10 Foods (and Vitamins and Supplements!) to Boost Your ADHD Brain

Medication does not cure ADHD, and it should never be the only treatment. Diet and nutrition play key roles in improving focus and cognitive function — particularly these herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, and easy-to-follow food rules. Get started today!

© Nola Lopez

Benefits of Fish Oils

One study suggested that a subgroup of ADD boys are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids compared with those who have no symptoms of the condition.

Another study showed that omega-3s—found in cold-water, fatty fish, such as sardines, tuna, and salmon—tend to break down more readily in the bodies of patients with ADHD than in those without the condition. “ADDers who have low blood levels of omega-3s will show the biggest improvement in mental focus and cognitive function,” says Brown.

>> To purchase: Ned Hallowell recommends supplements from OmegaBrite and Zone Labs. Brown also recommends Nordic Naturals. If your child has trouble swallowing pills, try the Barleans Omega Swirl smoothie.

A combination of the B-vitamin niacin and gamma-aminobutyric acid, picamilon improves blood flow to the brain and has mild stimulative effects, improving alertness and attention. It can also reduce aggressive behavior. “Both adults and children derive benefits from this supplement,” says Brown.

>> To purchase: Picamilon is available at Smart Nutrition and IAS.

Treating Significant ADHD

“Most children and adults derive moderate benefits from the vitamin-mineral approach,” says Brown. “Those with more significant ADD may need stronger stuff—namely, herbs.”

“These herbs are cognitive activators,” says Brown. They act like stimulants without the side effects. Typically, adults and children who take ginkgo and ginseng improve on ADHD rating scales, and are less impulsive and distractible. Asian ginseng may overstimulate younger children. If this happens to your child, switch to American ginseng.

>> To purchase: Hsu’s Ginseng is a reliable mail-order source for both versions of the herb. According to Brown, Ginkoba and Gingold are the most effective brands of ginkgo.

An extract made from French maritime pine bark, pycnogenol was found to improve hyperactivity and sharpen attention, concentration, and visual-motor coordination in students after one month, based on standardized measures and teacher and parent ratings.

The herb pycnogenol is also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that protect brain cells from free radicals. “The first double-blind study on the herb was published in 2006, confirming its benefits,” says Brown. “Larger randomized trials, though, are needed.”

>> To purchase: Pycnogenol is available at Nature’s Best.

Made from a plant of the same name that grows in the Arctic, this herb can improve alertness, attention, and accuracy. It can be too stimulating for young children, and is occasionally beneficial in children ages eight to 12. It is most useful, says Brown, for students in junior high, high school, and college, who have to complete long papers and spend hours reading.

>> To purchase: Rhodiola rosea is available from Ameriden International and Swedish Herbal Institute-ProActive.


What's Eating Your Child?
Find out how foods play a key role in attention deficit. Listen to the audio now!

Replay This Free Webinar

page   1   2

TAGS: ADHD Diet and Nutrition, Supplements for ADHD, Alternative Treatments for ADHD

What worked for you?
Share your solutions, questions, and treatment reviews in ADDConnect - our free ADHD community site.

Copyright © 1998 - 2016 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 108 West 39th Street, Suite 805, New York, NY 10018