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Which Supplements Might Best Help To Treat ADHD

Which Supplements Might Best Help To Treat ADHD

Why Are These Vitamins & Supplements Recommended for Treating ADHD Symptoms

Hey! Thanks for stopping by our blog today! We are still on our journey to find more natural ways to treat our teenage son’s ADHD. We have shared our reasons for seeking alternative treatment in this post here – Treating ADHD with Vitamins and Supplements – Our Personal Experience. In this post, I want to include more details on the reasoning behind our selection of these particular supplements for treating ADHD. Let’s start with our initial list and find out which supplements treat ADHD?

  • Triple Magnesium (Glycinate, Malate, Citrate)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Chelated Zinc
  • Omega 3 EPA/DHA
  • Vitamin C (with Rosehips – time release)
  • GABA

Triple Magnesium (Glycinate, Malate, Citrate and Vitamin B6

In this very in-depth paper – published online by The National Center for Biotechnology Information – Magnesium in the Central Nervous System – we find that multiple symptoms of ADHD Syndrome are drastically improved with the treatment of Magnesium and B6. You can and should read the whole paper and the associated papers but in a nutshell, positive results were found regarding learning ability, working memory, and short and long term memory. Magnesium is also known to reduce anxiety and assist with sleeping.

Our experience with Magnesium (300 mg) and B6 so far has been remarkable. Specifically, we are seeing much better sleep patterns than ever before and a great reduction in general anxiety.

“Learning and memory are fundamental brain functions affected by dietary and environmental factors. Increasing brain Mg using a newly developed Mg compound (Mg-L-threonate) leads to the enhancement of learning ability, working memory, and short and long-term memory in rats. Functionally, Mg increased the number of functional pre-synaptic release sites, while it reduced their release probability. These findings suggest that an increase in brain Mg enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long- term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions. Magnesium impacts upon the release of neurotransmitters, and other mediators or modulators (Slutsky et al., 2010). *** Vitamin B6 is also an important cofactor for numerous metabolic reactions including metabolism of serotonin, GABA (gamma- amino-butyric acid) and dopamine (Colter et al., 2008, Gonon, 2009).” Magnesium in the Central Nervous System NCBI 

Chelated Zinc

The results are mixed and studies disagree on the ability of zinc to assist with symptoms of ADHD. Personally, we have decided to remove Chelate Zinc from our daily supplements. T already eats a diet high in zinc –  A diet rich in zinc includes foods such as shellfish, poultry, red meat, beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products.

It is worth noting that we tried zinc because of data like this… It may work for some. Talk to your doc.

“Dopamine is one of the most important factors in the pathophysiology of hyperactivity disorder, and the hormone melatonin has an important role in the regulation of dopamine. Because zinc is necessary in the metabolism of melatonin, it can be assumed that zinc is a very important factor in the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is known that deficit of some minerals and vitamins is connected with hyperkinetic disorder. Preliminary investigations in humans show that many children with ADHD have lower zinc concentration in relation to healthy children. Zinc sulfate as an adjunct to methylphenidate has favorable effects in the treatment of ADHD children, pointing to the possible association of zinc deficit and ADHD pathophysiology.”  – The role of zinc in the treatment of hyperactivity disorder in children. Published on NCBI

Fish Oil – Omega 3 EPA/DHA

T discovered the power of Fish Oil in aiding his attention long before I did. When he first asked me to get him some Fish Oil and mentioned it needed to include EPA and DHA and that he only wanted that oil which was derived from cold-water fish, I was confused. But a few minutes of research turned up a lot of evidence to support his findings. Like this article – 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids front Healthline.

17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important. They have many powerful health benefits for your body and brain. In fact, few nutrients have been studied as thoroughly as omega-3 fatty acids. Here are 17 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids that are supported by science. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world.


However, if you dig a little deeper you soon find that this recommendation comes with some caution too. For example, this post –Can a Daily Fish Oil Supplement Help Curb Symptoms of ADHD? – on ADDitude speaks to the positive results of treating ADHD symptoms with Omega 3’s and even does a taste test to help make some recommendations on which ones your kids are likely to take without giving you any trouble. However, this post – Can Essential Fatty Acids Treat ADHD? – also from ADDitude warns of the uses of Omega 3’s and includes this quote,

The take home message is this: fatty acid supplements for ADHD may be a waste of money at best, and a potential health hazard at worst. More than that we do not know. Says Craig Bushong, M.D., a Houston psychiatrist with an active ADHD clinical practice, “You have to be very careful. Before using any treatment I’d want very solid, undeniable research that supports using it.”ADDitude

So what is a Momma to do? Worry first. That’s my go-to with these things. I always am terrified of making a choice that will end up causing him any harm. So first, we increased his intake of cold-water fish themselves. And second, yes, we continued to give him the supplement. My reasoning is based on experience. We can both tell a difference in his ability to focus with and without it. It’s an obvious and significant difference. For everyone else, heed the caution and speak with your doctor first. As for us, fish oil is a powerful tool in our attempt to treat ADHD more naturally.

Vitamin C (with Rosehips – time release)

You should note that if your child is also taking a pharmaceutical medication to treat ADHD, Vitamin C may affect its absorption. You shouldn’t give your child Vitamin C for an hour before or after they have their prescribed medication.

T and I have both been taking a Vitamin C supplement for years. We began in an effort to avoid colds and such, and never stopped taking them. I now get our Vitamin C supplement as Rose Hips because of the time-release.

Vitamin C participates in metabolic reactions that aid the brain in its ability to remove neurotoxins and reduce oxidative damage by excessive levels of copper, iron, and lead. Additionally, research supports adjunctive vitamin C with both conventional ADHD medications and nutritional supplements, particularly Omega-3 fatty acids, for antioxidant protection and enhanced efficacy (Joshi et al., 2006). The inclusion of Vitamin C in any ADHD treatment intervention is overwhelmingly supported by its safety record, clinical research evidence, and case reports from orthomolecular practitioners (Abbey, 2003; OMNS, 2007).  – Micronutrient Deficiencies in ADHD: A Global Research Consensus – published online at International Society for OrthoMolecular Medicine.

GABA – Gamma-aminobutyric acid

I’m going to be straight up, I didn’t want to need this one. But I read so many reviews from other people with ADHD saying it was a lifesaver that I went ahead and ordered it in the 100 mg dissolvable tablet.  We went through the first two weeks of our supplement trial without ever opening the bottle. If it wasn’t for Math and Chemistry, we never would have cracked the lid.

But he needed more help in these classes than the rest of the supplements were capable of delivering. The first thing I noticed was that he seemed ultra-focused. I know that considering his anxiety, this state of ultra focus can often send him too deep into his thoughts and then sudden panic over the state of the planet, or if he got enough sunlight (Vitamin D3) or such things as that often follow. The next day, we only took half a tablet and that so far, that seems to be doing the trick. But I am not sure GABA is going to be the answer. I am continuing my research to find something that may help him focus that doesn’t include fatigue or ultra focus. Stay tuned. But for now…

So, what is GABA? 

According to Psychology Today in their post – 3 Amazing Benefits of Gaba:

I call GABA the brakes of the brain. It is the body’s most important inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it lowers the activity of neural cells in the brain and central nervous system, having the effect of moving the brain and the body into a lower gear. By inhibiting neural activity, GABA facilitates sleep, reduces mental and physical stress, lowers anxiety, and creates a calmness of mood. GABA also plays an important role in regulating muscle tone. In combination with glutamate, the body’s most important excitatory neurotransmitter, GABA is an important contributor to the body’s overall mental and physical homeostasis or balance. – Michael J Breus Ph.D.

Reviews on site after site rave about the life-changing effects of GABA on ADHD minds across the globe. So, we will continue with it as needed for a few more weeks and see if a little additional time helps him tolerate it better. As of right now, I can report that it definitely does help him focus on his schoolwork. It’s just such a fine line between ultra focus, fatigue, and appropriate concentration… My goal is to reduce all side effects until they are minuscule, so I am not super confident that GABA is going to be a long term fix. Time will tell. And there are other options.

What’s Next…

 

On my radar are the effects of L-Theanine and Caffeine combined for focus. Check out the conclusions of this study published online at NCBI

L-theanine, caffeine and their combination seem to improve sustained attention and overall cognitive performance in children with ADHD, possibly via decreasing mind wandering during exertion of attention. While L-theanine alone and caffeine alone seem to increase impulsivity, the combination seems to decrease (i.e., improve) impulsivity in children with ADHD. As such, the combination of L-theanine and caffeine may have the potential to be used as a therapeutic and/or dose sparing agent to manage symptoms in children with ADHD. – L-theanine and Caffeine Improve Sustained Attention, Impulsivity and Cognition in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders by Decreasing Mind Wandering

In conclusion:

So here we are… Which supplements actually treat ADHD? Honestly,  the Magnesium and B6 seem to have had the biggest impact on his ADHD symptoms. However, I also believe that Omega 3 and Vitamin C are crucial and we will continue with them. We are utilizing these supplements as well as meditation, daily exercise, time in nature, and music therapy. Together, we believe we have a combination that allows T to complete his high school classes with high marks and maintain his mental health. I will continue to update as we continue this journey.

Have you found a supplement that works for you or your family? Please share in the comments below. Thank you!

*Please note- I am not a doctor- I am a Mom. T’s pediatrician actually expressed genuine disbelief that vitamins could treat ADHD symptoms but he did say as long as his school work is still going well, we can go ahead and see what happens. As for T, he states that he has never been happier or slept better.*

Be blessed,

Gwen

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