Can you treat ADHD without stimulants from the doctor?
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
A lot of parents successfully use caffeine instead of Ritalin or other stimulant drugs. Caffeine, after all, is a natural substance that’s found in plants and it causes the brain to release dopamine. Adults can use caffeine to treat ADHD too, but the key to making caffeine work as a natural treatment for ADHD is to use it in tandem with amino acids or the herb Mucuna pruriens. Aminos or Mucuna pruriens (which is a bean that contains the most important natural amino acid, L-Dopa, which is produced from the amino L-Tyrosine) PRODUCE dopamine which must then be released. Dopamine is released naturally from the brain every time we make a decision, but natural substances like caffeine or unnatural, synthetically produced substances like prescription stimulants can force dopamine to be released from the brain–but only if there’s already dopamine in the neuron to begin with. If you or your child doesn’t have enough dopamine to begin with, you may feel desperate for some addictive thing, be it an experience or a substance. You may make poor decisions for yourself. In children, this looks like impulsivity or chaotic behavior. In adults, it looks like addiction or even sometimes the tendency to overcommit to doing too much work. Or it can make people feel jittery and wired.
People with ADHD often have too little dopamine in the brain. They’re deficient in dopamine perhaps because of a nutrient deficiency or maybe because they eat a vegan diet or because they’re eating fast food for every meal. But nonetheless, a person (child or adult) with ADHD has developed a deficiency of dopamine which then causes them to have trouble making wise food choices for themselves. ADHD kids and adults consistently will choose foods that cause a RELEASE of dopamine but that contributes nothing to the PRODUCTION of dopamine in the first place.
So the problem is, how can you RELEASE dopamine if your brain has not PRODUCED dopamine that can be released?
The PRODUCTION of dopamine inside the neurons depends on having the raw materials (Mucuna pruriens and/or amino acids) and the nutrient tools that ensure that the body can process those raw materials.
Once the dopamine is produced in the brain, it can be RELEASED by neurons whenever a person needs to make a decision or whenever that person receives a reward or a punishment (so that he/she can make wise decisions in the future about behaviors and experiences). But there are also natural substances like caffeine that cause the brain to release dopamine. Many people use caffeine to help them be more effective at their work because caffeine does allow us to release dopamine, making us better at decision making. But taking too much caffeine leads to a feeling of being wired. This feeling (which resembles in some ways, Parkinson’s Disease) is the feeling of being deficient in dopamine. This “wired” feeling is what causes ADHD children to act out, lose self-control, and make poor decisions.
In order for caffeine to work properly to control ADHD naturally, (in either adults or children), there must be an adequate supply of dopamine in the brain. If the brain is fully stocked with dopamine (because you take amino acid supplements like L-Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine or because you take Mucuna pruriens which contains the natural dopamine precursor L-Dopa) each day, then caffeine will work smoothly most of the time to promote dopamine release without leading to the “wired” dopamine-deficient feeling.
Though many researchers believe that its the massive release of dopamine into the synapse that causes methamphetamine addiction, the more I study dopamine and the results that people experience from taking Mucuna pruriens or L-Tyrosine / L-Phenylalanine (amino acids that convert to dopamine) along with a dopamine releasing agent like caffeine, the most I believe that damage to the dopamine receptors likely occurs as a result of a dopamine “drought”. The model that I use to work with dopamine-related health issues centers around the idea that dopamine “waters” the brain. Dopamine receptors are like flowers that grow in the synapse and these receptors make it easier for a person to think and make wise decisions for themselves.
I think of the dopamine neurons like a watering can. And the dopamine receptors are like flowers that grow on the other side of the synapse, a gap between neurons where neurotransmitters like dopamine are released to make a connection that we experience as “thoughts”. If the watering can gets low, you can still pick up the watering can and try to pour water out of it. Nothing will happen if there’s no dopamine/water in the can, but you can still use energy trying to pour water into the synapse from the neuron. When dopamine receptors are not exposed to dopamine regularly at the times when they need dopamine, they wither and dry up like flowers.
On the other hand, if you regularly put dopamine/water into the watering can, the dopamine receptors are regularly “watered” with dopamine and they grow and thrive. A person who regularly waters their dopamine receptor flowers may find it easier to make wise decisions than a person who is low on dopamine from time to time. A natural dopamine releasing agent like caffeine could, theoretically be overapplied, causing an over-watering of the dopamine receptor flowers, of course. A person who, for example, drinks coffee to try to stay up all night every night will eventually have a psychotic break if they don’t sleep at some point.
So caffeine and other natural dopamine-releasing agents have to be used in moderation, but they won’t be addictive if the watering can (dopamine neurons) stay fully charged with plenty of dopamine-water.
Unnatural, synthetic stimulants that release dopamine can cause damage and disorder in this process of dopamine production and release. Synthetic molecules are not typically developed by Big Pharma because they work better than natural molecules found in nature, but rather because synthetic molecules can be patented and as such, they are more profitable than natural molecules. So these synthetic molecules in stimulants used to treat ADHD can cause damage that doesn’t become apparent until years after the first dose of the medicine. By this time, it is hard for patients to prove that it was the ADHD drug that caused damage to their brain.
So for people who are wise enough to think of using caffeine, particularly pure caffeine along with Mucuna pruriens (an herb that works the best to treat ADHD) or amino acids like L-Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine instead of prescription stimulants for ADHD, I congratulate you. Be aware that amino acids take about 24 hours longer to begin working than Mucuna pruriens. Don’t begin taking caffeine until you’ve taken Mucuna pruriens or L-Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine for at least a week to give your little dopamine receptor flowers time to be fully hydrated. You may find that you don’t often need or want to take caffeine after you take Mucuna pruriens or amino acids.
Mucuna pruriens should be taken every 4 hours at 1500 mg. Take a total of 6000 mg per day if you suffer from ADHD. You’ll begin noticing the effect of Mucuna on your mood and focus within 4 hours after the first dose. Be sure to take Mucuna and amino acids with the other supporting nutrients that allow it to be converted into dopamine in the body.
L-Tyrosine is the best choice for treating ADHD and should be taken every 4 hours at 1500 mg, but you won’t begin to notice the effects for up to 24 hours after you begin taking it because it must be converted into the natural dopamine precursor amino acid that is already present in Mucuna. L-Phenylalanine is another amino acid that also converts eventually into dopamine, but it takes even longer than L-Tyrosine to be converted into dopamine in the brain. Be sure to take L-Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine with other the other essential supporting nutrients that are necessary to convert the amino acids into dopamine in the brain.
Use caffeine in moderation. Many coffee products contain mold that can cause a negative reaction in some people so it’s best to use a pure caffeine product at first to avoid this potential mold problem. And again, give yourself at least 1 week of Mucuna-therapy before you add caffeine into the mix if you or your child suffers from ADHD. A lot of people find that once they start taking Mucuna or L-Tyrosine that they don’t even crave caffeine or other stimulants because they feel very normal. Some people worry that they’ll feel “wired” when taking Mucuna or L-Tyrosine, but quite the opposite happens! These two supplements cause people to “feel like themselves”–neither wired, nor sluggish, which is a welcome relief to most people!
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