View Full Version : ADHD and eating gluten free


deathbybread
10-09-10, 08:58 PM
What has everyone heard about the relationship between ADHD and eating gluten free? Or even ADHD and Celiac Disease?

I was diagnosed with Celiac disease about 7 years ago and am in the process of being diagnosed with ADHD now. I have seen a lot of information on people saying "eating gluten free relieves ADHD symptoms!" (by people with and without celiac disease), however I just have such a hard time believing this is actually the case? I am very strict about keeping gluten OUT of my diet, yet I've also been struggling with ADHD symptoms my entire life!

JayT
10-10-10, 08:50 AM
i don't know of the relationship between adhd and gluten free, but I definitely feel better overall when I avoid gluten, and that helps.

We have been experimenting with gluten free of and on for about 6 months to try to help my wifes thyroid condition (hashimoto's, which is a immune system problem also). Since I have been avoiding gluten, I seem to be affected by it more when I do eat it now.

We both feel better when not eating gluten, but it's difficult and expensive.

I'll have to pay attention to the ADHD relationship, but it's probably one of those things that helps some and not others.

kamui82
10-10-10, 01:14 PM
I am a dietitian with ADHD, so I have scoured the research for solid links between diet and ADHD, it's unfortunately inconclusive in many cases (although there are some promising studies). Having worked with parents of children with developmental disabilities like autism, I know that although the studies with gluten-free/casein-free aren't conclusive, there are parents out there that had have success with it. We don't know if it's the structure of the diet itself (just that it is very rigid and controlled and perhaps the structure itself is beneficial), or if it's the removal of gluten. It's definitely not effective in all cases, and needs to be done under the supervision of a professional (preferably a registered dietitian).

All that being said, having celiac means you need to avoid gluten always and forever regardless! Eating gluten certainly can worsen your ADHD symptoms (causing brain fog and memory issues, etc), but for those without celiac eating a gluten-free diet is not currently a recommended dietary intervention.

As an aside for non-celiac folks here, gluten-free diets can be deficient in certain vitamins/minerals because many gluten-free foods are not enriched, and if you do happen to have undiagnosed celiac, going gluten-free before you are tested will cause you test negative and can make it harder to get a positive diagnosis. I don't recommend it for people without celiac disease or gluten intolerance. If you suspect celiac disease or gluten intolerance, I highly advise asking your physician to be tested.

(Just a disclaimer, this post does not constitute medical nutrition recommendations, just my professional opinion).

deathbybread
10-12-10, 09:30 AM
Very informative! Thanks for the input!

jonny87
10-30-10, 07:27 PM
I'm currently on a gluten free diet to see if I am gluten intolerant. Iv been diagnosed with ADHD-PI, but since fatigue and depression/low mood can be from gluten intolerance I thought Id give it a go.

It's been two weeks and Iv noticed that I'm focusing on my business more, but this could be totally coincidental and I'm just more in the mood to do it now because I have deadlines coming up, or simply because I've got nothing else to do since me and the girlfriend are not seeing each other much lol.

I did notice tho that today I was in a bad mood for no real reason...like really annoyed and irritable when someone annoyed me...I mean too annoyed really. And then I realised that I stupidly added oats to my protein shake last night....I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Anyway I will carry on with the diet for a few more weeks I think and then try something with gluten in to see if I have a reacton.

Anyone else here found that their depression or ADHD improved while going gluten free?

Jonny

Lunacie
10-30-10, 08:32 PM
I have to agree that so far the research is inconclusive. People were so excited when Jenny McCarthy claimed that going gluten-free had cured her son's Autism. Sorry lady, but if going gluten-free made that big a difference, then your child wasn't truly Autistic. He had something that was Autistic-Like, either caused by Celiac's or exercabated by it.

deathbybread
10-30-10, 08:37 PM
Pretty much my whole family has celiac disease, and when my sister sticks to her GF diet her moods noticeably improve. I also have celiac disease and eat very strictly GF. I don't have problems with depression but I do tend to have anxiety issues. Eating gluten doesn't make them worse, for example if I accidentally ingest it. However when I eat gluten accidentally I definitely get very irritable and tremendously more spacey. Like when I have stomach aches for a couple days after eating gluten my whole body feels fuzzy, especially my stomach, as it heals itself.

jonny87
10-30-10, 08:48 PM
Thing is I don't have any other symptoms apart from those that could be ADHD (tiredness/fatigue, mood problems and getting irritable/angry too easily, inattention, very very bad memory) so i think my diagnosis of ADHD-PI was correct, but I'd like to rule out gluten intolerance incase that is making me more irritable and tired than I would otherwise be.

BTW I have been on the diet for 2 weeks and want to stay on it for a few more weeks because I read it can take this long in some people for the body to recover from the gluten and I want to completely rule out gluten intolerance. But I'm seeing a pdoc next week and expect him to give some new meds. Won't the change in meds make it hard to tell the effects of the gluten-free diet? Or will reintroducing gluten at the end of the diet make it obvious if my body is intolerant or not from getting a reaction?

Thanks
Jonny

Lunacie
10-30-10, 09:30 PM
Thing is I don't have any other symptoms apart from those that could be ADHD (tiredness/fatigue, mood problems and getting irritable/angry too easily, inattention, very very bad memory) so i think my diagnosis of ADHD-PI was correct, but I'd like to rule out gluten intolerance incase that is making me more irritable and tired than I would otherwise be.

BTW I have been on the diet for 2 weeks and want to stay on it for a few more weeks because I read it can take this long in some people for the body to recover from the gluten and I want to completely rule out gluten intolerance. But I'm seeing a pdoc next week and expect him to give some new meds. Won't the change in meds make it hard to tell the effects of the gluten-free diet? Or will reintroducing gluten at the end of the diet make it obvious if my body is intolerant or not from getting a reaction?

Thanks
Jonny

What about asking your GP to run the test for gluten-intolerance/Celiac's?

Paraffin
10-31-10, 02:45 AM
Gluten free can help feel better but a lot of it is paccebo (unless you truly are celieac or gluten intolerant, which are both rare).

Even if you have those conditions, I haven't seen any proof that there is a link, just anecdotes (which I don't trust).

deathbybread
10-31-10, 11:40 AM
Celiac disease isn't rare, according to research from the Mayo clinic, 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac disease although many go undiagnosed. If you're going to get tested for Celiac disease, they usually do both a blood test and a biopsy. In order for the test to yield accurate results though you need to eat gluten every day for a couple weeks because what it looks for is the white blood cell autoimmune reaction to gluten in your blood.

I was reading the book "gluten free for dummies" a little while ago and in there it mentioned correlations between celiac disease and ADHD which was interesting. I tried googling it for more info but all I can find when I google it is people claiming eating gluten free relieves ADHD symptoms.

Lunacie
10-31-10, 06:40 PM
Yeah, it's hard to find info on actual studies. This article talks about a couple of studies. http://www.suite101.com/content/gluten-sensitivity-and-adhd-a118375

It seems that people who have Celiac's Disease MAY have symptoms that are similar to ADHD, but it certainly doesn't explain every case of ADHD. And according to this study, only about 20% of those diagnosed with Celiac's Disease have syptoms that are similar to ADHD.

ya-ya
12-14-10, 03:19 AM
I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and I'm wondering if you guys that are on a strict gluten-free diet have also ruled out the possibility of your medications and supplements containing gluten. If so, can you share what manufacturers have stimulant formulations that are gluten free? I am particularly interested in methlyphenidate but any information would be appreciated and may also help others.

I will also share any information I find out from contacting manufacturers over the next few weeks.

Thanks in advance for any information you guys have about this...

Driver
12-14-10, 05:12 AM
I'm gluten-intolerant and ADD.

For me, going gluten free has helped my ADD by giving me more energy and eliminated the brain fog (and I think gluten exacerbated my depression).

I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and I'm wondering if you guys that are on a strict gluten-free diet have also ruled out the possibility of your medications and supplements containing gluten. If so, can you share what manufacturers have stimulant formulations that are gluten free? I am particularly interested in methlyphenidate but any information would be appreciated and may also help others.

I will also share any information I find out from contacting manufacturers over the next few weeks.

Thanks in advance for any information you guys have about this...

This is why I'm not on meds: the meds available to me are not gluten free.

In Australia, Ritalin and Dexamphetamine are not gluten free. Attenta (methyphenidate) was gluten-free, but is no longer available in Australia.

Concerta and Ritalin LA are gluten-free and I'm pretty sure Strattera is.

As for Adderall and Vyvanse: NFI, as they're not available in Australia.

deathbybread
12-14-10, 08:56 AM
Here's a list of gluten-free drugs. Where I get my medicine filled, Wegmans (US), the pharmacy makes sure gluten (usually hidden in "starch" on a medicine label) is not on the inactive ingredients list.

http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/Glutenlist.htm

ya-ya
03-15-11, 07:25 PM
Thanks so much for responding! I thought I had set the option to have responses emailed to me, but I guess I did not, so I'm just now seeing these posts! I still haven't had a chance to contact the manufacturers but its on my list... I did find out from my pharmacist (and reviewing the drug inserts) that all of the generic methylphenidate manufacturers include lactose in their formulations but they do not seem to include gluten. Meanwhile, I appreciate the links and all of the helpful info you guys have provided. I had checked the glutenfreedrugs.com site before, but its great to see an updated list! Thank you deathbybread!!!:)

quark
03-22-11, 12:20 AM
Gluten free can help feel better but a lot of it is paccebo (unless you truly are celieac or gluten intolerant, which are both rare).

Even if you have those conditions, I haven't seen any proof that there is a link, just anecdotes (which I don't trust).

I was just diagnosed with celiac. going gluten free seems to have relieved some of the brain static and slightly decreased my distractibility. Still ADD tho, but it feels like I'm back to my old brain instead of the stronger symptoms I've experienced recently.

Canuck223
03-22-11, 05:21 AM
A close friend was on anti depressants for years due to generalized anxiety. When other symptoms began to be hard to ignore, she spoke with her doctor about the possibility of her having celiac. They agreed to try in two phases.

She eliminated gluten from her diet and within a short period, many of her health issues normalized.

She took quite a while to titrate down off the anti-depressants, and I suspect is still taking them but at a much lower dose.

I hate friend-of-friend stories, but in her case eliminating wheat has been a very good move.

She's lost about 35% of her former BMI, and looks great. Her digestive problems have disappeared.

NatashaGrey
03-28-11, 11:14 PM
Always take good care of your thyroid... all of your body's functions depend on it! Thyroid supplements (http://www.nutri-meds.com/Nutri_Meds_Desiccated_Bovine_Thyroid_Capsules_p/nm-g-btc.htm) are great help.

whereismy
03-01-13, 08:40 AM
I'm currently on a gluten free diet to see if I am gluten intolerant. Iv been diagnosed with ADHD-PI, but since fatigue and depression/low mood can be from gluten intolerance I thought Id give it a go.

It's been two weeks and Iv noticed that I'm focusing on my business more, but this could be totally coincidental and I'm just more in the mood to do it now because I have deadlines coming up, or simply because I've got nothing else to do since me and the girlfriend are not seeing each other much lol.

I did notice tho that today I was in a bad mood for no real reason...like really annoyed and irritable when someone annoyed me...I mean too annoyed really. And then I realised that I stupidly added oats to my protein shake last night....I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Anyway I will carry on with the diet for a few more weeks I think and then try something with gluten in to see if I have a reacton.

Anyone else here found that their depression or ADHD improved while going gluten free?

Jonny

Hi Jonny

I stumbled across this thread on a search on adhd and gluten

I decided to cut out gluten and as much as possible artificial flavours/colors etc about a week ago. I have adhd and have been suffering from fatigue for a few months now with no diagnosis for the fatigue (my adhd was diagnosed years ago and i am on amphetamines + suppliments for that). I am pretty sure I was tested for celiac disease a few years ago and it was negative (though i did read somewhere they now think there are 6 different things in gluten that we can make antibodies to (making antibodies against something is a sign of our bodies intolerance to that thing).

But anyway, here are my observations so far...

Firstly I would say that I have been finding my problems with fatigue tend to come and go almost like a cycle - so it could just be that I have swung into the 'good'phase of the cycle. I will definately need to stay on this for a least 1-2 months to be able to say for sure. I have also been getting more sleep and exercising more so those things could also both account for my observations. Ive also cut down on alcohol a lot in the last 2 weeks

But that aside I have really felt great - in comparison to normal, in the last week since I cut out gluten. My energy is WAY better, my focus is great - even when not on meds it feels much better, my mood ( a big one for me, adhd makes me irritable, miserable and often I just DONT want to be around people when its bad) and that part of things in particular is much much better. I am also much more alert in the mornings (I have delayed sleep phase syndrome and this morning I almost 'bounced'out of bed - I really cant think of any time ever that Ive done that before!

Im more focused at work, more tolerant, happier, much more interested in being around people etc. So to be honest I REALLY hope that the gluten was the problem as I happily go off gluten forever (and pay about 3x as much for a loaf of bread lol) if it meant I would feel this good all the time!

Though I am sure I have been tested and was negative, interestingly (to me anyway) I have food intolerances - and never been able to say for sure what foods - but the problems with my stomach that they cause have been absent this last week. I came across some info online that indicated that for anyone who has gastro/bowel problems - that the state of health of the stomach - some drs now believe has a big impact on the state of the mind. so maybe my stomach problems were impacting my mood, focus and so on and thats why I feel much better.

I would say that even though I feel great this last week, I dont feel 'cured'of adhd. But I do feel that its much much easier this last week to manage my adhd. I havent lost things as often, and have been calmer when i did. I still do adhd things though.

I will try and remember to post back here in a few weeks with an update on the gluten free - I will be sticking to it for at least another few weeks as everything i have read indicates about 60 days is needed to be sure.

But based on my experience so far, I would suggest that everyone who has issues with bloating, tiredness, depression/irritable, cant focus, impatient and/or stomch problems such as gas or irritable bowel type symptoms give this a go. It may not work, but as long as you can afford the cost and time of getting gluten free foods, its not going to cause any harm to try it.

As for me, Im really hoping & praying that the improvements over the last week are going to be a permanent thing.