Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder usually starts in early childhood and persists into adulthood in most children diagnosed with the condition. It is a medical condition with clearly defined symptoms such as hyperactivity, inability to concentrate for extended periods and impulsive behavior. These symptoms usually mean that such kids perform poorly in school.
To improve the symptoms of ADHD, doctors usually prescribe drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. These medications are usually based on amphetamines and they act by increasing the levels and activities of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
However, based on Birthorderplus research these drugs are stimulants and even though they are safe and effective, long-term studies on their safeties are still lacking. Also, these drugs can be easily abused.
Most parents look to alternative medicine to find natural treatments for their ADHD children. Unlike the Ritalin and other drugs used in conventional medicine, there are only a few studies done on these natural remedies.
Even then, some of these natural remedies do clearly provide positive benefits for ADHD kids. Therefore, they are included in ADHD therapy as supplements to improve the symptoms of this medical condition.
Below are some of the most effective supplements used to treat ADHD.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Melissa officinalis is a tall, perennial herb from the mint family. Its lemon-scented leaves are crushed and powdered as herbal supplements for treating conditions such as ADHD.
Lemon balm has anxiolytic and mild sedative properties. The powdered leaves can be infused and the supplement taken as a tea.
It produces a calming effect which can reduce the hyperactivity and impulsive behavior associated with ADHD. It is also useful for improving mental focus and relieving stress.
The active ingredient responsible for this anxiolytic effect is rosmarinic acid. It inhibits GABA transaminase allowing gamma aminobutyric acid to act longer and stimulate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain.
Numerous studies have linked zinc deficiency with ADHD symptoms. In fact, some researchers measure zinc levels in the body to predict the severity of ADHD and also the effectiveness of amphetamines for treating the condition.
Zinc contributes to the regulation of some brain chemicals, fatty acids and melatonin. Its action on neurotransmitters is responsible for its ability to cause behavioral changes.
One study, found that zinc supplements effectively improve hyperactivity, impulsive behavior and mood in ADHD children but not mental focus or concentration. However, another study found that zinc increases activity in the part of the brain responsible for information processing.
The link between Vitamin B6 and ADHD involves an overlap between the symptoms of the medical condition and Vitamin B6 deficiency. Some of these shared symptoms include irritability and reduced attention spans.
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is one of the B vitamins used for treating ADHD. It is important for the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and also for the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
By effectively regulating carbohydrate metabolism, Vitamin B6 prevents sugar-fueled hyperactivity in ADHD kids. In addition, by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, it provides a beneficial effect similar to that of ADHD drugs such as Ritalin.
Omega- 3 fatty acids
While the benefits of Omega- 3 fatty acids for people diagnosed with ADHD are not generally proven, quite a number of studies have shown that increased EPA (Omega-3) and DHA (Omega-6) levels improve ADHD symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil. They have been found effective for improving cognition and memory formation in different studies. Some studies saw improvements in attention and hyperactivity in ADHD kids after Omega-3 supplementation.
If your source of Omega-3 is a fish oil supplement, make sure to get one in which the ratio of EPA to DHA is 4:1 since most researchers got the best results from that combination.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid formed from the combination of the amino acid, serine and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Phosphatidylserine improves glucose metabolism in brain cells and it also increases communication between these cells. In addition, it stimulates the release of dopamine and acetylcholine in the brain.
The benefits of Phosphatidylserine for ADHD children are so broad that some use this supplement in place of drugs like Ritalin and Adderall.
Phosphatidylserine improves all symptoms of ADHD. It improves mood, learning, mental focus, attention, cognition and memory formation. It is also reduces the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.