What is the connection between Celiac Disease and ADHD?

What do the studies say?


Various studies show a connection between Celiac Disease and ADHD. Although it’s not conclusive, the evidence is strong.

In one study of 10 903 children (aged <18 years) with celiac disease and their siblings, they found that compared with the general population, children with celiac disease had a 1.4-fold greater risk of future psychiatric disorders. Childhood celiac disease was identified as a risk factor for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, behavioral disorders, ADHD, ASD, and intellectual disability.

In another study of 67 patients with ADHD, 10 were positive for celiac disease. After initiation of the gluten-free diet, there was significant improvement in their behavior and functioning compared to the period before celiac diagnosis and treatment.

The conclusion was that a gluten-free diet significantly improved ADHD symptoms in patients with celiac disease. The results further suggest that celiac disease should be included in the ADHD symptom checklist.


Celiac and the Gut-Brain Axis

Celiac Disease (CD) and gluten sensitivity are very much connected to neurological and Psychiatric disorders. This is understandable given the nature of CD that disrupts the delicate balance of the gut microbiome. It not only causes intestinal permeability, and nutrient deficiencies, but it also changes the diversity and population of beneficial gut bacteria. (gut-brain axis)

This in turn upsets the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Up to 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine is produced in the gut.

Research shows that a healthy gluten-free diet low in sugar and high in dietary fiber with lots of wholefoods as being a way to reduce ADHD symptoms.

While Gut health is very important for ADHD because of the gut-brain axis, it does not resolve all symptoms. This is because ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that changes the structure and function of the brain permanently.

While good lifestyle and diet choices help tremendously,they cannot fix it. ADHD is for life, just like Celiac Disease is for life.


Genetic Testing

I highly recommend genetic testing as both are complicated conditions that require lifelong adherence to a good program of exercise, nutrition and lifestyle factors.

Genetic testing gives you the foundation to tweak all these external things (called epigenetics) to help your genes express more favorably and to ward off the onset of more autoimmune conditions, while helping to reduce ADHD symptoms and improve the quality of your life.

Genetic tests recommended: DNA CORE, DNA resilience and DNA Mind.

Contact me for more information.


1. Niederhofer H. Association of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and celiac disease: a brief report. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2011;13(3):PCC.10br01104. doi: 10.4088/PCC.10br01104. PMID: 21977364; PMCID: PMC3184556.
2.Nagarajappa P, Chavali SM, Mylavarapu M. Pathological Manifestations of Gluten-Related Neuro-Psychiatric Disorders and the Impact of Gluten-Free Diet in a Pediatric Age Group: A Systematic Review. Cureus. 2023 Oct 15;15(10):e47062. doi: 10.7759/cureus.47062. PMID: 38022342; PMCID: PMC10644809.


3. https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(17)30153-1/abstract




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