Gluten as a Cause of ADD Symptoms in Children

Many foods can cause ADD symptoms in children, but sensitivity to gluten could fool anyone into thinking a child has ADD or ADHD. Along with gastrointestinal symptoms, a gluten sensitivity or intolerance can manifest in learning problems, behavior changes, difficulty concentrating, mental fog, and much more. Many studies show a strong correlation between gluten intolerance and ADHD symptoms in children.


Gluten is the protein found in wheat. It gives wheat dough its elastic texture. Besides wheat, gluten can also be found in barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and triticale. Sometimes oats can be contaminated with gluten as well. There are so many foods that contain gluten, that if your child is sensitive to it, he or she may very likely exhibit ADD symptoms.


Gluten is among the top eight food allergies. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder caused by an intolerance to gluten, affects about 1 percent, or 1 in 133 people in the United States today. More common is a non-celiac form of gluten intolerance, which is estimated to affect up to 15 percent of the world population, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. The number of people affected is increasing every year. Is it a coincidence that ADD symptoms in children are also on the rise?


Gluten intolerance can manifest in many different ways. There are more than 200 symptoms, and each person reacts differently. For this reason, it is often difficult to diagnose. It can be hard to pinpoint because its symptoms can mimic so many other disturbances, such as lactose intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, ADHD, Fibromyalgia, and many more. It can exacerbate symptoms of asthma, and cause nutritional deficiencies, cavities, poor growth, and frequent illness. It could very likely be the cause of your child’s ADD ADHD symptoms.


If you suspect gluten intolerance, it is best to get tested to rule out celiac disease first. This can be done by a simple antibody test. Next, cut gluten out of the diet altogether. Symptoms of ADHD in children can dramatically improve within a matter of weeks on a gluten free diet. Adults can benefit from a gluten free diet as well, as gluten can also be a cause of adult ADD symptoms.


Because of the growing numbers of people with gluten intolerance, gluten free foods are gaining in popularity. Gluten free items are common on restaurant menus and most grocery stores now have gluten free sections. While not an easy diet to adhere to, it is becoming much more manageable than ever before.


Gluten is just one of the many foods that can cause unwanted behaviors. Children with symptoms can also benefit from supplementation because there may be deficiencies in their diet. A deficiency in this can cause ADD symptoms in children such as impulsivity, difficulty concentrating, and more.


To find out more about what’s in your food and how it may be affecting your child, click here to buy the book, Processed Kids: The Real Mom’s Guide to Raising Natural Kids in a Processed World, by Lisa Greene.

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About the Author

About Lisa Green

Author and Mom

My name is Lisa Greene and I have struggled for years with my child's food sensitivities that have manifested in behavior issues, hyperactivity, impulsivity, cavities, facial tics, and much more. Years of research has taught me what works, what children need in their diet, and what to avoid.

Follow my blog and read my book and I will show how you can treat your child's symptoms naturally.

Have a question about your child's symptoms or behaviors? Contact me at and I can help.