7 Best Supplements to Improve ADHD Symptoms Naturally

Are you looking for ways to manage your ADHD symptoms naturally? You’re certainly not alone. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood and can continue on into adulthood, often carrying difficult challenges in everyday life. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of natural remedies that may help support both children and adults with this complex disorder. In this article, we’ll look at 7 of the best supplements to help support brain function and improve symptoms naturally so that you or your loved one can find relief from excessive distraction, restlessness, impulsivity, poor focus and other challenges.

What is ADHD? What Are The Signs And Symptoms?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can interfere with daily life, work, and social functioning. People with ADHD often find it a challenge to concentrate on tasks, follow instructions, or demonstrate strong cognitive function and organizational skills. 

They may also be restless and struggle with self-control, leading to impulsive behavior. It’s important to note that ADHD is not a reflection of intelligence or capability, as many people lead otherwise fulfilling lives. The exact cause of ADHD is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors.

What Are The Benefits Of Supplements For ADHD?

Supplements can offer potential benefits for individuals with ADHD by providing additional nutrients or substances that may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the condition. These benefits may include improved focus, reduced hyperactivity, and better impulse control. The rationale behind using supplements is that they can help address possible nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that might contribute to ADHD symptoms.

Some supplements are believed to promote overall brain health and support optimal neurotransmitter function, which is essential for attention, memory, and mood regulation. It’s important to note that while supplements can provide support for some individuals with ADHD, they should not be considered a standalone way to treat ADHD. They are best used in conjunction with other interventions, such as therapy, behavioral strategies, and prescribed ADHD medications when needed.

What Supplements Can Help With ADHD Symptoms?

With regards to improving ADHD symptoms, certain supplements outperform others. These alternative treatments frequently belong to the classes of fats; in the case of Omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, especially zinc, iron, and magnesium, and the chronobiotic hormone melatonin, involved in sleep regulation.

Addressing nutritional deficiencies appears to have the greatest impact on improving ADHD symptoms.

Who Should Avoid Taking Supplements For ADHD?

While natural ADHD supplements will help the majority of ADHD sufferers, some people may have to restrict usage or avoid them completely. These categories of people may include:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: The safety and efficacy of many supplements have not been well-established for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any supplements during pregnancy or while nursing.
  • People with pre-existing medical conditions: Individuals with medical conditions such as liver or kidney disease, heart problems, or epilepsy should be cautious about using supplements, as some ingredients may exacerbate their condition or interfere with the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Individuals taking medications: Some supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications, leading to decreased effectiveness or increased risk of side effects. For instance, certain ADHD supplements may interact with blood thinners, antidepressants, or other antipsychotic medications. 
  • Children and adolescents: The safety, efficacy, and appropriate dosages of many supplements have not been well-established for children and adolescents. Before giving any supplements to a child or teenager, consult with a pediatrician or other qualified healthcare professional.
  • People with allergies or sensitivities: Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to specific ingredients found in ADHD supplements. If you have a known allergy or sensitivity, carefully review the supplement ingredients and then monitor response if consumed.

Top Research-Backed Supplements That May Improve ADHD Symptoms

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in many physiological processes, including nerve function and neurotransmitter regulation. Individuals with ADHD may have a magnesium deficiency, and a quality magnesium supplement might help improve attention, hyperactivity [1], and impulsivity by supporting brain function and promoting relaxation.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Magnesium share closely related functions, with magnesium helping to regulate Vitamin D metabolism and in turn, serotonin production. Co-supplementation of the two results in an improvement of ADHD symptoms in children, according to findings of a small study [2] done over the course of 8 weeks.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, are essential for brain health and function. They play a vital role in cell membrane fluidity and neurotransmitter balance. The administration of EPA given in high doses is positively associated with improved mental focus and attentiveness in children with ADHD and the adolescent population with low levels of this fatty acid [3].

Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace element involved in various physiological processes, including neurotransmitter synthesis and metabolism. 

Some studies have found a link between low zinc levels and ADHD-like symptoms, particularly hyperactivity and impulsivity. Supplementing with zinc supplements and iron can help support mental health health and improve the natural progression of ADHD symptoms.

Iron

There is evidence that Iron supplementation in conjunction with zinc contributes to mental health and mitigation of ADHD symptoms [4], especially in children and the younger population. Be sure to follow the directions on your iron supplement precisely to minimize the risk of overdosage and toxicity.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. Some individuals with ADHD may experience sleep disorders, such as insomnia which can exacerbate their symptoms. Natural supplements with melatonin, particularly in cases where sleep disturbances are present, may help improve sleep quality and, subsequently, ADHD symptom management such as mood and behavior [5].

Multivitamins

Multivitamin and other micronutrient deficiencies, especially those of the B-complex family such as B2, B6, and B9 are common in adults and children diagnosed with ADHD symptoms and are generally associated with worsened severity of such symptoms.

Over the course of one year, symptom improvement was reported in over 80% of subjects that continued supplementation, including mood and hyperactivity [6]. This is why nutritional supplements remain an effective treatment approach to ADHD medication under specific circumstances.

Don’t Neglect Your Diet!

While supplementation undoubtedly has proven its utility in managing ADHD symptoms, a sound nutritional base consisting of a healthy diet is often the place to start. Ensuring sufficient intake of fatty, omega-3-rich fish, in conjunction with other healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, and a colorful diet of varied fruits and vegetables is a great starting point for improving control of ADHD symptoms.

In Conclusion

Taking supplements for ADHD can be beneficial in managing the day-to-day symptoms of the condition, but it is important to remember to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new treatments or supplement regimens. Although some of these supplements may improve symptoms of ADHD, this does not necessarily reflect that one should stop taking ADHD medications – alternatively, always discuss changes to treatment with a doctor as they will be best positioned to make an informed decision. Ultimately, thanks to advances in technology and research efforts in recent years, supplements provide an added option when attempting to improve or maintain the symptoms of ADHD.

References

[1] Starobrat-Hermelin, B., & Kozielec, T. (1997). The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test. Magnesium research, 10(2), 149–156.

[2] Hemamy, M., Pahlavani, N., Amanollahi, A., Islam, S. M. S., McVicar, J., Askari, G., & Malekahmadi, M. (2021). The effect of vitamin D and magnesium supplementation on the mental health status of attention-deficit hyperactive children: a randomized controlled trial. BMC pediatrics, 21(1), 178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-021-02631-1

[3] Chang, J. P., Su, K. P., Mondelli, V., Satyanarayanan, S. K., Yang, H. T., Chiang, Y. J., Chen, H. T., & Pariante, C. M. (2019). High-dose eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) improves attention and vigilance in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and low endogenous EPA levels. Translational psychiatry, 9(1), 303. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-019-0633-0

[4] Granero, R., Pardo-Garrido, A., Carpio-Toro, I. L., Ramírez-Coronel, A. A., Martínez-Suárez, P. C., & Reivan-Ortiz, G. G. (2021). The Role of Iron and Zinc in the Treatment of ADHD among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. Nutrients, 13(11), 4059. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13114059

[5] Hoebert, M., van der Heijden, K. B., van Geijlswijk, I. M., & Smits, M. G. (2009). Long-term follow-up of melatonin treatment in children with ADHD and chronic sleep onset insomnia. Journal of pineal research, 47(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079X.2009.00681.x

[6] Darling, K. A., Eggleston, M. J. F., Retallick-Brown, H., & Rucklidge, J. J. (2019). Mineral-Vitamin Treatment Associated with Remission in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Related Problems: 1-Year Naturalistic Outcomes of a 10-Week Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 29(9), 688–704. https://doi.org/10.1089/cap.2019.0036

Nervous System Regulation – Best Resources to Get Started

Is Your Nervous System Dysregulated?  Receive a FREE comprehensive report – Limited time only!

Book  “Heal Your Nervous System”: order now and get exclusive bonuses.

The Nervous System Solution: Doors for our signature program are currently CLOSED. Join the waitlist here.

Join our Movement on Instagram: Dr. Linnea shares practical tools to regulate your Nervous System every day. Join the community and ask her your questions.

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.