Medication effectively alleviates ADHD symptoms for most individuals; however, some people explore natural remedies, such as dietary adjustments, ADHD supplements, herbal solutions, and vitamins, as complementary or alternative approaches. Can these natural remedies actually reduce ADHD symptoms? Let’s delve into the research findings.
To alleviate your ADHD symptoms and enhance cognitive function, consider these 10 dietary choices. However, it’s crucial to complement these dietary changes with a visit to an ADHD medical clinic and consultation with your primary care physician to incorporate them into your overall medical treatment plan.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents through FDA-approved medications, coupled with parent training in behavior modification and classroom-based behavioral interventions. Similarly, research supports the notion that “stimulant medications yield the best results, and a combination of medication and psychosocial interventions offers the most advantageous treatment approach for the majority of adult ADHD patients.” Nonetheless, many individuals seek to enhance their ADHD treatment strategies by incorporating natural therapies, including dietary adjustments, vitamins, herbs, and even fish oil.
Here are ten widely recognized natural remedies for ADHD, encompassing dietary choices, ADHD supplements, and herbal options. We will also examine the research findings associated with each remedy to determine whether incorporating them into your treatment plan could potentially enhance focus, attention, and motivation.
It’s important to emphasize that any decisions regarding ADHD treatment should be made in collaboration and consultation with a licensed medical professional.
Inadequate nutrition can lead to increased distractibility, impulsiveness, and restlessness in individuals with ADHD. Conversely, the proper dietary choices can help alleviate these symptoms.
Foods abundant in protein—such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, soy, and dairy—provide the body with essential building blocks for neurotransmitters. These chemicals facilitate communication between brain cells. Additionally, protein helps regulate blood sugar levels, mitigating hyperactivity.
Dr. Edward Hallowell, coauthor of the best-selling book ‘Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood,’ recommends a balanced approach to your lunch and dinner plates. He suggests dividing your plate as follows: allocate half of it to fruits and vegetables, one-quarter to a protein source, and the remaining one-quarter to a carbohydrate, preferably one rich in fiber—such as whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, or brown rice.
This combination of foods is designed to mitigate fluctuations in behavior caused by hunger or nutritional deficiencies. Fiber, in particular, helps stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing the spikes and crashes that can exacerbate inattention in individuals with ADD.
According to Brown, “Many individuals have daily diets lacking essential vitamins and minerals that could potentially enhance attention and alertness.” Supplements designed to elevate dopamine levels, such as fish oil and vitamin D, can often bridge these nutritional deficiencies.
If your child is selective about their food choices or frequently consumes take-out meals, they may not meet their daily requirements for essential vitamins and minerals. A daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement can help guarantee they receive these nutrients, regardless of their dietary preferences.
Research indicates that providing supplements of B vitamins to children with insufficient levels has shown promising results. These include enhancements in IQ scores by up to 16 points and a reduction in aggression and antisocial behavior. Brown suggests that vitamin B-6 appears to boost dopamine levels in the brain, leading to improved alertness.
Zinc plays a crucial role in dopamine synthesis and can enhance the effects of methylphenidate. Low levels of this mineral are associated with inattention.
Iron is also essential for dopamine production. In a small study, 84 percent of children with ADHD had low ferritin levels (a marker of iron stores), compared to 18 percent of the control group. Insufficient iron levels are linked to cognitive deficits and severe ADHD.
According to Brown, maintaining adequate magnesium levels has a calming effect on the brain. While increasing mineral intake through dietary sources is the safest approach, a multivitamin/multimineral supplement containing iron can help ensure that you or your child meets the daily reference value (DRV) for all three minerals.
Research suggests that a subset of boys with ADHD may have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared to those without ADHD symptoms.
Another study found that omega-3s, which are abundant in cold-water, fatty fish like sardines, tuna, and salmon, may metabolize more quickly in individuals with ADHD compared to those without the condition. Brown notes that individuals with ADHD who have low blood levels of omega-3s are likely to experience the most significant improvements in mental focus and cognitive function.
According to Brown, most children and adults experience moderate benefits from the vitamin-mineral approach. However, those with more severe ADHD symptoms might find greater relief through the use of herbs.
Brown explains that these herbs function as cognitive activators, mimicking the effects of stimulants but without the associated side effects. Typically, both adults and children who incorporate ginkgo and ginseng into their regimen see improvements on ADHD rating scales and exhibit reduced impulsiveness and distractibility. It’s worth noting that Asian ginseng may be overly stimulating for younger children. In such cases, switching to American ginseng may be a more suitable alternative.
Derived from the bark of French maritime pine, pycnogenol has demonstrated the ability to enhance attention, concentration, and visual-motor coordination while reducing hyperactivity in students. These effects were observed after just one month, as indicated by standardized measures and evaluations from both teachers and parents.
Additionally, pycnogenol is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that safeguard brain cells against free radicals. Brown notes that the herb’s initial double-blind study, conducted in 2006, confirmed its benefits, although larger randomized trials are still needed.
Derived from a plant of the same name that thrives in Arctic regions, Rhodiola Rosea has the potential to enhance alertness, attention, and accuracy. It’s important to note that it can be overly stimulating for young children, but it has occasionally shown benefits in children aged eight to twelve. According to Brown, it is most valuable for students in junior high, high school, and college, especially those who need to complete lengthy papers and spend extended hours reading.
In addition to dietary foods, supplements can also be beneficial for enhancing cognitive function. Taking both together can be highly advantageous. You can consider taking brain booster supplement to help you attain a heightened awareness of the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
If you’re struggling with ADHD and finding it challenging to concentrate on your studies, visit our Santa Ana medical clinic. Here, you can receive top-notch treatment for your ADHD in person. If you’re not located in California, you can still access our services on this website and receive online treatment through telemedicine.