How to Naturally Treat ADHD Symptoms in Our Children with Dana Kay

How to Naturally Treat ADHD Symptoms in Our Children with Dana Kay

On today’s episode of The Gentle Parenting Show, Kim is joined by Dana Kay – a Board-Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Practitioner, and the CEO and founder of the ADHD Thrive Institute. Today Kim and Dana will discuss Dana’s own personal story with ADHD, the gut-brain connection, and how to naturally help your child heal from ADHD symptoms. 

Starting With Holistic Health 

Dana has had an interesting journey – she started her career in counseling. She would have continued that journey if her son’s health hadn’t taken a turn. His behavior, energy, and meltdowns became so dramatic and damaging around age 4 that Dana knew she needed help.

Her son was diagnosed with ADHD and put on strong medication at 4 years old. At first, Dana was relieved with the diagnosis and medication and thought they were finally getting the help they needed. But, her son’s dosage kept increasing and with that, side effects increased which resulted in getting more prescriptions to counteract. At one point, he was on 4 prescription medications and that was the turning point for Dana. She knew there had to be a better way. 

Once Dana started learning about more holistic methods to cope with ADHD, she was hooked. She left her accounting background and received certifications and studies in holistic health. She started implementing the changes she was learning about with her own child. He is now completely off medication and a thriving middle school student. 

The Gut-Brain Connection and ADHD

The best way to Dana was able to describe the gut-brain connection was through statistics that we’ll share here: 

  • 54% of American children have been diagnosed with a chronic illness
  • 1 in 2 children have anxiety, diabetes or cystic fibrosis 
  • 1 in 5 children experience major food allergies 
  • 1 in 6 children experience developmental delays
  • 1 in 68 children have autism 

All of the numbers have significantly risen in the past 15 years. Why? Dana has some answers. 80% of a person’s immunity lies in the nerve cells of the gut wall. When the microbiomes and bacteria in the gut are harmed, a child is more likely to develop a chronic illness. 

Antibiotics and Gut Health 

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria. This can be good, but the problem is antibiotics can’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria. When children have been on multiple rounds of antibiotics in their lives, it compromises the gut. When the gut is compromised, immunity decreases. 

ADHD and Gut Health

If a gut is not functioning properly, the brain won’t either. 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine are formed in the gut. These hormones balance moods. Emotional dysregulation is a common ADHD symptom, and many practitioners and caregivers don’t realize this starts in the gut. 

Naturally Treating ADHD By Treating the Gut 

Because of all the reasons Dana listed above, to start focusing on treating ADHD, we have to focus on gut health. The main area of the brain connected to the gut is the frontal lobe. This area of the brain is responsible for attention, focus, organization skills, and problem-solving. As you may know – these are actions often affected by ADHD.

Diet, Gut-Health, and ADHD

Dana understands that diet is the foundation for everything. The simplest change to make to help your gut, and thus ADHD is my removing inflammatory foods and replacing them with foods rich in micronutrients. When you remove things like gluten, dairy, and soy from your child’s diet, you’re helping heal their gut which heals their brain.

By treating a child with ADHD through changing diet, the whole family’s eating habits change. Now, this can seem daunting and overwhelming. But Dana advises looking at this as a journey and a process. Things won’t change in a day, but by making small and steady changes, your child’s brain functions will dramatically change over time. 

What to Do First to Naturally Treat ADHD

Kim asks Dana what one simple takeaway parents can make for their children’s ADHD. Dana says for diet, start with removing gluten. If that feels like too much at once, focus on removing gluten one meal at a time until it becomes second nature. Then, move on to dairy, then soy, and so forth. 

Dana says “so often when a child receives a diagnosis, caregivers are not given the information they need on how food can help their children. These parents need to know there is hope!”

Courses to Naturally Treat ADHD

Dana’s company, ADHD Thrive offers courses for children ages 4-18. These courses are 12 weeks and walk families through step-by-step what, where, why, how, and when to naturally treat ADHD. 

She also offers more in-depth programs that medically test the gut and take a deeper look inside the body. Dana has found that for 90% of the families she works with, once they make the changes provided in the basic course, there is no need for additional testing. 

Connect with Dana

Learn more about Dana’s course HERE. Order Dana’s new book, “Thriving With ADHD” HERE.

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The Sleep Lady is a brand, founded by Kim West, focusing on gentle sleep and parenting solutions. For over 25 years, we have helped hundreds of thousands of families get the rest they need, without leaving their children alone to cry it out. While we focus on sleep-training, we provide resources and tips for parents to help schedule their child’s day, feedings and more.

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The Gentle Parenting Show, created by Kim West - The Sleep Lady

In the Gentle Parenting Show, Kim West will interview parenting experts on everything from mindfulness to developmental milestones and how it relates to gentle parenting. Kim West is a LCSW-C, bestselling author and founder of a world-renowned gentle sleep training method. She and her team of Gentle Sleep Coaches have helped over 1 million families find gentle sleep through her courses, best-selling book and 1:1 coaching. Kim is the only baby sleep expert out there with 25-years of experience, and she’s seen everything when it comes to parenting.