Pycnogenol for ADHD Brain

Pycnogenol and Proanthocyanidins

Most people probably have not heard of pycnogenol. But I’m sure you have heard of the heart health benefit of red wine. “Ahhh”. But, wait a minute. It’s not that simple.

Let me back up a little.

Pycnogenol is not the substance or chemical in red wine that is linked to lower cardiac disease risk. In fact, it is a US registered trademark of the maritime pine tree bark extract from France.

So, how are pycnogenol and red wine related?

Simple. The active ingredient in pycnogenol is proanthocyanidins, also known as OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). The same flavonoids found in red wine. It is proanthocyanidins in red wine that helps to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and varicose veins.

Proanthocyanidins are also found in many other plants beside maritime pine bark. It can be found in apples, cinnamon, aronia fruit, cocoa beans, grape seed, grape skin and red wines. However, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids. Cocoa beans contain the highest concentrations.

RELATED ARTICLE: Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Proanthocyanidins’ antioxidant effects are 20 times more potent than Vitamin C and 50 times more potent than Vitamin E.

Proanthocyanidins found in French maritime pine bark (or pycnogenol) and grape seed extract work directly to strengthen the blood vessel walls to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues.

In children with ADHD, this mean better blood flow and oxygen supply to the ADHD brain, which is thought to have a poor blood flow.

See also: Gingko biloba and Ginseng

It can potentially stimulate the immune system to help with detoxification, which is an area that children with ADHD needed assistance with. As an antioxidant, pycnogenol reduces oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals from the environment. These free radicals damage cells and can contribute to many diseases.

OTHER USES

Pycnogenol is also used for treating circulation problems, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, painful menstrual periods, erectile dysfunction (ED), and retinopathy.

Get high quality Pycnogenol here…

How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain?

It’s amazing all the new info recently coming out from new researches and studies are changing medicine.

I recently attended several nutrition conferences and I learned A LOT of new and surprising information.

Many of the nutrition advices that we’ve been adhering to over the years have been proven ALL WRONG!!!

I’m glad these new findings are emerging because I’ve been recommending some of these advices over the last couple of years, and finally, I have evidence to support them.

One of these new concepts were intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet.

I’m a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition. There are only 2 reasons I put patients on a ketogenic diet – mitochondrial disorder or intractable seizure control. These are the only 2 medical reasons for ketogenic diet.

These conferences opened my eyes to a whole new world about the food we eat everyday. The idea of ketogenic diet for autism, Alzheimer’s and ADHD were introduced.

One of the conferences I attended was called “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” presented by Dr. Michael Lara, who is a neuropsychiatrist.

Dr. Lara explains that ADHD and Alzheimer’s are like diabetes of the brain cells. Because of insulin-resistance, the brain cells are not able to use glucose efficiently for energy just like in diabetes where tissue cells are not able to use glucose. The alternative source of energy, fat, which bypass the defects, seems to work very well in patients with ADHD and Alzheimer’s.

When fat is used as an alternative source of fuel, ketone bodies are made. The body’s cells may be able to use ketone bodies as an alternative fuel when glucose is unavailable. Ketone bodies do not normally circulate in the body unless it has been starving for a few days, or if one is on a very low-carb diet, such as ketogenic diet. In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.

How to Start the Ketogenic Diet for ADHD?

This is actually a MODIFIED ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet that I administer on my patients are extremely restrictive and I use a keto ratio of 5:1, meaning 5 parts fat to 1 part carb/protein.

The ketogenic diet we’ll be discussing here will be temporary and intermittent. According to Dr. Lara, all you need is 12-18 hours of fasting x2-3 times a week. If you eat your last meal at 7pm, wake up that next morning and eat first carb-containg meal at say 10-11am, you’ll have fast 15 hours.

There is this doctor, who fixed her husband’s Alzheimer’s with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil twice a day. Now knowing that skipping breakfast couple times a day is actually good for you, I’ll suggest taking the coconut oil in the morning when you skip breakfast, which means no carbs.

You can facilitate the ketosis with a high fat or ketogenic breakfast. For our purpose of ADHD focus, a cup of bulletproof coffee or caffeine-free turmeric golden milk.  Both made with coconut oil.

The caffeine from the coffee will help increase focus and concentration. The fats from coconut oil and butter will push the body into ketosis along with the overnight fast, which results in ketone bodies that the brain cells would use instead of carbs.

Get the Best Bulletproof Coffee recipe for the ADHD

What’s All the Hype with Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil has become a household item because of its multipurpose uses. You can eat it and you can wear it.

Here we’re most interested in its nutritional benefits. Coconut oil is special because of its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acid profile. Coconut oil is rich in MCT oil. And there are 3 types of MCT oil in coconut oil. The one we’re most interested here is the caprylic acid because of its unique power in promoting ketosis.

By including coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid, your body will enter ketosis faster and more ketones bodies are available for the brain cells.

Get the high quality organic coconut oil here…

The Best Bulletproof Coffee Recipe for ADHD

 

The best bulletproof coffee recipe for our purpose is the one that results in the most focus and concentration.

What are we looking for?

The caffeine in the coffee help increase focus and concentration by increasing activity in the frontal cortex.

The fats from the coconut oil and butter will promote ketosis and ketones bodies to feed the ADHD brain, especially the coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid.

This bulletproof coffee recipe should be sugar-free and carb-free to maximize results, and consumed in the morning as part of the 12-18 hours fast discussed in the How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain.

Dump all the ingredients into the blender:

  • 1 cup brewed coffee (my favorite is illy for its smoothie and mild flavor)
  • 1 tbsp Kerigold organic grassfed butter
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Stevia as needed for sweetness

Blend and enjoy.

If you don’t care about the ketosis, then you can add sweeteners for taste.

The Fruits and Vegetables Story…

Fruits and vegetables feeds your body and mind

This is the fruits and vegetables story I tell kids all the time, especially the picky ones. Make sure they’re old enough to understand. Most of the time, I’d see the light bulb light up in their eyes.

Here’s my late night commercial sales pitch for fruits and vegetables…

You know why you need to eat fruits and vegetables?

Our body is a giant bag of tissues made up of living cells…37.2 TRILLION living cells in each of us to be exact.

Wow…that’s a lot of household to take care of.

These living cells are what’s keeping us alive and human.

Within each of these cells, there are hundreds and thousands of biochemical reaction happening every single seconds whether you’re running, sitting, walking, sleeping, etc.

These biochemical reactions must go on in order for our body to survive.

However, each of these biochemical reactions can only happen in the presence of either a vitamin or minerals or both. Missing any of these components, these reactions may not happen.

You know where the best sources of these vital vitamins and minerals?

Yes…fruits and vegetables!

You know how fruits and vegetables come in all different shades and color?

fruits and vegetables color wheel

What gives fruits and vegetables their pretty colors are what we call “antioxidants”. These are special cleaners for our body because our body cannot make many of them on our own.

Think of your body like a house. If you keeping bring stuff in your house everything and not clean or take out the trash, what would your house look like?

Same here with your body…if you eat junk food everyday and not have any fruits and vegetables to help clean, what would your body ends up like.

That’s why God created fruits and vegetables for human beings.

When you eat the right kind of food, meaning a lots of fruits and vegetables, you’ll have enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidant to make sure the biochemical reactions in your body function properly.

When all the biochemical reactions are function properly, that means, all your organs include your brain will function properly too. You’ll have more energy, run faster, focus and concentrate better in class, and feels happier and better mood too.

How to Start Eating More Fruits and Vegetables?

Follow a Plant-based Diet

Meditation Increases Focus & Concentration in Children




You may look at meditation as a form of “mental exercise” that alters the level of consciousness of your by mind bringing your mind inward into your inner self.

Whatever that means…basically, it means shutting down the outside and stay inside, if you understand what I mean.

To me, being in a meditative state is like being in my own “Anna’s in the Wonderland”. You’ll kind of in between being awake and asleep.

It’s abstract…you have to try it to understand.

The practice of meditation has been around for over two thousand years, originating in countries in Southeast Asia. It has always been associated with religious rituals.

It is, in some ways, like prayers or religious chants, except that it has no religious boundaries. Anyone can practice this mental art form regardless of faith or belief.

The goal is to redirect one’s attention toward one’s inner self. It is a very spiritual and personal experience. It is a very unusual and mind-changing experience. Its experience is almost like a paradox – you’re supposed to not focus on anything, but the experience itself increases your awareness of your universe, which all of us are connected to. If you have not meditate before, I highly recommend that you try it.

I remember one time I was meditating after a group yoga lesson. It was only 10 minutes meditation at the end. My father has just passed away a few months early. All of the sudden I felt a very strong feeling that I missed my father, and felt this overwhelming sadness. Tears started pouring from my eyes and I just could not stop crying. It was a very strange feeling. It seemed like the meditating somehow allow my mind to finally relax and let the bottled emotions escaped.

It has many physiological benefits, and increasing focus and concentration is one of them. Thousands of researches and studies have shown the benefit of meditation and its effects on metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes. Scientists are interested in exploring its mechanism and benefits. However, after years of scientific studies we still have no knowledge of the exact mechanism of how the practice condones all these physiological benefits.

The most fascinating thing is that meditation can alter brain waves and brain activities. Now that we know our brain is capable of remodeling or rewiring itself throughout life.

It is a very calming and refreshing experience. Many description of meditation involves some kind of mental engagement that requires a lot of focus and concentration. And focus and concentration is what many children with ADHD are lacking. However, it does not mean meditation is impossible.

Start by looking at it as “quiet time”. Even if your child can’t sit with their eyes close for 5 minutes. Have them start by being quiet for 5 minutes, not making any noise or big movements. They can play with their stuffed animals, draw, or whatever they want. You can also play some soothing music in the background.

You can also do the “quiet time” right before bed. Snuggle with your child, read a story and kiss him or her good night. Then turn off the lights. Some children have difficulty falling asleep. Be firm and tell your child he or she has to stay in the dark room and not make noise. OK night light is allowed. Most children will eventually fall asleep.

 

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If your child has difficulty with falling asleep at night, you might want to look into Epsom salt bath and/or melatonin at bedtime. Both of these can help children with ADHD to wind down and be ready for bed.

The Epsom salt bath can help calm the body, and the sulfate in Epsom salt helps to improve the body’s detoxification system. Melatonin is a natural sleeping aid. It is suspected that children with ADHD have a natural tendency to not produce enough melatonin at night, when they need it most to fall asleep.

When we first started trying meditation, my daughter did not like it. Just the thought of sitting down and doing nothing for 5 minutes sounds like torture to her. She was 10 years old, so it is still quite easy to persuade her to do it. She would set her own timer on her watch, which gives her some feeling of control. We try to do it everyday, but of course it’s hit or miss.

After meditating several times, my daughter did acknowledge some benefits, such as feeling calmness, refreshed, and increased alertness which helps to clear her mind for mentally-demanding tasks. Now she does not fight me as much if I ask her to meditate before she tackles her homework. Yet, 5 minutes is still what she is up for.

For starter, aim for five minutes or less, something that you know your child can easily handle. Be sure to make it fun, otherwise, they are not going to do it again. I used to snuggle with my daughter in her bed at bedtime, then I would let her put one of her favorite stuffed animal on her belly while she is lying on her back.

I would ask her to take deep breaths until she sees her stuffed animal rises and falls on her belly. This helps to teach her the breathing part of the practice. The trick is taking long deep breaths that fill up the belly. Slowly you can add the counting from 1-10 to make the breaths longer.




Detox with Epsom Salt

Epsom salt’s main component is magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). It is harvested from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. It is named after an English town, “Epsom” in Surrey, England, from which this salt originates.

Epsom salt is traditionally used as a bath salt. It has many beneficial properties, such as relieving muscle aches/pains, insect bug bites, sunburns, replenishing youthful skin and detoxification. The detoxification property of Epsom salt is what we are most interested about here for children with ADHD and/or autism.

The chemical symbol of magnesium sulfate is MgSO4. Thus, it contains one molecule of magnesium, one molecule of sulfur and 4 molecules of oxygen. When it dissolves in water, it dissociates into an positive ion magnesium (Mg+) and a negative ion of sulfate (SO4-).

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Sulfate is needed in the phase 2 liver detoxification process for sulfuration. Phenol-sulfotransferase (PST) detoxifies excess hormones, phenols, amines, and toxins produced by intestinal yeast. It facilitates the transfer of sulfate molecule from sulfate-donor to phenol compounds, resulting in a soluble complex that can easily be excreted by the kidneys.

Sulfur-containing amino acids, such as cysteine, methionine and taurine are major sulfur-donors in the body. However, children with ADHD are thought to have suboptimal phenol-sulfurotransferase system due to inadequate sulfate intake. Because of this limitation, the body cannot eliminate toxins efficiently.

Furthermore, heavy metals, such as mercury, lead and cadmium from the environment attach to the sulfur group of protein, inhibiting the release of sulfate from the amino acid complex.

Phenols occur naturally in many of our common foods, such as bioflavonoids, carotenoids (carotene, lutein, lycopene, xanthophylls, and zeaxanthin), phytoestrogen (estrogen-like substances in plants) and salicylates (salts of aspirin) in our colorful fruits and vegetables. Yeasts or candida in the intestines also produce phenol.

The inadequate intake of sulfur-containing amino acids, excessive overload of heavy metals, and excessive intake of dietary phenols, phytoestrogen and salicylates work together to sabotage the phenol-sulfotransferase system. Thus, toxic compounds build up in the system resulting in the notorious ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, lack of focus, irritability, aggression, etc.

Symptoms of PST or sulfate deficiency include reddened ears, hyperactivity, inappropriate laughter, night sweats, dark circles under eyes, excessive thirst, aggressive behaviors, head-banging, eczema, facial flushing, and trouble falling to sleep, disturbed sleep and odorous bed-clothes.

Diets limited in salicylates and phytoestrogen,such as Feingold diet, and diets that eliminates intestinal yeast overgrowth, such as Body Ecology diet or Specific Carbohydrate diet, may reduce the workload on the already suppressed PST enzyme.

FOOD SOURCES OF SULFATE

Remember. Source of sulfate for PST is sulfur-containing amino acids, such as cysteine, methionine, and taurine. My suggestion would be a healthy balanced diet with high biological value animal protein, such as animal protein. Besides, children with ADHD need to start the day with a good high protein breakfast. If you are looking for a source of sulfate, you will be disappointed because sulfate is found mostly in processed foods as additives.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Sulfur is poorly absorbed orally as supplement. The best route to supplement sulfate is with Epsom salt bath. The magnesium sulfate salt in Epsom dissolves into a solution, and is readily absorbed into the body through the skin.

HOW TO USE THE SALT?

Most people do a bath or foot soak. But I make a topical paste that works wonderfully. It saves time, energy and water. Best of all, my daughter stops having that funny smell when she sweats, and wakes up in the morning.

Simply dissolve about a 1 teaspoon of the salt with about 1 teaspoon of water enough to dissolve most of the salt. As the salt dissolves, you’ll notice the water thickens slightly. It’s okay if not all the salt is dissolved. It just means that solution is saturated with Epsom salt.

Now you can apply this solution onto the skin with a make-up brush or cotton balls. I usually do this on my daughter’s legs right before she goes to bed. It is best to do this at bedtime, I have a parent who told me that the Epsom salt makes his son sleepy. This is because magnesium helps calm the ADHD brain.

You will notice a thin layer of white salt on the skin as the water evaporates. The salt will continue to be absorbed as long as it stays in contact with the skin. You can leave that on, because the salt usually gets rubbed off during the night. The sulfate is thought to circulate in the body up to about nine hours.

If you prefers the good old Epsom salt bath, simply fill a bath tub with hot water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt. You may also add 1 cup of baking soda and some lavender oil for additional soothing effects. Soak for about 20 minutes.

You may read to your child during this time. Be sure to not leave little children unattended in the bath tub filled with water. The bath is best taken prior to bed time at night to wind down.

Some children may become agitated after taking Epsom salt bath. It is suggested that you start the bath with 1/4 cup of Epsom salt first, and then slowly increase over several weeks.

People frequently have the misconception that toxins are being drawn out of the skin pores into the bath water. Soaking in the salt bath, allows the body to absorb the magnesium and sulfate through the skin into the body’s detoxification system.

Besides a full bath, you can also do a foot bath for 15 minutes while doing homework or reading. Of course, you’ll save a lot of water and use a lot less salt.

Better Focus and Memory with Gingko Biloba




 

You have probably heard about this super herb, ginkgo biloba that helps with memory and focus. Research has shown that gingko is a powerful herb for boosting memory. However, that is just one of the many potential benefits Gingko has to offer.

Ginkgo has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is traditionally used to treat respiratory issues such as asthma, wheezing, or coughing, incontinence, and digestive problems. It helps with circulation and is also used to cure depression and dementia, as well as for inner ear problems such as tinnitus or vertigo.

Its benefit for brain function is widely recognized. Ginkgo is used extensively to treat dementia in Europe. And the American Geriatric Society has also issue a statement that “Ginkgo biloba may help people suffering from Alzheimer’s.”

GINKGO BILOBA AND ADHD

Ginkgo leaves contain substances that thin blood and improve muscle tone in the walls of blood vessels to enhance blood flow, especially to the brain. Ginkgo enhances the nervous system by increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain, which is frequently what the ADHD brain tends to lack. Ginkgo is also protects the brain against degeneration as a powerful antioxidant. Ginkgo helps to improve focus in the ADHD brain by inhibiting norepinephrine reuptake.

Ginkgo has shown good results in treating patients who have mental problems that are associated with circulation issues. These are issues such as memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It has also shown positive results in the prevention of these diseases.

There is evidence that ginkgo leaf extract used in combination with American ginseng ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) showed improvement in ADHD symptoms such as anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children age 3 to 17 year-old.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Extracts of Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides). Ginkgo leaf extract may be taken at 80-160ml twice a day. Studies have shown that ginkgo biloba is best used together with ginseng to get better results in mind clarity.

The herb is generally well tolerated, but due to multiple case reports of bleeding, it should be used cautiously in patients on anticoagulant therapy and those with known blood clotting disorders, or prior to some surgical or dental procedures.

Ginkgo may interact with medications. Please consult your physician before starting ginkgo leaf extract if you are taking any prescription medication for diabetes, blood pressure, seizure, etc.

Get your gingko biloba + ginseng supplements here…




What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut…

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut, as the words suggest, is describing a “HOLEy” intestine.

By the way, leaky gut does have a fancier scientific name – “increased intestinal permeability” or “intestinal hyperpermeability”.

In a normal healthy intestine, the cells lining the intestinal walls are glued very tightly to each other. In fact, the joining point of the cells are called tight junction, so we’re reminded that they’re tight.

The intestine is the body’s first line of defense against the outside world. No matter how clean you wash your hands, utensils, cook your food or raw food. There’ll be unwanted guests being ingested the same time.

This is where our intestines save our lives everyday as our shining armor. The intestine wall is supposed to block out everything that is harmful to our body, and selectively allow what our body needs to pass through into the circulatory system or lymphatic system. Just like a bouncer at the club entrance. No entrance if you’re not on the VIP list.

For reasons we’ll discuss shortly, the intestine lining gets challenged and the integrity of the tight junction is being sabotaged, resulting in a compromised defense mechanism and the intestinal wall become less selective of what’s allowed to cross the barrier into the blood stream.

This can be dangerous, as we already mentioned, God knows what else is in the food we eat.

With the not-so-tight junction now, anything that can fit through the gap, will enter. That means, partially digested food now can get through without being thoroughly digested. Bacteria, virus and fungus can enter into the bloodstream. Toxins from liver and bile generated from the body.

The not-so-tight junction is now free for all.

These uninvited guests trigger autoimmune reactions, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.

Leaky gut results in hepatic dysfunction and pancreatic insufficiency, which further impede food digestion and toxin accumulation, and making the gut more permeable, creating a vicious cycle of food allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic distress.

So…what happened now?

First we need to figure out why our gut becomes leaky or “holey”.

There are many possible causes of leaky gut. Definitely, anything that’s harmful to the intestines, such as chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) therapy, cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

And here’s a list of medical conditions that are associated with leaky gut

• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Infectious enterocolitis
• Spondyloarthropathies
• Acne
• Eczema
• Psoriasis
• Urticaria
• AIDS/HIV infection
• Cystic fibrosis
• Pancreatic insufficiency
• Hepatic dysfunction
• Irritable bowel syndrome with food intolerance
• CFIDS
• Chronic arthritis/pain treated with NSAIDS
• Alcoholism
• Neoplasia treated with cytotoxic drugs
• Celiac disease
• Dermatitis herpetiformis
• Autism
• Childhood hyperactivity
• Environmental illness
• Multiple food and chemical sensitivities

Leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen disorders such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

And I would be wary of any diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome if you don’t have Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or asthma.

How do you know if you have leaky gut?

Having one of the above medical conditions make you at higher risk of have leaky gut. Having one of the symptoms below should increase your suspicion for leaky gut.

SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LEAKY GUT:

• Fatigue and malaise
• Joint and muscle pain
• Fevers of unknown origin
• Food allergies and intolerances
• Abdominal pain and distension
• Diarrhea
• Skin rashes
• Toxic feelings
• Cognitive and memory deficits
• Shortness of breath

If you have one or more of the medical conditions associated with leaky gut along with a few of the symptoms above, it may be wise to consider the possibility of leaky gut.

There are tests that can confirm your diagnosis of leaky gut. Or you can just start treating your leaky gut empirically with a clean nutrient dense plant-based diet that is free from toxins and filled with antioxidants.

I would suggest the second option, if you don’t want to bother with the testing and wait.

The treatment of leaky gut generally does not involve any big gun pharmaceuticals that are loaded with toxins and dangerous side effects.

To find the right treatment, we need to first understand the causes. Otherwise, we’re just keep putting bandaids on the symptoms.

So…what causes leaky gut?

Leaky gut syndrome is generally not recognized by conventional physicians. If you ask your general physician if you have leaky gut, chances are you’ll get a funny look like he/she does not know what you’re talking about.

On the other hand, a functional medicine doctor may consider runny some tests to look for clues to confirm leaky gut or bacterial dysbiosis.

Related articles: Testing for leaky gut

The leaky gut is the manifestation of the vicious cycle of allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic stress.

Each problem feeds into the next and the cycle just keep going and your symptoms continue to get worse.

The relationship between food allergies and sensitivities and the leaky gut is complicated. The leaky gut or intestinal that is “holey” is a cause of food sensitivities because it allows anything to past through. Then, when the intestine is exposed to all kinds of allergens, the immune system is activated, mast cells are deployed and histamine is released. This immune reaction makes the gut even leakier, then more undigested food past through, then more allergic reaction. And it keeps going, and going, and going…

Now with damaged epithelial cells and really leaky gut, nutrients are not absorbed properly. As a result, malnutrition happens, which further aggravates the structure, integrity and function of the epithelial cells in the intestines.

Under normal conditions, intestinal epithelial cells dies and regenerate every three to six days. This is a very demanding task that requires lots of energy and nutrients. The malnutrition, which is the result of poor nutrient absorption from the leaky gut, would hider epithelial cell repair and regeneration. As a result, the intestinal wall continues to get weaker and weaker because the body cannot catch up with the demand to regenerate new cells.

With nutrients not being absorbed properly, the microbiota in the gut will be affected. You can imagine overgrowth of all kinds of bacterial, fungus, other organism out of proportion leading to bacterial dysbiosis. These guys are supposed to be living in harmony with each other and with our guts. When certain one species grow too fast, they overcrowds the other. Even if it’s the good bacteria that is growing too fast. Too much of a good thing is not always better.

Related article: Bacterial Overgrowth/Dysbiosis

This results in disruption of the intestinal harmony and with the now bigger organism population, we also have a waste control problem.

The liver in people with leaky has to work extra hard to remove the unusual guests that enters the leaky gut, and get rid of the toxic waste generated in the crazy overpopulated gut microbiota.

The situation is putting the liver in stress.

Cytochrome P-450 oxidase is induced and the liver starts making more free radicals. The result is damaging to the liver cells. The liver dumps the toxic free radicals into the bile, which is excreted via the intestine.

The problem does not stop here. This is just the beginning.

While the toxic bile is traveling in the intestine towards the colon and hopefully, out of the body, some of the toxin is being reabsorbed back into the system. Remember from physiology class, our body normally reabsorbs some of the bile back.

Yikes…

Not only that, the toxic bile is damaging to the bile duct, intestinal wall and it can also reflux into the pancreas, affecting nutrient digestion.

This whole scenario just feeds further into the leaky gut, making the intestine more permeable to intruders.

And the cycle keeps going.

Now that we have a better understanding of the etiology of leaky gut.

Now let’s break the cycle, patch up the HOLES and heal your leaky gut.

Symptoms of ADHD

Does Your Child Have ADHD?

Well, the signs and symptoms of ADHD are pretty self-explained – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – lack of attention (or focus) and hyperactive (cannot sit still).

You know how we often jokes about ADHD when one of our friends keeps forgetting things while multitasking.

Of course, you don’t get the diagnosis of ADHD just for being forgetful occasionally.

A child has to show that he/she has at least 6 items from that category to be classified as inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive. And the child must show to have these behaviors for at least 6 months, and the behaviors are creating significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning or relationships.

A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is given when hyperactivity and impulsivity are not present. But, in general, ADHD and ADD are used interchangeably.

ADHD or ADD is usually diagnosed in childhood. We all know young children have short attention span. But if his/her attention span is unusually short-spanned for his/her age, that warrants some concern. Or an older child who is not able to stay put in his/her chair and behaves more like a toddler wandering around the classroom.

Let’s look at the list below and see how many you have.

Inattention

■ fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
■ has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
■ does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
■ does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
■ has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
■ avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
■ loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
■ easily get distracted by extraneous stimuli
■ forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity

■ fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
■ leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
■ runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
■ has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
■ “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
■ talks excessively

Impulsivity

■ blurts out answers before questions have been completed
■ has difficulty awaiting turn
■ interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

I’m sure we all can find a few of these behaviors in ourselves at one point in time. And that’s normal.

Remember, every child is different and we all learn differently. If your child’s teacher raises a concern, take the time to observe and get a proper diagnosis. Don’t jump to conclusion right away to put a label on your child.

Related article: ADHD Symptoms or Something Else?

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is another diet that aims to eradicate intestinal yeast infection by carbohydrate restriction. Elaine Gottschall introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in her book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet”.

It was originally introduced to treat many severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, etc.

Over the years people have also find other uses of the Special Carbohydrate Diet, such as treating autism, ADHD, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, speech and language delay, etc.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet suggests that many body ailments, such gastrointestinal diseases are caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast/Candida in the intestine. These harmful residents thrive on carbohydrates that are not completely digested.

Complex carbohydrates in our diet take longer to digest, and end up further down to the large intestines where bacteria and yeast lives. These undigested carbohydrates provide a good source of nutrients for these harmful bugs.

The more yeast are in the body, the more toxins the yeast produces, which are the causes of many of the behaviors we see in children with ADHD, autism, and other developmental disorders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet works by eliminating all complex carbohydrates and polysaccharides (multiple-molecule sugars, such as lactose, sucrose, starch, etc) to minimize any undigested carbohydrates from entered the lower portion of the intestines where these harmful bacteria and yeast reside.

In the SCD only monosaacharides, which are single molecule sugars, such as glucose, fructose, galactose are allowed. It is speculated that these single-molecule sugars, because of their simple structure, are easily absorbed in the upper intestine, leaving no undigested carbohydrates that would enter the lower intestine to be used by harmful bacteria or yeast/Candida. As a result, starving the harmful organisms to death and putting a stop to toxin production.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet emphasizes on carbohydrate restriction to eradicate the harmful toxin-producing organisms in our intestines. At the same time, good beneficial bacteria is introduced through SCD’s homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheeses.

Hallmark of the Diet:

1. Avoid all polysaccharides, such as lactose, sucrose, and any complex carbohydrates. Polysaccharides are molecules made up of two or sugar units. These require special enzymes to break down the chain into single sugar units.

2. Allow only monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and galactose. Monosaccharides are single unit molecules.

3. Only carbohydrates from fruits and non-starchy vegetables are allowed.

4. Honey and saccharine are the only allowed sweeteners. Saccharine is an artificial sweetener.

5. Only meats in pure unprocessed form are allowed.

6. Homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheese are allowed as a way to introduce good bacteria into the intestines. As you know dairy products are good sources of lactose, which is a two-molecule sugar (galactose and glucose). However, the fermenting processes breaks up the lactose molecules into one unit each of galactose and glucose, both of which are monosaccharides, which are allowed on this diet. Recipes are provided in the book.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

When starting this diet, you will not feel great instantly. In fact, you will start feeling really sick, which is a good sign. Yes. That’s right. “It’s a GOOD SIGN”. This is a sign that the diet is working because the yeast/Candida is dying.

Remember there is an excessive amount of yeast in your body, so when they die, all the toxins from the yeast are being released, and that’s what’s making you sick. This is called “toxic die off“.

Besides, the fact that you’re missing your sugar and carbohydrates can make you feel cranky too. Expect some ADHD-related behaviors or symptoms to worsen during “toxic die off” and there may be regression in younger children. Don’t be discouraged. After the yeast/candida and their toxins are eradicated, you will discover the improvements.

For people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein, the goat’s milk may or may not be well tolerated. Be cautious about following the Specific Carbohydrate diet if you are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. There are alternatives yogurt that can be made from non-dairy beverages, such as coconut or rice milk.

Saccharine is an artificial sweetener that some of you may avoid due to its synthetic nature. You may use honey instead.

WARNING

This is a very restrictive and regimented diet to follow. What I have here is just the surface of the diet. There are more to this diet than just avoiding sugars and carbohydrates, and eating yogurts. You’ll probably need some kitchen skills to maneuver around with some recipes.