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Paleo and Adult ADD

by (747)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created July 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM

In 2006 I was diagnosed with adult ADD.
They told me that none of my symptoms were bad enough to warrant meds and so I've been med free this whole time. I deal with this with several coping mechanisms and usually just ride out bad days.

However I've noticed since I've been paleo that my ADD symptoms have gotten more frequent and more disrupting to my day.

Any suggestions for this?

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747 · July 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Amen climic is in CA.... two states away

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24538 · July 18, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Are you near any of the Amen Clinics. Dr. Amen talks about there being a number of different kinds of ADD, and uses brain scans to get to a faster diagnosis of which kind it is.

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24538 · July 18, 2012 at 7:52 AM

My sleep and focus both go to hell in a handbasket if I don't get enough exercise, so not being able to be as active, at least from my perspective, it makes sense that you are having trouble sleeping and your symptoms have been worse.

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24538 · July 18, 2012 at 7:51 AM

My sleep and focus both go to hell in a handbasket if I don't get enough exercise, so not being able to be as active, so at least from my perspective, it makes sense that you are having trouble sleeping and your symptoms have been worse.

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10 · July 18, 2012 at 1:44 AM

Happy Now: I range around 35-60% carbs a day and eat two servings of fruit a day. It has been worse in the last month as I've been benched with injury, but was noticing it before ... but I could say that it mania type

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24538 · July 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM

I'm guessing the people improve immediately after going paleo have wheat induced ADD (like myself), and by removing the offending ingredient, they can focus again. It almost sounds like you might be dealing more with a mania type ADD, where lack of focus is from excess energy, which can most certainly be exacerbated by a LC diet. Have you tried upping the starches and fruit to see if things settle a bit?

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10 · July 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM

I do take a probiotic supplement. about 10 days ago I started it... I use green vibrance

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10 · July 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

Glad to know I'm not alone. Seemed like everyone else has had the opposite effect with paleo

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971 · July 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

BTW, great blog link, love it.

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971 · July 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Thanks for you reply. I've been meaning to look at Melissa's gut stuff.

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32518 · July 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM

I don't take probiotic supplements myself, but I think Melissa may have some recommendations on her site. I use kombucha tea, raw goat's milk kefir, and sauerkraut as my main fermented foods.

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32518 · July 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Heather- I'm still in a big learning phase re: gut health. So far, it seems that eliminating any known irritants (grains & legumes, FODMAPS, nightshades) while boosting probiotics via supplements, fermented foods and getting "dirty" (gardening, hiking, playing with dogs) is the way to go. At the same time, trying to optimize absorption of nutrients by not drinking with meals (or just a wee bit of kombucha or alcohol) and making sure you are getting enough protein so that digestive enzymes have what they need seems essential.

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971 · July 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

I'm getting ready to start a spreadsheet on all symptoms since I've streamlined my paleo eating further as of late. I often have a feeling of agitation rather than relaxed purpose (what I'm aiming for).

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971 · July 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Dragonfly, I posted a question recently about PMS and prostaglandins, this article was recommended to me http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/tripping-lightly-down-the-prostaglandin-pathways I'm wondering if my ADD symptoms and PMS/mood symptoms are related via the omega3:6 ratio and prostaglandin route. I have had terrible ADD most of my life as well. I am now experimenting with the changes you are suggesting and I'm most curious to see if it improves mood swings. Do you have good/specific recommendations regarding gut health? It's the one area here I'm the least knowledgeable of.

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1031 · July 17, 2012 at 3:05 AM

How much physical exercise do you do? Since going Paleo I've found that my energy levels are much higher and that being more active helps use up that extra energy. Perhaps you're just feeling more energetic rather than more ADD?

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32518 · July 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Also, check out these threads: http://paleohacks.com/search?q=adhd#axzz20pTlX3kw

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5828 · July 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Can you provide details on how long you've been paleo and on what foods you eat?

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5 Answers

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32518 · July 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM

From what I've been reading ADD, ADHD, etc are mostly inflammation/gut dysbiosis disorders.

Get your Omega 3:6 balance sorted. Mostly by reducing/eliminating as many high O6 foods: all vegetable oils, most nuts, non-free-range eggs, avocados, poultry, pork, etc.

NO gluten cheats!

Focus on grass-finished beef & lamb, free-range eggs, organic dark leafy greens, low sugar fruits, starchy tubers, coconut oil, pastured butter.

No need to OD on fish oil, but a 1000 mg Neptune Krill Oil supplement (Omega 3) may be useful.

Get your Vitamin D level tested & sun/supplement to a 60-80 ng/ml level.

Fermented foods & probiotics to help your gut health.

Supplement Magnesium glycinate 200-600 mg before bed.

You may find this blog helpful. Use the search function for ADD, ADHD.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · July 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM

I don't take probiotic supplements myself, but I think Melissa may have some recommendations on her site. I use kombucha tea, raw goat's milk kefir, and sauerkraut as my main fermented foods.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9
971 · July 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

BTW, great blog link, love it.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9
971 · July 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Thanks for you reply. I've been meaning to look at Melissa's gut stuff.

52fcfebc37098cef09f6cd6c6c0f50b3
10 · July 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM

I do take a probiotic supplement. about 10 days ago I started it... I use green vibrance

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9
971 · July 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Dragonfly, I posted a question recently about PMS and prostaglandins, this article was recommended to me http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/tripping-lightly-down-the-prostaglandin-pathways I'm wondering if my ADD symptoms and PMS/mood symptoms are related via the omega3:6 ratio and prostaglandin route. I have had terrible ADD most of my life as well. I am now experimenting with the changes you are suggesting and I'm most curious to see if it improves mood swings. Do you have good/specific recommendations regarding gut health? It's the one area here I'm the least knowledgeable of.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · July 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Heather- I'm still in a big learning phase re: gut health. So far, it seems that eliminating any known irritants (grains & legumes, FODMAPS, nightshades) while boosting probiotics via supplements, fermented foods and getting "dirty" (gardening, hiking, playing with dogs) is the way to go. At the same time, trying to optimize absorption of nutrients by not drinking with meals (or just a wee bit of kombucha or alcohol) and making sure you are getting enough protein so that digestive enzymes have what they need seems essential.

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610 · July 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I've been on paleo for 9 months now. And I was also diagnosed with ADD. I thought it would get better on the paleo diet, but it has gotten worse. At least, I find it very difficult to focus on work, but rather read books & sites about food ;) It's good, but not in a healthy way.. I'm quite strict by the way with food, so no gluten or dairy, almost no sugar, easy on fruits.

I haven't found out why, but some days it it worse than others. I got advised to get on meds, but I refused and will partake in courses that will help me focus and get my short term memory better.

A few months ago, a Dutch scientist did a PhD on ADHD & diet, and got great results: http://www.naturalnews.com/031386_elimination_diet_ADHD.html It was a strict diet with only rice, fruit, white meat, vegetables & water. 78% of the patients improved significantly. She then re-introduces foods one by one over a long period of time, to find out which foods cause the symptoms. It might be sugar, it might be fish, it might be eggs, or grains, you will only find out when you test it.

This let me to believe there is still some more room to experiment and kick out foods. I'm gonna keep a diary and write down every single food & also how I experienced my ADD. This will (hopefully) show which foods seem to worsen ADD. It might take a lot of months! I skipped to (almost) fully organic vegetables too lately, instead of regular; maybe that also helps, I don't know yet.

Or else, I just have to live with it, meditate often, force myself not open 20 tabs and read everything for 1 minuten and skip to the other... :)

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971 · July 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

I'm getting ready to start a spreadsheet on all symptoms since I've streamlined my paleo eating further as of late. I often have a feeling of agitation rather than relaxed purpose (what I'm aiming for).

52fcfebc37098cef09f6cd6c6c0f50b3
10 · July 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

Glad to know I'm not alone. Seemed like everyone else has had the opposite effect with paleo

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164 · July 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I was only recently diagnosed with ADD, and it was quite a relief to get that diagnosis! Coincidentally I'd been advised to go gluten-free for autoimmune thyroid disease, and I went Paleo at the same time. My focus has improved. Please do check the link Dragonfly suggested; lots of what I was told by my doctor I found on that blog as well. Best to you.

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10 · July 17, 2012 at 11:50 PM

I want to add that I am under lots of stress which I think maybe be playing a big role in this and I'm lacking sleep because I can't fall asleep.

I've also had issues with an electrolyte imbalance if that helps anyone

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10 · July 17, 2012 at 11:48 PM

Hi all, Same person as OP just to lazy to sign in...

See if I can catch you all up on the answers.

I've been primal since 11/2011 through a slower process. The ADD issue has really only been a problem in the last two months.

I crossfit, and my workouts start to finish, are about an hour (I do skills work, lifts, then wod)

As for the omega's: I eat a lot of eggs, take fish oil, and it a moderate amount of sardines and tuna.

I am 100% free of veggie oils, potatoes (short of sweet potatoes) and wheat (short of an occassional treat... maybe 1x a week and not always 1 x a week.)

I will say that I eat dairy but I MUST keep it in my diet due to an allergy to coconut so I use milk and butter to sub cocnut oil and coconut milk. I use milk maybe 1 x a week and butter about 2 x a day for cooking purposes only.

I don't eat organic veggies because I am really limited budget wise, and I eat a lot of chicken for the same reason. So I saw that as a suggestion but I'm not sure I can make that work on a the tiny budget I have and still being in school .

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