US News & World Report: Is There a Connection Between Gut Health and ADHD?

Check out my contribution to the article “Is There A Connection Between Gut Health and ADHD” in US News and World Report.  Excerpts from the article are noted below:

“The gut also houses over 1,000 different species of bacteria,” says Chantell Reagan, of FunctionalFarmacist.com, who focuses on nonpharmacologic ways to manage health. “Known as the ‘gut microbiome,’ each individual’s bacterial makeup is different. Much of the chronic diseases we face today can also be traced back to our gut health, including ADHD.” She explains that a combination of good and bad bacteria in the gut is necessary to achieve optimal health. When that balance is disrupted, mental and physical health can be compromised, making people more prone to everything from anxiety and obesity to depression and even cancer, Reagan says.

Reagan suggests several strategies to improve gut health, including chewing food slowly. “We’ve all heard of ‘you are what you eat,’ but really, you are what you absorb,” she says. “Try to maximize digestion by being in a relaxed state while eating, taking small bites and thoroughly chewing your food.” She also recommends identifying inflammatory triggers, from medications to foods. “Chronic medication use with antibiotics, antacids and steroids can disrupt the gut permeability,” Reagan says. She also advises consuming more probiotic foods or a probiotic supplement; in a blog post on the topic, she writes that foods like kefir, kombucha, raw sauerkraut and low-sugar, full-fat yogurt from grass-fed cows, especially if they are homemade or obtained from local sources, are an ideal way to obtain a range of bacterial strains. If choosing a supplement, she says to make sure it contains “a high colony-forming unit count of 10-40 billion CFUs.”

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