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Frazzled & Forgetful? It Might Not All Be In Your Head


Women overwhelmed, frazzled

This week, as we here in Ontario welcomed spring with sideways-blowing snow, a reminder that new beginnings and growth often arrive in unexpected ways, it got me thinking about our gut. 


Just like a hidden garden beneath the winter frost, our gut thrives with a diverse community of helpful microbes. These tiny residents act as our dedicated gardeners, diligently tending the soil (our gut) and nurturing the growth of healthy plants (our body's functions, including brain health).


These microbes are our essential gardening crew, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure a healthy ecosystem. The problem is, when our internal garden becomes overrun with weeds (harmful bacteria) or lacks vital nutrients (from a poor diet), the delicate balance is disrupted.


This imbalance can trigger inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. This inflammation can directly disrupt brain function, leading to symptoms like feeling overwhelmed, forgetful, and having difficulty concentrating – all common challenges for those with ADHD.


gut in doctors hands

New research has shed light on an exciting connection between the gut and ADHD, creating a lot of buzz (no pun intended!) about how they might be linked to mental health & ADHD.  


If you haven’t caught wind of this yet, here’s a quick rundown of the gut’s role in ADHD and why it’s causing such a stir: 


The gut isn't just about digestion; it's a major player in brain health too.


Did you know a significant portion of our "feel-good" neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, are produced there? These chemicals are crucial for focus and mood regulation, areas often challenged in ADHD.


Research suggests a balanced gut microbiome might increase the production of these "happy chemicals," potentially improving focus and reducing the intensity of ADHD symptoms.


gut brain connection

The gut and brain constantly talk through a dedicated highway – the gut-brain axis. These messages can influence mood, focus, and even how genes related to ADHD are expressed. 


Emerging research suggests the gut microbiome might influence how our DNA whispers instructions to our brain. 


A healthy gut could activate and support genes associated with focus, mood regulation, and impulse control, potentially leading to improved ADHD symptoms.

This exciting area of research highlights the profound impact gut health can have on our brain function at a fundamental level.


By understanding this powerful gut-brain connection, we can explore ways to support a healthy gut environment and turning down the volume on some of those ADHD challenges for the whole family.


3 Keys For Gut-Brain Harmony & Managing ADHD:


child food rainbow

1. Eat a Rainbow 

We know juggling a busy life - with or without ADHD in the mix - can make a varied diet difficult, especially for those with ADHD. But here's the secret: a colourful mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats nourishes the good bacteria in your gut. This diverse food palette promotes a healthy balance in your gut microbiome, supporting the production of much-needed dopamine & serotonin neurotransmitters.


2. Support the Gut Dream Team 

Imagine probiotics as the friendly residents of your gut, constantly working to maintain a healthy environment. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are their "food source" – like fertilizer for these gut buddies. By including both probiotic-rich options like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables alongside prebiotic fibres found in onions, garlic, bananas, and oats, you're essentially nurturing your gut microbiome so it can thrive.


3. Slow Down & Savour

Take a deep breath, put your phone down, and enjoy the flavours and textures of your food. This might seem simple, but for individuals with ADHD, mindful eating becomes even more crucial.


family eating mindfully

Thorough chewing doesn't just help with nutrient absorption; it also helps prevent larger food particles from irritating your gut lining. This is important because a potentially leaky gut, where the gut becomes more permeable, can trigger widespread inflammation. The gut-brain connection is a powerful one, and research suggests this inflammation can directly impact the intensity of ADHD traits.


So, by slowing down and chewing thoroughly, you're supporting both healthy digestion and potentially reducing gut-related ADHD challenges.


Modern diets and picky eating can leave our bodies lacking essential nutrients.


If you or your family struggles to keep a balanced diet - this is where supplementation can make all the difference. These are a few I recommend to my clients: 


supplements

The gut-brain connection is a fascinating area of ongoing research, offering a glimmer of hope for those managing ADHD.


Small, consistent efforts are key. As a mom and nutritionist, I've witnessed the transformative power of gradual change towards a healthier gut. 


Maybe you start by incorporating a colourful side salad at dinner a few times a week or swapping sugary snacks for a handful of berries and almonds. Every step you take towards a more balanced diet contributes to a healthier gut environment.


Fuel Your Focus Nutrition Program for ADHD

 In the Nourish phase of my Fuel Your Focus program, we go beyond traditional methods of managing ADHD by addressing the root causes, including this surprising connection between gut health and brain function


From gut-friendly foods to targeted supplementation strategies, this program will give you the knowledge and tools to help you and your family cultivate a happy gut ecosystem to help to calm some of the ADHD chaos. 


If this sounds like the kind of journey you or a loved one could use, click here to learn more about the Fuel Your Focus program.


If you are looking for support with your family’s health goals regarding mental health, ADHD or fostering a healthy relationship with food, feel free to book in a FREE assessment call so we can chat to see if holistic nutrition is a good fit for your family!



 

Amy Jones

BA Hons., B Ed., RHN, CNE, OCT

Care-Informed & Health At Every Size® Nutritionist

Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Instructor

Metabolic Balance® Coach

Certified ADHD Coach Candidate (iACT)






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