ADHD Natural Supplements for Adults
Do you feel like your brain is in overdrive? Are you struggling to focus or keep up with the demands of daily life? You might be dealing with adult ADHD.
While many people think of ADHD as a childhood condition, it can often persist into adulthood. And while there’s no cure for ADHD, there are ways to manage the symptoms and live a productive, happy life.
Weighted blankets may be useful for managing ADHD symptoms but there are several natural supplements that have been suggested to potentially help alleviate symptoms of ADHD in adults.
Here are a few ADHD natural supplements for adults:
Table of Contents
How do ADHD supplements help with managing symptoms?
ADHD supplements can help with managing symptoms by providing the body with essential vitamins and minerals that may be lacking and can contribute to the symptoms of ADHD. This includes omega-3 fatty acids, iron, nootropics, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and D, melatonin, and zinc.
These supplements can
- increase focus and concentration,
- reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity,
- improve organization and task completion.
Additionally, these supplements may reduce side effects associated with stimulant medication, and can be an effective complementary treatment to medication and lifestyle changes.
What vitamins and minerals are important for managing ADHD?
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a key role in overall brain function and health. It helps the body to make proteins and DNA, and it is also important for supporting a healthy immune system, aiding in wound healing, and boosting metabolism. Low levels of zinc have been found in people with ADHD, and some studies suggest that zinc supplementation may be beneficial for managing ADHD symptoms, particularly in those with a zinc deficiency. Zinc may help to improve memory, focus, impulse control, attention, and mood.
While more research is needed to better understand its efficacy and optimal dosages, zinc may be an effective complementary therapy for people with ADHD.
Magnesium plays an important role in managing ADHD. Studies have found that a deficiency in magnesium can cause irritability, mental confusion, and a shortened attention span in those with ADHD. Additionally, magnesium has been shown to promote relaxation and calmness in people with the disorder.
Additionally, a small 2021 study suggests that magnesium and vitamin D may reduce emotional and relationship challenges associated with ADHD, though more research is needed to understand the effects. Magnesium can be obtained from foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, dairy products, and fish.
3. Vitamin D
The role of vitamin D in managing ADHD is still being studied, but research suggests that it may be beneficial for those with the condition. Several studies have found that children with ADHD have significantly lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than those without ADHD.
In one study, children with ADHD who took a 8-week course of vitamin D supplements showed significant improvements in attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity compared to those who took a placebo. This suggests that vitamin D supplements may improve ADHD symptoms in children who are vitamin D deficient. However, more research is needed to confirm this theory.
Additionally, vitamin D plays an important role in healthy brain development and function, and mothers with low vitamin D levels have a higher likelihood of having children with ADHD. Therefore, it is important to check vitamin D levels and supplement if the levels are low or even borderline low.
4. Vitamin B6
Studies have shown that the combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 improved anxiety and mobility among children with ADHD. Vitamin B6 is also involved in magnesium processing which has an important role in supporting attention. That is why supplementation of vitamin B6 may help to improve symptoms of ADHD and reduce fatigue and boost mood – especially when digested with magnesium.
5. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for maintaining healthy nervous and digestive systems and various metabolic functions, and it plays a vital role in attention and executive functioning. Studies have shown that Vitamin B12 is necessary for proper nervous system function and can help those with ADHD by reducing fatigue and boosting mood, as well as improving symptoms.
Iron plays a critical role in managing symptoms of ADHD. Low iron levels are associated with more severe symptoms of ADHD, such as decreased attention, concentration and impulse control. A study conducted in 2004 showed that 84 percent of children with ADHD had lower levels of iron in their system, compared with 18 percent of kids without ADHD. Iron helps with dopamine production, which is a neurotransmitter that is linked to ADHD.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that a person with ADHD is getting enough iron, either through diet or iron supplements, in order to manage their symptoms.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a beneficial effect on ADHD management. Supplementing with a dose of 1–2 grams of omega-3 daily with a substantial EPA content can help improve hyperactivity, attention and memory. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain health and are critical for normal brain function.
Specifically, they affect the functioning of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a critical role in attention management. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for protecting brain tissue and aiding brain cell communication.
Are there any herbs that can help with ADHD symptoms?
1. Ginkgo Biloba
Gingko Biloba has been proposed as a natural supplement to promote brain blood flow and inhibit platelet activation. Recent research has suggested that terpene trilactones found in ginkgo biloba may help protect against brain cell damage and increase dopamine levels. A 6-week study of children with ADHD compared the effects of gingko biloba to methylphenidate and found that gingko biloba was less effective than methylphenidate, however, the improvement over time with gingko biloba was non-trivial (pre-post effect size of 0.5).
Thus, although gingko biloba is less effective than conventional pharmacological treatments for ADHD, it may still have some benefit compared to placebo.
Ginseng has been found to offer a number of benefits in managing ADHD symptoms and has been studied for its synergistic effect when combined with Ginko. Ginseng supports the Central Nervous System in a variety of cognitive processing factors, as its components have neuroprotective properties and help increase dopamine and norepinephrine concentrations in the cerebral cortex. This has been found to improve attention, sensory-motor function, auditory reaction time, and inattention, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviors.
Furthermore, research suggests that its antioxidant activity reduces oxidative stress, which can contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD. As such, ginseng can provide an alternative treatment option for those with ADHD who are looking for a natural solution.
Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant from the Indian spice turmeric, has been linked to numerous health benefits, including helping to alleviate symptoms of ADHD. Studies suggest that curcumin can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which are both associated with ADHD symptoms.
Research has shown that curcumin has an inhibitory effect on certain enzymes and pathways in the brain, which can help to improve focus, attention, and overall mental clarity. Furthermore, curcumin may be able to enhance the production of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that are known to be involved in ADHD. Ultimately, curcumin may help to improve cognitive functioning and reduce ADHD-related symptoms.
Chamomile is a popular herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, a natural remedy for insomnia, and other conditions. For those with ADHD, chamomile can be a natural and effective way to reduce symptoms. Studies have shown that chamomile can help reduce both inattention and hyperactivity. It can also help to induce relaxation and sleepiness, which is important for proper attention and concentration.
Additionally, chamomile is generally safe and has minimal side effects, making it a suitable complement to other treatments for ADHD.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb with powerful neuroprotective properties that helps to support and maintain brain functioning, focus, and alertness. Adaptogens are known to protect the body from different types of stressors, making Rhodiola Rosea a great choice for those suffering from ADHD.
Research shows that individuals with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which Rhodiola Rosea increases through stimulating the reticular activating system. This leads to higher levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which in turn helps to improve focus and alertness.
In addition to this, Rhodiola Rosea is also thought to help other aspects of cognitive processing and attention, such as learning, cognitive functioning, stress, fatigue, and general attention. For these reasons, many parents are turning to natural supplements like Rhodiola Rosea to treat their children’s ADHD without relying on prescription drugs.
How effective are natural supplements for managing ADHD symptoms?
Natural supplements are an increasingly popular alternative or in addition to traditional medication for managing symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While research on these supplements is still inconclusive, they may be beneficial to those with nutritional deficiencies.
For example Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for ADHD as they can improve attention and reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity, and aggression.
Though natural supplements may provide some benefits for managing ADHD symptoms, it is important to consult with a physician first. An expert can help determine which supplements are right for you and help you integrate them into an effective treatment plan.
Nootropics for ADHD
Nootropics, also known as cognitive enhancers, are a class of supplements and drugs that are claimed to improve cognitive function, including attention, memory, and creativity. While some people with ADHD may turn to nootropics as a way to improve their symptoms, there is currently limited research on their safety and effectiveness for this purpose.
Some commonly used nootropics include:
- Modafinil: Modafinil is a prescription medication used to treat narcolepsy, but it has also been used off-label as a cognitive enhancer. It is not approved for use in treating ADHD.
- Methylphenidate: Methylphenidate is a prescription stimulant medication used to treat ADHD. It is not a nootropic, but some people may use it off-label as a cognitive enhancer.
Natural nootropics for ADHD
Natural nootropics for ADHD are supplements that are used to help improve focus, memory and mood. They are generally composed of vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, mucuna pruriens, bacopa, rhodiola and probiotics.
Some potential natural nootropics include:
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in coffee, tea, and many soft drinks. It is known to increase alertness, concentration, and focus.
- L-theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It has been suggested to have calming effects and may help improve focus and attention.
- Bacopa monnieri: Bacopa monnieri is a herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to improve memory and cognitive function. Some preliminary research has suggested that it may have potential benefits for people with ADHD.
- Gingko biloba: Gingko biloba is an herb that is claimed to improve cognitive function and memory. However, research on its effectiveness has been mixed.
- Rhodiola rosea: Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that is claimed to reduce fatigue and improve cognitive function. Limited research suggests that it may have potential benefits for people with ADHD.
It’s important to note that while these substances are considered “natural,” they can still have potential side effects and risks, especially in high doses. It’s important to talk to a healthcare professional before trying any natural nootropics to ensure they are safe and appropriate for you.
Do ADHD supplements have any side-effects?
Yes, ADHD supplements can have side effects. Magnesium supplements may cause diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal cramping, while too much zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.
Some other supplements, such as L-tyrosine, Poria cocos, and St. John’s wort have limited or anecdotal evidence of potential benefits for people with ADHD, but can also cause side effects.
Are there any clinical trials that show the efficacy of natural supplements for ADHD?
Yes, there are clinical trials that show the potential efficacy of natural supplements for ADHD. Trials were randomized, and placebo-controlled trials and the results of these studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, zinc, iron, pycnogenol, Ningdong, magnesium, and St. John’s wort may have potential benefits for those with ADHD. However, further clinical trials with more participants are necessary to get a better understanding of the effectiveness and safety of these supplements for ADHD.
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