In the past couple of weeks, as here in Ontario we welcomed spring with sideways-blowing snow, a reminder that new beginnings and growth often arrive in unexpected ways, it got me thinking about our gut.

Just like a hidden garden beneath the winter frost, our gut thrives with a diverse community of helpful microbes. These tiny residents act as our dedicated gardeners, diligently tending the soil (our gut) and nurturing the growth of healthy plants (our body’s functions, including brain health).

These microbes are our essential gardening crew, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure a healthy ecosystem. The problem is, that when our internal garden becomes overrun with weeds (harmful bacteria) or lacks vital nutrients (from a poor diet), the delicate balance is disrupted.

This imbalance can trigger inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. This inflammation can directly disrupt brain function, leading to symptoms like feeling overwhelmed, forgetful, and having difficulty concentrating – all common challenges for those with ADHD.

New research has shed light on an exciting connection between the gut and ADHD, creating a lot of buzz (no pun intended!) about how they might be linked to mental health & ADHD.

The gut isn’t just about digestion; it’s a major player in brain health too.

Did you know a significant portion of our “feel-good” neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, are produced there? These chemicals are crucial for focus and mood regulation, areas often challenged in ADHD.

Research suggests a balanced gut microbiome might increase the production of these “happy chemicals,” potentially improving focus and reducing the intensity of ADHD symptoms.

The gut and brain constantly talk through a dedicated highway – the gut-brain axis.

These messages can influence mood, focus, and even how genes related to ADHD are expressed.  Emerging research suggests the gut microbiome might influence how our DNA whispers instructions to our brain. A healthy gut could activate and support genes associated with focus, mood regulation, and impulse control, potentially leading to improved ADHD symptoms.

This exciting area of research highlights the profound impact gut health can have on our brain function at a fundamental level. By understanding this powerful gut-brain connection, we can explore ways to support a healthy gut environment and turn down the volume on some of those ADHD challenges for the whole family.

3 Keys For Gut-Brain Harmony & Managing ADHD:

  1. Eat a Rainbow: We know juggling a busy life can make a varied diet difficult, especially for those with ADHD. But here’s the secret: a colourful mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats nourishes the good bacteria in your gut.
  2. Unleash the Gut Dream Team: Probiotics are the friendly residents of your gut, constantly working to maintain a healthy environment. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are their “food source” – like fertilizer for these gut buddies. By including both probiotic-rich options like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables alongside prebiotic fibres found in onions, garlic, bananas, and oats, you’re essentially nurturing your gut microbiome so it can thrive.
  3. Slow Down & Savour: Take a deep breath, put your phone down, and enjoy the flavours and textures of your food. This might seem simple, but for those with ADHD, mindful eating becomes even more crucial. Thorough chewing doesn’t just help with nutrient absorption; it also helps prevent larger food particles from irritating your gut lining. This is important because a potentially leaky gut, where the gut becomes more permeable, can trigger widespread inflammation. The gut-brain connection is a powerful one, so, by slowing down and chewing thoroughly, you’re supporting both healthy digestion and reducing gut-related ADHD struggles.

Modern diets and picky eating can leave our bodies lacking essential nutrients. If you or your family struggles to keep a balanced diet – this is where supplementation can make all the difference. There are a few I recommended to my clients:

  • Probiotics: These “good bacteria” support digestion, immunity, and reduce inflammation – all crucial for a healthy gut. Here are some of my favourites:
    • For your kiddos: Genestra HMF Fit For School
    • For you: Genestra HMF Forte
  • Omega-3s: These essential fatty acids promote brain health, mood stability, and reduce inflammation, including in the gut. These are our go-to’s for our family:
    • For the whole family: Genestra Super EFA 

You can find these supplements available at Soma and Soul Wellness.

The gut-brain connection is a fascinating area of ongoing research, offering a glimmer of hope for those managing ADHD.

To nurture your gut’s potential, embrace a diverse diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. And, don’t forget to slow down and savour your meals – mindful munching matters!

Small, consistent efforts are key. As a mom and nutritionist, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of gradual change towards a healthier gut. Maybe you start by incorporating a colourful side salad at dinner a few times a week or swapping sugary snacks for a handful of berries and almonds. Every step you take towards a more balanced diet contributes to a healthier gut environment.

Looking for support with ADHD, mental health, or healthy eating habits for your family? Book a free assessment call to see if holistic nutrition can help! Together, we can explore personalized strategies to optimize your gut health and improve your ADHD management journey.

Amy Jones | Holistic Nutritionist

Book with Amy today for your FREE 15-minute discovery call here.