Science is pretty clear. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees: There is a strong connection between brain function, behaviour, and the digestive system. Scientists have specifically drawn a connection between gut health and many disorders, including autism and ADHD.
We know that the stomach – and specifically, the millions upon millions of bacteria within it – interact with the brain in multiple ways, including the immune system and the nervous system.
We also know that your stomach actually has its own complex network of neurons that is referred to as the Enteric Nervous System (often called our “Second Brain”).
When they say “complex” they mean it! Here are just a few fun facts:
- There are actually more neurons directly surrounding your child’s gastrointestinal tract than in their entire spinal cord!
- 90% of your child’s serotonin levels (an essential neurotransmitter) are housed in the stomach – not the brain in your head!
- Those food allergies so many people talk about – you know, gluten, dairy, dyes, artificial sugar, etc.? At the most basic level, allergies generate histamines. Histamines compete with dopamine, another essential neurotransmitter. More histamine means less dopamine and more mental health dysfunction.
It’s no wonder we see significantly increased levels of digestive problems in children with ADHD.