food items were a definite no in his diet!
Being a parent it’s hard to say no to your child when they ask for their favorite food items. I found the best strategy was to remove the foods slowly one-by-one. Also, instead of removing some of their favorites completely from their diet, you can choose to give them those occasionally (especially the food items that were just moderately reactive). Removing corn 100% from my son’s diet was essential for me, even though it was his favorite. AND…Corn is in everything. It can disguise itself as Ascorbic Acid, Baking Powder, Caramel, Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Powdered Sugar, Starch, Sorbitol, Vanilla Extract etc etc the list goes on and on.
The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothernburg, conducted a research where 75 children and teens with ADHD were given either omega-3/6 supplements or a placebo for the duration of the first 3 months. The next 3 months, the sample was given active supplements only. Researchers found that 35% of the subjects showed a sharp reduction in their ADHD symptoms. Hence, I made it a matter of routine to give my son either salmon, or tuna so that he had a good amount of omega-3 in his diet. After doing some research, I figured that Vitamin B was vital in the creation of important brain chemicals and also improved focus. Thus, including some sea-foods in his diet became essential for me.
Moreover, since I had to remove walnuts from his diet, I started giving my son crushed almonds in breakfast. It is rich in magnesium and calms the brain, and also reduces hyperactivity to a great degree. I also made sure my son had enough probiotics, zinc and multivitamin in his diet as I realized I was taking away a lot from it because of his food intolerances. Our fave brand is this one>>
To my surprise, within a week of changing his diet, I found major improvements in his symptoms. There was noticeable improvement in his attention span, reduction in his hyperactivity, and increase in his willingness to sit still and finish his homework.
I was amazed to see this dramatic improvement, which is why I would advise all the parents to have their kids tested for food sensitivities. Knowing what you’re eating can do miracles – it definitely did in my son’s case!