Herbs and Supplements for ADHD
If your child
suffers from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you understand
how this condition disrupts life. ADHD is a childhood disorder that can
continue into the teenage and adult years. People with ADHD may have trouble
focusing or concentrating at school or work. And sometimes, they have trouble
controlling their behavior and emotions. Symptoms vary from person to person,
but may include any of the following:
distracted and unable to finish work or homework assignments
to follow direction
fidgeting or squirming
11 percent of children between the ages of four and 17 were diagnosed with ADHD
in the United States in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
(CDC). The percentage of children with ADHD continues to increase each year.
are purported to help adults and children with this condition. Doctors usually
prescribe medications to control symptoms and improve brain function, such as
stimulants or antidepressants. Some doctors also suggest behavioral therapy and
counseling if necessary.
But like many
types of drugs, medications used to treat ADHD can trigger a variety of
unpleasant side effects. Common side effects may include:
- increased anxiety
weeks or months of coping with symptoms, you may seek alternatives.
Supplements for ADHD
medications are commonly used in the treatment for ADHD, supplements may also
suggest that children who have ADHD also have lower blood levels of zinc. This essential
mineral is found in many foods, and it’s known for its immune boosting
properties. Zinc plays a role in neurotransmitter function and supports brain
health, and Zinc supplements may improve symptoms in children with ADHD.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
fatty acids are essential and necessary for human health. They can improve
symptoms of various conditions like depression and arthritis, plus improve
thinking and behavior in people with ADHD. Some people don't receive enough of
essential fatty acids through diet alone, and need supplements.
ADHD typically have lower levels of DHA when compared to those without the
condition. This essential acid is fundamental for optimum brain health at any
age. An Omega-3 supplement may improve brain cell function, thus reducing
symptoms of ADHD.
deficiency causes a variety of symptoms including:
- rapid heartbeat
- ringing in the ear
- pale skin
are also linked to irritability, cognitive impairment, and learning
conducted a study to determine the brain iron
levels in 22 children and adults with ADHD. From this group, 12 had never taken
medication for the condition. The study also included a control group of 27
healthy children and adults. Based on the findings, the control group and the
10 ADHD participants who took medication had higher brain iron levels than the
12 participants who never took medication.
researchers believe there’s a connection between ADHD symptoms and low iron
levels, and many believe iron supplements may improve symptoms in adults and
an important mineral that regulates over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
This mineral plays a vital role in how the human body functions. A magnesium
deficiency can trigger irritability, short attention spans, and mental confusion.
Ironically, these are some of the same symptoms of ADHD. Some doctors suspect a
connection between ADHD and a magnesium deficiency. More studies are needed,
but there’s no harm in speaking with your doctor about possible
Herbs for ADHD
In addition to
medications and supplements, some people with ADHD have had positive results
with herbs. According to the Canadian
College of Naturopathic Medicine, herbal medicines have been used for years to calm the
mind and relax the nervous system. Herbs shown to reduce irritability, stress,
and nervousness include the following:
This herb can
reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and it may also improve memory,
focus, and cognitive fuzziness in people with ADHD. But according to the Mayo Clinic, more research on ginkgo is
Lemon balm has
a calming effect. It helps reduce a variety of emotional and physical symptoms
promotes relaxation and may ease insomnia in people with ADHD.
listed among herbs that may improve concentration, memory, and reduce
irritability and nervousness. It can be taken as a pill or drank as tea in
children or adults with ADHD. Findings from a study using red ginseng shows the herbs
effectiveness with reducing hyperactive behavior and helping ADHD children and
adults perform better at work or school.
Gotu Kola includes
many of the nutrients the human body needs, including B vitamins. This herb
promotes healthy brain function and eases many symptoms associated with ADHD
- poor memory
- short-attention spans
proven effective for managing symptoms of ADHD. Even though supplements and
herbs may improve symptoms, these alternative therapies may not work for
everyone. Since herbs can possibly interact with other medications, it’s
important that you speak with your doctor before starting any supplemental or