6

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ADD, Paleo and change in personality

Commented on April 04, 2016
Created February 09, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I??m diagnosed with ADD and have been eating Paleo the last few months, and have been gluten free for about a year. Paleo was what made the big change really. When I cut out almost all carbs and all sugar (and increased fat intake), I really noticed big improvements in my health condition. I feel like most of the ADD symptoms are gone, and on top of that I feel much better physically as well.

The weird thing is that the psychological changes kind of frightens me... All of this has definitely led me to think a lot about how I am, how I used to be, how much ADD has affected me and how my life would have turned out if I had not done these lifestyle changes.. Sometimes I am so happy that I almost feel like I??m going mad, and sometimes it scares me that I don??t recognize myself.

Is it really possible that the cause of my ADD only is wrong nutrition? Has anyone had a personality change after going Paleo?

I apologize for my bad english..

7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:12 PM

For me, about 1 year of gluten free, then I started paleo (Autoimmune/low carb/no fruit) and my moods gradually leveled out over the next three weeks, I'd say!

Ba1c998b18470309687f07606767668a

(161)

on September 30, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Out of interest, are you doing anything else at that might be contributing, such as counselling or meditation? I'm not suggesting that the effects of paleo diet are not considerable but for me a lot of positive changes happened as a result of paleo plus working on behavioural things like learning meditation.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 20, 2011
at 04:51 PM

DO NOT eat vegetable seed oils...that did it for me.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 20, 2011
at 03:53 PM

Same for me. Chronic anger, depression and anxiety are way down after eating Paleo the last few years, to the point where almost everyone notices.

Bc6aa0b0bcf04c9d937c4393262db8e5

on February 09, 2011
at 06:52 PM

@PALEOGIRL I don't each much in terms of fruit. No starch, I'll try cutting out fruit for a week.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 09, 2011
at 06:16 PM

Gluten and many other "SAD" ingredients such as MSG have been linked to ADD in many people! You're not alone! You could certainly be right in believing your diet played a roll for you. I used to get "brain fog" whenever I ate gluten and drank milk so this is certainly true for me, diet is everything!

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on February 09, 2011
at 05:01 PM

yea i am working on getting the fruit to a bare minimum. my be worth an n=1 several month experiment. will have to get the fiance on board, low carb is easier to sell than no fruit. haha

F5885896b671f09db01089004150c2e4

(30)

on February 09, 2011
at 04:51 PM

I never eat starchy vegetables like potatoes, and try to keep fat levels high. Are you eating fruits and sweet vegetables? I noticed improvement when I eliminated everything sweet from my diet. In the beginning I ate legumes like sugar snaps, and I felt better when I eliminated them as well (possibly because of the sugar).

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on February 09, 2011
at 04:49 PM

yea so far my ADHD is worse then ever haha. especially if i am going in and out of ketosis, i leave my bacon on the kitchen counter for ages, doing dishes, making tea, remember i was doing dishes, go check paleo hacks, back to dishes, tea water boiling, bacon, bags, oh tea bag, sit down drink tea, read paleo hacks, oh dishes, wait bacon, still safe right? don't get me started on my grad school homework. i have a half finished book i was reading ABOUT adhd! ha

Bc6aa0b0bcf04c9d937c4393262db8e5

on February 09, 2011
at 04:12 PM

I wish I could say the same.... I have undiagnosed ADHD and I'm not seeing any improvement, maybe even a little worse honestly. Any advice? Been Paleo for a month and half now.

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14 Answers

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4
E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on February 10, 2011
at 05:27 AM

In the book The Ultramind Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman notes a lot of instances where kids with ADD and ADHD changed significantly from cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar. I don't usually recommend that book because Hyman seems to be building a bit of a personal empire in diet books these days, but I think it might be interesting for you. In some cases, he even has before and after handwriting samples from the same child, and the visual difference is striking.

I can understand why you're frightened. I think we usually tend to assume that our thoughts and feelings are our own and we're thinking and feeling that way for a reason. And then paleo comes into the picture, and thoughts and feelings are gone or are lessened, and yet the reasons you rationalized your thoughts and feelings from are still real. It almost feels like losing a bit of control over your mind. This happened to me with depression. I always just assumed that the reason I felt depressed was because XYZ wasn't going so well or was unresolved. Then I did my best to resolve XYZ, and I decided the reason I felt depressed was because I still had residual feeling about it, which might never go away. Suddenly, I dropped gluten and dairy and the depression dropped out too, even though XYZ is still around. It is difficult to differentiate the affect of your reaction to events on your mind from the affect of the food you eat on your mind, probably because there are only a limited number of ways the mind can express distress.

3
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on February 09, 2011
at 06:27 PM

I do not have ADD, but I definitely think eating healthy and then eating Paleo have changed my moods, attitudes and personality for the better. I have always been very moody and anxious. I have been on and off anxiety meds anti-depressants for years. After changing my food and exercise plan and losing weight, I became a truly different person. I have dropped all medication except for a water pill. I am so much more laid back. I just don't worry so much anymore. It really surprises me, because I always considered those things part of "my personality" but it turns out they weren't.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 20, 2011
at 03:53 PM

Same for me. Chronic anger, depression and anxiety are way down after eating Paleo the last few years, to the point where almost everyone notices.

3
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on February 09, 2011
at 05:15 PM

Ok so I commented above that I have not seen much change for myself but I think there are some things that probably aid in ADHD relief including a low sugar diet and a solid exercise regimen which seems to improve focus.

One interesting aspect of Paleo vs. ADHD is that since ADHD is caused by poor Dopamine transmission, I wonder if dietary changes that result in a net increase of Dopamine means that one might theoretically have more dopamine being thrown at the receptors and thus maybe counter acting the disability in the brain? I don't know if that really would have an effect since the issue is with the receptors. Some studies have shown that increasing dopamine activity raises dopamine receptors while others down-regulated receptors--all drug studies...

Paleo dieters coming from SAD diets or Veggie diets are probably getting more essential amino acids from meat including tyrosine and phenylalanine both precursors to dopamine production. Connection? Again, I fear for children being raised vegan.

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 10, 2011
at 05:13 AM

My mother is MUCH easier to get along with since going paleo. Her angry mood swings are rare now. The used to happen often. Her energy level and overall mood is much improved. She used to be downright crabby most of the time. Now she is happy and friendly most of the time-a very dramatic improvement.

2
2193cb1eca1a0eda4b2cad910074634e

on February 09, 2011
at 04:42 PM

Thank you for your post! I to have been the ADD Queen and suffered from mild to moderate depression all my 50+ years. Since changing to the Paleo diet and eating a Low Fodmap diet I have experienced dramatic psychological changes. Am I frightened by these changes? No. I am absolutely delighted to feel better mentally and physcially than ever! I have to watch the fructose content in foods so have combined the Low Fodmap Diet with Paleo. I have learned that sugar, gluten, dairy, and grains are an issue for my body and mind. I am a strong believer that our psychology is directly related to our nutrition. I have learned there is a direct correlation between in the ingestion of foods that my body finds intolerant with my overall mental and physical well being. May you enjoy and delight in your new self!

1
F2c347d7525967f66644a12266639b96

on September 30, 2012
at 10:33 PM

I've been diagnosed with ADHD since I was kid. My parents never wanted me to get on medication despite the fact my teachers were constantly telling them too. I eventually got homeschooled. My adult life was a struggle until the last year. I had a lot of trouble with work, focusing, and remembering stuff.I got subscribed adderall to help my work but I hated the inconsistency and feeling cracked out. It wasn't until I really got into working out and discovered Paleo diet out of Muscle Magazine. Until then I had no idea my eczema problems were due to refined sugars. I had no idea my glutenous diet was the reason I had severe stomach problems and why I was experiencing "foggy memory". I used to workout 5 days a week and still felt like I had metabolism of a 70 year old. Going Paleo changed all of that.

In regards to personality, it's been a 180. As a kid, I was constantly depressed and miserable because I never felt "normal". I could never focus on anything. Now I no longer feel like an asshole. My mood swings are minimal. I don't put people down anymore. I'm constantly trying encourage my friends and the people I come across. I've never been happier in my life. If anything stop focusing on the past and focus on what you can do now. EMBRACE the change and CHAMPION your experience to others.

1
7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on September 30, 2012
at 07:52 PM

Absolutely- I was a nutcase before paleo and gluten free diets.

I'm generally happy, but this was like insane HYPERNESS after every meal. It made it impossible for me to get anything done!

1
Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

on February 09, 2011
at 08:52 PM

There's a lot of new research indicating that there are substantial links between diet and psychological functioning. The gist, as far as I can tell, is that avoiding certain foods that happen to be eliminated by a paleo diet (e.g., grains, refined sugars) increases neural functioning in a lot of different ways. The effects on mood disorders seem to be the best-studied links at the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing studies on things like working memory, which is directly relevant to ADD.

0
Dc264668a8c97f1ad36c7a5644c4b4b6

on February 21, 2015
at 05:06 PM

Kara.. You mentioned no fruit.. I thought we could have fruit on Paleo? I'm confused!

322a2783dfe4086591f323c6d2c086d6

on April 04, 2016
at 08:57 PM

*a year later*

Although fruit is a source of some phytonutrients (usually in the skin) fruit is often a poor source of nutrition that is high in carbs/sugars... often fructose.

If you are trying to reap the benefits of a low-carb or even ketogenic version of Paleo, particularly if your sugar metabolism is deranged, you may wish to cut way down or eliminate many or most fruits.

Read about insulin resistance and fructose.

Cheers! :-)

0
7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:11 PM

Yeah, I had been on every ADHD medication known to man during my pre-vet studies. Honestly, each and every one (though they worked!) had some horrible side effect in my personality.

Crazy that people put their children on this stuff!

0
76211ec5301087de2588cfe3d6bccba9

(1178)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:48 PM

out of curiosity, how long did it take after you started eating Paleo before you noticed a change in your mood?

7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:12 PM

For me, about 1 year of gluten free, then I started paleo (Autoimmune/low carb/no fruit) and my moods gradually leveled out over the next three weeks, I'd say!

2db809cc338a01be9b48509dbf569378

on September 14, 2014
at 07:31 PM

I experienced the same thing. It took about three weeks until I saw pretty significant changes. To be honest I was very surprised that it was so soon. I was expecting a longer and more gradual change if any.

0
3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 20, 2011
at 03:08 PM

I would not atribute this to "paleo" per se, but to a change in nutrition in general. My moods have changed since I control my carb intake (or at least know about things like insulin/blood sugar surges). I am now able to control my moods by eating at the right time (i.e. BEFORE I become aggressive from hunger). I think it is quite obvious that hormones influence our personalities and the food we eat influences our hormones. Paleo or not, it makes a huge difference and no matter if it's with or without dairy and with our without grains: You can influence your psyche a lot by taking care of what amounts you eat. For me, more fat and less carbs made a huge difference long before I learned about paleo.

0
783296641123fa52b8237aef3d7be108

on March 10, 2011
at 08:22 PM

I too feel like Paleogirl. I saw a huge improvement in my symptoms and felt like a different person shortly after cutting out dairy and gluten. It absolutely made me question who I was before. I was depressed and erratic and unfocused. I dont' know if all ADD'ers feel this way but basically I was never satisfied with what I had or what I was. After going paleo and getting my thyroid fixed I feel confident and content most of the time, I still have bad days but they are rare. I too question how my life could have been different if I had never been poisoned by gluten and dairy. I had so much success that I stared a blog on ADHD and Paleo at http://gingervenom.blogspot.com/. I hope to hear from others like me since currently I don't know anyone else that eats this way.

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