Links Between Gluten and ADHD

Links Between Gluten and ADHD

Let’s explore the connections between gluten and ADHD. Did you know a study done in 2006 a study was published about a group of celiac disease sufferers who were tested for ADHD symptoms while on a gluten diet? After 6 months of living on a gluten- free diet researchers discovered their symptoms of ADHD had dramatically reduced.

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Celiac, Gluten Sensitivity and ADHD

It appears the symptoms of ADHD (executive functioning difficulties and mood) can also occur with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. It’s not a one size fits all approach, many with ADHD do not improve with the elimination of gluten while others do. What we do know is that there is a link between the two. Therefore, it’s possible that celiac or gluten sensitivity could be misdiagnosed as ADHD or diagnosed with ADHD while gluten sensitivity or celiac are undiagnosed.

Gluten Sensitivity Identification

Gluten Sensitivity and ADHDIt’s not so simple as taking a test. Celiac disease can be present but not show up on testing. There is no test for gluten sensitivity. CD causes damage to the small intestine due to the body’s inability to process gluten properly while GS does not.
Research estimates that approximately 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity, a figure that is six times greater than the number of Americans who have celiac disease. What stands out is 67% of those with ADHD tested positive for CD. That’s far higher than the incidence of celiac in the general population, which is about 1%.

The symptoms overlap so much that the researchers are suggesting people should be screened for celiac disease symptoms by default along with being screened for ADHD symptoms.

Gluten Elimination Diets

Gluten Elimination Diets for ADHDTalk to your doctor about getting a test for CD. Even if it doesn’t show up you can do an elimination diet and see if you or your child improves. One of my students went of a GF and we didn’t think it did much. Mom put her back on gluten and she immediately was short-tempered, angry and less focused. When she went back on a GF diet, she was happier and better able to focus.

It wasn’t a magic cure but it made a significant difference!

Linda Karanzalis, MS

Linda Karanzalis, MS, is a former special education classroom teacher with over 25 years of experience in the areas of learning disabilities, ADHD, social-emotional learning, social skills training, and behavior management

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