Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is affecting a growing number of children and adults. People who suffer from ADHD often have difficulty with memory, concentration, attentiveness and sitting still.
While doctors often prescribe medication for ADHD, research suggests that certain natural treatments may work as ADHD treatment under the right circumstances.
Eliminating trigger foods and incorporating helpful foods and natural medicines into your diet can help reduce ADHD symptoms to better manage ADHD.
With that said, it is also important to speak with a medical professional before abandoning ADHD medications a doctor has prescribed. Stopping these medications without proper guidance can lead to complications.
A medical professional will also be able to advise you as to whether or not any of the following potential natural ADHD treatments might interact with your medication or any others you might be taking.
With that caveat in mind, let’s explore six potential natural ADHD treatments and the evidence that supports their proposed efficacy.
Natural ADHD Treatment
1. Essential Oils
Several essential oils can be used as an ADHD natural treatment. Studies have shown that Vetiver and Cedarwood essential oils are both effective at improving focus and calming children with ADHD (1). Rosemary and Peppermint oils are known to improve alertness and enhance memory, while Ylang Ylang and Lavender promote clarity and heightened cognitive function.
You can use essential oils in a number of ways. For example, you can smell essential oils for immediate effects. Depending on the oil you’ve purchased and that manufacturer’s specific instructions, you can also apply essentail oils directly to your skin.
There are some precautions to take when doing this, however.
First things first, you have to dilute an essentail oil before using it on bare skin. Taking the oil directly from the bottle and applying it can cause a skin reaction as that mixture is too concentrated.
Even after diluting essential oil, you should generally avoid applying it areas of your skin that are badly damaged. The wound will likely absorb too much of the essential oil and become inflamed.
A third option for essential oil use is diffusion. An essential oil diffuser will release the oil into the air over time, providing aromatherapeutic effects.
B vitamins help your body formulate serotonin. Serotonin in the brain helps regulate mood. Both children and adults with ADHD may need more B vitamins to help stabilize their mood and reduce anxiety. Take up to 50 milligrams of B-complex each day as an ADHD treatment.
In addition to taking a b-complex supplement, you can get B vitamins from food sources such as:
- Fresh fruits and veggies
3. Multi-Mineral Supplement
A multi-mineral supplement including zinc, magnesium and calcium may be a great ADHD treatment worth exploring for those who suffer from it. All three nutrients play a role in relaxing the nervous system to lessen ADHD symptoms. Take up to 500 milligrams of calcium, 250 milligrams of magnesium and 5 milligrams of zinc twice a day, or add whole foods that contain zinc, magnesium and calcium to your diet.
Whole foods that contain zinc include:
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
Whole foods with magnesium include:
- Green vegetables
- Raw cacao
- Dark chocolate
- Baked beans
- Chlorella powder
- Nuts and seeds
And lastly, whole foods with calcium include:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Calcium-fortified-foods like breakfast cereals
GABA is an amino acid. Health professionals praise it for its calming abilities. It does have the potential to interact with other medications, so consult your doctor before taking GABA. If cleared, take up to 250 milligrams twice a day.
Interestingly, GABA actually binds to the same brain receptors as medications that treat anxiety, such as Valium. This is one promising sign of its proposed efficiency as a treatment for adults and children with ADHD.
Studies have shown a link between brain health and gut health. Keeping your gut healthy can help reduce brain fog and regulate memory, concentration and focus.Probiotics help create an environment full of helpful bacteria in your gut.
The way you eat directly affects the way your brain works. Take a probiotic supplement each day or add probiotic foods to your ADHD diet.
Probiotic foods include:
Not sure whether to take supplements or simply eat foods that contain probiotics?
There are benefits and drawbacks to each, but food appears to get the edge.
For one, a probiotic supplement can be convenient for some people and, therefore, increase their chances of getting enough probiotics in their diet. Foods containing probiotics may not provide that same benefit depending on your eating habits.
On the other hand, eating probiotic foods has its bonuses as well. You’ll end up with a wider variety of probiotic bacteria in your system, which can keep you covered on more bases than a supplement, which will typically contain just one type of probiotic bacteria.
Supplements can be hit and miss as well. The probiotic bacteria in the supplements may die off by the time you get around to using it. This is why some manufacturers place a manufacture date on their labels; they know you may not get the advertised amount of bacteria when you take the supplement, so they just list the bacteria that was there to begin with.
6. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote physical and cognitive health (2). Some proponents praise its potential use as an alternative ADHD treatment. The herb increases the sensitivity in the neurological and nervous system and promotes the formation of serotonin. Both children and adults can use Rhodiola Rosea to improve focus.
Remember – consult a medical professional before giving up ADHD medications in favor of these recommendations.
The beauty of these natural recommendations is that they won’t just improve your life as far as ADHD symptoms are concerned; they will make you a healthier person overall, even in areas not related to ADHD.
Check out our video on the ADHD natural treatments:
On this live episode ProaActiveHealthWellness talks about the link between ADHD and C-Sections.