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Gluten-Free and Special Diets for ADHD - Are they worth the time and expense?

Posted Apr 13 2012 11:22am

I write this with a very biased view, which I will explain in a minute for those of you would are new to my Blog and website. First I must state that I am the author of The Super Allergy Girl™ Allergy & Celiac Cookbook, so I have a financial interest in the gluten-free and allergy free diets. That disclosure being made, let me also assert that I do not believe that everyone should be on a gluten-free or allergen free diet. So let's dive into the topic at hand: Is a gluten-free or allergen free or special diet worth the time and expense? If you have Celiac disease - it is more than worth the time and expense - it is a life-saving must! Currently there is no other treatment for Celiac disease other than the strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. It is absolutely essential. But what about those individuals who do not have celiac disease - is there any merit to a gluten-free or allergen-free or special diet? The answer is it depends on several factors.

Part of what that answer depends on is the health condition which you are trying to address by a special diet, part of it depends on your personal values and part of the answer is contingent upon the weight you put on the pros and cons of alternative treatments. Let me take ADHD as an example. ADHD can be managed by medication, however the medications for ADHD have serious possible side effects including:

*Sudden deaths, stroke, and myocardial infarction have been reported in adults taking stimulant drugs at usual doses for ADHD

*Treatment emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children and adolescents without prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses.

*Aggressive behavior or hostility is often observed in children and adolescents with ADHD, and has been reported in clinical trials and the postmarketing experience of some medications indicated for the treatment of ADHD.

*Aggressive behavior or hostility is often observed in children and adolescents with ADHD, and has been reported in clinical trials and the postmarketing experience of some medications indicated for the treatment of ADHD.

*Long-term growth suppression (height and weight)

The above possible side-effects are serious in my humble opinion - especially the first one -sudden death, stroke and heart attack. For someone like me, the pros of medication - it is relatively easy and covered by insurance are not worth the cons - serious possible health problems. There are multiple dietary interventions that can bring relief from ADHD symptoms including the Feingold Diet® and the gluten and casein-free diet (GFCF Diet). You can find out more about the Feingold Diet® and the Feingold Program from their website, which is:

The Feingold Association has been around since 1976 and you can find a wealth of medical literature on their site about the positive impact diet has on ADHD and other health issues. The GFCF diet has become much more popular in the last decade for ADHD due primarily to the Autism community. Is it more expensive to be on a special diet? Well it depends on what diet you are considering and how you do it. We make our GFCF (and egg-free, nut free and other allergen free) foods from scratch saving a lot of money and getting better tasting foods. If you find that the cons or possible side effects from ADHD medication are not a problem, then clearly medication might be a good route for you. But for some of us moms - the risk benefit ratio is clearly tipped towards looking at non-medication interventions and for that diet is a key strategy! In my humble opinion, based on over 12 years of doing a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut free, tree-nut free, dye free, preservative free diet - it is absolutely worth the additional time and expense! Let me know if you have any questions! I am here to help!

Love,

Lisa A. Lundy

 

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