Gut-Brain Axis and ADHD
Happy New Year!
I’ve written about this before, but not with such an honest picture of my family’s mental wellness. We recently made a lot of changes in our life (like moving from Rockville, MD to San Antonio, TX) to improve our life and our health, too!
Since we’ve settled in after a rather hectic 4.5 months on the road this summer and fall, we’re exercising everyday. We’re paying more attention to food choices, upping water intake, and spending more time outside in this warmer climate.
Even so, I still have occasional gut issues like bloating and pain and so does my middle son.
My eldest has been self managing his ADHD by sleeping more, running outside whenever he’s overstimulated or needs peace, and working on his passion: E-Sports.
Even though we’ve settled into new routines and are calmer in general, I know we can improve further. I’m currently teaching an adult student with PTSD. The strategies I use for him are similar to strategies I used for ADHD students to maintain focus and ensure progress. But, what if there was a way to maintain brain focus, calm and learning retetention without the pomodoro technique, schedules posted all the walls, or eating only vegetables and fiber?
I wrote an article about ADHD (autism) and gut health here. There were many children I taught on stimulant medications in MD, but in Texas the number is larger. Here, and all over the US, many elementary age children are taking psychotropic drugs to treat hyperactive adhd. Is this the only way?
Science has now PROVEN that neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are produced in the gut. We are learning that the brain takes its orders from the gut.
This means drugs like Ritalin and Concerta, which work within the brain, are only treating a symptom of adhd (lack of certain neurotransmitters in the brain).
Regrowing these transmitters in the gut would mean replacing and rebalancing the bacteria in the microbiome. Fixing the microbiome encourages the growth of missing neurotransmitters and symptoms may disappear.
Let’s compare the two treatments: Ritalin increases the action of neurotransmitters by blocking their reabsorption into your brain. This makes the transmitters more available, but it’s similar to damning a creek and rerouting the water to make a small fountain. Why not open the entire dam and let the water with freshly produced transmitters flow straight into the brain?
Why am I rehashing this stuff? Because the brain-gut axis is finally getting some of the credit it deserves from main stream science and researchers. nutritional psychology is a new-ish discipline that deserves the spotlight. Gut health is paramount to mental wellness. Mental wellness is enhanced when all 3 areas: the brain, the axis–communication nerves between the gut and the brain, and the gut are healthy.
So, after taking a reputable mental wellness quiz, our family averages a 5/10. Ugh! My individual score was a 6. Anyone who knows me knows I’m quite a happy person! I love to be social, dance, read, eat healthy and play with my children. Yet, my gut problems put me at a 6 using this spectrum:
As a family, we’re barely out of the yellow zone. In my next post I’ll outline the steps we’re taking to #getblue. The mental health improvements I’m making over the next two weeks are simple and relatively inexpensive.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your mental wellness and gut health, please email me (familyaddventures@gmail), follow me on Facebook FamilyADDventures, or send a DM on IG @familyaddventures.
I’m hosting a bunch of FB lives in Jan and Feb! I can’t wait to share my results information around building mental health!!!!
Follow my page and Join the Family ADDventures group to get the latest updates on my blog and see videos on how I treat ADHD at home (without pharmaceuticals). Remember, as a family, 3 of us have taken prescription drugs before so this is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. It’s all about sharing and learning together.