ADHD and Autism Update: How Does Diet Affect Behavior?
How does diet affect behavior? Dr. Robert Melillo, creator of The Brain Balance Program, recently spoke about this subject with eNannySource.com, an online resource that helps parents connect with caregivers and provides up-to-date information on childcare. When asked about the connection between diet and symptoms of neuro-developmental disorders like ADHD and autism, he shared the following:
In Autism and other neurobehavioral issues like ADHD, diet does play a significant role in creating and exacerbating symptoms. Almost all children with Autism, ADHD and learning disabilities have food sensitivities. However, the makeup of these sensitivities is different in each child. Identifying and eliminating foods that a child is sensitive to is very important; these food reactions often lead to more severe immune responses and create inflammation in the child’s body and brain. These children almost always have what is known as “leaky gut” syndrome, where foods that are not fully digested can get through the gut lining and come in contact with the immune system, triggering an immune response and creating inflammatory chemicals that can affect the child’s behavior and learning ability. This “leaky gut” problem has been known about for years by Functional Neurology and Functional Medicine physicians. However, only just this past year did the American Pediatrics Association admit that they recognized these gut problems in children with Autism, that it was a significant source of symptoms and that it should be addressed. However, what most professionals and parents don’t realize is that the actual cause of this “leaky gut” and the food sensitivities that result along with vitamin and mineral deficiencies because of malabsorption can all be explained as a result of a primary imbalance in the brain and nervous system. The brain controls everything, and a problem with the brain and its regulation of the immune and digestive systems can result in all of the dietary and nutritional issues we see in these children. Therefore dietary and nutritional interventions, although helpful to manage symptoms, are only temporary if the imbalances in the brain are not addressed. The right and left brain control the immune response differently, and they regulate the autonomic system, which is the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that control the gut and can affect the production of acid, blood flow and muscular contractions. I know this because I personally, along with our Brain Balance Centers, have worked with over 10,000 children, and every one of them has had a blood test measuring their food reactions and vitamin, mineral and amino acid levels. Virtually all of them have some sensitivities; some have one or two, but others have 40 or more. After they have done the Brain Balance Program, we see that in 90% of these children their food sensitivities are reduced or completely eliminated and their deficiencies are gone. They no longer have to be on special diets or vitamins.
To read the entire interview with eNannySource.com, click here. To learn more about how The Brain Balance Program addresses proper diet and nutrition as well as physical, sensory-motor, and cognitive issues, contact us today!