Prevailing ADHD therapy is not suitable for all children. If you are looking for natural, safe, and effective alternatives to treat (beat) ADHD, then try these 8 natural supplements readily available in most places supplements are sold. Turning to a powerful nootropic like Ritalin is not my first choice for treating ADHD because these stimulants can have adverse effects on our children’s reward system that can have lasting effects.
Zinc is an important cofactor to dopamine, which affects our responses to emotions and reward-seeking behavior. Zinc deficiency is further correlated to low melatonin and serotonin which is associated with decreases in ability to process information. Zinc is naturally occurring in certain foods and added to others. Oysters have the highest zinc per serving of all foods, but poultry and beef account for most zinc in the American diet. Many people do not get enough zinc in their daily diet because of our society’s eating habits. A fun test is to drink a liquid zinc supplement and see what it tastes like. If you are zinc deficient it will have no taste, but if you have enough zinc it will taste bitter to you.
Carnitine is believed to improve brain cell functioning by facilitating the burning of fatty acids, which helps brain and nerve cells to preserve their membranes. Carnitine has been demonstrated to improve symptoms of hyperactivity and social behavior and is considered by some as a safe alternative to stimulant drugs.
Serine in a non-essential amino acid important in metabolism and is a precursor to several amino acids including tryptophan. When administered with omega 3 fatty acids it improved ADHD symptoms significantly better than omega 3 fatty acids alone, suggesting a synergistic effect. Phosphatidylserine also increases dopamine levels.
Glutamine is a precursor to the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that affects mood, focus, and hyperactivity; Disruption of the glutamine-containing neurotransmission system may cause ADHD.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which regulates memory focus and muscle control (hyperactivity). Acetylcholine is especially important to normal brain function. Dr. Axe explains, “Choline is important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism.”
Folate is a B Vitamin and low folate levels in pregnancy are linked to hyperactivity in children: People with MTHFR (methyltetrahydrofolate reductase) gene are predisposed to folate deficiency and more likely to have ADHD.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. Evidence suggests high dose supplementation of B6 is as effective as Ritalin for ADHD, probably due to its role in raising serotonin levels. Dr. Weil explains that “Vitamin B6 supports adrenal function, helps calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for key metabolic processes. Vitamin B6 acts as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.”
Magnesium deficiency is linked to poor function of the neurotransmitters that control emotion, social reactions, hyperactivity and attention: Synergistic effect with Vitamin B6. Literature with the National Institute of Health supports the fact that magnesium supplementation in children with ADHD improved hyperactivity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368236
If you are the parent, guardian, or an advocate for a loved one then I encourage you to begin a dialogue with your pediatrician about the safety and efficacy of these natural supplements for treating ADHD. We all want to see our children have the best chance they can to grow into well adjusted happy adults, and ADHD can certain make that journey more difficult. Stimulants may seem like a quick fix, but you should know that natural, safe, and effective alternatives do exist.