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Allergens, ADD and ADHD

Not all allergy responses are manifested with coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Behavioral and focus issues can also be symptoms of allergens. During high pollen times there can be an increase in focus issues, OCD behaviors, migraines, negative behaviors, and ADD/ADHD behaviors. Individuals with certain genetic variants (like COMT) are also more susceptible to ADD/ADHD behaviors.

There are also man-made allergen triggers. Food sources, dyes, sugar, additives, pesticides, and other environmental toxins are significant contributors to ADD/ADHD behaviors. Some people claim they tried a diet to help with ADD/ADHD, but it didn’t change anything. When examining their diet, most were not complying to a dye-free and additive-free diet as much as they thought they were. Some of the worst dyes for ADD/ADHD are FD&Y colors, red and yellow dyes; and some also contain mercury. Another common trigger food that is often overlooked is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and simple sugars. And we find these foods that aggravate symptoms are not being withheld long enough, probably because they are bit addictive for some people. Some trigger foods, like gluten, can take up to 3 months to get out of your system completely. Sometimes people don't even realize the foods they are eating have hidden sources of trigger foods. To compound the problem, most people are not aware that "organic" foods, foods they consider to be "clean", and their vitamins/supplements may also be part of the allergen or contamination source. Some are still using unfiltered water loaded with metals, pharmaceuticals, fluoride, etc., drinking out of plastic containers and consuming food additives that just add to the problem. They also are being exposed to environmental contributors, cleaners and personal hygiene products.

I know this can seem overwhelming, but there are small steps you can take to improve symptoms of ADD/ADHD. I recommend taking the following suggestions, in small digestible steps. Start with the easiest steps first.

Suggestion #1: Eliminate allergens and foods that increase inflammation (gluten, dairy, sugar, HFCS, food dyes, are a good way to start). Pick one or two of these foods and gradually make small changes so as not to overwhelm them or you. The best way to start would be to eliminate dyes and artificial sweeteners. Then in a few days you could eliminate gluten. Wait until you have adjusted to that change and eliminate another food that you feel may be a trigger; like non-organic dairy.

Suggestion #2: Reducing screen time is essential; especially 2-3 hours prior to bed time. Technology is not a friend to ADD & ADHD. The quick changing screens, EMFs, pixels, and blue lights emitted by phones, laptops, and hand-held devices only aggravate ADD/ADHD issues. You could also switch the screens to night mode to reduce exposure to the blue lights. There are even red-light glasses that can be purchased to filter out some of the blue lights. The blue lights deplete the body of melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for calming and sleep.

Suggestion #3: Individuals with ADD and ADHD thrive off movement and balance exercises. Doing some form of exercise that the person enjoys, for at least 15 minutes a day, can make a difference. You can break the exercises into a few, 3-5 minute movement sessions throughout the day. Be creative and try fun and engaging activities.

Suggestion #4: Do all you can to reduce exposure to household chemicals and personal hygiene products. You can even make your own pure cleaners using common items like white vinegar and baking soda. You can also buy pure and chemical free cleaners and personal hygiene products by looking up sources from The Environmental Work Group and Made Safe for non-toxic products.

The following is a link to a large scale study about behaviors related to Allergens. J Chin Med Assoc. 2018 Mar;81(3):277-283. doi: 10.1016/j.jcma.2017.07.016. Epub 2017 Nov 24.Association between allergic diseases, allergic sensitization and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children: A large-scale, population-based study.

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