We’ve talked a lot this month about Brain Fog and ADHD — what they are separately and what treatment options are available for when the two conditions exist alongside each other.
Brain fog and ADHD, as well as many other conditions, like depression and anxiety, often circle directly back to the gut/brain connection. Formed from the same tissue during fetal development, the gut and brain remain intricately linked throughout life — so closely connected in function, that in order to heal the brain, we generally start by looking closely at gut health.
Patients come in on a regular basis with symptoms of brain fog and/or ADHD, and initial testing reveals they also have dysfunction in the intestinal tract, usually leaky gut syndrome or a drastic imbalance of gut flora.
Leaky gut, candida, and other issues of gut health cause inflammation that can trigger an immune reaction, leading to brain fog, worsening symptoms of ADHD, and a number of other conditions.
Determining gut health and treating dysfunction lies in two main areas: testing and implementing a healing nutrition plan.
There are a number of different tests we use depending on patient symptoms — genetic, food sensitivity, microbiome, stool analysis, and others — can be very helpful in pinpointing a starting point for treatment.
With or without testing, nutrition can play a major role in exacerbating or reducing symptoms of brain fog, ADHD, and other conditions seemingly unrelated to gut health. Exploring the possibility that certain foods or ways of eating are contributing to symptoms is a valuable tool in managing them.
The nutritional approach to treating both brain fog and ADHD is strikingly similar: eliminate toxins, restore balance to the microbiome, and reduce inflammation. The following are a few of the dietary strategies we use:
Elimination. Sometimes called the exclusion diet, this plan is a systematic approach to identifying food intolerances and sensitivities that cause inflammation and other symptoms. Gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and other known reactive foods are totally eliminated for a designated period of time, and then systematically reintroduced in an effort to identify food triggers. Because food sensitivity reactions can occur days after eating a trigger food, this approach allows us to isolate offenders one at a time.
Eating for Anti-inflammation. Inflammation is a factor in both brain fog and ADHD, as well as heart disease and many cancers, so steering clear of foods that cause inflammation in favor of those that actually reduce it can be extremely beneficial. Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are the focus, while cutting out, or at least severely limiting, dairy, hydrogenated oils, red meat, alcohol, sugar, and all processed foods and food additives is recommended.
Feed Your Gut Flora. When properly balanced, the microbes in your intestinal tract help fight off bacteria that cause illness. Processed and fast foods, medications and environmental toxins upset the balance of good vs. bad bacteria, leading to leaky gut and candida overgrowth and other gut dysfunction. Nurture healthy gut flora with a variety of whole, high fiber foods, fermented foods, and those rich in antioxidants, along with quality pre- and probiotics to improve digestion, restore microbial balance and repair the intestinal wall.
Optimize nutrients. People with brain fog and symptoms of ADHD often lack in important vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal brain health. These include zinc, iron, magnesium, and the vitamins B6 & D, along with certain fatty acids. You can easily find these in many fresh, organic foods, but if your diet is still lacking, quality supplementation can help.
Infinity Wellness Center offers advanced testing to identify whether or not gut dysfunction is contributing to your brain fog or ADHD symptoms, as well as nutritional counseling and high quality supplementation to restore intestinal health and improve brain function. Let us know how we can help you.