5 Best Natural Supplements for ADHD

By Dr.Panchajanya Paul , MD

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The number of people who have ADHD has been increasing steadily among the young and adult population. There are many effective evidence-based methods to treat ADHD. However, all medications come with side effects. Many parents are concerned about medicating their children, and seek my advice for natural ADHD treatments.

School is a significant stressor for many . The focus on standardized tests has put enormous pressures on both the students and the teachers. School hours are long, and the burden of homework every day means children get less leisure time that they used to get in the past. On top of that, add the extra pressure of excelling in the extracurricular activities like sports, dance, arts so that they look good in the CV. What used to be leisurely hobbies and passion in the past, has been turned into a mammoth struggle to get into a good college and procure scholarships.

As a result, young brains are burdened with too many demands.. Everyone is unique in their strengths and weakness. The ability to focus and be attentive varies among children. And, this is unrelated to memory, intelligence, and creativity. Hence, children with ADHD, when treated can excel in their studies and live t their full potential. Here are the five supplements, I routinely recommend for my ADHD patients,

1. Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 are vital for the brain and nerve function. Many children eating sugar, and junk food, and becoming deficient in Omega 3. Decreased omega 3 levels are associated with poor focus, attention, and poor school performance. For patients, with ADHD, I typically recommend a dose of 1000 mg to 3000 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids. Not all Omega 3 are created equal. Make sure that your supplements have DHA type of omega 3 which is needed for brain function. There are now tests available through which you can measure your omega 3 levels. Good sources of omega 3 are wild fish like salmon, sardine, game meat, cod liver oil, walnuts, and grass-fed beef, and grass-fed milk, and butter.

2. Vitamin D : Children are spending too much time indoors. They stay inside the classroom most of the days, as many schools are cutting down the physical activity hours to for more STEM work. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with problems in focus and attention. The best way to get Vitamin D is through sun exposure. Brown and black skinned people need more extended sun exposure to produce the vitamin D levels. Those with white skin needs to be careful and limit direct sun exposure to no more than 2 hours a day. Get your vitamin D levels checked routinely. I recommend Vitamin D supplements at the dosage of 1000 IU to a max of 5000 IU daily for ADHD.

3. Magnesium: Many children with ADHD also has problems with anxiety and sleep issues. Many are under stress from school, home, and peers. Magnesium supplements are an excellent choice for them. Around half of the Americans have low magnesium levels. Good supplements are magnesium citrate, magnesium threonate, and Magnesium Glycinate. I typically recommend Magnesium Glycinate 400 mg at bedtime for ADHD children.

4. Probiotics: Our body harbours more bacteria than human cells. The nervous system of our abdomen known as the enteric nervous system is bigger than the central nervous system of our brain. These are fascinating findings and has emphasized the role of gut bacteria in our cognition, emotion, and performance. Many children growing up has taken multiple courses of antibiotics which have depleted many healthy gut bacteria. A probiotic supplement contains healthy bacteria which can restore and rebalance the gut flora. Many probiotics are there in the market. I have recommend the one made by Mercola and Brain-MD.

5. Protein: Protein supplements are routinely used by bodybuilders and athletes. They can also help children with ADHD. Since school starts early in America, getting a healthy breakfast ready, and eat them in time, is a constant challenge. A cup of cereals and orange juice is very unhealthy as it is full of sugar, and preservatives. A diet in carbohydrates will lead to blood sugar fluctuation which exacerbates ADHD symptoms. A breakfast high in protein will keep the blood sugar level stable and ensure steady focus. Ideally, if time permits, organic milk, yogurt, eggs, and bacon are an excellent choice for breakfast. An alternative will be to have two scoops of protein shakes getting around 10 to 15 grams of protein, and mix it in juice or milk.

In addition to focus and attention, these supplements will also help in other areas of brain function like memory, cognition, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. However, children with severe ADHD will also require medications in addition. For them, I combine both natural supplements, and stimulant medications like Ritalin, Focalin, and Adderall. Here is a story of a mother and daughter with severe ADHD, whom I treated with supplements and stimulants.

Joanne is a 54-year female who works at the Walmart. She has suffered from ADHD throughout her life and struggled all her school. She dropped out of college in the first year. Since then she has worked numerous minimally paying job. At the age of 45, she finally got treated for ADHD, and for the first time in her life she was able to exert her full brain power. She got promoted and was able to advance in her carrier. When her daughter Cloe was in elementary school, she recognized the same difficulties in her which she faced. She promptly made sure that Chloe got treated for ADHD. Cloe is now on the stimulant medications for 14 years and has finished school with high grades, and doing pre-med on a full scholarship. Joanne is happy and proud of her daughter, but still regrets for not finishing college, and wonders what more she could have achieved in life had she been treated for ADHD when young.

In summary, safe and effective treatments for ADHD are available. If you are suffering from low focus and attention, it is never too late to seek treatment. Try the natural approaches and supplements first. Next step will be to consider medications and behavioural therapy. And, contrary to popular myth, one do not have to take ADHD medications for life. But ADHD medications can have serious side effects and should always be approached in consultation with a psychiatrist.

Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, FAPA - is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist. He is the author of 2 books- Stress Rescue & Sleep Coaching available at Amazon. He practices Psychiatry in Atlanta, GA. For more articles and queries, follow him on Facebook @ Dr.Panchajanya Paul, or email him at georgiapsychiatry@gmail.com

Dr. Panchajanya 'Panch' Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, FAPA - is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He holds an adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine. Call 7704541252 or email georgiapsychiatry@gmail.com to schedule an appointment with Dr.Paul at Georgia Behavioral Health Professionals. He is also the author of 2 books- Stress Rescue and Sleep Coaching available at Amazon.