The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Beneficial Gut Bacteria & ADHD

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  • Bill
    #88619 |

    Has anyone investigated whether adding beneficial gut bacteria to your diet has helped with ADHD?

    I’m talking about fermented milk products, e.g. unpasteurized yogurt or fermented vegetables, e.g. “raw” sauer kraut. My understanding is that the typical north american diet, which pasteurizes / sterilizes the beneficial bacteria out of our food, ends up robbing us of vitamins and some amino acids due to the fact that those bacteria are needed to properly digest our food.

    The research is done by people like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” or Donna Gates at They put ADHD on a spectrum that includes autism and have had success in reversing these conditions in children.

    #96325 |

    I’m sorry, but my bullsh*t detector starts going off the moment someone claims to have reversed something like Autism. Jenny McCarthy claimed to have healed her kid’s Autism, only it now seems that he was never Autistic to begin with, and was misdiagnosed.

    I’m no expert, but as I understand it, there are imaging studies showing fundamental differences in the architecture of the brains of people with Autism. It’s not just a matter of vitamin deficiencies.

    As far as beneficial gut bacteria and ADHD goes, I kinda suspect that the Ukrainian diet (which includes such fermented foods as sauerkraut, yogurt and sour cream) is full beneficial gut bacteria, and yet they have a higher rate of ADHD.

    Also, I probably get my ADHD from my Dad (ADHD is highly genetic condition, more so than diabetes) and as PA Dutch speaking farm boy he was raised on his mother’s homemade sauerkraut and koch kase, and his Grade 2 teacher still told him he would never amount to anything.

    #96326 |

    Pasteurisation is important for the sake of destroying things like typhoid, scarlet fever, diptheria and salmonella. Even if, by some magic, what you heard is true (and I spent 3 months of every year before the age of six living on a farm and drinking milk fresh from cows, yet I still have ADHD), I’d prefer the ADHD to any of those.

    #96327 |

    ADD and the like cannot be cured by gut bacteria. At least there doesn’t seem to be any real studies, with replicated results that have been reviewed and accepted to prove it.

    Yes good diet has great effects. Proper nutrition lets everything run at it’s best. It may help with the distractions being hungry and under nourished could cause. It gives you energy and we tend to need a bit more where we do allot of mental work and so on..

    #96328 |

    Is it just me or does the Donna Gates site not reference any studies at all to back their statements. It does say though Quote:

    “The “Body Ecology Diet” book has evolved into a complete system for rebuilding immunity, has sold over 180,000 copies, and is now in its Tenth edition. “

    So I’d take info on that site with a big grain of salt.. or salt substitute lol

    #96329 |

    @Bill (and anyone who hasn’t yet discovered the inimitable Dr. Mark Crislip, medical specialist in infectious disease, author and regular contributor to several science and medical humour blogs). I hope the following will help put these kinds of claims in perspective. Those who don’t educate themselves risk embarrassing themselves.

    Boost Your Immune System?

    by Mark Crislip


    by Mark Crislip

    #96330 |

    About 20 years the big thing was “The Yeast Syndrome” written by John Trowbridge, M.D. and Morton Walker, D.P.M.

    That was about the wrong gut bacteria affecting symptoms including, among other things, anxiety, depression hyperactivity (in children) and poor memory. I suppose if Adult ADD was known, it might be in that list, too.

    Basically the theory is, because of the processed foods we consume and the antibiotics that are frequently over-prescribed, our beneficial bacteria is replaced by several different strains of bacteria and yeast, specifically a fungus called candida albicans. That one can be toxic and produce some of these symptoms, including “interfering with brain physiology…and cause great difficulty with brain function” according to the book. That’s just the Reader’s Digest (no pun intended) version of the premiss. I’m not saying this premiss is right or wrong, I’m just throwing it out there.

    I was primarily interested in the theory because of my life long search into why I was feeling the way I did: the diagnosis of depression and anxiety did not improve my outlook at all. We all know now why I thought that.

    To promote beneficial gut bacteria, there is a program where eating specific foods (especially garlic) helps to change that balance.

    I don’t know if there is any validity to any of this, when when you’re desperate to feel better, you will try anything. And besides, eating healthier is probably a good thing anyways.

    Hope this helps…and good luck

    #96331 |

    All I know is that taking probiotic supplements has improved my intestinal function and reduced my constipation. Haven’t noticed it helping my ADHD, though!

    #96332 |

    But I have medically diagnosed IBS, which means my bowels need all the help they can get, really…

    #96333 |

    @Saffron – Excellent articles! They correspond nicely with what I have been reading – which is to take in beneficial bacteria through yogurt and fermented foods, rather than supplements. One thing that the article doesn’t seem to cover is that some digestion is not possible without the requisite bacteria, particularly fiber or parts of raw vegetables. Mark also does not seem to cover what makes the gut ecology more welcoming to the beneficial bacteria, i.e. what we should be eating regularly.

    @Ivriniel – I understand about your BS indicator and it makes sense to me. I don’t think I’m the way I am because of diet or gut bacteria. But if I can get the focus I need when I need it with better nutrition, I’m in favour.


    #96334 |

    Dear Bill, I know it’s been two years since you posted to this site for this question.

    First, I know we are highly intuitive beings, but I also know we have had a lot of emotional turmoil in our lives, and thus, our intuition needs healing more often than not. So, when someone dismisses new ideas, be wary of where they are personally coming from. Some people just want to dismiss new ideas…period.

    That being said, yes, the GAPs diet does work on Autistic, ADHD, and other Learning Disabilities, if it happens that your gut has weak spots in it. The doctor, who wrote it, also wrote: ‘Put your heart where your mouth is”, for those who suffer heart and cholesterol problems, to better understand how the GAPs works. In my culture, we don’t ferment vegetables with whey; we eat canned green beans, or crushed olives, beets or green tomatoes in a vinegar and raw olive oil base. They are all a form of fermentation, so it is not necessary to become “Eastern European” to eat alla GAPs, I sure couldn’t stomach vegetables in whey. Even though I have never tried it, it just sounds too yucky for me.

    Also, if you happen to like sauerkraut, but get a headache from it, it is because your Histamines may be too high…so waiting 10 to 20 days for the sauerkraut to age will lessen the reaction and it will still provide you with the needed bacteria.

    I would also go see about checking your digestive system with a BIE or a Chiropractor to help speed the healing process. If you have tried it, let me know how far you got into it, and the results.

    I am currently trying it myself. I have noticed I sleep sounder now. I also am seeing a bioenergetic intolerance elimination practioner, which of course someone will tell you is a lot of hooey…but it isn’t. I no longer get bloated when I eat bread ! And, no “anecdotal” evidence isn’t enough for a hard core cynic, but, heck, at least I am getting healed, and my positive attitude is helping more than someone stuck in a mean-streak from hell. LOL…. BTW, my MD says that at my age, the Placebo affect lessens to a 17% or less, so, therefore I am not making this up and it is not a placebo effect, it is the result of a 2 appointments with the BIE practioner who uses Meridian points to eliminate food intolerances and allergies. .

    Patte Rosebank
    #96335 |

    Proper nutrition will definitely make your brain function better. However, there is ZERO solid scientific evidence that diet and “bioenergetic intolerance elimination” can work on learning disabilities, ADHD, or autism.

    There is only anecdotal evidence (people claiming that it worked for them), and that is NOT proof.

    A chiropractor is not a digestive specialist. A chiropractor ONLY deals with bones & muscles being in proper alignment. A chiropractor who claims to deal with digestive issues either has additional training in that area, or (more likely) is indulging in quackery.

    BIE (Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination) is likewise completely unproven scientifically. Therefore, it, too, is quackery.

    If you have digestive issues and food intolerances, you go to a legitimate nutritionist, allergist, or gastro-intestinal specialist. Otherwise, you are wasting your time, money, and hopes.

    This is not dismissing new ideas purely to be contrary. It is coming to a rational conclusion after evaluating the evidence (or lack of it) in a rational, objective manner.

    Unfortunately, too many people are so eager for any possible solution to their problems, that they lack this objectivity, and will fall prey to the practitioners of these questionable treatments—and will lose both a lot of money, and their self-esteem as they realize they’ve been conned.

    #96336 |

    Looks to me like they’re trying to sell you something. No matter who’s doing the selling–a medical doctor, a practitioner of alternative medicine, a retailer, or an individual who’s involved in multi level marketing–if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Good diet/sound nutrition promotes overall health, can prevent or manage many conditions, and can aid in one’s recovery from illness or injury.

    I know that other things produce symptoms which mimic those of ADD/ADHD, such as consumption of stimulant and depressant substances, thyroid deficiencies, blood sugar levels, hormonal imbalances, deficiencies or excesses of certain minerals or vitamins, etc. I know that diet affects fetal development, and brain development in children. I know that the “wrong” diet can make things worse. I don’t know of the existence of any diet which has been proven capable of curing chronic conditions which occur as a result of the ways our brains are “built”.

    Saying the right diet can “cure” something like autism, depression or ADD is somewhat like saying the right diet can cure subnormal intelligence, reverse fetal alcohol syndrome, or regrow a malformed limb.

    If learning to live with your ADD includes learning which things to include and omit from your diet, I think that’s a good thing. Just don’t let people use your desire to manage your symptoms as a means for them prey upon you.


    who is holding out for an all-chocolate or cheesecake diet which will ensure she is never hit with another late fee and her Significant Other will be able to keep track of his cell phone.

    #96337 |

    One thing that I have become aware of in the last week is blood sugar. I found out that I tend to have very low blood sugar on a morning (hypo levels) partly for reasons I won’t bore you with here.

    So inevitably I have been hyperfocussing on this for the last few days and actually bought myself a glucose monitor.

    As a result of my ADD I sometime skip meals – I either just forget, or am running so late I don’t have time. When I do that I am aware that I start to feel more stressed than usual. But it’s never really registered until now that this is important.

    So my ADD leads to low blood sugar and my low blood sugar enhances my ADD symptoms.

    So I have learned in the last few days the importance of :

    1) Eating regularly.

    2) Eating carbohydrates AND protein together.

    3) NOT snacking on chocholate or just carbohydrates – but maybe having some fruit and cheese instead.

    4) Most importantly – having supper before bedtime. Not too much – just a snack with protein in it as opposed to only carbs.

    I have been doing this diligently over the last few days and taken so many blood glucose reading that my fingers have more holes than not now.

    BUT – I feel SOOO much better – much more levelled and less drama queen-ish.

    It sounds so obvious too. But the best discovery is supper. I wake up with ‘normal’ blood sugar levels instead of a hypo and feel more able to face the day.

    So the key message from my experience – eat regularly and mix carbs with small amounts of protein and kill the refined sugar. It actually works! Yay…:)

    #96338 |

    I think there is enough evidence that points to a gut connection with a whole host of disorders. Leaky gut, and mal-absorption seem to be connected to Autism, ADHD, and auto-immune disorders. Unfortunately this area of research is unlikely to make big pharma any money…….

    As a white water kayaker, I get to ingest more bacteria than most people, and have noticed a correlation between my well being, and taking antibiotics. Unfortunately the differences in well being are really only noticeable over long time periods; making direct connections difficult.

    Certainly for me, nutrient deficiency is connected to my ADHD symptoms, and also blood pressure, heart rate, pseudogout, anxiety, and delayed onset muscle soreness. I would have been very skeptical of an ADHD connection, if it were not for the physical issues that are much more quantifiable.

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