Want to know how to help a child with ADHD without medication? We will dive into 4 natural ADHD supplements that help manage the symptoms of ADHD. You will also be shown other helpful methods and strategies that will allow you or a loved one become a calmer, more in control, and more focused person. These natural supplements are very helpful, but getting to the root cause is the goal to keep in mind.
This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my link, but at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
When I taught within the school system, I recall seeing many students either labeled with ADD and ADHD or said by many to have this disorder according to the symptoms they saw. Some of these students fit the diagnosis to a tee while others displayed symptoms that coexisted with other issues. There was also much talk about overdiagnosis of this label as well as underdiagnosis of the neurodevelopmental disorder. A thorough workup of the neurological system by a trained professional can be done to best assess the reasoning for the symptoms being displayed.
No matter the actual scenario, it is alarming to see the many kids and adults suffering from these symptoms. There are different reasons why a person may display ADHD symptoms, and each route needs to be explored. The most appropriate action for the individual should be taken because it can vary.
We will cover the different reasons why ADHD occurs, the symptoms associated with ADHD, and the natural supplements that are available to get the symptoms under control. Further down we will dive into other strategies for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Informing yourself is the first step. Then seek a knowledgeable and properly trained professional to guide you. This will allow you and your loved one to become a calmer, more focused, healthier and more productive individual.
This post contains natural ADHD supplements that are helpful in managing ADHD symptoms as well as the reason each supplement will help.
Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor, a qualified clinician or other qualified health care professional.
What Are The Symptoms of ADHD?
- Short-term memory or working memory problems
- Super focused on what they enjoy but difficulty focusing on tasks uninteresting to them
- Difficulty balancing emotions
- A hard time with impulse control-ex. acting without thinking of consequences
- Can be over "touchy" or have a hard time keeping within personal boundaries
- Difficult time organizing thoughts, materials, etc.
- Difficulty with prioritizing
- Time management is an issue- The person may not be able to accommodate to or stay within a time frame
- Can become depressed or extremely exhausted after exerting too much energy
- May be overbearing or not be aware of limits
- Oversensitive to stimuli
- Sensitive to how things feel- socks, clothing, tags (sensory issues)
- Can come across as only thinking of him or herself.
Relationship of Dopamine and ADHD
Neurons release the chemical dopamine. Therefore, dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It transmits signals between neurons. There are several functions of dopamine. The function we are going to focus on is the way it effects one's ability to focus on and therefore carry out a task.
Too low of dopamine in specific areas of the brain leads to the random firing of neurons in the brain. This random firing is not correlated to the task that one is trying to accomplish. Therefore, the individual has input that distracts them from the task at hand.
There is increased activation of neurons specifically in the area of the brain that is responsible for focus related information and tasks.
Also, people with ADHD tend to seek out sugar, stimulants like coffee and other things that increase dopamine release. These stimulants help the person with ADHD to focus on a task better. The medication that treat ADHD mimic this and are known as stimulants.
how Overfocusing affects ADHD
In the book Altered Traits by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson, the authors discuss the trait of being overfocused on a task. This overfocusing makes other important information be overlooked.
The example of this I heard in the podcast is as follows. A person is asked to pick out the letters R and Z from stream of letters scrolling by on a screen. A person is able to pick out the R, but by doing so they miss the Z. This is the same type of thing that happens when the person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder overfocuses. They catch only specifics but miss other important information. There mind is not able to focus on both things.
These authors in the above book use their expertise and experiences to inform the public on the benefits of medication for ADHD. However, I am a proponent of using science to find the relationships and reasons behind why our bodies are working a certain way. I am then in favor of using natural remedies to fix our body. In other words, solving the problem with the body naturally.
The authors also refer to something called open monitoring. This can be related to meditation. Open monitoring meditation, (mindfulness meditation), positively effects the ability for a person to focus.
Active mindfulness meditation (versus rest) was associated with increased functional connectivity between the dorsal attention network, the Default Mode Network and the right prefrontal cortex. Thus, meditation practice seems to enhance connectivity within and between attentional networks and a number of broadly distributed other brain regions subserving attention, self-referential, and emotional processes.
Open monitored meditation is a natural tool that is beneficial to the person with ADHD. Practicing this consistently positively benefits the attention and focus of a person with this disorder. It is helpful with anyone displaying similar symptoms to that of a person with ADHD.
4 Natural Supplements For ADHD
Digestive health is extremely important for brain health. Therefore, it only makes sense that appropriate nutrients will benefit people with attention deficit disorder. Problems, however, can interfere with these people getting these nutrients. Some of these include nutrient uptake, how the body processes the nutrients, comorbid infections, toxicities, early development and so on.
It is important to get testing done if possible by a knowledgeable professional. Amounts needed of these nutrients differ among individuals and each person's specific needs. One dosage may be adequate and effective for one person, but a stronger dosage may be needed for another person to see similar calming and focusing effects.
Studies have shown that Omega 3's in combination with omega-6's have a positive effect on people with ADHD.
A recent meta-analysis found that combinations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (EPA and GLA) helped to improve symptoms of inattention in children with ADHD.
According to doctor ____, the beneficial ratio for omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids are approximately 3:1. Therefore, there should be 3 times as much omega 3s (EPA) in a supplement compared to that of omega 6 (DHA) according to this doctor. Ask your own doctor for the amount right for your child.
These fats are important because the body cannot make them. They need to be gotten from food intake. The brain is made up of 60 percent fat, making these fats important for brain health.
Certain networks of the brain are effected in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Therefore, the appropriate amounts of fats are crucial for optimal functioning of the brain networks.
Studies show that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega 3s than other children without this disorder. The addition of omega 3 fatty acids are shown to balance the areas of the brain related to focus and attentiveness.
This study shows that too high of levels of omega 6 fatty acids result in negative and fearful emotions. The increase of omega 3 fatty acids to appropriately balance out the omega 6s resulted in a happy mood.
Although you do not want omega 6s to be too high, there are studies indicating that 300 mg should at least be within the supplement.
Here is a high-quality Fish oil to buy that will provide you with a well-balanced ratio of omega-3s to omega 6s.
The amount to take for ADHD symptoms may be higher than the average intake. For this reason, it is important to research the amount taken for ADHD from an appropriate site or to seek professional advice. Here is another great fish oil option.
There is also a genetic component to this neurodevelopmental disorder. Here is a study showing this genetic link. The study shows that specific enzymes involved in the processing of fatty acids are not in people with ADHD. These enzymatic problems are found to run in families.
I am including this supplement because magnesium is also shown to be low in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Magnesium is important in the process of converting essential fatty acids into DHA. As stated above, DHA (or omega 6 fatty acids) are a problem for people with ADHD.
Magnesium also decreases oxidative stress and helps with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals. These factors are both beneficial to patients with this disorder.
Zinc plays several important roles concerning ADHD.
First of all, zinc is a cofactor in 300 other nutrient reactions. Secondly it is a cofactor is neurotransmitter regulation as well as helps to regulated melatonin. Sleep issues are often present in people with atttention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Also, it indirectly affects the metabolism of dopamine.
Another important finding is the copper to zinc ratio in people with ADHD. The healthy ratio of these two minerals have been shown to be off in people with this disorder.
In this small study of 40 patients, hyperactivity, attention deficits and impulse control were linked to zinc deficiencies. Therefore, implementing a zinc supplement is beneficial for some people that display these symptoms.
Ferritin and Iron deficiency are linked to ADHD as well. Too high of iron can be dangerous and you should not randomly supplement large amounts of iron without seeking professional advice first.
Findings show that there a is significant correlation between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and very low iron levels. This is not for everyone with this neurodevelopmental disorder, but it is the case for enough to spark studying. View one study indicating this here.
Iron is very important for early brain development and is required for normal myelination and neurotransmitter function.
We have already discussed how important neurotransmitter functioning is, especially regarding the neurotransmitter dopamine in people with ADHD.
One thing that we took to help our iron levels is a supplement from Ancestral Supplements. We found it safe and effective. Here is the link.
Other Strategies For ADHD
There are other tools, strategies and techniques that also greatly benefit the effects of ADHD. This article is focused primarily in nutrient-based supplementation. However, these are strategies and techniques worth exploring.
- One promising technique to look into is cerebellum activities regarding ADHD. One method is the Zing method. These strategies focus on strengthening connections tin the cerebellum. The cerebellum contains over 50 percent of the neurons in the brain. Therefore, there is a strong correlation between focusing on the cerebellum and helping ADHD.
- Chiropractic work is another helpful practice to check out. Properly aligning the spine is helpful in making sure the nervous system is working properly. Chiropractic care can help alleviate the body being in the constant "fight or flight" mode.
- A third strategy that is very helpful for many people with ADHD is food elimination. Eliminate foods like dairy, gluten, soy, corn, sugar, eggs, dyes and any other problem foods from the diet. Do this all at once. The elimination should be for a week or so. If you notice a positive change, reintroduce the foods back into the diet one at a time. Do this slowly, waiting a at least 5 days in between each addition. Keep track of which food causes symptoms to begin again.
It is extremely important to monitor what a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder eats. Adults with this disorder or those displaying these symptoms need to monitor their eating habits as well. Food choices and how the body processes them often makes a big difference in the symptoms that are displayed. It is an easy enough thing to do and could make a lifechanging difference for the individual.
This post contains natural ADHD supplements that are helpful in managing ADHD symptoms as well as the reasons the supplement will help.
Hawkey, E., & Nigg, J. T. (2014). Omega-3 fatty acid and ADHD: blood level analysis and meta-analytic extension of supplementation trials. Clinical psychology review, 34(6), 496–505.Gow, R. V., Sumich, A., Vallee-Tourangeau, F., Crawford, M. A., Ghebremeskel, K., Bueno, A. A., Hibbeln, J. R., Taylor, E., Wilson, D. A., & Rubia, K. (2013). Omega-3 fatty acids are related to abnormal emotion processing in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids, 88(6), 419–429.
Enter your text here...