The Brain Gut Connection

by | Nov 20, 2017 | Maya's Journey to Success | 2 comments

ADHD symptoms and gut healthThere is a connection between ADHD symptoms and gut health. That’s why I cover it in the ADHD Success Club. Eating a healthy, ADHD-friendly diet as well as gut healthy fermented foods will make living with ADHD easier.

ADHD symptoms and gut health are related. I begin writing this blog feeling a bit foggy at the end of a weekend, I think of Dana’s words in last week’s ADHD Success Club Module, “All things in moderation.”  Out of the routine and habit and on break, I catalog my food intake for today: sugary muffin, 2 slices of bacon, grapefruit, 2 double shots of espresso, 2 cans of LaCroix, cheese and crackers, Cranberry Bliss bar from Starbucks with another espresso, biscuit, 2 slices of ham, cheddar mashed potatoes, cheddar garlic biscuits, cauliflower and broccoli, some Icelandic licorice, and hot tea.

  • Missing from today–my water as well as my morning gut health smoothie with yogurt, berries, spinach, banana, almond milk, oatmeal, flax seeds, and chia seeds.

  • Added to today–caffeine, sugar, processed junk, simple carbs, sugar

Habits of eating are in many ways for me connected to habits of doing. On a normal work day my habits are better and my brain gut connection is more in tune. On breaks and vacation, the lack of structure in my day makes for habits that aren’t as healthy. Also, my husband does most of the shopping and cooking, so if I don’t plan ahead and think about what I want, I eat what is served.

Changing my habits will require me to think and plan ahead, do my part with cooking and shopping, and make better choices. Several years ago I cut out diet sodas and artificial sweeteners, but I still have a fondness for chewy candy, dark chocolate, and sweets.

Dana explained the connection between the brain, ADHD symptoms and the gut with the gut being like a second brain guiding feelings, moods, behaviors, and reactions as well as explaining how neurotransmitters such as Serotonin are secreted in the gut. I can feel the impact of sugar and caffeine’s spike and crash effect, and I know that little changes a bit at a time can lead to big changes over time.

I need to keep my daily smoothie in my routine even when I’m on break — perhaps I can have it for lunch if not for breakfast. Also, I need reminders to remember to think about what I put in my stomach and realize that what goes there impacts my brain. I like when my brain functions well and my ADHD symptoms are minimized because that’s when I’m at my best as a teacher, mom, wife, daughter, friend, and person. This is important to keep in mind as I continue my journey to living successfully with ADHD.


  1. Sheila

    I have diabetes as well as ADD so little tricks that play into my distractability work sometimes.
    A friend got me onto this… Get clear jars with a sealing lid, mason type. Fill with raw colourful healthy edibles, prepped while still excited about them on shopping day. Store in the fridge. When you see the ready to eat fruits and veg upon opening the door, they are a great distraction and harder to resist. Also, really quick to toss in a pan for a stir fry or a grab and go bag.
    Thank you for connecting the brain health to the gut health! I can truly vouch for the connections to mood and patience changes. Hope this helps!

    • Dana Rayburn

      Love the idea about the clear mason jars! Thank you.



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