ADHD and Food Allergies

The relationship between ADHD and food allergies is an important one. While often overlooked by the medical community, parents will of tell you that many foods trigger ADHD symptoms. Yes, food allergies and ADHD must be understood to find the source of ADHD behavior.

Doctor Doris Rapp has pointed out the impact of diet due to the connection between ADHD and food allergies. She observed that when ADHD children ingested certain types of food, they experienced behavioral or physical changes such as posture and energy levels as well as mood swings. They could be calm and silent one moment and the other, they would burst into energy and action.

Diet for ADHD

What was even more interesting to note was that children with ADHD who had food allergies, seemed to favor only those foods that they were allergic to. If a child was allergic to peanuts, for instance, they would often crave peanut butter and jelly. If they indeed got to eat what they wanted, their behavior would often go downhill.

One theory about ADHD and food allergies is that it is due to a reaction that is produced between an antibody, known as IgE and a substance in the food that triggers the allergy called allergen. This interaction results into an allergic response. The individual thus experiences several external reactions to the combination that produces discomfort in the body including headaches, nausea or abdominal pain.

The antibody involved in the reaction is named IgE. However, in ADD children, the antibody that contributes to the reaction is IgG. The difference between the two should be stressed in that while IgE can be identified in tests for allergies in children, the IgG cannot.

Often, this test to determine allergic reactions to food will not be effective if the ADHD child is tested this way. While your child may experience an allergic reaction to a certain food, the doctor won't be able to make an accurate determination because the test won't indicate problems even if they exist.

The Controversy

Because it is difficult to determine if hyperactive behavior is due to allergic reactions to food, you may have problems trying to determine the most effective treatment for ADHD and food allergies. With the symptoms of allergies coming and going, doctors and patients are finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between normal reactions to food and food allergies in children.

If a child is allergic to bee stings, then every time a bee will string him, he will develop a reaction to it. However, the connections between food allergies and adhd is different. A food allergy does not always trigger an immediate reaction and the symptoms may vary from day to day.

The most effective way to determine if you or your child is experiencing allergic reactions to food is to provide a diet for ADHD that eliminates all suspected allergens. After the symptoms of ADHD have subsided, add one item at a time back into the child's diet for a period of two weeks.

One of the most effective natural treatments our family has experienced for allergies and ADHD symptoms is multi-vitamins that contain a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs.

We use Total Balance Childrens from Xtend-Life to improve mood and help with concentration. The result has been much more cooperation from the children, as well as greatly reduced anger outbursts from both kids and parents.

Food allergies are often a major problem in ADHD behavior. However there are many other types of allergies that cause ADHD symptoms in children.

There's more information about food allergies on our adhd and food allergies page.

You can learn more about the causes of ADHD and hyperactive behavior on our causes of attention deficit disorder page.

Learn about the effect food can have on ADHD symptoms on the food and adhd page.

Additional Resources:
Discussion of Allergies and other Causes of ADHD Behavior