Can you treat ADHD without medication?
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
NOTE: This article is relevant to the treatment of ADHD in adults as well as in children.
If your child has problems with hyperactivity or lack of focus and you’ve decided to give him or her amino acid supplements or Mucuna pruriens herbal treatments for ADHD, then you’ll need to make sure that your child also supplements with the following nutrients that are absolutely vital for amino acids, including L-Dopa, to be converted into healthy dopamine that will give your child control over themselves again. Parents who don’t give their child amino acids or Mucuna pruriens to boost dopamine production in the brain (perhaps because they don’t realize that amino acids and Mucuna are the key to treating ADHD in adults and children) will still likely see results from taking the supplements listed below, but the results will be much more pronounced if the child (or adult) with ADHD takes amino acids and/or Mucuna pruriens (an herb) along with the supplements we talk about below.
Think of amino acids and Mucuna pruriens as the raw materials that the brain needs to make the neurotransmitters that can help a person feel relaxed (both physically and emotionally), content, and focused. Let’s imagine that these raw materials (aminos and Mucuna) are like lumber/wood. So amino acids and Mucuna are like lumber, but the vitamins and minerals below are like the tools that will be used to transform the wood into something useful like a house. Without the proper tools like a saw, a hammer, and some nails, the lumber will be hard to use. On the other hand, with a few basic tools, lumber can be made into a wide variety of different things that are useful and important (like houses, furnishings, and more). If you have only one thing or the other, it isn’t possible to build anything. In other words, if you have only a saw, a hammer, and some nails, but no wood, you won’t be able to build anything. Or, if you have wood, but no tools, no hammer, no saw, and no nails, it will also be impossible to build anything solid. But if you have wood (in this metaphor the wood is the amino acids and the Mucuna pruriens) and tools (like vitamin B6, zinc, iron, magnesium, etc.), your brain will have everything it needs to create all the neurotransmitters that govern attention and self-control.
The nutrients listed below will help make the amino acids and/or Mucuna pruriens treatments work properly. If your child is not given these supplements while he/or she is taking Mucuna pruriens or amino acids you may not see the same results from treatment with Mucuna pruriens and amino acid therapy for ADHD. Indeed, if your child is given just the nutrients listed below without also taking either amino acids or Mucuna pruriens (or both, taken at separate times of the day), your child also won’t experience the same results. So we recommend that you look especially closely at using Mucuna pruriens because this herbal cure for ADHD is calibrated to work with the human brain to heal dopamine neurons. What this means is that a person who suffers from ADHD will not only experience a huge improvement in their symptoms when they first start taking this herb (1500 mg administered 4 times per day in adults; 750 mg administered 4 times per day in kids), but they will also experience healing of the brain over time because Mucuna pruriens encourages the brain to heal dopamine neurons that have been damaged by addictive behaviors or addictive drugs, including prescription drugs for ADHD. But if parents are afraid to use Mucuna pruriens because they believe the propaganda put out there by Big Pharma against this herbal cure for ADHD, amino acids are a tame alternative treatment for ADHD that work well too in combination with the supplements listed below.
Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that serves as a coenzyme in the conversion of L-Dopa into dopamine. But that’s not the only function of vitamin B6 in the body. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in the metabolism of glucose and lipids. It is essential for the conversion of amino acids into other substances our bodies need to repair itself and survive. Vitamin B6 may not be properly used by the body, however, if there is a zinc deficiency so be sure to combine vitamin B6 treatment with zinc treatment if you decide to use natural supplements for ADHD treatment.
If the body is deficient in vitamin B6 a wide array of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are affected. But glutamate, the excitatory neurotransmitter may not be able to convert into GABA, a calming neurotransmitter as well. Essentially, without adequate vitamin B6, children experience several neurotransmitter imbalances that could lead to symptoms of ADHD. Even a mild deficiency of vitamin B6 can lead to significant neurotransmitter imbalances that affect behaviors.
A deficiency of vitamin B6 involves neurological symptoms such as drowsiness or even peripheral neuropathy (a painful condition of the peripheral nerves). Individuals with vitamin B6 deficiency may suffer from movement issues or sensory disorders or even immune dysfunction. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in glucose regulation in the brain.
In children, the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6 is 25-50 mg. The product below contains 8.5 mg of vitamin B6. If your child has ADHD, give them 2-4 drops daily:
OR, if your child is old enough to take pills, consider administering this product, which contains all of the B-vitamins:
In adults, the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6 is 50-100 mg. For adults, I recommend using the B Complex product displayed below, which contains high doses of all the B-vitamins.
Proper levels of zinc are essential for good health, growth, development, and reproduction. Zinc plays important roles in regulating the brain. Indeed, zinc is necessary for the conversion of vitamin B6 into its active form. And of course, without vitamin B6, tryptophan cannot be converted into serotonin and a variety of other neurotransmitters may become imbalanced as well.
Zinc plays a role in the production and regulation of melatonin levels in the brain regulating sleep and wake cycles, but it is also necessary for the production and metabolism of dopamine as well as essential fatty acids.
Studies have shown that lower zinc levels correspond to worse ADHD symptoms in children. Some scientists have speculated that zinc depletion in ADHD kids may result from reactions to certain synthetic chemicals that are found in food. The synthetic additives may require high amounts of zinc during their metabolism leading to a waste of zinc in the body. In studies where children were exposed to chemical additives in food, zinc levels were rapidly depleted after the additives were consumed. As zinc levels plummeted, ADHD behaviors worsened.
Zinc supplementation ranged from 55-150 mg of zinc daily. Note that higher doses of zinc may cause stomach upset. The zinc product below does not contain sugar, but it does contain lactose.
Children with iron deficiency may develop restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder. A child who develops physical leg restlessness or periodic limb movement disorder may be misdiagnosed as ADHD. Through iron supplementation, ADHD kids often experience significant improvements in restless legs and limb movement and some studies have even shown long-term, lasting improvements from short-term iron therapy in ADHD kids.
By itself, iron supplementation may not work immediately, but rather, over time, children with ADHD often experience a significant improvement in their symptoms taking this supplement. Researchers report a progressive and significant decrease in ADHD symptoms over the course of 12 weeks of iron supplementation therapy.
As a stand-alone, natural treatment for ADHD, oral iron administered as ferrous sulfate improved ADHD symptoms to the same degree as prescription drugs. The recommended dose for ADHD children between 5 and 8 years of age is 80 mg/ daily of ferrous sulfate.
I recommend this iron supplement for kids with ADHD because it doesn’t contain sugar.
For adults with ADHD, this iron product is also sugar free.
Though the relationship between ADHD and magnesium levels is not extremely well-understood, a number of studies have shown that there’s clearly a relationship between magnesium deficiency and ADHD. Indeed, some authors note that the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are identical to the symptoms of ADHD. Children with ADHD tend to have low serum and hair magnesium levels and studies show that about 95% of children with ADHD have a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium deficiency or even just suboptimal levels of magnesium can lead to a reduction in energy metabolism, poor nerve signaling, and reduced blood flow to the brain. Magnesium plays an important role in regulating nervous system excitability.
Magnesium deficiency can cause any of the symptoms listed below:
- Lack of focus / distractability
- Sleep problems
- Muscle weakness
Magnesium supplementation helps kids manage hyperactivity while improving their focus, but magnesium has also been shown to diminish anxiety and depression, two other mental health issues that involve the conversion of neurotransmitter precursors into the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline.
In one study, 50 children with ADHD between the ages of 7-12 years of age were given 200 mg/day of Magnesium over the course of 6 months. These children experienced significant reductions in hyperactivity and reduced distractibility in comparison with a control group of ADHD kids who were not treated with magnesium. Another study of 52 ADHD kids combined magnesium supplementation (100 mg per day) with vitamin B6 supplementation (100 mg per day) to achieve similar results wherein the kids who received magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements were less hyperactive and more focused. Other studies into magnesium in ADHD kids have also shown that magnesium supplementation promotes better sleep and correspondingly better behavior during waking hours.
Both adults and children can take magnesium citrate that’s free of sugar and other ingredients that could aggravate ADHD. While adults may prefer to take pills (at least 600-800 mg per day, but more is okay), kids can be given 150-400 mg of magnesium citrate powder per day with honey and Mucuna pruriens or amino acids mixed in.
Fat-Soluble Vitamins and Omega Fatty Acids
The brain is mostly made of fats. About 60% of the cerebrum is made of long-chain omega-3 PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The DHA precursor eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is also important in maintaining blood flow, reducing inflammation, and preventing blood clotting in the brain. The amount of DHA levels in neurons varies depending on how many omega fatty acids a child consumed.
Some studies have shown massive improvements in ADHD behaviors and learning potential following daily doses of omega fatty acids. Other studies have shown very few improvements or none at all. The fact that the brain consists primarily of fatty acids is an important argument for parents of ADHD kids who are trying to decide which supplements work to treat ADHD and which ones don’t. Cod liver oil supplements and omega 3 fatty acid supplements may also contain other fat-soluble vitamins that generally boost health, lower inflammation, and promote better behaviors as a result in children. Cod liver oil can also be extremely beneficial in adults in terms of brain health and also dental health (cod liver oil can worsen symptoms of gout, however).
Pycnogenol is derived from maritime pine bark. It is a potent antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in the brain. It has been used to treat both autism and ADHD as an alternative to prescription medications. It seems to work by increasing the production of nitric oxide to improve blood flow to the brain (which is thought to be impaired in kids with ADHD).
One study involved a dose of 1mg/kg of body weight of pycnogenol versus a placebo. In this study, the group that received pycnogenol had significantly better behaviors with better attention and less hyperactivity. This study, of course, didn’t include any of the supplements listed above or Mucuna pruriens or amino acids so when the kids stopped taking the pycnogenol, their ADHD symptoms returned. One would expect that children would have much better results if pycnogenol was administered as an ADHD protocol that included all of the supplements listed here as well as Mucuna or amino acid therapy.
Melatonin should be administered about 1 hour before bedtime to promote sleep in patients with ADHD. The brain converts serotonin into melatonin when the patient is exposed to darkness, but individuals may have trouble converting serotonin into melatonin. Taking a melatonin supplement can help bridge the gap to improve sleep quality. Improving sleep in ADHD patients can lead to better focus during the daytime hours.
An extended release melatonin product that doesn’t contain sugar or other substances that might cause a person with ADHD to become more restless is important. ADHD kids can take 5 mg (extended release) to promote sleep. Adults with ADHD can take 10 mg of an extended release melatonin supplement.
In kids with ADHD, you can administer 100-300 mg of Magnesium along with 5 mg of Melatonin to help promote physical relaxation at night. In adults, consider 400 mg of Magnesium along with 10 mg of Melatonin to promote sleep naturally.
Cure ADHD Now: The No-Nonsense Guide to Plants, Vitamins, and Minerals
That Are Scientifically and Anecdotally Proven to Cure ADHD
Other Important Links:
Wikipedia (2022). Vitamin B6. Retrieved March 23, 2022 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B6
Effatpanah, M. et al. (2019). Magnesium status and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A meta-analysis. Retrieved March 27, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30807974/
Huang, Y. H. (2019). Significantly lower serum and hair magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than controls: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved March 27, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30496768/
Tseng, P. T. et al. (2018). Peripheral iron levels in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved March 27, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29335588/
Dye T. J. (2017). Outcomes of long-term iron supplementation in pediatric restless legs syndrome / periodic limb movement disorder (RLS/PLMD). Retrieved March 27, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27282843/
Saunders, N. (2019). Can Magnesium Supplements Help Relieve ADHD Symptoms? Retrieved March 27, 2022 from http://adhdliving.today/adhd-living/adhd-and-magnesium/
Konofal, E. et al. (2007). Effects of iron supplementation on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Retrieved March 27, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18054688/
Sinn, N. (2008). Nutritional and dietary influences on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Retrieved March 27, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18826452/