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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Default Gluten free/dairy free in ADHD

    My son has just turned 8. He was diagnosed by a pediatrician, psychotherapist, and neurologist as having mild ADHD at age 7. I was initially opposed to medication, so we cleaned up his diet (went organic, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no red dyes, etc). We tried vision therapy, and behavioral therapy. We got result from all we tried, but nothing "cued" the ADHD. So we reluctantly put DS on the lowest (18 mg) of Concerta, and he thrived. His school work improved, his social skills improved, and his overall behavior improved. The only downsides were, he developed a "tic" behavior and began biting his nails, and he lost a lot of his already lackluster appetite. He lost about 4 lbs. in 4 months, and the last 2 he gained them back to maintain his weight of 49 lbs. he is in the 25% percentile of weight and of height. The pediatrician was nervous that he wasn't gaining/growing more, so he took DS off Concerta this summer and started a non-stimulant med~Strattera.
    One of my friends referred me to a local chirpractor who cares for children with neurobehavioral issues ranging from Autism to ADHD. I met with this Dr. tonight. He wants to begin treatment, with 5-6 hours of testing, and switch DS to an entirely gluten free/dairy free diet. It's hard enought to get my son to eat. I should mention he already wats very healthy, does not drink juices or soda, but green tea. He also does not like sweets.
    Does anyone else have experience with gluten free/dairy free diets? How have they improved your life? I should mention that my son shows no outward signs of sensitivities to these substances, and has no food allergies, or gastrointestinal problems that lead this Doc to recommend this diet. It is a diet he recommends for all of his patients.
    Jen :)


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    New York
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    I am a behavior specialist working with students with autism. Many of them are on the dairy/gluten free diet. Some of my students have been on it for years and, in my opinion, there is no difference between these children and the children who eat gluten and dairy. I see no spikes in behavior when they are taken off the diet. I also see no, noticeable, improvement in children who are trying the diet for the first time. Many times what parents are seeing are improvements brought about by intensive ABA and behavioral therapy.

    There is no, reliable, evidence that shows a gluten and dairy free diet reduces the symptoms of ADHD or any other disorder. It was developed for people suffering from a digestive disorder.

    The gluten/dairy free diet is very limiting. Think about all of the products that contain wheat. We're talking about a lot more than just bread. It takes a huge amount of commitment from the whole family. Generally, it is advised that the whole family go gluten and dairy free. You cannot stray from the diet at all. Not a bite of a cookie, or a cupcake at a birthday. The idea behind the diet is that you are avoiding an allergen. So, in theory, it cannot be eaten again.

    As a professional I would press you to stay away from the gluten free diet. It is quackery at best. Deal only in what is scientifically proven. I have had many parents ask my opinion on some very iffy treatments for their children. Just because a doctor is pushing it that doesn't mean that it works. Take everything that you hear with a grain of salt. Gluten/Dairy free diets are very profitable right now.

    ADHD treatments should never be one size fits all. His plan of treatment with the chiropractor should be individualized. Cutting out huge portions of a child's available menu is a huge step and a very serious one. Good luck in whatever you decide.

  4. #3
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    Jen, I have no factual info or advice to offer, but I feel this topic might be better situated in the Guests with Special Needs forum; there are a lot of members there with tons of constructive info and advice on a wide variety of conditions and illnesses.

    I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to move it there, and leave a redirect link here in the Water Cooler.
    Ed
    Senior Imagineer Emeritus

    Welcome to the INTERCOT forums !


  5. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    Ajax, ON (1,325 miles from Disneyworld)
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    I agree with starryeyes. Especially since your son has appetite/eating issues already. Nothing is better than therapy, reinforced at home, if you can get it.

    Good luck with everything!
    Jennifer (aka Mickey'sGirl)
    INTERCOT Staff: Guests with Special Needs, Dining and Disney Characters

    Last trip: March 2016 - Fantasy
    Next trip: Aug 2017 - Aulani

    I am a Galactic Hero once more!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
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    California
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    There was recently an article published about a study that, essentially, proved that the GF/CF diet does NOTHING beneficial to people who are NOT suffering from a documented, medical allergy to these substances. It basically said that parents who put their children on this diet to improve Autism or ADHD/ADD symptoms are, essentially, going to end up with a malnourished child, in the long run.

    Be careful with any "restrictive" diets, unless your child has a documented food allergy, I'd not suggest it.

    A HEALTHY diet, sure, that's a given. But, I am also one who feels that the GF/CF diet is just quackery. I have an Autistic son and he's not on any special diet, and he has STILL been improving at a pretty steady pace, with just ABA and speech therapy that he gets at school.
    Natalie
    INTERCOT Staff: Disneyland Resort-California, The Water Cooler

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