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Behavioural & learning probs (inc ADHD) - gut dysbiosis / gut fermentation

(19 Posts)
sipper Fri 14-Dec-12 20:59:08

I'm not quite sure where to begin, but following a discussion on another thread it seemed appropriate to post specifically on this subject - 'behavioural and learning probs related to gut dysbiosis and gut fermentation' - in case the info is useful to anyone going through similar difficulties.

About a year ago, my middle DD (now 4 1/2 years old) had a number of things going on, including regularly coming down with coughs and colds, sometimes being extremely tired, having terrible tantrums, sometimes seeming away with the fairies, sometimes appearing to not hear a word you were saying to her, (none of these probs were all of the time, some were a lot of the time, some were only some of the time - i.e. no seemingly fixed pattern and not all probs a constant). Individually and seen only occasionally, you might not think much of these challenges, but gradually our DD was changing.

MY DH thankfully had an idea as to what might be going on and referred her for a blood test to check the alcohol levels in her bloodstream. This is a gut fermentation test and it is carried out by having a few hours of no food or drink other than water, followed by a dosage of glucose and an hour later a blood sample is taken.

The results were staggering. There in black and white were the most horrendous alcohol levels circulating in her bloodstream. This could seem all quite hilarious but it's no joke when it's a little 3 1/2 yr old who's being poisoned. No wonder she was acting in this way. The poor little thing was as good as drunk pretty much every time she ate anything.

The types of alcohols indicated yeasts and bacteria were present in her gut. These would ferment her foods when she ate and so turn her delicious and nutritious foodstuffs into alcohol.

It's not a quick problem to solve. You have to starve the bad stuff, kill it off and heal and replenish the gut. But the difference is enormous and for the long term it is hugely worth it. Specific meds (there are medical and also natural varieties available) and a specific diet has to be followed. It has been challenging and daunting and soul-destroying at times, but I know every day it is worth it. We are not completely clear yet. We still have probably a few months left to really get rid of the lot, but the improvement is massive.

When things got really bad, my DD would have been labelled with something and then possibly stuck with that label for life. I'm pretty sure we would have been told she had ADHD amongst other things.

She does not have ADHD. She was being poisoned each time she ate. Thankfully it is solvable but I feel sad as I think this is under-diagnosed and I don't believe enough people (especially doctors) know to consider it let alone test for it.

DD is so much happier, she has more energy (lasting energy, not just a burst but proper day-long happy energy), her learning has taken off, she is back to the vibrant, fun, considerate, amazing, intelligent and happy little girl we saw before. And she does not have the tantrums or aggression. What a change smile

That's staggering sipper, the poor mite shock

Is it known how she developed the yeast/bacterial growth in her gut in the first place? Are there long term health worries due to her having alcohol in her system for so long?

sipper Fri 14-Dec-12 22:01:15

I don't think there's a clear cut answer as to how you get the yeast and/or bacteria in the first place, but the widely held belief, (amongst the people who know to bother testing for this), is that the yeast or bacteria can take root when a space becomes available for them and it then gets in through finger or thumb sucking, or just absent-mindedly putting a finger/toy/pen anything in the mouth, or might even be ingested with food.

The space for the bad bacteria/or yeast is created when the good stuff that usually inhabits the gut has been killed off and there's then an opportunity for something less helpful to fill the gap.

So anything that has the potential to damage the gut could be implicated in starting this whole thing off. Ibuprofen, antibiotics, some of the ingredients in vaccinations for example. There would definitely be long term health probs if not dealt with - the 'ADHD' probs for instance, the lowered immune system leading to the potential for all kinds of diseases throughout life, and generally things being pretty unnaturally bad for her. By sorting it out now, it's a short term pain for a long term gain and she should be fine. I think the tragedy is that there must be plenty of kids out there who could benefit from this kind of treatment but whose families might never even know this is something to look at sad

sipper Sat 15-Dec-12 12:29:02

If anyone does want to know more please get in touch as am very happy to forward info.

afterdinnerkiss Wed 19-Dec-12 07:22:08

hi sipper thank you for sharing this with us this is really very important to know. hope your DD is better now and remains so.

i came across your post via this thread. i am interested in this topic and am trying to get hold of this book as i think it may be a similar topic.

i wanted to ask you, if there were any external signs, in hindsight, which indicated the internal status of your daughters system: e.g. a certain scent on the breath, perhaps yeasty? sorry if asking for tmi but did she have bowel problems, e.g. bad constipation or mucoid signs?

i would be interested to know as i want to protect my family against this and understand that illness begins in the gut and need to stop being too lazy to change our diets for long-term health.

sipper Thu 20-Dec-12 13:04:19

Hi afterdinnerkiss That book v good. Also lots of good info on her website:

This book worth getting too: (I bought from an online shop called Evergreen as Amazon was taking months)

Although my daughter didn't have those symptoms, people can get constipation or diaorrhea. There is quite a range of possible symptoms. I don't know about breath. My DD had nightsweats - not all the time though and like the other symptoms, not everyone would get them. They completely went when we began to tackle the gut dysbiosis/fermentation.

My daughter's behavioural and learning challenges were the most apparent symptoms. Her tantrums have gone and her focus and ability to learn really well was suddenly switched on. Amazing stuff. Having seen what I've seen, I definitely agree that good health starts in the gut. It's pretty logical and frustrating there aren't more health professionals who understand or think like that. My DD is very fortunate that my DH is knowledgable on these matters. Otherwise the situation would be v different!

afterdinnerkiss Thu 20-Dec-12 18:46:48

hi sipper thanks for the links. am looking into them already. pretty amazing that your DH figured it out (is he a medical professional?. i am sure any doctor you went to with your suspicions would otherwise have shooed you away with some ritalin.

i hope i can manage to feed DD well, she is a year old, a fussy eater but still breastfed. i feel really clueless all of a sudden, i thought a healthy diet would be enough need those books.

sipper Thu 20-Dec-12 20:12:42

My DH is in non-medicalised (!) healthcare, if you get my drift. He is amazing and knows a lot about a lot and seems to be able to answer all kinds of complex health questions. I say thank heavens for that, as when I asked the GPs what they would refer DD to (on the NHS) they just sent her for bog-standard tests such as checking iron levels. If I had taken her back a short while later I am certain they would have given her a nice big sticky label saying ADHD. Thankfully DH said stop that nonsense and he referred her for a gut fermentation profile (the blood test I mentioned in my initial post). It wasn't nice to receive the results but it explained everything and we could then begin to help her get better.

Don't worry and don't feel clueless. The fact that you're even interested in the whole subject means you are certainly not clueless and there's so much great info out there to help you decide what to feed your family. Once you start reading labels it's horrifying to see how many foods have sugar in them (lots of sausages, ham, bacon for example) and all sorts of weird and not wonderful sneaky ingredients. Staying away from processed food is definitely a good plan. Avoid low fat products as they usually have some far worse substitute instead of fat - such as sugar. Make sure you get enough good fats - it seems we need far more than we've been led to believe in recent years but it needs to be good fat. And, strange as it seems, not overdoing it on the fruit front is also important.

Those books already mentioned are very good. Also, for an easier (!) read :

sipper Thu 20-Dec-12 20:45:45

P.S. DH has just reminded me that our daughter did have some periods of constipation.

incywincyspideragain Thu 03-Jan-13 19:39:55

Hi sipper - weirdly your name has come up on 3 threads I've been interested in tonight so I think I need to quiz you further! grin

I have a ds with school difficulties and already have the GAPS book although not sure if I can go the full hog for the 18months is recommends to see a difference (although getting more tempted each day!) I have read with interest the advice in there for glue ear and ds's are already wheat and dairy free so I know behaviour and diet are closely linked for our family.

For your DD, how did you get a blood test? how did you dh persuade the GP to refer for testing specifically for alcohol levels? can the gut fermentation effect be detected by stool analysis?
Did you resolve it exclusively by GAPS? if not could it be done that way?

I'd be really interested in your experience.

MadameSin Thu 03-Jan-13 22:37:22

Sipper are you in the UK? Interested to know how easy it was for you to get the referral from your GP and based on what evidence did they agree? Ta!

sipper Sat 05-Jan-13 23:14:02

Hi incywincyspideragain and MadameSin , sadly GP did not have a clue about gut fermentation profile (the blood test that demonstrated alcohols were forming in DD's bloodstream). GP's were only interested in bog standards such as checking for anaemia. [Sad]

Thankfully my knowledgeable DP said get gut fermentation checked and clued up chiropractor referred for the test. Meant bloods had to be paid for privately, and, although I did feel quite sad when I got the results, it was worth paying in order to have in black and white what was going on.

Next steps required three-pronged approach - starve the yeast (and the bacteria) that the various alcohols indicated were present, kill the same (have been through a few varieties of natural meds and a pharma med), and replenish with mega levels of good stuff. At same time keeping very close eye on diet - important to remove anything that feeds the yeast and bad bacteria. Main culprits being yeast, sugar, gluten. More to it diet-wise than that but they are main offenders.

It has been a PITA at times and quite depressing but whenever I've felt it getting on top of me I only have to look at the amazing change in DD and immediately see again how worthwhile this process is. It is not quick. We are at 11 months and think probably another couple to go. So, it is def not quick. But do it now and hopefully she will be improved for life. Leave it and she will not only have to manage it forever but most likely get worse and have other health issues as a result at various times in her life.

I have also now developed numerous ways to get round food probs that I used to find difficult or daunting. Little things like no longer using stock cubes (many contain yeast. Also, at one point any dried herbs were also disallowed as they apparently commonly contain moulds, and lots of stocks have dried herbs in them) - I found fruit tea bags to be an excellent substitute and have regularly topped up my gravy making with fruit tea water (apple and ginger being a fabulous addition to chicken juices and fresh tarragon!). So on the food front it's all about being a bit organised (not my natural state!) and thinking around the prob. You also become acutely aware of just how much food contains sugar. Even things you would never have thought would have sugar added. It's awful!

We are in the UK. South East. I can post links to useful people or PM me if you like? What area are you? (Not sure if that's allowed on here? PM if you want to say an area and I can let you know if I know of anyone near you).

GAPS book is useful but I would recommend making a plan with an expert rather than doing all from a book. Book is excellent support and additional info though.

Sorry reply a bit long. Hope not too rambling and hope not too many typos!

sipper Thu 10-Jan-13 23:09:37

bump bump bumpety bump

Hi incy and MadameSin just wanted to make sure you got this info (in post above).



Cathwyn Thu 17-Jan-13 11:45:11

Hi sipper. I'm very interested in trying this with my 5 year old nonverbal autistic son. I have bought and read the Gaps book. Unfortunately I don't know if/how I can get my son to do this. He is a very fussy eater and diet very limited. I have this week cooked the chicken in water on the hob and am giving him a little.bit each day (alongside normal diet) to get him used to the flavour and hopefully like it eventually. I would like to have Liam tested also, I know you Had to pay, can you tell me if you went through a particular company and if you don't mind how much it cost? Thank you for your helpful advice xx

sipper Thu 17-Jan-13 22:39:26

Hi Cathwyn. Sounds like you are doing a great job. How are you finding it? I found it takes some planning, but once I got that into my head things became easier. I've also found a few ways to liven some foods up a bit - fruit teas have been great for sauces and gravies and xylitol has allowed me to still bake some cakes (depending on what you need to cut out though these might not be of use to you, but they're examples of what I've done).

What area are you in? I'm not sure if that's against MN rules - perhaps PM me? If you say where in the country you are I could let you know if I know of anyone nearby, or if not, who best to go through for tests.

Best wishes with it all. (It has been a PITA at times but oh my word the difference it has made has made it all worthwhile).

Cathwyn Fri 18-Jan-13 16:58:35

Have PM'd you sipper, thanks. Just forgot to ask if you supplemented with probiotics and if so, which ones. I have been giving fish oils (Eye q) (in juice) and probiotics also, but I dont think they are the right probiotics. Just childrens ones from the health shop.

sipper Tue 22-Jan-13 09:10:30

Hi Cathwyn thanks for the PM. I'll PM you back this eve, inc probiotic details. Best wishes, Sipper

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 11-Mar-13 16:24:15

Hmmmm , not sure i buy any of this and wonder about the marketing rules on MN

(Awaits flaming by those who believe serious and neurologically-based conditions such as ADHD and Learning Difficulties originate in the gut)

ouryve Mon 18-Mar-13 14:40:14

No flames, here, sickof

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