Vitaminsand Supplements for ADHD
Over the past few decades, alternative and complementarymedicine has grown in popularity. As a result, there is now a widerange of nontraditional approaches to personal health and healing. Thesevarious remedies are sometimes used in the place of standard medicalapproaches. Oftentimes, though, they are used in addition to standard medicaltherapy. Some alternative remedies are safe, relatively affordable, and easilyaccessible. And some may actually create an opportunity for you to participateactively in key decisions about your health.
On the other hand, there are other natural or alternative remedies that areunsafe. That's why it's important to know what works -- and what doesn't --when it comes to nonstandard treatments for conditions like ADHD. The fact thatclaims are made that a vitamin or supplement is natural is not a guarantee thatit's safe. It's important to always discuss any therapy with your doctor beforetaking it.
Read on to discover whether there are vitamins and natural supplements thatare safe and effective for treating symptomsof ADHD.
Zinc for ADHD Symptoms
Some studies suggest that childrenwith ADHD may have lower levels of zinc in their body. And somescientists have reported improved symptoms in children with ADHD who took zincsupplements along with traditional ADHDtreatment.
Several studies have shown a reduction in hyperactivity and impulsivity withzinc supplementation. The same studies, though, report no change ininattentiveness, which is another key symptom of ADHD. A 2005 study in the Journalof Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, though, did show a correlationbetween zinc levels and teacher- and parent-rated inattention in children.
Foods high in zinc include oysters and other seafood, red meat, poultry,dairy products, beans, nuts, whole grains, and fortified cereals.
Fish Oil for ADHD Symptoms
There is some evidence that fish oil can help improve ADHD symptoms. Fishoil contains omega-3 fatty acids. There are some findings that suggest that, inchildren with ADHD who are 8 to 12 years old, fish oil supplementation mayimprove mental skills. For instance, it may help improve a child's ability toorganize activities.
In one study, a specific supplement of fish oil and eveningprimrose oil was used. Results showed that it improved hyperactivity,inattentiveness, an inability to think clearly, and overall behavior inchildren with ADHD who were 7 to 12 years old.
Fish high in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, albacore tuna, herring,mackerel, trout, and sardines.
St. John's Wort: No Help for ADHD
St. John's wort is a common herbal supplement. It's used for treating depression, anxiety, andsleepdisorders. This herbal treatment affects brain chemicals, including serotonin,dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Recent scientific studies do not support the use of St. John's wort to treatADHD. In fact, recent findings conclude that St. John's wort has no effecton the symptoms of ADHD.
One study involved a group of children and adolescents with ADHD ranging inage from 6 to17. Each child and adolescent was given either a placebo or St.John's wort supplement three times a day for 8 weeks. They were then evaluatedfor changes in their hyperactivity and inattentiveness. The results showed nodifference between the two groups.
Other Natural Supplements for ADHD
There is some preliminary evidence that some natural supplements may benefitpeople with ADHD. For example, in one study, a combination of American ginsengand Ginkgo leaf improved ADHD symptoms in children ages 3 to 17. Butresearchers conclude that more scientific studies are needed to confirm thisfinding.
Some research also shows that the natural hormone melatoninmay offer some benefit for children with ADHD who take stimulant medications. Researchersnoted that it improved sleep problems in these children. Melatonin, though, hasnot been found effective in decreasing ADHD symptoms.
Natural supplements such as GABA and inositol are sometimes used to treatADHD and ease mood symptoms. Neither one of these natural products is proven tobe effective, though. Also, there is still insufficient evidence about thesafety of either product.
Can Nutritional Supplements Help with ADHD by Filling Dietary Gaps?
Some proponents of nutritional supplements believe that ADHD symptoms occurbecause of a lack in the diet.They also believe that supplements are needed to fill that dietary gap.
For instance, there are some studies on using iron supplements to treatADHD. Findings from these studies suggest that children with ADHD may have irondeficiencies. The hypothesis is that supplementing with iron may improve ADHDsymptoms.
It's important, though, to use caution when giving your child anysupplement. Taking too much iron, for instance, can be toxic -- even deadly.It's important to check with your child's doctor if you believe your child maybe iron deficient.
In addition, always talk to your doctor before using any naturalsupplements. That includes megadoses of vitamins or minerals. That's becausethere's always a chance of toxicity or of interaction with medication.