It’s typically not until you receive that call from the school’s superintendent stating that your child is being disruptive and struggling to pay attention in class that the diagnosis of ADHD becomes real.
- Impulsive behavior
- Emotional instability
These are some of the few common characteristics seen in someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is a condition where there are abnormalities in brain activity and development typically seen in children. A child with ADHD often struggles with sitting still, concentrating on a task, learning, being disruptive, patience, and controlling their emotions.
The exact cause, like most health concerns, for ADHD is not quite understood. Evidence shows that in some cases there is a familial component passed down by the parents. Other resources say complications with pregnancy like low birth weight, toxicity in pregnancy (drug, alcohol, medication) and pesticides can be contributors. Still, other causes include trauma to the brain from head or neck injuries.
Another area of health emerging rapidly in the discussion of ADHD, and other neuro- developmental disorders has to do with the digestive system.
“Recent years have witnessed the rise of the gut microbiota as a major topic of research interest in biology,” the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience states.
We now have a greater understanding of what is called the ‘gut-brain axis’, or the body’s neurological connection between the gut and the brain. This axis acts as a coordinator for a large percentage of the immune and hormonal functions in the body.
This gut microbiome is made up of over 1000 different species of bacteria. There is a delicate balance necessary of good and bad bacteria in the gut in order to achieve optimal health and prevent inflammation.
A large conductor of information between the digestive system and the brain is by way of the vagus nerve. What happens in vagus…does NOT stay in vagus. Rather information about the environment of the gut is constantly being fed to the central nervous system (the brain).
Due to this connection, the health of the gut has a large impact on the health of the brain! Dysbiosis is the scientific term that refers to that imbalance in the gut bacteria. Lisa E. Goehler, professor at the University of Virginia, states “dysbiosis is correlated with a wide variety of health problems, including neuro-developmental disorders such as ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia.
You are what you eat. More specifically, your brain feeds off what you eat. Dysbiosis can be caused by numerous things that negatively impact the gut such as diets high in sugar, food additives, pesticides, medications such as antibiotics, poor dental hygiene, and high levels of stress or anxiety. By simply altering what we eat with foods that are non-processed, non-microwaveable, whole foods such as colorful vegetables, lean grass-fed meats, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut or plain Greek yogurt you can decrease your risk of dysbiosis.
The health of the gut not only influences but helps program the function of the immune system. Immune cells interact with the gut to either decrease or increase inflammation throughout the body. According to research, children with ADHD typically have low-grade neuroinflammation, or inflammation in certain areas of the brain. By creating a healthier environment in the gut, the result is a decrease in inflammation through-out the body, including the brain!
Lastly, we cannot forget how physical stress can affect this beautiful network of communication. As mentioned, the vagus nerve makes up a large percentage of that network. This nerve begins in the lower part of the brain stem, passing through the top spinal segments (the foundation) and traveling down the spinal cord to exit the spinal column, making connections to the majority of the vital organs including the digestive tract.
Accidents and trauma like concussions, slip and falls, and car accidents often cause structural injuries to this top part of the spine. These injuries result in foundational shifts that chronically stress the vagus nerve. According to a recent article in the Frontiers in Neuroscience, ‘stress to the vagus nerve has deleterious effects on the gastrointestinal tract and gut bacteria and is involved in disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
At Balance Chiropractic we not only strive to educate the Colorado Springs community on the importance of maintaining a healthy gut, but also have a special focus on helping those that have experience structural injuries from trauma through Foundational Correction. A low-force intervention involving no twisting or cracking aimed to balance the top segments below the brain stem and reduce stress throughout the central nervous system.