7 Best Supplements for ADHD


Best Supplements for ADHDDo you know the best supplements for ADHD?

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There are many first-line medications that treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but have you ever wondered about non-medical supplements?

In recent years, researchers have been conducting tests on several different supplements to see if they can help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD. So far, the most promising of these supplements include Iron, Magnesium, Melatonin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc.

In this article, we’ll provide an outline of each of these supplements, and evaluate how they might be able to help individuals with ADHD. We’ll also explore a few herbal supplements and their benefits. Before we jump in, remember to talk to your doctor before trying any new supplement or herbal remedy. 

Best Supplements for ADHD

Since ADHD is a mental health disorder that has many dimensions to it, incorporating supplements in addition to medication and lifestyle changes may help improve or even alleviate symptoms.

Though there is a wide range of symptoms of ADHD, some of the main ones include:

  • Trouble focusing or concentrating on tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Easily Distracted
  • Difficulty sitting still for long periods of time
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Trouble getting organized
  • Avoidance of tasks
  • Problems with interrupting

Many of the different types of supplements we will look at in this article attempt to lessen the effects of one or more of these symptoms. They are usually intended to be complementary treatments for ADHD, though research is still being conducted on their standalone benefits.

The seven best supplements for ADHD are:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Melatonin
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

Let’s explore these supplements in more depth.

Iron for ADHD

Iron is an important mineral for the body, as it carries oxygen to the organs and muscles. As well, it supports brain function and its production of the neurotransmitter, dopamine.

A study conducted in 2004, found that 84 percent of children with ADHD had lower levels of iron in their system, compared with 18 percent of kids without ADHD; specifically, they found that when there were lower levels of ferritin (a protein found inside cells that store iron), the symptoms were more severe.

There is a test you or your child can take if you think you may have low levels of iron. It is called a ferritin test. Your doctor can provide you with more information, as it is crucial not to start any iron supplements without a blood test and medical approval.

Some of the best places to get iron is in food such as meats, poultry, and fish; also, fortified cereals, whole grains, and legumes.

However, iron supplements are also an option if you’re finding it difficult for you or your child to eat iron-rich foods every day.

A friendly reminder: Always check with your doctor before trying any of these options.

Nature Made Iron (65mg)

These iron supplements are pharmacist recommended and are derived from a natural source. They are on the smaller side, which makes swallowing one of these pills a day an easy task. As with most iron supplements, Nature Made Iron should be taken with a meal to minimize the chance of getting an upset stomach.

It is also:

  • Synthetic-dye free
  • Artificial flavor free
  • Gluten-free

LifeCentric Health Iron Gummies (10mg)

Who says taking your iron has to be boring? LifeCentric Health has made the perfect iron-infused gummy for kids and adults alike! If you like grape flavor, you’re in luck — you’ll look forward to chewing one of these great-tasting supplements every day! Added bonus: they are gluten-free and vegan friendly.

They are also:

  • Gelatin free
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO

Magnesium for ADHD 

Another important mineral for brain health is magnesium. This nutrient helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure; it has also been shown to have a calming effect on the brain.

A recent study found a correlation between those with magnesium deficiencies and ADHD; a lack of it can cause irritability, mental confusion, and a shortened attention span. Luckily, there are ways to obtain this essential mineral.

Magnesium can be found in foods such as:

  • Darky leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products
  • Fish

Though it is best to get magnesium from food, you can also get it from multivitamins and supplements. Before adding a supplement to your diet, talk to your doctor about adding it to yours or your child’s treatment plan. At high doses, magnesium can cause nausea, diarrhea, and even be toxic.

OMG! Nutrition Magnesium Drink Mix (200mg)

This supplement is great for those with a sensitive stomach, or who are prone to cramping, nausea, or diarrhea. It is made of gut-friendly ingredients that are simple and clean, as well as soy-free, and dairy-free. 

It is also:

  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • 100% vegan
  • Tasty and easy to take

Melatonin for ADHD

Since sleep disturbances can cause symptoms of ADHD to worsen, regulating the amount of melatonin in the body can be beneficial. 

Melatonin is a naturally-produced hormone in the brain, and it helps us adjust our internal clock.

A recent study investigated the benefits of melatonin in children with ADHD, who had developed sleep problems due to taking stimulant medication; the result showed that melatonin effectively improved sleep problems in 60.8% of participants.

Taking melatonin as an ADHD supplement is usually a safe way to help children and adults sleep better. However, it should be regulated under the guidance of a pediatrician or primary care physician.

Amazing Nutrition Melatonin (10mg)

Each tablet of this supplement gives an optimum dosage of 10 mg of melatonin, making this an effective and all-natural sleep aid supplement.

It is also:

  • Recommended for adults over the age of 18
  • Not intended for use by pregnant or nursing women
  • Better to take at bedtime
  • Packed with: Melatonin, Magnesium, Vegetable Cellulose

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for ADHD

Omega-3 is a vital fat that helps protect brain tissue, as well as aids in the communication between brain cells. 

A review conducted in 2017 investigated the benefit of both omega-3 and omega-6 in the treatment of ADHD in children and youth. The results showed that the participants who took the omega supplements had improved attention, visual learning, short-term memory, and both hyperactivity and impulsivity control.

Our bodies don’t produce this fatty acid on its own, so we have to obtain it from food sources or supplements.

Related: Best Omega-3 Supplement for ADHD

Omega-3 rich foods include:

  • Fish and other seafood
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Plant oils
  • Fortified foods (such as yogurt, juices, milk)

Below are some of our top picks for omega-3 supplements for both children and adults. 

Another friendly reminder: Always check with your doctor before trying a new supplement or herbal remedy. 

BioSchwartz Omega-3 Fish Oil

This is one of the most powerful fish oil supplements on the market! There are only non-GMO ingredients in each capsule. 

It is also:

  • Good for adults over the age of 18
  • Important that pregnant or nursing mothers consult their physician before consumption
  • 3 soft gel capsules can be taken daily with meals 
  • Packed with: Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Natural Lemon Oil

Vitamin C for ADHD

You might not think Vitamin C is essential for good brain function, but it is absolutely necessary for the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine

It also plays an important role when it comes to the absorption of iron. As we mentioned above, low levels of iron may worsen the symptoms of ADHD. For this reason, an iron supplement and Vitamin C supplement work well when paired together. 

Vitamin-C rich foods include:

  • Oranges
  • Green and red peppers
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice

However, it is also possible to take a daily supplement to meet your Vitamin C requirement. It is important to note, however, that Vitamin C can interfere with the absorption of ADHD medication, and therefore you should consult your primary care physician before adding to your diet. 

Doctor’s Finest Kids Vitamin C (250mg)

These delicious orange chews provide a powerful source of Vitamin C and come in an irresistible orange flavor. 

They are also:

  • Recommended for children ages two and up & adults
  • Non-sticky jellies in a tasty fruit flavor
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Certified GMO free
  • Gluten-free
  • Supportive of immune health
  • Packed with: Pectin, Water, Natural Flavor

DACHA Liposomal Vitamin C (1200mg)

This supplement brings a lot to the table. The proprietary liposomal Vitamin C complex helps support a healthy immune system, supports collagen production, promotes healthy teeth and gums, as well as helps the body utilize iron and folic acid. 

It is also:

  • Good for adults 18 years+
  • Has superior absorption
  • Stomach friendly
  • Packed with: Vitamin C, Proprietary Liposomal Vitamin C Complex 

Vitamin D for ADHD

Vitamin D is essential for many reasons, such as maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It might be interesting to know that Vitamin D is not a vitamin but a prohormone — a precursor of a hormone! Therefore, our bodies can produce it.

Studies have shown that there is a link between Vitamin D deficiency and ADHD. One such study in 2018 compared Vitamin D levels in children with and without ADHD. They found that those with lower levels of Vitamin D in their blood had ADHD.

While these findings suggest a possible connection between Vitamin D and ADHD, research is still ongoing to confirm this theory.

Vitamin D-rich foods include:

  • Salmon
  • Herring and sardines
  • Cod liver oil
  • Canned tuna
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified foods (such as milk and yogurt)

Supplements are also a great way to get your daily Vitamin D fix. 

And yes, another friendly reminder: Always check with your doctor before trying a new supplement or herbal remedy.

ForestLeaf Vitamin D3 (50,000 IU)

Now you can get your weekly dose of Vitamin without exposing yourself to a lot of sun! ForestLeaf Vitamin D3 can help strengthen bones, teeth, and muscle function. 

It is also:

  • All-natural
  • Non-GMO
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Tested for absorption to ensure proper digestion

Nature Made D3 (2000 IU)

Made from carefully selected ingredients and scientifically rooted, this supplement is pharmacist recommended.

It is also:

  • Good for adults over 18
  • Artificial color and flavor-free
  • Supportive of bone, teeth, muscle and immune health
  • Packed with: Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol), Cellulose, Gelatin

Zinc for ADHD

What is considered an essential mineral that plays an important role in overall brain function, Zinc helps the immune system fight against bacteria and viruses. It is also essential to the body for it to make proteins and DNA (the genetic material in cells).

Several studies have shown that those who are deficient in Zinc can experience symptoms that are comparable to those of ADHD; examples of such symptoms include jitteriness, inattention, and delayed cognitive development. 

A 2015 review of these studies surmised that Zinc supplements might aid in the treatment of ADHD symptoms in children with Zinc deficiency. That said, whether or not Zinc has any effect on ADHD symptoms in children or adults who are not Zinc deficient, is not clear.

Some foods that are high in Zinc include:

  • Red meat
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains

We’ve also included some of our favorite Zinc supplements below.

You’ve guessed it: Always check with your doctor before trying a new supplement or herbal remedy.

Nature’s Potent Zinc (50mg)

A great all-around supplement that is highly potent, safe, and has a 100% money-back guarantee.

It is also:

  • Good for adults over 18 years
  • Pharmaceutical graded
  • Supportive of the immune system
  • Not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers
  • Packed with: Zinc (oxide/citrate)

Spring Valley Zinc (50mg)

There are few brands that can boast about a smooth, and coated texture when it comes to Zinc, but Spring Valley can all day long!

It is also:

  • Easy to swallow
  • Recommended as part of a daily regimen for women’s health, winter wellness, and immunity.
  • Helpful to improve the sense of taste, particularly in the elderly.
  • Good to promote antioxidant activity and contribute to a healthy pregnancy.

Other Herbs for ADHD

We’ll now explore some herbal supplements that have shown some evidence of having potential benefits for those who have ADHD.

Ginkgo Biloba for ADHD

Although Ginkgo Biloba sounds like a name straight out of Harry Potter, it is actually a herb that derives from the leaves of the G.biloba tree. These leaves contain chemicals called terpene trilactones.

Recent research suggests that terpene trilactones help protect against brain cell damage and increase the amount of dopamine in the brain; some parents have reported children showed improvements in attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Below are some of the supplements we recommended. Please check with your doctor before adding a new supplement or herbal remedy to your treatment plan.

Nutricost Ginkgo Biloba (120mg)

  • Contains 24% Ginkgo Flavone Glycosides
  • High-quality Ginkgo Biloba Extract
  • Contains beneficial antioxidant properties
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free

Healthy Care Ginkgo Biloba (2000mg)

  • Not for children under 12 years of age
  • Tones and helps normalize circulation as it has a relaxing effect
  • Contains high-quality Ginkgo Biloba Extract 
  • Helps support memory, mental alertness and maintains cognitive function
  • Gluten-free

Pycnogenol for ADHD

Also known as French Maritime Pine Bark, Pycnogenol is an extract that has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant that may work to reduce cell damage and improve blood flow to the parts of the brain that play a role in ADHD.

Some research has shown a significant reduction of hyperactivity along with improved attention and concentration with the use of Pycnogenol. However, there is still insufficient evidence on the safety and efficacy of this treatment.

Below are some of the supplements we recommend. Please check with your doctor before adding a new supplement or herbal remedy to your treatment plan.

Nature’s Way Pycnogenol (50mg)

  • Contains naturally occurring proanthocyanidins, organic acids, and other biologically active components
  • Includes Vitamin E as a powerful antioxidant
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Gluten-free

Bestvite Pycnogenol (100mg)

  • Patented Pycnogenol ingredient that has been used for over 40 years and is backed by scientific studies
  • Contains no magnesium stearate
  • Unique flavor from French Maritime Pines
  • Gluten-free

Valerian Root for ADHD

As we mentioned above, sleep is critical for proper brain function, and adults and children who do not get adequate sleep at night are at risk of problems with attention, hyperactivity, irritability, and anxiety.

Valerian is an herb known for helping with relaxation and sleepiness for both children and adults. There are no significant side effects associated with Valerian, even at higher doses, which means it is generally considered a safe herb to ingest.

One study found that Valerian used at least one hour before bedtime led to better sleep for children with ADHD. The improvements were notable in children who especially showed symptoms of hyperactivity.

Below are some of the supplements we recommend. Please check with your doctor before adding a new supplement or herbal remedy to your treatment plan.

ProHealth Valerian Extract with Lemon Balm (160mg)

  • Promotes restful sleep without next-day grogginess
  • Safe, odorless and non-addictive
  • Top selling product that promotes relaxation and comfort
  • Gluten-free; soy-free; milk free
  • Vegetarian and vegan friendly

Nutricost Valerian Root (100mg)

  • Valerian Root extract is the only active ingredient
  • Vegetable capsules that are gluten-free and non-GMO
  • Suitable for adults over the age of 18
  • Produced in a GMP Compliant, FDA Registered Facility

Some Honorable Mentions

We thought we’d also point out a few herbal treatments that are showing promise for treating ADHD. 

  • Ginseng: There is a chance this Chinese herb may alleviate hyperactivity and inattentiveness
  • Ningdong: This may help to reduce some ADHD symptoms; similar to ginseng
  • Bacopa: This traditional Indian treatment comes from a plant that is known as Brahmi. It may be able to reduce restlessness and improve self-control.

Plenty more research still has to be done in order to find out whether or not these natural herbs are safe and effective on a large scale. 

Essential Oils for ADHD

There are some studies that contend that essential oils can help relieve or even reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Let’s go through a few of them. Again, we want to remind you to always check with a doctor if you’re considering adding a new essential oil to your treatment plan.

Lavender for ADHD

Although not many studies have been conducted with actual ADHD participants to test the effects of lavender, a study done at the University in Minnesota in 2014 found that it helped people to sleep better. 

Word of mouth is also strong with this essential oil — people say it really works!

Below are a couple of our top picks.

Majestic Pure Lavender Oil

  • Blend of two pure lavender oils
  • Therapeutic grade
  • The aroma is rich, floral, and fruity
  • Best sampled on a tissue to allow the aroma to breathe

Maple Holistics Lavender Essential Oil

  • Therapeutic grade
  • 100% pure natural lavender
  • Gentle and effective
  • Chemical and paraben-free

Vetiver for ADHD

This essential oil has been studied on rats, which were observed to be able to better focus after inhaling the Vetiver essential oil.

Check out a few of our favorite Vetiver oils below:

Healing Solutions Vetiver Essential Oil (100% Pure)

  • 100% pure Vetiver
  • Therapeutic grade
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Purity guarantee 

Amber Arctic Vetiver Essential Oil (100% Pure)

  • 100% pure Vetiver oils; no synthetic chemicals or dilution
  • Steam distilled from the roots of the Indian Vetivers to produce a high-quality essential oil
  • No additives or fillers
  • Rich lemon flavor and unique earthy taste

Rosemary for ADHD

One study observed that people who had exposure to the aroma of Rosemary oil went on to score better for speed and accuracy in thinking activities.

Below are some of our top rosemary oil picks.

Pure Gold Rosemary Essential Oil (100% Pure)

  • 100% pure Rosemary
  • Undiluted
  • Highest quality guarantee

Pure Body Naturals Rosemary Essential Oil (100% Pure)

  • 100% pure essential oil; steam distilled for purity, quality and safety
  • Woody, evergreen like scent
  • Shown to support the healing of neurological tissue and brain function

Safety Tips for Using Essential Oils

  • It is important to talk to your primary care physician before using any essential oils; this is especially true for children. 
  • Always dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil; ask your doctor what the concentration should be for an adult and/or child.
  • It is never a good idea to apply an essential oil directly onto the skin, as there is a chance it can cause a severe reaction. 
  • As essential oils can be toxic to the body, you must never ingest them.

Risks Associated With ADHD Supplements

It is important to keep in mind that supplements and natural remedies can have similar effects on the body as prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Therefore, these alternative treatments can have side effects when interacting with other drugs.

As we’ve been adamant throughout this article, people should speak to a doctor before trying any new supplements, herbal remedies, or essential oils.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, there are supplements that may be effective in treating some of the various symptoms of ADHD.

The seven supplements we looked at in this article were: Iron, Magnesium, Melatonin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Zinc. We also shared some information on Ginkgo Biloba, Pycnogenol, and Valerian Root as some other possible remedies for ADHD symptoms.

It is important to remember to check with your primary care physician before starting to use any of these supplements or herbal remedies. 

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