Definition of dietary supplement: a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (such as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one’s diet and are not considered food. “Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary”
Supplements do not replace foods, rather can complement or augment a healthy diet. Wide-ranging and recommended by physicians or nutritional experts for a variety of reasons, supplements can have a very real and positive impact on the symptoms of ADHD.
People with ADHD might use supplements to tackle certain symptoms. Some supplements show positive results with focus, memory and paying attention. Others can help with calming the mind and sleep.
If you are considering implementing any supplements into your ADHD regime, you must first seek medical advice. Supplements can negatively interfere with your ADHD medication and a medical professional will help you in exploring an individualised supplement nutrition program.
Phosphatidylserine is an important supplement that can help increase levels of dopamine. ADHD is linked to lower levels of dopamine (link to the article on focus). By increasing levels of dopamine, people with ADHD can see improved levels of focus, attention, mood stability, and better sleep. Phosphatidylserine is taken in capsule form and your doctor can help you work out the best dosage for you.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid found in every human cell and every living thing. It is made up of amino acids, serine, fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. Phosphatidylcholine also helps improve memory and focus, is a mood booster, can reduce stress and is important for the function of the brain. Found naturally in mackerel, tuna fish, organ meats, such as the kidneys and livers and some plants such as soybeans, white beans, and cabbage, Phosphatidylserine can also be taken in capsule form, with proper dosage clarified by your physician.
Ginkgo biloba is a herb that comes from one of the oldest trees on our planet, over 290 million years old, and native to China, the Maidenhead tree. Used in traditional Chinese medicine, its benefits are plentiful. Stimulating the circulatory system and allowing increased blood flow to the brain, Ginkgo biloba helps with memory, focus and attention. Ginkgo biloba can be taken as liquid drops, capsules or tablets or drunk as tea. Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Rosemary is a widely known and recognised evergreen bushy shrub easily accessible all over the world. Just like Ginkgo, Rosemary increases blood flow to the brain and shows important clinical effects on mood, learning, memory, anxiety, and sleep. You can safely bring Rosemary into your nutrition regime. This herb is great to use as an essential oil in a diffuser or cut off some sprigs and make a pot of tea.
Gotu kola is a wonderful medicinal herb used in Ayurvedic, African, and Chinese traditional medicine. It can have a positive impact on a range of ADHD symptoms including improved sleep and reduced stress. Stimulating blood circulation, Gotu kola sharpens the brain by improving blood flow which produces a calming effect. It helps promote mental clarity, focus and improves memory. Gotu kola can be consumed as a tea, dried leaf in powder form, tinctures, capsule, tablets and external skin ointments.
Serotonin and dopamine levels are lower in people with ADHD. 5-HTP is an important chemical precursor to many neurotransmitters which build serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which is extremely beneficial for an ADHD brain. As a result, 5-HTP can help improve sleep, anxiety, depression, and focus. In addition, 5-HTP can help in improving mood and promoting learning and memory. More studies are needed but don’t hesitate to discuss the potential benefits of 5-HTP with your physician.
CHINESE WHITE TEA
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world and white tea consumption could very well be an effective treatment for adults with ADHD. Made from the Camellia sinensis plant, white tea is the least processed of all teas and therefore it retains the highest amount of antioxidants. White tea is high in caffeine. With lower dopamine levels, people with ADHD can benefit from stimulants such as caffeine, boosting dopamine levels and improving focus and concentration. While more study is needed in this area, a few cups of tea every day have seen positive results for adults with ADHD.