This guide to ADHD treatment without medication focuses on Supplements. It is a follow up article to Part 1 of this series which reviews our Lifestyle choices, or as I affectionately refer to as “Life Support” strategies that keep ADHD, Anxiety and Tourette Syndrome (TS) symptoms at bay.
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ADHD Without Medication
It is important to note the below list is only meant to provide readers with how we approach ADHD treatment without medication in our home, as well as provide a basis for mood stability with co-occuring Anxiety and Tourette Syndrome (TS). Anyone looking to treat or support concurrent medication or treatments with these or any supplements should first consult a health care professional or physician, of which, I am neither!
You will notice the use of Standard Process to be a common thread in the products we use. It is important to note that neither I, nor this blog, nor any articles are sponsored or endorsed by Standard Process. I am merely a fan of their whole food supplements and corporate values. The company has my full trust based on its high-quality whole food supplement solutions and corporate values. In order to ensure proper formulations are being purchased, Standard Process products should only be obtained through health care professionals.
The website includes a Health Care Professional search to aid in finding a local retailer, oftentimes a chiropractor, authorized to sell their products. I highly recommend adding one of these professionals to your natural health team! Not just for the products, but also their expertise in natural alternatives!
In case you’re not quite ready for that step, I’ve included alternatives and noted whether we’ve tried that brand and blend previously. Two of these products, of which I did not include alternatives are Neurotrophin PMG and Catalyn. Neurotrophin is a protomorphogen (PMG), providing healing to cells over time. We give this for general neurohealth. Catalyn is Standard Process’s multi-vitamin.
Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, B Vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) are commonly deficient in and used in ADHD treatment without medication, as well as naturally supporting TS, anxiety and depression symptoms. You’ll see we include a few others, too.
HOW WE TREAT ADHD WITHOUT MEDICATION
Since this post was first published in Summer of 2018, we’ve made a big change to the supplement we use for our son. This supplement from KLAIRE Labs includes the zinc, magnesium, calcium and B-complex vitamins itemized below at proper quantities, plus additional minerals and vitamins. Intended for kids on the Autism Spectrum, this vitamin is free of iron, copper, gluten and casein. Though our son has not been diagnosed as ASD, it also meets the naturopathic ADHD protocols.
This supplement has significantly simplified my purchasing needs and daily routine! Our daily routine now includes 3 Vitaspectrum at breakfast and lunch. This bottle is a 30-day supply. I also continue to supplement with the Vitamin D-3 and Fish Oil, L-Theanine, and regular chiropractic care. You can read more about Lifestyle components to treating Tourette and ADHD without medication.
We used this updated regimen for the 2018-2019 school year; our son’s 5th grade year. I wanted to give it a significant trial run before sharing with you all! This is what we will continue with for his upcoming transition into middle school! This isn’t to say that the protocol below is outdated or no longer useful.
The info below reinforces the importance of each vitamin and mineral used in treating ADHD without medication. Seek out a natural medical professional or chiropractor as your starting point!
Most of us are familiar with the use of Zinc as an over-the-counter cold remedy and immune booster. Zinc also enhances GABA in the brain, thus providing a calming effect while increasing focus, making it helpful for ADHD, TS, anxiety and depression. Zinc is most commonly found in high protein foods necessary in an ADHD diet.
We supplement 5 milligrams of zinc twice a day, once with breakfast and again at bed. Occasionally, on a big homework or study night, I’ll give our son the second dose of zinc early to aid in concentration for at home assignments, skipping it at bedtime. We use Premier Research Labs Zinc Assay added to about 3 ounces of orange juice.
Magnesium, Calcium, and Vitamin D3
Magnesium calms muscles, relaxes the nervous system and reduces anxiety. The mineral is put to use in the body protecting the heart and arteries, which is important to anyone experiencing regular anxiety. Magnesium helps to regulate the neurotransmitters that send signals throughout our brain and nervous system. This mineral helps with appropriate calming during the day, as well as aiding in sleep at night. Magnesium is also a great preventative for migraines and helps to detox the body. We opt for 250 milligrams twice daily, once with breakfast and again at bedtime. We use Liquid Mega-Mag by Trace Minerals and mix the liquid in the same glass as the Zinc.
Calcium and magnesium work in tandem. When in balance, the duo can help reduce anxiety. High blood calcium levels, however, can lead to a condition called Hypercalcemia which weakens bones, creates kidney stones and interferes with heart and brain health.
We do not administer a calcium supplement on its own. We do give one MinTran pill, which includes calcium with lunch. MinTran is formulated by Standard Process. It is a vegetarian and gluten free product that supports healthy nervous system, has a mild calmative effect, eases temporary stress and supports neurotransmitters that regulate mood.
We also give 1 drop of this concentrated D3 supplement in liquid form at bedtime for relaxation and to help the body absorb the calcium. D3 is a powerful immunity booster, but also has tremendous effect on ADHD, Anxiety and Depression. This is because it encourages nerve cell growth, useful in memory storage and executive functioning. It also increases production of dopamine and norepinephrine, as well as helping to release serotonin. We know these are helpful in combating anxiety and depression, but these neurotransmitters are also shown by multiple studies to be low in those with ADHD. Reducing anxiety is helpful to decreasing tic behavior in TS.
We give one drop under the tongue for best absorption. Since the dose is 1 drop, this bottle seems to last forever! In times of stress or illness, I add a drop to the morning routine, as well. D3 is known for its calming effect and immune system support.
In my research, this children’s chewable was the supplement coming closest to the recommended dosing ratio of Calcium to D3. Combining the two is helpful for kids, as well as budgets! I have not tried this supplement or any others by this brand.
Omega-3 provides healthy fat supportive of proper brain function. Supplementation is helpful for all of our heavy hitters in the focus of this article; ADHD, TS and Anxiety. It combats irritability and improves mood, fighting anxiety directly and lessening anxiety-induced tic behavior. Hyperactivity is also reduced.
The first mentor that recommended Fish Oil for our son had seen tremendous improvement in his daughter’s ADHD by using this supplement alone. This may be a good place to start for your family, too!
I love that this blend from Nordic Naturals includes D-3! No need to purchase separately if you go this route, unless you want D-3 drops for times of illness or stress (i.e. test days).
The recommended amount of Fish Oil for treating ADHD is 1200mg per day. We split this recommendation in two equal doses; one with breakfast and one at bedtime. Previously, when I was working to cut down the number of pills for my kiddo, I’d use kitchen shears to cut open the soft gel and empty the contents into the same juice as the other items. Do not worry about a fishy taste in the OJ! The Nordic Naturals brand is such a high quality oil, there is little to no fish taste or odor and goes undetected when swilled in the glass. Now, as we’re using the KLAIRE Labs Vitaspectrum as our base, I give the soft gel without cutting it open.
Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins combat stress and stabilize mood. They naturally tranquilize the nervous system, making it helpful for Tourette’s and Anxiety. B vitamins, especially B-6 aid in formation of serotonin, helping reduce hyperactivity in those with ADHD. We give 1/4 teaspoon of Premier Research Labs Max B-ND in juice with breakfast and one B-6 at lunch. B vitamins can be difficult for our bodies to absorb, which is why I’ve selected these bio-available versions. Blood work can be done to determine the need for B vitamins.
L-Theanine decreases anxiety, increases focus and creativity, boosts immunity, lowers blood pressure and decreases resting heart rate. L-Theanine is found in green tea. One cup, hot or iced, 2-3 times a day could be substituted, though we have not tried this method.
I am very pleased with the effect L-Theanine has had on our son’s anxiety and ADHD. Though the KLAIRE Labs includes some Theanine (alternate name for L-Theanine), the dose is minimal, so I do still add this L-Theanine by NOW, 2x a day.
In addition to all this, I keep Rescue Remedy pastilles as well as doTERRA’s Peace Reassuring Blend roller ball in my purse for those “extra” situations. We utilize both of these in tandem when a situation calls for additional help fighting anxiety. If we’re anticipating a situation he may find stressful, such as a big test or crowded social event, I’ll provide these helpers in advance. These work very quickly though, so even when we’re caught off guard, they are very effective.
Rescue Remedy is a blend of flower essences combined to help combat stress caused by immediate problems. The blends combat fear of losing control, impatience, shock and panic, as well as fostering clarity. We use the pastille version for ease of travel.
doTERRA’s Peace Reassuring Blend includes Vetiver Root, Lavender Flower, Ylang Ylang Flower, Frankincense Resin, Clary Sage Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Labdanum Leaf/Stalk and Spearmint Herb. These oils are known helpers with ADHD and Anxiety. I use the roller ball version, again for ease of travel. When we are out and about, I roll the ball along his hair line at the nape of this neck, ear to ear. Alternatively, it can be applied to the soles of the feet, which is the manufacturer’s recommendation.
As a review, here is a summary of what we utilize daily!
OJ with Magnesium, B-Complex, Zinc, Fish Oil
One each; Neurotrophin, Catalyn (Standard Process multi-vitamin), L-Theanine
One each; B-6, MinTran, L-Theanine
OJ with Magnesium, Zinc, D3, Fish Oil
I know this may sound like a LOT, especially when compared with one capsule of prescription medication 1-2x a day. Ideally, we would all get the exact mix of what we need from our food on a routine basis. Our food would be clean, from organic sources with no chemicals or antibiotics included in the growing, harvesting or packaging process. Supplementing provides a consistent protocol for ADHD treatment without medication. If there are food categories that are providing these nutrients at high-quality, sufficient quantities on a routine basis, they would not be necessary in supplement form.
Is there something you use to combat any of these symptoms that wasn’t mentioned here? I would love to exchange ideas with you on managing symptoms with natural supplements! If you missed the first part in this Natural Approach series, you might want to take a look at our Lifestyle approaches for treating ADHD without medication, too!