This was written by Kelli Cooper of AdultADHD.net.
When it comes to treating ADHD, many are dissatisfied with the results of standard medications and are interested in finding supplemental treatments, such as diet, herbs, vitamins or minerals. When it comes to alternative treatments for this condition, there is no definitve guidelines as research has produced mixed results in most cases. But, this does not mean that none of these treatments would work. An individual supplement may not produce benefit everyone who tries it and it may take some trial and error to find the right alternative treatments. Working with a healthcare practitioner knowledgeable about using alternative medicine for ADHD may be a good idea.
Standard Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Pill
There is a reason that eating a balanced diet is at the top of the recommendation list for any type of health condition, whether mental or physical—the nutrients provided in food help our body function at its best and keep it in tip-top shape. Most of us fail to meet our basic needs and getting all the nutrients in the recommended amounts is particularly important when we have any sort of health issue. A daily multi-vitamin/mineral pill is a great way to make up for the holes in our daily diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids serve many important functions in the body and they are particularly concentrated in the brain, where they serve many important functions, such as helping build the protective cover around the brain’s nerve fibers. Research has shown that it may help improve certain symptoms of ADHD, such as the inability to organize information. Fish contains the omega-3 fats best utilized by the body and particularly rich sources include salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines. Good plant sources include flax seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed and walnuts.
Zinc regulates the activities of many substances that directly impact behavior, such as certain chemicals in the brain, melatonin and fatty acids. According to WebMD, several studies have found that many children with ADHD have low levels of zinc in their body and supplementation has been linked with reducing impulstivity and hyperactivity; it does not seem to do much to address inattention, one of the other major symptoms of this condition. Zinc can be toxic in high doses so you should consult with a health care professional on the appropriate dose for you or your child.
Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in your body and regulates sleeping patterns. Some evidence suggests it may help improve sleep in people who suffer from ADHD; it will likley have little impact on actual symptoms of the condition, however.
Other Potentially Helpful Supplements
Taking both gingko biloba and ginseng may help reduce symptoms of ADHD. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that low levels of vitamin B-6 and magnesium may worsen symptoms of ADHD; low levels of magnesium have been associated with irritablilty, decreased attention span and mental confusion, while low levels of B-6 may reduce production of important brain chemicals.
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