Nutritional supplements for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common nervous disorder in children. The prevalence of ADHD varies according to age, gender and ethnicity. In addition, genetic and environmental factors such as heavy metal exposure play an important part in the aetiology of ADHD.

The worldwide statistics for ADHD is between 5.29% and 7.1% in children and adolescents, however, in some countries, these figures are exceeded e.g. USA -8.7% and 9.7% in Iranian school children.

Integrative Medicine practitioners often use a combination treatment that incorporates nutritional supplements, diet, and lifestyle modification in the treatment of ADHD.

Common natural cure and remedies for ADHD include avoidance of sugar, artificial colourings and preservatives used in foods and drinks. Whilst there are several Complementary and Alternative Medicine research studies that support the avoidance of artificial food colourings and preservatives, the scientific evidence is lacking for sugar avoidance but many parents have a different experience and viewpoint regarding this.

Common integrative medicine practice centres around nutritional supplementation.These are listed below along with their proposed mode of action.

  • Zinc – An important cofactor for metabolism of neurotransmitters, prostaglandins, and melatonin
  • Iron – May possibly alter dopamine transporter expression and the synthesis and catabolism of monoaminergic neurotransmitters
  • Vitamin B6 – A cofactor in neurotransmitter metabolism including serotonin, glutamate/GABA, and dopamine
  • Vitamin D – Required for planning, processing, and formation of new memories
  • Magnesium – A neuroprotectant from excessive excitatory neurotransmitters e.g. glutamate
  • Omega – 3 and 6 fatty acids – affects the fluidity of the membrane and neuronal function
  • Pycnogenol – May increase in nitric oxide production, which modulates dopamine and norepinephrine release and intake
  • Ginseng – Ginsenosides are reported to elevate levels of dopamine and norepinephrine
  • Ginkgo biloba Increases BDNF level, neuronal survival and plasticity, and inhibition of MAO towards serotonin 
  • Bacopa – Neuroprotective and antioxidant effects, as well as regulation of dopamine, and inhibition of cholinesterase

More families are turning to integrative medicine to help improve the quality of life for their children with ADHD. Integrative medicine also uses dietary therapy and other Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies such as Behaviour Therapy, NLP, Homeopathy, Yoga, Therapeutic massage, Lifeline technique, Resonant Field Imaging, Neurofeedback, Ayurveda, Exercise Therapy and more.

ADHD is a complex disorder henceforth more sustainable results can be achieved with integrative medicine through its multidisciplinary approach.