Vitamins for ADHDShare on Pinterest
Photography by Aya Brackett

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If you or your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you know how important it is to manage ADHD symptoms.

ADHD can make it hard to concentrate, and manage behavior and emotions. To help treat ADHD, your doctor may recommend medications, counseling, behavioral changes, or other strategies.

Some people also believe that certain vitamins and supplements can help relieve symptoms of ADHD. Some of these remedies have been supported by research, while others lack scientific backing.

In some cases, mineral deficiencies might make ADHD symptoms worse. The NCCIH suggests that if you have an iron, magnesium, or zinc deficiency, correcting it might help treat your ADHD. To correct deficiencies, consider eating foods rich in essential minerals. In some cases, you might also benefit from taking a mineral supplement.

Keep reading below for how adding these supplements and vitamins to your diet can help you treat your ADHD.

Fatty acids are essential to your brain health. People with ADHD tend to have lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) than other people. This is a type of omega-3 fatty acid.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acid supplements may help treat ADHD. Other studies have found less promising results. More research is needed.

Fish oil supplements are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements are safe for most people, but it’s important to talk with your doctor before taking them. They may pose risks to some people.

You can also get DHA and other fatty acids from food sources. Salmon, tuna, halibut, herring, and other fatty fish are all good sources of fatty acids.

Iron is a mineral present in hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, and myoglobin, another protein that carries and stores oxygen for your muscles.

It’s also essential for brain cell development, physical growth, and hormone synthesis, and it supports muscle metabolism.

According to research published in the Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, low iron levels have been linked to ADHD symptoms. If you have low iron levels, ask your doctor if iron supplements might be right for you.

Iron is also available from many food sources, such as red meat, poultry, and seafood. Nuts, beans, leafy greens, and fortified grain products also contain iron.

Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in your body — after iron — and is present in every cell. It is necessary for the activity of over 300 enzymes that aid in metabolism, digestion, nerve function and many other processes.

While more research is needed, early studies suggest that zinc supplements might also help relieve symptoms of ADHD in some people.

Zinc is also found in many foods, including oysters, poultry, red meat, dairy products, beans, and whole grains.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. It plays several important roles in body and brain health.

Magnesium deficiencies can also cause problems. A deficiency in this essential mineral can lead to shortened attention span, mental confusion, and irritability. Ask your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of adding a magnesium supplement to your routine.

Eating magnesium-rich foods, such as dairy products, whole grains, beans, and leafy greens may also help you enjoy better health.

Talk with your doctor before adding any supplements to your routine. Consuming too much iron, zinc, or magnesium can be harmful. If you have certain health conditions, your doctor may encourage you to avoid certain supplements or foods.

Some people believe that certain herbal remedies can help treat ADHD. But in many cases, research has not supported those claims.

For example, French Maritime pine bark, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort are sometimes marketed to people with ADHD.

But the NCCIH has found insufficient evidence to promote these herbs as ADHD treatments. More research is needed to understand their potential benefits and risks. Other promising candidates for future research include the Western Pacific drink kava, as well as the Indian traditional medicine brahmi.

If you or your child has ADHD, ask your doctor about potential treatment options. Talk with them before adding any nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, or other alternative treatments to your routine.

Some natural treatments may interact with certain medications or pose other risks to your health. Your doctor can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of trying them.