Study finds high prevalence of celiac disease among patients with ADHD; symptoms improve significantly on gluten-free diet.
There is new evidence to support the association between celiac disease and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Researchers have found that celiac disease is more prevalent among people with ADHD. What’s more, patients who had both conditions reported a significant improvement in ADHD symptoms after adopting a gluten-free diet.
In the study, 67 patients with ADHD, ages 7-42, were blood tested for celiac disease. Of the 67 patients, 10 tested positive for celiac and were put on a gluten-free diet. The researchers noted a ‘significant’ improvement in ADHD symptoms among patients who adopted the gluten-free diet. Patients paid more attention to detail and were less easily distracted, among other findings.
Previous research and anecdotal reports have suggested that patients with ADHD may benefit from a gluten-free diet. While small, this study provides scientific evidence to support that link.
“The results of this study suggest that a gluten-free diet improves ADHD symptoms significantly and that untreated celiac disease may predispose patients to mental and behavioral disorders such as ADHD,” the researchers concluded. They also suggested that celiac disease be added to the list of symptoms for ADHD, particularly to "avoid unnecessary stimulant treatment."
For more on this study, read the abstract.