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Can A Food Sensitivity Cause Behavioral Issues in Children?

How Common Food Sensitivities Can Contribute to Behavioral Problems in Children

Almost all of the children we work with at Brain Balance Achievement Centers who are struggling with learning, behavior and social problems also suffer from food sensitivities. If the brain is out of balance, the digestive system dysfunctions and the immune system gets out of balance. This imbalance ultimately leads to these food sensitivities.

That seemingly innocent glass of organic milk in your refrigerator may have been part of the culprit leading to your child’s meltdown this morning before school. But how can a food like dairy cause this to happen? And are there other foods that can contribute to this phenomenon?

Common Food Sensitivities

According to many researchers and nutrition experts, the top common food sensitivities include:

  1. Dairy
  2. Eggs
  3. Gluten - protein in wheat, rye, oats and barley
  4. Sugar (particularly if your child has candida, a yeast overgrowth that can affect behavior, common in children with neurobehavioral disorders like ADHD and Autism.)
  5. Shellfish
  6. Soy
  7. Foods high in salicylate
  8. Food dyes, preservatives, pesticides, GMO’s (Genetically Modified Foods)

The link between diet and behavior is an interesting one, especially when food sensitivities are involved. If a child is intolerant to a particular food, an IgG reaction occurs. This reaction stems from the immune system and causes the body to produce inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines can inflame the gut, brain or respiratory tract and ultimately affect how your child feels physically and emotionally.

Food Sensitivities vs Food Allergies

A food allergy causes an immediate reaction that signals the body to produce histamine. In some cases, this IgE reaction requires prompt medical attention. A food sensitivity, on the other hand, results in a delayed IgG reaction that, unlike a food allergy where symptoms occur rapidly, can take one to three days to occur. Therefore, if you are not closely monitoring your child’s food intake or working with a professional, you may not be able to relate the reaction that is occurring to the particular food that is causing this inflammatory response.

Food Sensitivity and Behavior

Behavior challenges can result when a child reacts to a food to which he or she is intolerant. If your child has a glass of milk and the body begins to produce cytokines, the resulting inflammation in the brain can lead to meltdowns, irritability, anxiety, depression, brain fog and more. If your child already has compromised digestion, a food sensitivity is likely the result of leaky gut syndrome and can lead to further exacerbation of the issues.  A leaky gut can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to poor absorption, which can further contribute to learning or behavioral struggles as well as cause additional food sensitivities.

If you suspect your child has a food sensitivity, you should seek out the advice of a registered dietitian. It also helps to keep a food diary for at least seven days and log all foods consumed along with the resulting symptoms and behavior. Removing an offending food from a child’s diet can make a huge difference in your child’s emotional and physical state.

About The Balance 360 Nutrition System

Based on years of working with children who struggle with learning challenges, we are confident that the Balance 360 System makes a difference in helping your child’s brain and body function according to healthy standards. Just ask our parents! The Balance 360 System is a step-by-step approach, designed to help parents customize a nutrition plan to fit a child’s lifestyle and needs. Learn more about our plan for clean eating!

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Contact us today to schedule an assessment. You can also view the research and results of the program on the website.

Enjoy These Related Articles:
Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome
Diet & Behavior: 3 Changes to Make Today
Tips for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.

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