ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews
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Elimination Diet

How to identify food sensitivities that may impact ADHD symptoms.

6 Comments & Reviews: Elimination Diet

  1. My 9 year-old son with ADHD is on an elimination diet (and no meds) and it is working really well for him. So well that you can tell when he cheats, it’s very apparent. I would say that the effects are not as strong as when he was on meds, but fairly close, and with no side effects. Before meds he was wild at home and very inattentive at school. So inattentive that by the end of first grade he hadn’t completed enough work to go on to second grade. He wasn’t dumb, he just couldn’t sit still long enough to get work done and learn. Second time around for first grade we medicated him and by October he had progressed so far that they bumped back up to second grade where he belonged. But the rollercoaster of emotional side-effects, the all-nighters when he couldn’t sleep due to his meds, the lack of weight gain and then the weight loss, the midnight hallucinations, the unexplained hives, the variety of drugs we tried, his lack of sparkle and personality, all this crap just got to be too much for us all. We gave him a medication vacation over the summer break and tried the elimination diet to help save our sanity over break with him off meds. It worked so well we never went back to meds. Now on the diet all the side effects are gone, he has gained a ton of weight (in a good way), and his symptoms are controlled so well that several people have thought that he was still on meds. He is also keeping up with his grade level work and even did above average on his standardized testing. For us we get the best results when we avoid the things he is sensitive to (we had food sensitivity testing done by a naturopath). For him it is gluten first and foremost, that gets the biggest reaction. But other things that affect him are milk, soy, dyes, and artificial ingredients—just to a lesser extent.

  2. We tried a gluten-free diet with our son, and over 30 days, he was 80% less likely to get in trouble at school than the previous 6 months.

    So, we are sticking to gluten-free as much as possible on school days, especially for breakfast & lunch. It doesn’t solve all his symptoms, but he does behave “better” at school.

  3. I have Crohns and probably Attention Problems but my son has been diagnosed with ADHD and just recently with Dyslexia.

    My intestinal issues have led to many other problems but since I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (by Elaine Gottschall,
    I have been seeing a huge difference in my brain function: concentration and memory.

    We started our son on a bit of this diet (as we have a hard time removing all grains, milk, sugars and carbs but have managed to cut back a lot). We have also added omega 3, digestive enzymes, probiotics and multivitamins called FOCUS. In doing these little things, our son has managed to make a big breakthrough in his learning and his reading and writing skills along with his concentration have improved tremendously. His teacher even asking if we had changed or raised his medication as in class, he was a lot more on task, on time with the others and really doing well. We strongly believe in this diet and the positive effects of it. In learning recently that our son is also dyslexic, we are going to implement a lot more of this diet and see what the effects on his learning will be. We strongly recommend you read the book and follow as much as you can. Your child will benefit from it 100%.

  4. I also had a similar experience with an elimination diet when my daughter was first diagnosed. She was seven and we discovered her “triggers” to be sugar, colouring, and dairy (big surprise). She felt utterly deprived! With lots of coaxing, we hung in for about 6 months. At that point we decided to do a two week trial of meds. The difference was like a miracle! The clincher was when her reading teacher approached me to say that she wasn’t sure what happened but reading had suddenly “clicked”. We have never looked back and have never regretted our decision.

    We still pay attention to diet, high protein breakfast, no “treats” during the school day, but we are by no means vigilant. We had to find the happy medium for our family. We had to find small powerful changes that felt reasonable to her and to us. That’s what worked for us anyway.

    We also supplement with omega 3 to try to keep her med dosage lower.

  5. Unfortunately, we had the exact same experience/lack of results as did ANMom. In a desperate bid to avoid medications, we’ve been willing to try everything under the sun, and had read very encouraging things about this, but it didn’t work for us, though it has for others, so I would definitely give it a go. We did the gluten-free casein-free diet, and pretty much eat organic and preservative/additive-free foods anyways. My son (7 years-old) also felt very frustrated with the restrictions of the GFCF diet, and it was crazy time-consuming and expensive for my husband and I, who both work full time and also have a 2 year-old. I will say, however, that it was enlightening to learn how pervasive gluten is, and we’ve definitely added a lot of GF products into our diet, especially since they are becoming more readily available and mainstream. I thought GFCF was pretty manageable if you had time to cook everything fresh (we did a lot of tacos, pasta, fish, etc), but school lunches & just being out & about were really difficult. GF is pretty easy to do, but CF isn’t. We’re now trying Synaptol, a homeopathic medicine, and he’s been on it for a couple of weeks, but I haven’t seen any improvement. Keeping my fingers crossed, still.

  6. We tried an elimination diet when my son was first diagnosed at 4 years old. Did it for about 6-8 months. We did not notice a difference in his behavior. If anything, it made it worse because he HATED having to give up certain foods and didn’t understand why he couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating @ home & school and that caused major tantrums.

    Also, it’s pretty much a part-time job to plan, shop and prepare these kinds of meals. If you work a full-time job it’s virtually impossible to keep up with all of it.

    You’ll have to take your own food for him to everything—birthday parties, school functions, camps, church activities, etc. if you want him to have any kind of social life.

    The amount of time, energy & money spent doing this FAR outweighed any benefits that we saw.

    I’ve heard that other people had great success with it; we didn’t.

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