Gluten is a protein that is mainly present in grains such as rye, wheat and barley. It can also be found in some processed foods such as soy sauce. A significant number of individuals tend to react unfavorably to gluten, a condition referred to as gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance is thought to afflict an estimated 35 percent of American population.
Various studies have found a conclusive link between gluten intolerance in children and attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADD is a condition that manifests itself in childhood that it makes it difficult for a person to control his or her impulsive responses. Gluten intolerance is also associated with certain behavioral and rheumatic disorders such as bipolar disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Symptoms of ADD in Children
The three main characteristics of ADD in children are impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. Children with ADD are mostly impulsive and hyperactive, but able to pay attention, or; inattentive, but not impulsive or hyperactive; and, hyperactive, inattentive and impulsive (this is the most frequent form of ADD).Children who suffer from ADD have trouble focusing on what is happening around them and tend to switch from one task to another without completing any of them.
Link between Celiac Disease and ADD
A 2011 study by a German Physician Helmut Niederhofer found a conclusive link between behavioral disorders such as depression to gluten consumption in the study participants, who were aged 7 to 42 years. There was a noticeable decrease in ADD and depression after the participants observed a gluten-free diet after a considerable period of time.
Observing a Gluten-Free Diet
A gluten-free diet is fast gaining popularity in medical circles as a possible treatment for behavioral disorders such as ADD. This fact notwithstanding, this diet isn’t regarded as a standard treatment for ADD except for individuals who suffer from the celiac disease. While switching to a gluten-free diet can be difficult, there are numerous books and online resources offering information, reviews and recipes for celiac disease. You can also consult your doctor for assistance regarding observing a gluten-free diet.
Significance of Gluten-Free Diet
Owing to the growing wealth of research evidence linking gluten intolerance to behavioral disorders such as ADD, avoiding gluten-rich foods can lead to a marked improvement in children with ADD. This helps them overcome learning difficulties.
Need to Get Tested
Regardless of whether a study has been conducted that links gluten intolerance with behavioral disorders, you should visit a doctor. Consider having your child tested for gluten sensitivity if he or she exhibits symptoms associated with ADD. Sometimes, a blood test and intestinal biopsy won’t prove a conclusive link between ADD and gluten sensitivity. Hence, request the physician to carry out genetic testing to determine whether the ADD is genetic.
Moreover, seek your doctor’s advice to clarify whether a food allergy could be the cause of your child’s behavioral disorder. You should be careful when switching to another diet to ensure that important nutrients aren’t left out.