Supplements & Vitamins for Adults & Kids with ADHD
Whether or not you or your child takes prescription medication for ADHD, it’s always useful to find natural ways to manage symptoms, from making smart dietary choices to getting enough sleep. Another factor that can make a difference is incorporating supplements into your treatment plan. This can also be a convenient choice for those who are unsure about medication and want to exhaust all other options first before resorting to pharmaceutical drugs. Find out which supplements work best for reducing symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and restlessness.
The Benefits of Taking Supplements for ADHD
In treating ADHD, the CDC has suggested trying non-pharmaceutical options first, like behavioral therapy, especially for young children.11 Like behavioral therapy, supplements and vitamins provide a gentler way to ease symptoms without the harsh side effects associated with prescription medication. And if you or your child are already taking prescription medication, many supplements can often be used in tandem with medication (if the medication has no contraindications) for even better results. While supplements may not have the same immediate effects on ADHD symptoms like a stimulant drug, they do help address the nutritional deficiencies that may play a role in how these symptoms manifest. See below for the best supplements and vitamins for ADHD.
Best Supplements & Vitamins for ADHD
From omega-3s, which support executive function, to magnesium for its calming properties, there are a number of supplements and vitamins scientifically proven to help reduce symptoms associated with ADHD.2 Almost all of these nutrients can also be found in foods, which makes it easy to integrate them into your routine.
Several researchers have highlighted a connection between omega-3s and ADHD. One study found that omega-3 levels were reduced in children with ADHD and dietary supplementation resulted in improvements of symptoms.3 Another study showed that dietary supplementation of omega-3s led to increases in brain activation in the prefrontal areas and improved task performance in both children with ADHD and typically developing children.4 And yet another study revealed that low omega-3 levels weren’t just related to ADHD symptoms in subjects, but also poor emotion regulation and emotion processing, proving that supplementation can help ADHD individuals with their emotional intelligence.5
Omega-3s for kids
While there are a variety of gummies and other child-friendly supplements for kids, incorporating omega-3s into your child’s diet is also recommended. Salmon and canned light tuna are good sources of omega-3s, as well as eggs. Walnuts are another natural source. If your child refuses any of these foods, you can sneak omega-3s into their favorite smoothie by stirring in a teaspoon of flaxseed oil.
Omega-3s for adults
If salmon and tuna are not your favorite types of fish, try sardines, mackerel, oysters, or shrimp. Beef is another good source of omega-3s. You might also want to sprinkle flax seeds or chia seeds over your yogurt or cereal, or throw them into a morning smoothie.
Similar to omega-3s, researchers have found a link between low zinc levels and ADHD. Studies show that zinc is necessary in the metabolism of melatonin, which plays an important role in the regulation of dopamine, and dopamine is a key factor in the pathophysiology of hyperactivity.6, 7, Therefore, supplementation can help reduce symptoms of ADHD, primarily hyperactivity.
Zinc for kids
Beyond child-friendly zinc supplements, natural sources include turkey, chicken, whole wheat bread, and eggs. Whole-grain cereals are also an easy source of zinc for kids.
Zinc for adults
Other natural sources include oysters (which reportedly has the most zinc than any other food), herring and soybeans. Molasses is another rich source of zinc, but be sure not to overdo it because molasses is also high in sugar.
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There is some evidence that shows individuals with ADHD are iron-deficient and supplementation can help reduce symptoms.8 This is because, like zinc, iron is a coenzyme of dopamine synthesis and therefore iron deficiency alters dopamine receptor density and activity, leading to hyperactivity and other related ADHD symptoms. In a study of 23 non-anemic children with ADHD, iron supplementation improved symptoms over the course of 12 weeks.9
Iron for kids
If you’re looking for natural sources of iron as opposed to child-friendly supplements, iron is an easy addition to your kid’s diet. Beans, including black, pinto, and lentil, are all a rich source of iron, as well as turkey and chicken. A healthy snack of raisins or sweet dates can also boost iron levels as well as iron-fortified whole grains like cereal, pasta, bread, and rice.
Iron for adults
Other sources of iron include nuts, tofu and leafy greens. Meat sources include lean red meats like beef, pork, and lamb, and seafood like salmon, shrimp, and clams.
Brillia is different from the other supplements and vitamins on this list, as it is a non-prescription homeopathic medication. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia offers a gentle and impactful approach to reducing symptoms of ADHD and anxiety and requires no official diagnosis. Its active ingredient consists of antibodies to the brain-specific S100B protein, a key regulator of various intracellular and extracellular brain processes, including communication between neurons. Studies show that when this protein is out of balance in the body, anxiety, irritability, and inattention arise; Brillia helps to reinstate this balance.10
Combining antibody science with healthy lifestyle habits, Brillia relies on a clinically-proven holistic approach to reduce symptoms like hyperactivity, stress, irritability, and impulsivity while improving focus and clarity. This is achieved without causing drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, or other side effects associated with prescription ADHD medication. There are also no contraindications associated with Brillia, so you or your child can add the medication to your regimen at any time, whether you are taking ADHD medication or not.
Brillia for kids
Brillia for Children & Teens is suitable for kids and teens aged 5-18. Though it contains the same active ingredient as Brillia for Adults, the children’s product is not as strong as the adult formulation. This allows for more incremental dosing with our younger users. Keep in mind that when you find the right dose for your child (which may take some experimentation) you will not have to increase the dose over time to maintain Brillia’s efficacy. However, as a gentle and cumulative product, you must ensure that your child or teen is taking the medication consistently for it to work. The product provides a steady trickle of the active ingredient into the system, so most users see a result in 3-4 weeks, if not longer. Find out more about how to find the right dose with Brillia.
Brillia for adults
Brillia for Adults is for individuals over the age of 18 who are dealing with symptoms like lack of focus, irritability, restlessness, or anxiety. It has a stronger formulation than the children’s product and comes in three doses: mild, moderate, or severe, based on how you would rate your symptoms. Find out more about the differences between Brillia for Children & Teens and Brillia for Adults.
According to Dr. Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist specializing in ADHD, vitamin C is important in modulating the neurotransmitter dopamine at the synapses in the brain.11 Studies show that supplementation with flax oil and vitamin C have a “significant improvement” in the symptoms of ADHD, particularly hyperactivity.12 However, it should be noted that if you are taking ADHD medications, vitamin C should not be taken less than an hour before or after taking ADHD meds because it prevents the medication from being absorbed.
Vitamin C for kids
Vitamin C supplements for kids are some of the most common to find, but it can also be found in common kid foods like oranges, apples, berries, and potatoes. Interestingly, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron better, so pairing foods with these nutrients is highly beneficial.13
Vitamin C for adults
Some other ways to incorporate vitamin C into your diet include bell peppers, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
Magnesium is often used as a supplement for anxiety because of its calming effects. But studies show it can also have a positive impact on ADHD symptoms by significantly reducing hyperactivity.14 Studies also show that combining magnesium with vitamin D can have even more powerful results, including a significant reduction in emotional problems, conduct problems, and peer problems.15 However, it should be noted that the source of magnesium is important. The popular supplement CALM sources its magnesium from the sea, which means it contains trace amounts of arsenic and the chemical toxins cadmium and lead. These chemicals are known to cause damage to the vital organs of the body as well as the reproductive organs of the body, though CALM does claim that these trace amounts of toxins and metals are safe for consumption.
Brillia also contains 3 mg of magnesium per tablet as an inactive ingredient in addition to its active ingredient, antibodies to the brain-specific S100B protein.However, this magnesium is pharmaceutical grade and not sourced from the sea. This allows users to experience the benefits of Brillia’s unique active ingredient and magnesium without harsh side effects or health risks. Also, because the amount of magnesium in Brillia is so low, it’s safe to take an additional magnesium supplement if you’d like.
Magnesium for kids
Magnesium can be found in a number of kid-friendly foods, such as bananas, peanuts, and yogurt. It can even be found in dark chocolate, but make sure it’s a quality product high in cacao content and not full of sugar like many store-bought candy bars.
Magnesium for adults
If you’re a fan of whole grains, magnesium can be found in many of them, including oats, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. You can also find the calming mineral in salmon, edamame, and tofu.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to executive dysfunction, a common symptom in people with ADHD, along with other cognitive consequences.16 Many American children have abnormally low levels of vitamin D, but kids with ADHD have even lower levels.17 Addressing or preventing vitamin D deficiencies may help reduce ADHD symptoms and protect against cognitive risks due to its ability to fight oxidative stress as shown in some research.18
Vitamin D for kids
Vitamin D supplements are easy to find and almost always included in children’s multivitamins, but there are some easy ways to load up on this vitamin without supplements. Spending time in sunlight is one of the easiest and enjoyable ways to raise vitamin D levels, but always be sure to apply sunscreen to your child (and yourself!). Some foods containing vitamin D include egg yolks, fortified cereals, and cheese.
Vitamin D for adults
Other foods containing vitamin D that may or may not be a hit with your kids are fatty fish like salmon and anchovies and almost all varieties of mushrooms (as long as they were exposed to sunlight before reaching the store).
Inositol is a naturally-occurring type of sugar found in the body, primarily in the blood, brain, and kidneys. It can also be found in some foods. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it can lower high cholesterol, help your body better process insulin, and potentially relieve the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.19 When it comes to ADHD, inositol may help reduce symptoms like anxiety, agitation, and insomnia, which often coexist with attention disorders.20
Inositol for kids
Inositol can be found in numerous supplements and is usually included in the comprehensive vitamin B complex. Some family foods containing inositol that your kids may enjoy include eggs, peanuts, peas, and raisins.
Inositol for adults
Other foods high in inositol include leafy greens, artichokes, legumes, green beans, eggplant, and whole wheat bread.
The B vitamins have a number of health benefits, including releasing energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Vitamin B6 specifically plays a vital role in brain development and supporting the nervous system.21 There is some evidence that vitamin B6 may also help ease hyperactivity and improve focus.22 The other B vitamins are just as important. Studies indicate that lower concentrations of vitamins B2, B6, and B9 are associated with ADHD diagnoses, and B2 and B6 with symptom severity.23
Vitamin B for kids
Though B vitamins are generally considered safe, food sources are preferred over supplements to avoid toxicity. After all, it’s easy to get the B vitamins from your diet. Some foods your child might like include eggs, beef, milk, bananas, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B for adults
Other sources of vitamin B include avocado, spinach, sunflower seeds, and liver. Citrus fruits such as oranges and mandarins also provide most B vitamins, except vitamin B12, which you can obtain from the other foods listed above.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you and your child are getting all the nutrients you need to support cognitive function and overall health is to take a multivitamin or multimineral supplement. This is especially true if you have a picky eater at home (or you’re the picky eater). As proven in many of the studies cited above, numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies are associated with ADHD diagnoses and symptom severity, and there are numerous multivitamins on the market to help you and your child fill any nutritional gaps.
Multivitamins for kids
Gone are the days when the only kid-friendly multivitamins were shaped like The Flintstones characters. However, many of the gummies and tablets available today are full of sugar, dyes, and artificial flavors. Look for a vitamin that is low in sugar or simply aim to provide your child with a well-rounded diet full of plenty of colorful foods to cover all the nutritional bases.
Multivitamins for adults
Similar to children’s multivitamins, many of the ones available today are laden with sugar and chemicals. Be sure to investigate the label to see exactly what your multivitamin or multimineral contains to ensure you’re not loading up on sweets, which is bound to send you into a sugar crash.
How Holistic Medicine Helps
Brillia takes a holistic approach to managing symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. Taking supplements is just one step you can take to support your health through proper nutrition, which is one of Brillia’s 5 Pillars. Along with taking Brillia, these pillars set a foundation for whole-body health to address the root cause of symptoms. In addition to eating well, other pillars include getting adequate sleep, controlling screen time, and practicing mindfulness. Each of these pillars was chosen because of research that supports how they relate to anxiety and ADHD symptoms. These healthy lifestyle habits maximize Brillia’s success and our multi-faceted approach helps you build a toolkit of self-regulation skills you can use long term, gradually reducing your need for any type of medication (though you can continue taking Brillia as long as needed without any adverse effects). Learn more about how Brillia’s holistic approach works.
Always Consult a Healthcare Professional
While supplements and/or medication may be the right choice for one person, they may not work as well for another. It’s important to remember that no two people experience their symptoms in the same way, so the same treatment plan will not always be suitable. Sometimes, it takes some trial and error to find the right path for you and your child. When devising your action plan, be sure to consult a healthcare professional, especially if you are already taking prescription medication and hoping to add a supplement to your routine.