There are Doctor prescribed medications that can successfully treat children and adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. That said, they are not effective for everyone. Moreover, side effects from medications are not always worth the benefits. Generally, stimulants are used to treat symptoms of ADD, which tend to be powerful appetite suppressants, cause headaches and sleeplessness. If you are looking for alternatives to prescribed stimulant-based medications, there are other options you can acquire over-the-counter from your local pharmacy.
Many supplements are made with natural ingredients extract from herbs and other sources. However, “natural” doesn’t automatically indicate “safe,” so be sure to use caution whenever starting a supplement regimen. Pay close attention to any potential side effects, read/follow instructions carefully or talk with your physician. Consult with your Doctor before adding supplements to your diet if you are taking medications, pregnant or nursing.
In this article, we will be discussing Vitamins, minerals and other supplements that have shown positive effects in treating Attention Deficit Disorder. That said, the scientific understanding of supplements and their effects, in general and in treating ADD, are still limited. The following supplements are simply those currently accepted for potential benefits in treating this neurodevelopmental disorder.
The pathophysiology of ADD indicates that the primary culprit for this disorder is impaired dopamine production. B Vitamins appear to increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, which improves alertness. In one study, children with low B vitamins were given supplements showing an increase of 16 IQ points and a reduction in antisocial and aggressive behavior.
Often seen as an immune booster, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can also provide benefits to children and adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. As a neuroprotective agent, Vitamin C helps reduce oxidative stress to neural tissue caused by free radicals. Sufficient levels of Vitamin C are also important in increasing absorption of key minerals deficient in individuals diagnosed with ADD. One of this vitamins most significant benefits is its role in the process of dopamine and norepinephrine conversion.
Fish Oil (Omega-3)
There is research that suggests individuals with ADD tend to break down Omega-3s faster than those without the disorder. Low levels of Omega-3 is also seen in individuals with ADD compared to without. Studies of the effects of Omega-3 revealed that children and adults with attention deficit disorder see more significant improvements to cognitive functions and mental focus than children not diagnosed with ADD.
Ginkgo and Ginseng
As cognitive enhancers, Ginkgo and Ginseng combinations receive positive feedback in treating children and adults with attention deficit disorder. Adults and children with ADHD become less distracted and impulsive when supplementing with these herbs. They also score better on ADHD rating scales. However, the stimulating effects of these herbs combined may be too much for children. Switching to American Ginseng is suggested in cases of oversensitivity to Asian Ginseng.
Iron, Magnesium and Zinc
Severe ADHD and cognitive deficits appear to be correlated to iron deficiency in children. In one study, 84% of ADHD diagnosed children had low iron levels. Iron is vital to the synthesis of dopamine.
Magnesium is known for its calming effects on the brain. This is beneficial for adequate, restful sleep and can also help with excessive activity (hyperactivity).
Another mineral that plays a key role in dopamine production is Zinc. It helps to modify the effects of methylphenidate, a central nervous system stimulant involved in impulse control and hyperactivity. Correlations are shown between low Zinc levels and inattention.
Stimulants show significant improvement to improving focus, alertness and reduced hyperactivity in children and adults with ADD. However, this can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and inadequate rest, which causes further problems. One option to help support deeper, more restful sleep is supplementing with Melatonin, a hormone produced by our brain. It helps regular your circadian rhythm and promotes normal sleep patterns.
Sometimes overlooked, protein is an essential part of the human diet. Neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses, are partially composed of protein. In order to repair and maintain these special cells, protein is required as a part of a healthy diet. Protein also plays a key role in the synthesis of dopamine and norepinephrine, important for energy balance and alertness.