If you’ve ever wondered why diet alone was not effective at reducing your child’s ADHD symptoms, read this post, because that’s what I’m going to talk about today! 

A parent sent me a private message this week that said this – “I’ve removed gluten and dairy already, and it’s not helping! What now?” 

Maybe you’ve felt like this too. 

Maybe you’ve been following me for a while, tried changing the diet, and didn’t see any improvements. So you’re left wondering, “What now?”

This is actually a pretty common problem. 

That’s because…

There’s more to reducing inflammation in the body than just changing diet alone. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

First of all, it could be detox. 

There are many symptoms and side effects of gluten detox and gluten withdrawal. Detoxing looks different for everyone. 

Here are just a few symptoms and side effects you might experience as you are coming off of gluten and experiencing gluten detox and gluten withdrawal:

  • Feeling tired, sluggish, lethargic
  • Trouble concentrating and staying focused
  • Headaches
  • Unusual tingling sensations
  • Joint pain
  • Susceptibility to catching colds & viruses
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Frequent gas, bloating or indigestion
  • Allergies and/or food sensitivities
  • Skin problems especially acne and eczema
  • Constipation, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal upset
  • Feeling depressed
  • Anxiety and anxious feelings
  • Irritability and crankiness
  • Back pain
  • Mood changes
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Sinus congestion

As you can see, the appearance of things getting worse might just be your child going through detox. 

Take detox baths or maybe some activated charcoal to help.

Having said that, if the symptoms continue for an extended period of time it would be wise to consult your doctor.

Another thing to consider is the possibility of your child sneaking gluten from somewhere. 

Could they be getting it from a friend’s house or from school or a family member’s house? If it’s in your home, could they be sneaking it sometime? 

Or could it be hiding in a product that you’re not aware of? I am constantly amazed by some of the products that contain gluten, so make sure and check your labels carefully! 

Another thing to keep in mind is that some kids take MONTHS to get those inflammatory responses out of their bodies. 

It took them X number of **years** to get to the point where they are with their current level of dysfunction/chronic symptoms, and that there are no quick fixes. 

I always tell the families I work with that it can sometimes take 3 months or even 6-12 months to see gluten get completely out of the body, depending on how much of an inflammatory response your child experiences.  

So be patient and keep doing what you’re doing!

Finally – this is key – there’s more to reducing inflammation in the body than just changing the diet alone. 

Diet is important. Absolutely! As I always say, food is the foundation. 

The first step in any healing journey is to reduce inflammation in the body. Do this by first of all removing inflammatory foods,  such as gluten, dairy and soy, as well as refined sugars, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. 

These highly inflammatory substances can lead to an autoimmune response and in some cases increased intestinal permeability (damage to the gut or “leaky gut”). 

Leaky gut is a breakdown of the lining of the gut and it forms these large holes in the lining. When we eat food (even the healthiest food), before the gut has had a chance to break it down, it can go through the holes in the gut into our bloodstream. The way the body is designed is that when something foreign goes in our blood stream it recognizes it as a foreign object and turns on an immune response. 

If that large molecule is in fact a large food macronutrient or protein, then your immune system might start sending signals to create an immune response and start creating antibodies and start attacking it and now anytime you eat that again, your immune system sees it as dangerous and attacks it, which causes more inflammation and continues to further break down the lining of the gut. 

All of this results in food intolerances, and these food intolerances continue to wreak havoc on the gut until they are removed, and it is a vicious cycle. 

The food intolerances cause leaky gut and leaky gut has caused the food intolerances. So in order to heal the gut, you must remove these foods or they will continue to break down the lining of the gut and you won’t be successful.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know which particular foods are causing the inflammatory response in a child unless we do functional lab testing. 

Maybe along with gluten, your child has another food they are sensitive to that is causing the issues. 

The functional lab tests allow us to know exactly which foods a child needs to avoid. 

Diet changes are the first step to reducing inflammation in the body. But diet is only one piece of the puzzle. 

The second step, after removing inflammatory foods, is to identify underlying stressors in the body. 

We do this through functional lab testing, to look for stressors in the gut, the immune system, the detoxification system, and genetics. We also look for the presence of heavy metals in the body. 

For the families I work with who are already gluten-dairy-soy free and are still having struggles, we often find that functional lab testing enables us to really get to the bottom of what’s going on in their child’s body. 

The third way to reduce inflammation in the body is to reduce environmental toxins (such as those from cleaning products, personal hygiene products, etc), EMF (electromagnetic fields) exposure, and technology.

Once we have taken these steps and effectively reduced inflammation in the body, then we want to focus on RESTORING the body. 

Reducing ADHD symptoms naturally is not just about what to take out or reduce, but also what to put back in!

To restore the body, begin with the diet and focus first on bringing in more fresh whole fruits and vegetables, grass fed animal protein, wild caught fish, healthy fats, and eating a variety of foods the body needs. 

Then, consider bringing in some ADHD-specific supplements like probiotics, magnesium, fish oil, etc.

Supplements can be very effective and restoring, but you can’t supplement your way out of a poor diet or a body riddled with inflammation. Also remember, supplementation should be tailored to each individual in order to address specific internal healing opportunities and provide support.

The third step in restoring the body is to optimize detoxification. No matter how hard we try, we simply can’t avoid toxins in our life. Our kids will get exposed to toxins on a daily basis, so it’s important to optimize their detoxification pathways. 

There are various ways to do this, but a few good ways to start include: eating plenty of fresh, green foods, drinking more spring water, taking detox baths, and using special supplements or binders. 

Finally, to restore the body to optimum health, focus on exercise. Exercise improves brain function, mental focus, behavior, memory, cognitive flexibility, and academic performance.

 

A few other things to think about…you want to make sure that…

✔️ Your child is sleeping well 

✔️ Your child is breathing for the brain 

✔️ Your child is in a low-stress, calm home

✔️ You are parenting specifically for ADHD (because we all know that traditional methods don’t always work for kids with ADHD) 

✔️ You have a positive, growth mindset.

These other keys are so important to reducing ADHD symptoms. 

As you can see, there are really a lot of elements that go into natural ADHD symptom reduction, and I know it can be very overwhelming so I’m happy to chat privately if you have further questions. Send me an email or reach out to me via social media. 

 


 

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And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition.