I´m diagnosed with ADD and have been eating Paleo the last few months, and have been gluten free for about a year. Paleo was what made the big change really. When I cut out almost all carbs and all sugar (and increased fat intake), I really noticed big improvements in my health condition. I feel like most of the ADD symptoms are gone, and on top of that I feel much better physically as well.
The weird thing is that the psychological changes kind of frightens me... All of this has definitely led me to think a lot about how I am, how I used to be, how much ADD has affected me and how my life would have turned out if I had not done these lifestyle changes.. Sometimes I am so happy that I almost feel like I´m going mad, and sometimes it scares me that I don´t recognize myself.
Is it really possible that the cause of my ADD only is wrong nutrition? Has anyone had a personality change after going Paleo?
I apologize for my bad english..
In the book The Ultramind Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman notes a lot of instances where kids with ADD and ADHD changed significantly from cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar. I don't usually recommend that book because Hyman seems to be building a bit of a personal empire in diet books these days, but I think it might be interesting for you. In some cases, he even has before and after handwriting samples from the same child, and the visual difference is striking.
I can understand why you're frightened. I think we usually tend to assume that our thoughts and feelings are our own and we're thinking and feeling that way for a reason. And then paleo comes into the picture, and thoughts and feelings are gone or are lessened, and yet the reasons you rationalized your thoughts and feelings from are still real. It almost feels like losing a bit of control over your mind. This happened to me with depression. I always just assumed that the reason I felt depressed was because XYZ wasn't going so well or was unresolved. Then I did my best to resolve XYZ, and I decided the reason I felt depressed was because I still had residual feeling about it, which might never go away. Suddenly, I dropped gluten and dairy and the depression dropped out too, even though XYZ is still around. It is difficult to differentiate the affect of your reaction to events on your mind from the affect of the food you eat on your mind, probably because there are only a limited number of ways the mind can express distress.
Ok so I commented above that I have not seen much change for myself but I think there are some things that probably aid in ADHD relief including a low sugar diet and a solid exercise regimen which seems to improve focus.
One interesting aspect of Paleo vs. ADHD is that since ADHD is caused by poor Dopamine transmission, I wonder if dietary changes that result in a net increase of Dopamine means that one might theoretically have more dopamine being thrown at the receptors and thus maybe counter acting the disability in the brain? I don't know if that really would have an effect since the issue is with the receptors. Some studies have shown that increasing dopamine activity raises dopamine receptors while others down-regulated receptors--all drug studies...
Paleo dieters coming from SAD diets or Veggie diets are probably getting more essential amino acids from meat including tyrosine and phenylalanine both precursors to dopamine production. Connection? Again, I fear for children being raised vegan.
I do not have ADD, but I definitely think eating healthy and then eating Paleo have changed my moods, attitudes and personality for the better. I have always been very moody and anxious. I have been on and off anxiety meds anti-depressants for years. After changing my food and exercise plan and losing weight, I became a truly different person. I have dropped all medication except for a water pill. I am so much more laid back. I just don't worry so much anymore. It really surprises me, because I always considered those things part of "my personality" but it turns out they weren't.
Thank you for your post! I to have been the ADD Queen and suffered from mild to moderate depression all my 50+ years. Since changing to the Paleo diet and eating a Low Fodmap diet I have experienced dramatic psychological changes. Am I frightened by these changes? No. I am absolutely delighted to feel better mentally and physcially than ever! I have to watch the fructose content in foods so have combined the Low Fodmap Diet with Paleo. I have learned that sugar, gluten, dairy, and grains are an issue for my body and mind. I am a strong believer that our psychology is directly related to our nutrition. I have learned there is a direct correlation between in the ingestion of foods that my body finds intolerant with my overall mental and physical well being. May you enjoy and delight in your new self!
My mother is MUCH easier to get along with since going paleo. Her angry mood swings are rare now. The used to happen often. Her energy level and overall mood is much improved. She used to be downright crabby most of the time. Now she is happy and friendly most of the time-a very dramatic improvement.
There's a lot of new research indicating that there are substantial links between diet and psychological functioning. The gist, as far as I can tell, is that avoiding certain foods that happen to be eliminated by a paleo diet (e.g., grains, refined sugars) increases neural functioning in a lot of different ways. The effects on mood disorders seem to be the best-studied links at the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing studies on things like working memory, which is directly relevant to ADD.
I've been diagnosed with ADHD since I was kid. My parents never wanted me to get on medication despite the fact my teachers were constantly telling them too. I eventually got homeschooled. My adult life was a struggle until the last year. I had a lot of trouble with work, focusing, and remembering stuff.I got subscribed adderall to help my work but I hated the inconsistency and feeling cracked out. It wasn't until I really got into working out and discovered Paleo diet out of Muscle Magazine. Until then I had no idea my eczema problems were due to refined sugars. I had no idea my glutenous diet was the reason I had severe stomach problems and why I was experiencing "foggy memory". I used to workout 5 days a week and still felt like I had metabolism of a 70 year old. Going Paleo changed all of that.
In regards to personality, it's been a 180. As a kid, I was constantly depressed and miserable because I never felt "normal". I could never focus on anything. Now I no longer feel like an asshole. My mood swings are minimal. I don't put people down anymore. I'm constantly trying encourage my friends and the people I come across. I've never been happier in my life. If anything stop focusing on the past and focus on what you can do now. EMBRACE the change and CHAMPION your experience to others.
I too feel like Paleogirl. I saw a huge improvement in my symptoms and felt like a different person shortly after cutting out dairy and gluten. It absolutely made me question who I was before. I was depressed and erratic and unfocused. I dont' know if all ADD'ers feel this way but basically I was never satisfied with what I had or what I was. After going paleo and getting my thyroid fixed I feel confident and content most of the time, I still have bad days but they are rare. I too question how my life could have been different if I had never been poisoned by gluten and dairy. I had so much success that I stared a blog on ADHD and Paleo at http://gingervenom.blogspot.com/. I hope to hear from others like me since currently I don't know anyone else that eats this way.
Hey--thought you might find this interesting: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/02/food-elimination-diet-and-adhd.html