Increasingly, there are efforts to improve ADHD symptoms long term. The use of natural supplements for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are now very common. People are now transitioning away from traditional drugs to treat ADHD.
Family medical practitioners at Atlanta’s premier integrative practice, CentreSpringMD give their top choices for natural ADHD supplements. Their picks have been medically reviewed and proven to improve symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults.
Note: Any or all of the supplements below can be used in conjunction with prescribed medication in ADHD treatment. Please speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Natural ADHD Supplements
This crucial mineral is responsible for every major metabolic reaction in the body and over 600 enzymatic reactions (1). Magnesium levels play a vital role in brain (neurotransmitter) function. For example, serotonin is our “happy” neurotransmitter connected to the sleep hormone, melatonin, while dopamine is our “focus and motivation” neurotransmitter.
Taking a magnesium supplement before bedtime helps with sleep. ADHD is known to cause anxiety, which causes sleep problems, as the brain is constantly running. In fact, research says that most all children with ADHD have a magnesium deficiency (2). Sadly, drugs with Methylphenidate, such as Ritalin, create a magnesium deficiency in both children and adults (3).
Ask your doctor about which magnesium supplements for ADHD would be good for a child or adult, as it needs B6 to be absorbed.
Iron has an important part in rudimentary brain function, and affects dopamine, which controls focus and motivation. Moreover, an iron deficiency is linked to poor cognitive motor (reasoning), social, and emotional functions. Low iron levels were found in children who took medication with Methylphenidate and can cause stronger ADHD symptoms (4).
This mineral is necessary for many cellular functions. Zinc is responsible for over 300 biochemical processes and brain nourishment (2). Therefore, melatonin and dopamine levels are affected by a zinc deficiency and can cause poor sleep.
Ask an integrative family doctor about balancing zinc and copper levels in your child.
This herb has long been used for increased clarity and mental sharpness.
One study administered a ginkgo biloba supplement to children diagnosed with ADHD. Lower levels of hyperactivity and inattention were found, plus decreased immaturity was noted (5).
Talk to an integrative physician before taking or giving ginkgo biloba to your child, as there could be drug interactions.
Best Supplements for ADHD
Omega 3 fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are important for proper central nervous system function, affecting decisions our brain makes. Omega-3s are vital for growth and development in every stage of the life cycle and important for all cell membranes (6). In other words, Omega 3s are an important source of energy that help to keep the immune system, heart and lungs, and blood vessels functioning properly.
One research study of sleep deprived children with ADHD found Omega 3 supplements improved concentration, sleep quality, and overall quality of life (7).
Another vitamin deficiency found in children with ADHD is vitamin D (8).
Healthy bones and teeth, strong immunity and brain health, as well as nervous system health are all attributed to proper vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is essential for musculoskeletal health, reduction of chronic disease and neurocognitive disorders (9).
The best natural source of vitamin D is spending time outside, but not too much in the bright sun.
Integrative Medicine for ADHD
Treating ADHD in each adult and child is different. Most importantly, the proper medication and/or supplements will drastically improve mental health. To best determine the most effective supplements for ADHD in one particular person, speak with a certified integrative doctor today.