An article authored by Nina Larson credits changes in diet with the successful treatment of hyperactivity in children.
As part of a long-term study that began in 1996-1997 in the southwestern Norwegian town of Stavanger, 23 children aged four to 11 — all suffering from hyperactive disorders including ADHD — were put on milk-free and/or gluten-free diets. Their development has been monitored by researchers ever since in a quest to prove a theory by scientist Karl Ludvig Reichelt that a metabolic disorder hinders the adequate breakdown of certain proteins in kids suffering from hyperactive disorders.
Eating certain foods like milk and gluten may accelerate ADHD in the children, because they lack an enzyme that breaks down proteins like casein (which is found in milk and enables milk-clotting to make cheese), explains Spokane-based Dr. Pat Dougherty, D.C. Moreover, the missing or inhibited enzyme has an opium-like effect on the children’s brains. By reducing the intake of foods containing proteins that require casein for proper digestion, the patients’ hyperactivity can be controlled.
In the study, 22 of the children taken off milk products and other foods containing casein showed an almost immediate improvement in their mental health, including overall behavior, enhanced attention-span and increased learning capabilities. The symptoms returned, however, as soon as the foods were reintroduced into their diets. Most kids had been taking medications, like Ritalin, to treat the disorders prior to changing their diets. After adjusting their food intake, however, they were taken off the medicine.
Similar international research has already been done to link the protein disorder with autism and schizophrenia. Now, ADHD may stem from the same digestive disorder as well.
“Digestive problems and metabolic imbalances have an overall effect on our bodies, even on our mental state,” explains Dr. Dougherty, who also stresses the importance of a properly functioning nervous system. Dr. Dougherty’s chiropractic practice features the Insight Subluxation Station, a technology used by NASA in the space program, to measure nervous system health and performance.
“Listen to your body and you can dramatically alter your well-being,” Dr. Dougherty continued. “That old adage is true: You are what you eat.”
“Diet Change Gives Hyperactive Kids New Taste for Life in Norway” by Nina Larson, AFP and Yahoo! News, Feb. 24, 2008.