Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder

Also indexed as:ADD, ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity
Hyperactivity—is it normal behavior or ADHD? When a child is more than rambunctious, it is important to know the facts. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Supplement Amount Why
Iodine
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In one study, iodine deficiency during pregnancy was associated with the babies being born with increased ADHD risk. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, discuss whether you might need iodine supplements with your doctor.
Iron

(Iron-Deficiency Anemia)
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In one study, iron levels were significantly lower in a group of children with ADHD than in healthy children. In the case of iron deficiency, supplementing with the mineral may improve behavior.
L-Carnitine
100 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight daily, up to a maximum of 4 grams per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In a double-blind study, supplementing with L-carnitine resulted in improvement in 54% of a group of boys with ADHD, compared with a 13% response rate in the placebo group.
Magnesium
If deficient: 200 mg daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Some children with ADHD have low magnesium levels. In one trial, children with ADHD and low magnesium status who were given magnesium had a significant decrease in hyperactive behavior.
Pycnogenol
1 mg daily per 2.2 pounds body weight daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Though another story did not find effect, one study reported that Pycnogenol reduced symptoms of hyperactivity and improved attention, coordination, and concentration after one month in a group of children with ADHD.
Zinc
If deficient: 15 mg per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In one study, children with ADHD who received zinc showed significantly greater behavioral improvement, compared with children who received a placebo.
Essential Fatty Acids
186 mg of EPA, 480 mg of DHA, 96 mg of GLA, 864 mg of linoleic acid, and 42 mg of arachidonic acid daily master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
In one study, children with ADHD who were given a fatty-acid supplement saw significant improvements in both cognitive function and behavioral problems.
Evening Primrose Oil
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
A deficiency of several essential fatty acids has been observed in some children with ADHD. In one study, children who received evening primrose oil showed minor improvements.
L-Tryptophan
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Imbalances in the brain chemical serotonin, or low blood levels of its precursor, L-tryptophan, have been associated with ADHD in some (though not all) studies
Shelled Hemp Seed
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Theoretically, shelled hemp seed may be useful for people with ADHD due to its essential fatty acid content.
Vitamin B6
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
In one study, high amounts of vitamin B6 was more effective than methylphenidate (Ritalin). A healthcare practitioner knowledgeable in nutrition must be consulted when using high amounts of this vitamin.
Vitamin B-Complex
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
B vitamins have been used for ADHD. High amounts of B vitamins have shown mixed results in relieving ADHD symptoms.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.