After the overwhelming popularity of my last post about Omega-3 Supplements I decided to write about some other natural ADHD treatments for our children. If you haven’t read the post about omega-3 yet, check it out, as I will make references throughout this post.
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According to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 84% of children with ADHD were iron deficient. In comparison, only 18% of their peers had low iron. You can read the study here.
This study also discovered that the lower the levels found, the more severe the symptoms were. Symptoms improve over time when children with low iron and ADHD take an iron supplement. This is because iron contributes to inefficient production of dopamine. Low iron disrupts protein synthesis, which is needed for the brain to produce dopamine.
If you are concerned about your child’s iron levels consult your doctor for a blood test. Never give an iron supplement without checking with a doctor first. Too much iron can interfere with absorbing other nutrients and minerals, so low iron first needs to be confirmed.
You can however offer your child plenty of iron rich foods. Some foods with high iron include red meats, tuna, peanut butter, cheerios (they are iron fortified), peas, and eggs.
Vetiver is my favourite essential oil for ADHD. It has so many uses and can help children with ADHD by improving: difficulty in concentrating, diminished focus, being easily distracted, difficulty with organization and following directions, impatience, and fidgety behavior. It’s scent is strong and grounding, and can help calm strong emotions, and encourage relaxation. It’s also used as a natural remedy for insomnia. which is another problem a lot of our children deal with!
You can use vetiver as a natural ADHD treatment at home by putting a few drops into your child’s bath, or onto their wrists (like you would put on perfume), or by using an essential oil diffuser. Pure vetiver oil is available on Amazon and a bottle lasts forever since it is so potent you only need to use 3-5 drops at a time.
You can also read my recommendations for the 10 best essential oils for autism and ADHD to learn about other essential oils that can be used as natural ADHD treatments. Another one I love is lavender. I put about 5 drops into a container of baking soda, and sprinkle it over the mattresses when I wash our bedding. Then vacuum it up a couple hours later and it leaves the scent deep in the mattress to improve sleep.
Zinc, just like iron and omega-3, plays an important role in dopamine production.
Zinc is an important contributor in the metabolism of neurotransmitters (including dopamine). Many children with ADHD have low zinc levels compared to their peers. Studies completed on using zinc supplements along with methylphenidate (Ritalin, Biphentin) have shown improvements in hyperactivity (Source). Zinc supplements are new to me – this is information I discovered while doing more research on omega-3 supplements. I have ordered this bottle to try out.
I can acknowledge that overall my sons diet is very poor. He is an extremely picky eater. Often times I have to give him what he will eat even if its not the most nutritious option because otherwise he wouldn’t eat at all. Now I am coming to the realization of just how much his diet could be impacting his ADHD symptoms, and the importance of natural ADHD treatments.
Note – It was importantly noted that Zinc deficiency does not have any relationship with causing ADHD. It was only found to have a relationship in improving symptoms by helping certain processes in the body be more efficient.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for the body, needed for hundreds of different functions within our cells. Almost everyone is deficient in magnesium. If your diet contains white sugar, white bread, or white rice you probably aren’t getting enough magnesium.
Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: restlessness, hyperactivity, meltdowns, impaired social skills, noise sensitivity, teeth grinding, irritability, and aggressiveness. Considering the similarity in symptoms of ADHD (and autism) and magnesium deficiency it’s easy to see how not having enough magnesium could amplify symptoms . A lot of the food we eat is so over processed that it’s been completely depleted of minerals like magnesium.
There are over 20 studies on magnesium and vitamin B6 (needed to absorb magnesium) for autism, including 12 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, making it one of most studied treatments for autism. Almost all of these studies found that 45-50% of children and adults with autism benefited from high-dose supplementation of magnesium and vitamin B6 (Source).
I have been enjoying my research on more natural ways to manage ADHD symptoms. My son is on medication and his symptoms were quite severe, but I am working on finding our balance between the two. I think natural ADHD treatments can really complement medication for those who do medicate. And also make symptoms more manageable for those who don’t medicate.
If you enjoyed this post you may also like my post about Executive Functions and Brain Development.