ADHD and Insulin resistance?

I have been looking into insulin resistance. Without going into details, apparently insulin resistance starts years before people develop pre-diabetes or diabetes and there are a bunch of related syndromes/symptoms such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, migraines, inflammation, obesity etc. Some doctors think even the Alzheimer’s disease is related. Listening to one talk, the doctor being interviewed said he had high triglycerides, low energy, foggy brain etc. and once did things to deal with insulin resistance, his triglyceride levels came down, he felt more energetic, his mental fog cleared and he had improved focus! This last improvement made me wonder so I googled "ADHD and insulin resistance "and what do you know! A number of people have noticed a connection between type 2 diabetes and ADHD! As per the link below,

individuals with ADHD “should be treated as a high-risk group for cardiometabolic complications.” Those complications include Type 2 diabetes.

I did a lot of reading/watching videos and it seems insulin resistance is at the bottom of many of the metabolic syndromes (you can find videos on youtube) so I wonder if there is a similar connection with ADHD as well. In other words, I wonder if things like better sleep, low carbs, low sugar, more veggies, exercise, more protein and fat can help us brains as well in managing our symptoms better. NOTE: this is pure speculation. Please do not change your diet based on what I wrote. Talk to your doctor about diet and follow their advice.

I do think this requires further research. I will ask the new cardiologist I am hoping to see in the next few months about this.

You may find that if you tweak that to “low processed carbs” and “healthy fats”, you’ll have something that about 99% of physicians are comfortable prescribing for everyone :stuck_out_tongue:.

Very interesting! I know that one of the big recommendations for getting a better “control” over hyperactivity and/or inattentiveness is, to reduce the intake of processed sugars. But duh, if you don’t give little Billy too many Pixie Stix and Mars Bar candies, he won’t be all hyper and he’ll do better on his math homework, I always thought it was just a pointless comment to make about typical North American poor childhood nutrition.

Complex carbs are better for you in that they don’t spike the insulin as much as processed carbs but the claim is that you want to reduce all carbs. And you’d be amazed at how many physicians are still giving eat less fat advice!

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Hyperactivity is not a symptom of hyperglycaemia; the association is just folk ‘wisdom’. Kids may get overexcited about situations in which sugary foods are associated (such as parties), and maybe theobromine in cocoa products has an effect, but sugar itself is not the problem.

Of course, in the long term a diet that is 90% sugar may cause malnutrition that in turn causes behavioural issues, but that’s a different matter.

It’s not bad advice; your average American/Brit/Australian consumes too much saturated fat, and the energy density of fat makes it easy to overconsume in terms of calories (the first rule of thermodynamics is that you can’t beat thermodynamics…). Recommending the elimination of fat would generally be bad advice, but most people could benefit from reducing it, if only due to the sources they’re getting it from.

Yes, your nutrition advice is scientifically well-founded, I think, gHlAh. But it’s good for all people, not just ADHDers. Also, it’s only tangential to one of the central issues here, that of the relationship between simple(r) carbohydrates and management of ADHD symptoms. According to some of the literature, reducing the one seems to reduce the other.

At the very least, healthy eating habits will help with living a healthy life, in general.

There are various conditions, definitely including metabolic conditions, which can hang similar effects on executive functioning to ADHD. That’s why doctors will run blood tests and perhaps other tests before making a diagnosis of ADHD.

  • For instance, hypothyroidism can appear to be similar to Inattentive ADHD. Hyperthyroidism can appear to be similar to Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. Yet a simple blood test can diagnose thyroid issues.
  • Depression cannot be diagnosed with a blood test, and it can appear similar to Inattentive ADHD, and vice versa.

That’s also why looking for a pattern of ADHD-like traits going back to childhood is helpful. (If I recall right, the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD includes the stipulation that the symptoms have persisted longer than six months.)

I believe I’ve heard and read that ADHD traits can also potentially contribute to poor eating habits, which can increase the likelihood of developing metabolic health issues.

Unfortunately, ADHD can be easily missed if there is a diagnosis of another condition which can be interpreted as the “cause” of the executive functioning issues a person has. Yet the fact of the matter might be that the individual has both ADHD and the other condition(s).

I think the only thing you will get most nutritionists to agree upon is that eating food that has as little processing as possible is best. Though even that was not always true. The amount of our current, ‘modern’, nutritional advice that is still steeped in Edwardian quack-ism is astonishing.

Just like exercise is best when it is actual work, nutrition is best when it comes from actual food. In fact, consuming your water as food instead of straight, filtered water is better for you.

And doctor’s, especially general practitioners, have very limited nutritional knowledge. Their words often hold less scientific weight on the subject than the media’s headlines but are said with the gravity of a medical degree.

Here I am assuming ADHD – let us ignore other conditions for the moment. And clearly ADHD affects how well we can maintain healthy habits. But if somehow we can stick to good habits, and we can often do that if we are sufficiently motivated, my question was whether better sleep, less stress, low carbs, high healthy fats, less processed food, more nutritious food, veggies and fruits etc. would have a measurable positive effect on ADHD symptoms.

This is why I am now experimenting with cold showers, regular intake of omega-3, now adding Phosphatidylserine. As well attempting to eat fresher food. This last one is actually harder since grocery bought food is not all that fresh given their long farm to grocery store pipeline.