I went to a very interesting talk today at Starjumpz Children’s Centre. It was about the link between gut health and emotional and physical well being.
It has been scientifically proven time and time again that there is a connection between gut and mental health. There are many factors to consider, such as the ability of the liver to eliminate toxins and the state of the gut wall. Toxins not eliminated by the liver are able to cross the blood barrier and are carried around the body, to the brain. A so called ‘leaky gut’ allows large molecules of undigested food to pass through it and in to the surrounding cells. Once in the blood stream they are again carried around the body and it is thought that they can influence behaviour, as well as leading to food intolerances.
Children on the Autism spectrum scale or who are diagnosed with ADHD or sensory processing disorder (SPD) are often noted to have difficulties with concentration (amongst other behavioural issues) and it is common for them to be seen in a high stress state. In addition, children with these conditions are often found to suffer from food allergies and intolerances, constipation, insomnia, pale skin and dark circles under their eyes.
The high stress state is caused by an excess production of adrenaline, which puts the body into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. This effectively shuts off the digestive system, which is one possible cause of these digestive problems.
A diet to help heal the gut is just one of the things that has been shown to have a remarkable effect on the behaviour of children with Autism, ADHD or SPD, whilst at the same time alleviating the symptoms associated with the food allergies and intolerances.
For more information on this, please refer to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) a book by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and also to Newtricious Delicious who run courses on how to use diet for optimal health and learning.
Disclaimer: I have not read the afore mentioned book, nor attended a course run by Nutritious Delicious. This post is merely a summary of the workshop attended.