Vitamins & Supplements for ADHD

Dietary and nutritional supplements are always a taboo in the medical field because there were not too many supportive researches and studies. Pharmaceutical companies are not willing to spend money researching on dietary and herbal supplements that they cannot patent, which guarantee them monopoly right to sell that drug or substance for the next 10 years.

However, more and more parents are looking for alternative treatments that are safer and carry a lot less devastating side effects. You may be lucky to find a healthcare provider who is interested in alternative treatment to accompany you to embark on the exciting journey to improve your child’s behaviors.

Dietary or nutritional supplements for ADHD are gaining popularity as alternative ADHD treatment, especially nowadays when parents are more aware of the unpleasant side effects of ADHD medications. Furthermore dietary supplements are a lot more natural and cause minimal side effects. Many supplements for ADHD are substances that our body already produces and/or obtain from food in the general food supply.

“Supplements”, as the word implies,”supplement” what is inadequate. It does not or should not replace a healthy balanced diet.

Children with ADHD tend to have many nutrient and minerals deficiencies, or higher nutrient needs those children without ADHD. Common mineral deficiencies noted in children with ADHD are calcium, iron, zinc sulfate, magnesium, and selenium. They may also need some extra melatonin to help to have a peaceful night. Thus, the goal of using supplements for ADHD is to support your child’s body with nutrients that are inadequate.

There are many other reasons why a child needs dietary supplementation. Your child may not be consuming adequate amount of nutrients from their diet, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Your child may have difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients. Your child’s body can have a higher demand for certain nutrients. Or there may be sluggish metabolic pathways in the body that needs an extra boost of certain nutrients to get these pathways up to speed.

If your child’s diet consists of mostly processed foods, such as chicken nugget, pizza, hot dogs, chances are your child has a few nutrient deficiencies. Many nutrients, such as precious minerals and vitamins are stripped off from the food during processing. As if the processing is not enough to kill the food, food manufacturers add preservatives, artificial flavorings, food colorings. All of these additives are added to make the food more appealing, but not more nutritious. Not to mention that these additives also add to the already hectic workload of the body’s detoxification system.

Brain Function

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and phosphatidylcholine (PC) are essential structural components of the developing brain. It is found that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, likely due to poor dietary choices. How many kids do you know love fish or seafood?

Carnitine not to be confused with CARNOSINE is another substance that tends to run low in children with ADHD. It helps with transporting long-chain fatty acids into mitochondrial for energy production, and may play a role in the production of acetylcholine and possibly dopamine. Both are important brain chemicals.  Probiotics and fish oil are the most frequently used alternative ADHD treatments.


Other supplements for ADHD are detoxification superstars, such as alpha lipoic acid, carnosine, glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, selenium, trimethylglycine (TMG) and vitamin C.

Alpha lipoic acid helps with chelation of toxic heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, etc. Carnosine is also a chelating agent for toxic heavy metals, and it also prevents overstimulation of the NMDA-receptor by aspartate (in artificial sweeteners) and glutamate (in MSG). Carnosine, as a strong antioxidant, also helps with reducing the oxidative stress frequently seen in children with ADHD or autism.

Glutathione is another detox superstar for detoxifying many environmental toxins and heavy metals. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is another heavy metal chelating agent. Its function is similar to glutathione as NAC is eventually converted to glutathione in the body.

Gut Integrity

Many children with ADHD have intestinal issues, such frequent abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and even food allergies. These symptoms are the result of yeast or candida overgrowth due to antibiotic treatment, formula feeding as infant, etc. Probiotics help to repopulate the intestines with beneficial bacteria, improving gut integrity and nutrient absorption.

Immune Boosting

Some children with ADHD just need a bit of extra help with their immune to get rid of toxins and free radicals. The body's immune system is like the house's sewer system. If it gets clogged up with too much junk (think processed foods), it's going to get overwhelmed with the extra load to junk to get rid off, then the system will become slow, and eventually become clogged up. Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B12 and dimethylglycine along with minerals, such as zinc and magnesium help boost the system to combat unwanted substance in our body, keeping it free from illnesses.

Vitamins and minerals that are needed in almost all chemical reactions in the body for generating energy and building materials. Unfortunately, our body has to rely on outside sources for these nutrients. The word “vitamin” means “for life”. Our body cannot make any of the vitamins. And minerals are hard to come by. Minerals are found everywhere on earth, especially in dirt where plants grow. Thus, the best food sources of minerals are fruits and vegetables, except for iron. The heme form of iron is animal products is the easier to absorb, and thus the best source. In order for our mind and body to function well, we need all body systems to be performing their jobs.

For the most part, we know how most of these supplements for ADHD work and which pathways and chemical reactions they are involved in. However, individual reactions vary widely. This is why it is important to consult a registered dietitian who is experienced and knowledgeable in vitamins and supplements for ADHD.

Just a reminder. Even though many of the supplements discussed here are substances made naturally in our body and/or plants, it is still wise to seek medical advice before embarking on some of these supplements for your child. When using these supplements to treat a condition, the doses used are generally a lot higher than what is usually consumed through food alone. At very high doses, supplements condone therapeutic properties just like medication, and should be regard with same caution as any medication, especially if you are taking prescription medication.


Frequently dosing of supplements are based on adults. As we all know, children have smaller body size and thus require different dosage of many vitamins and supplements, especially medications. Here is a formula that you can use simply to estimate the dose for children:

Adult dose divided by 150, then multiply by your child's weight in pounds. This will give you the dose for your child.

Remember, it is just an estimate. Always check with your pediatrician or registered dietitian to get the proper amount for your child.

To learn more, go to:

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Natural Alternative ADHD Treatments:

Bottom Line:

Is you child properly nourished?

Brain Function

· Acetyl-L-Carnitine

· Phosphatidylcholine (PC)

· Carnosine

· Fish Oil or Omega-3-fatty-acid

· Iron

· SAMe

· Vitamin E

· Zinc Sulfate


· Alpha Lipoic Acid

· Carnosine

· Dimethylglycine (DMG)

· Glutathione

· N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

· Selenium

· Sulfate

· Trimethylglycine (TMG)

· Vitamin C

Immune Boosting

· Coenzyme Q10

· Dimethylglycine (DMG)

· Immune Boosting Foods

· Iron

· Magnesium

· Vitamin A

· Vitamin C

· Vitamin D

· Vitamin E

· Zinc Sulfate


· Carnosine

· Flavonoids

· Vitamin B6

· Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamine)

· Melatonin

· Probiotics

The ADHD and Autism Nutritional Supplement Handbook