If you are parent of an ADHD child or you have ADHD yourself it is likely that you have already tried a number of ADHD therapies. Medications may have been your first option and although these tend to work, the benefits are short lived and there are number of controversies surrounding them in relation to side effects. There are other alternative solutions to ADHD such as biofeedback, sensory integrative therapy, behavioral therapy, individual therapy, herbal remedies and nutritional intervention. The latter advocates that with the proper consumption of supplements and vitamins, ADHD symptoms can be improved.
All of these methods are effective and while they may be used as stand alone treatments, many health professionals believe that combining the different modes of treatment simultaneously create far better results than using only medications or behavioral therapy or any one of the others.
One treatment that is gaining in popularity is nutritional intervention through the adoption of a diet and vitamin supplements that supplies all the essential nutrients required for optimal brain functioning.
Researches agree that ensuring the recommended daily intake of vitamins is reached could help both in the general health of an ADHD patient and in moderating some symptoms of ADHD. While there are plenty of vitamins available in food, we don’t always get enough. This can be due to making the wrong food choices and relying on fast or processed foods or only having a limited diet with little fresh fruits and vegetables.
The theory behind vitamin treatment is that replenishing or supplying vitamins that are deficient in the body could help improve the symptoms of ADHD.
Among the handful vitamins that are thought to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD are those that promote neurochemical development in the brain that control behavior. These neurochemicals are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
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Vitamin B6 for example is among the vitamins that help the brain develop. It is vital to ensure the nervous system functions correctly and controls excitable behavior. Therefore a deficiency in B6 may lead to hyperactive behavior. In a clinical study researchers took 52 hyperexcitable children and gave them vitamin B6, along with magnesium for 3 – 24 weeks. The results showed a reduction of excitable behavior in all the children after 1 – 6 months treatment.
Sticking with the B vitamins, methyl-B12 (a form of vitamin B 12) has shown to improve attention and focus.
Moving onto supplements, magnesium is a mineral that some children with ADHD lack. Magnesium deficiencies can be accompanied by light or restless sleep and can lead to hyperactivity. Magnesium acts as a relaxant for nerve impulses as well as muscle contractions. It also encourages a reduction in hyperactivity and could induce deeper sleep.
Zinc is another mineral where a number of children with ADHD have a deficiency. According to a study carried out in 1996 ADHD children’s level of zinc are 2/3 the level of children without ADHD. Zinc is essential for memory and the ability to think clearly. Supplementing with zinc has also shown to improve IQ.
Although a ‘cure’ for ADHD does not exist, there are many anecdotal reports of children being able to stop or reduce medication after following a program of receiving proper nutrition, which includes vitamins and minerals along with diet modifications and behavioral therapy. Introducing supplement and vitamins ADHD treatment should be safe to do alongside medications, however, it is best to speak to your doctor to ensure there will be no adverse reactions.