Natural Remedies for ADD

The Gut-Brain Connection... how to heal it for ADD and ADHD symptoms

Use these powerful natural remedies for ADD and ADHD to heal your digestive tract and its effects on your brain.

Your brain – or your child’s – reaps HUGE benefits when you heal “leaky gut syndrome” and balance gut flora...

  • Clearer thinking
  • Improved concentration
  • More balanced emotions
  • No more picky or addictive eating
  • Skin improves, too!

Have you ever looked at your child and wondered, “Where is this extreme behaviour coming from?”

Or - you know he’s bright, but he’s not doing well in school and just can’t seem to pay attention.

Has something gone wrong?

Yes! But it’s not in your child’s brain. It’s in his gut.

Does it seem odd to you that the gut and
the brain are closely connected?

A 2013 study at UCLA showed that the gut sends messages to the brain that affect emotions and sensory processing (which can affect learning.) The researchers found that when you take natural remedies for ADD like probiotics and probiotic foods, your brain works better and emotional flares are reduced.

But when the gut is full of toxins – and this can happen even to small children – the brain gets into trouble.

Why? Because those toxic gut molecules flow out through holes in the intestines into the bloodstream, then up to the brain.

Then you end up with roller-coaster emotions, foggy thinking, insomnia, out-of-control behaviour, depression and anxiety. There may also be food cravings or refusal to eat.

The gut can be damaged by grains in ordinary bread © Karen AlisonInnocent-looking bread may be damaging your gut

The gut is damaged by substances we’re used to having in our daily lives: drugs and chemicals, junk food, and foods such as grains (wheat, etc.), milk and dairy products, legumes (beans), sugar and refined carbs.

These things cause two gigantic problems for the gut - problems that have been directly linked to ADD and ADHD. Fortunately, you can fix them with home remedies for ADD, which you'll learn about in this article.

But before we look at natural remedies for ADD that help to heal the gut, here are…

The two big problems for the gut
that lead to ADD and ADHD symptoms...

What are the two big problems?

  1. Disrupted or out-of-balance gut flora (your microbiome) and
  2. Leaky gut syndrome (gaps in the walls of your intestines)

1. Distorted “flora”

Gut “flora” are the billions of microbes in your digestive tract. Some of them help you stay healthy but others are nasties like virus, fungi, cancer cells and other pathogens, just waiting for a chance to take over and make you sick.

The bad guys also affect your mood and how your brain works.

So, obviously, you want to have more good microbes than bad ones in your gut. You need the good bacteria to make vitamins, kill off toxic microbes, help you digest your food, and keep you in homeostasis (balance.)

But what if you’re a child who’s had doses of antibiotics or steroids early in life? This is common with ADHD in children and it creates a huge disruption in their gut flora.

Sweets feed pathogenic microbes in your gut © Karen Alison

When gut flora is disrupted, one possibility is that candida yeast can grow out of control. Result? Mood changes, itchy skin, fungal infections, and big sweet cravings. This could be why kids with ADD tend to eat more sugar than other children.

You’ll also end up with conflicts over food because sweets are the food of those pathogenic microbes and they hijack your child’s eating preferences.

Distorted gut flora cause all sorts of digestive problems and upsets, making some kids refuse to eat because they feel awful when they do.

On the other hand, improving gut flora is one of the most important natural remedies for add.

Gut problems can start at birth...

Apart from drugs, a second common reason for disrupted flora is the birth process...

Babies who are born by Caesarean section do not receive the benefit of their mother’s vaginal secretions at birth. These secretions help gut flora form in the infant’s intestinal tract.

One scientist couple who knew they would have to have a C-section were so concerned about the gut flora issue that they painted their new-born with the mother’s secretions in the delivery room.

But even children who go through the birth canal can have problems. Their intestinal tracts are populated by the flora they pick up from their mother on the way out.

Unfortunately, that flora in the birth canal may be disrupted. (And it comes from both parents so don't blame mum.) Generations since World War II have taken antibiotics and other drugs, and been exposed to chemical products that have altered gut flora for the worse.

So baby doesn't get what he or she needs right from the start.

But don’t worry! There are gut-healing home remedies for ADD and ADHD below.

Here’s an interesting article about the importance of gut bacteria to health, including the story of the couple mentioned above.

Meanwhile, here’s the other huge problem for the gut

2. Holes in the walls of the intestines

This is called “leaky gut syndrome.” Little food molecules – and even nastier microbes – escape from your gut through these tiny holes and carry toxins to your body and brain.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a neurologist who has helped thousands of children recover from ADD, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other brain issues. She says that toxins in the brain from a leaky gut are a major cause of ADD and ADHD symptoms

The molecules that escape from your gut are not supposed to be floating around outside the protective barrier of your intestines. So your immune system launches an attack on them.

This creates an “auto-immune” response, causing inflammation and health problems like allergies, arthritis, Type I diabetes, Celiac disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

The National Institutes of Health say there are over 80 of these autoimmune disorders!

Basically, leaky gut syndrome is very bad news. But with these highly effective natural remedies for ADD and ADHD symptoms you can heal the gut so it works with the brain instead of against it

Natural remedies for ADD and ADHD that heal the gut to help the brain and body

Here are some natural remedies for ADD and ADHD that will help you to balance and develop your child’s gut flora – or your own – to healthy levels, and restore the lining of the intestines – which is incredibly important for brain health.

Take probiotics and eat probiotic foods
to restore gut flora

Probiotics help to restore the balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract.  Choose a quality probiotic capsule, because many so-called probiotics don’t contain enough microbes to be useful.

Here’s how to make it easy for your child to take a probiotic: just break open the capsule and mix the contents in with food or a beverage (but nothing hot.)

Probiotic or fermented foods are another excellent home remedy for ADD. © Karen AlisonRed cabbage sauerkraut

Probiotic or fermented foods are another excellent home remedy for ADD. Every culture in the world has some type of probiotic food as part of their traditional diet.

They include fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and fermented carrots, kimchee, Kombucha, miso soup, and pickles fermented in water the old-fashioned way, not in vinegar.

Curiously, green peas have now been classified as a probiotic food because they contain bacteria called Leuconostoc mesenteroides. They may help to heal the lining of the intestine when it’s been damaged by problem foods, chemicals and drugs.

Eat peas raw. When my sister and I were kids, we loved “unzipping” fresh green pea pods and eating the contents.

I’m not crazy about dairy, because it’s the top food allergen and so many children react badly to it with stomach problems, ear infections and respiratory issues. But some experts believe that home-made yogurt or kefir from raw, organic milk - or at least non-homogenized milk - is a valuable probiotic.

Why home-made? Because most commercial yogurts aren’t fermented long enough to provide the amount of bacteria you need to crowd out the bad microbes in the gut.


Dr. Campbell-McBride says that people with ADD badly need to detoxify, since toxins in the body are what lead to many of the symptoms of ADHD and ADD.

Foods that bind toxins in the gut and flush them out will help your brain work better (because those toxins will NOT be present to migrate through your bloodstream to poison your brain.)

Detoxing the body is one of the most important natural remedies for ADD. You can help the process along by changing to natural and unscented laundry products, household cleaners, and personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotions, etc.) The fewer chemicals a child's small body has to deal with, the less toxic they will be.

Ground flax seed is an effective detoxifier. © Karen AlisonGround flax seed

These nutritious foods are very effective detoxifiers:

  • Apples and apple pectin – a prebiotic that supports the probiotic effect
  • almonds - buy plain almonds that you can roast at home, not coated or sweetened versions.
  • flax seeds – grind and add to other foods (do not heat),
  • pineapple - also contains enzymes that help with digestion
  • dark green leafy vegetables, and
  • seaweed – kids often like the salty flavour of dulse which they can eat right out of the package instead of potato chips. It can also be toasted. Dulse is full of nutritious minerals.

Eat a Paleo diet

The Paleolithic diet can work as one of your best natural remedies for ADD and ADHD and many other health problems, because it helps restore the gut and provides high-level nutrition.

The top food allergens – wheat and cereal grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and junk food – are also worst for gut health. They are not Paleo food choices because they worsen leaky gut syndrome and contribute to inflammatory health problems. Some of these foods leach minerals from your teeth and bones. (Yuck - cavities and painful joints!)

Two more excellent choices for healing the gut and its effect on the brain are the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS diet.)

They have similarities to the Paleo diet and have proven to be highly effective for both children and adults. Including plenty of bone broths and probiotic foods will speed the improvement process.

Take anti-fungals

Children with ADD or ADHD often have yeast infections, athlete’s foot and other symptoms of yeast microbes growing out of control. (Fatigue, food cravings, volatile emotions, skin issues, etc.)

We all have Candida yeast in our bodies but it’s not a problem unless that microbial population grows too big. Antibiotics, drugs and other toxins help fuel that growth.

What to do? Take antifungal natural remedies to kill off an overgrowth of Candida yeast – and other excess fungi – in the gut.

Antifungals include:

  • olive leaf extract
  • grapefruit seed extract
  • cat’s claw
  • caprylic acid
  • aged garlic extract and regular garlic

Oregano oil or tea tree oil can be used directly on skin to help clear up fungal infections and athlete’s foot.

Note that taking antifungals causes “die-off” of the excess yeasts for a few days, which is sometimes very uncomfortable.

Avoid sweets and use Chromium GTF

Sweets are the food of the bad microbes in the gut, so eating sweets just feeds the problem. These microbes are pathogenic, which means they actually cause disease. They also distort the way brain signals are transmitted.

A German study showed that children who don’t eat sweets do better in school. Getting kids off sugar can be a battle, but it will help your child for the rest of his or her life. The earlier you start, the better.

Sugar is 50 percent fructose © Karen Alison

There are many different types of sugar. Even drinking fruit juice is not a good choice. 12 ounces of apple juice contains almost 10 grams of sugar. It’s full of fructose – a type of sugar that can only be processed by the liver and is linked to obesity.

Sugar and fructose throw off your balance of insulin and blood glucose which is critical for brain function (and many other key processes in the body.)

These three things: an overloaded liver, unbalanced insulin response, and feeding the bad bacteria in the gut – will affect your child’s thinking and behaviour for the worse (and yours – sweets have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s by causing lesions in the brain.)

Going off sweets can bring on a carbohydrate detox, where you feel worse before you feel better. The conventional wisdom is that it takes 4-5 days for a food to exit your system but, in my experience, the detox reactions from going off refined carbs and grains can last for a couple of weeks.

To reduce sweet cravings

To keep blood sugar balanced and reduce sweet cravings...

  • drink quality water
  • eat protein or broth made from meat or poultry bones or fish every 2-3 hours
  • take chromium GTF

Eating a piece of fruit or a small bowl of berries is better than drinking juice. One to three servings of fresh or cooked fruit per day is enough. If your child has severe fungal or yeast infection, it’s probably best to go off all sweets including fruit, until the problem clears up.

Do you use sweets as a reward to your child? This turns sugary food into an emotional bargaining chip which is bound to create resistance when you reduce your child’s sweet-eating. The physical addiction of refined carbohydrates is hard enough to deal with.

Perhaps you could discuss with your child another type of reward they would enjoy and explain why sweets are so destructive.

A final note:

It’s true that some of these natural remedies for ADD and home remedies for ADHD involve a bit of work. Children with ADHD may be uncooperative at first. But if you persist – and get the whole family involved – you’ll be astonished at what big changes can result.

I know from personal experience what an enormous impact healing the gut can have on brain, mood, and behaviour. Believe me, it gets easier over time and you are setting the stage for a lifetime of good health and more balanced emotions.

Related Articles

7 Crucial Natural Remedies for ADHD

Natural Remedies for ADD and ADHD - How can they help you and your child? Why is there so much ADHD now? Understand more about this condition.

ADD in Adults - What are the symptoms? Learn about the natural remedies for adults with ADD.

Leaky gut syndrome - Is this what's causing your chronic health problem? A leaky gut is the lurking underside of arthritis, ADHD, dementia and Alzheimer's, depression, PMS, skin problems, weight gain, diabetes, and a bewildering array of other chronic health problems. What it is and how to fix it.

Find more articles on our Site Map and Articles List


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