Evaluating Natural Nootropics and Supplements through a scientific lens
The information below is given as a guide, but you should always reach out to your psychiatrist or pediatrician. It should be thoroughly understood, I am not a doctor of any kind. I have training in ADHD, I have been asked on several occasions to write on this topic. I did an in depth dive on what actually could work for the ADHD brain, but I must stress that your ADHD informed psychiatrist or pediatrician will know how these nootropic vitamins and minerals could interact with any medications you may be taking; better safe than sorry.
Traditional ADHD medications aren’t for everyone. Some are just less inclined to use them, others unfortunately experience little to no effect from them. For these individuals, here is a short list of some of the vitamins and minerals that could be helpful in your day to day. Caveat: thus far, for the group of people less inclined to take traditional medications, the science says they have proven to be, by far, the most affective. However, how you choose to treat your ADHD is a very personal decision. Again, medications don’t work for everyone: about 85% of people react positively to them, however, 15% have little to no change in their symptoms at all. For both groups, this is a list that could be truly helpful. I also included a list of “stacked nootropics” which are just supplements with many of the elements listed below. Feel free to reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
This is a herb that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It may have neuroprotective and antioxidant effects, and may improve memory, attention, and learning in people with ADHD.
This is a plant that has been used for various health purposes for thousands of years. It may have anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory effects, and may improve blood flow to the brain. It may also enhance cognitive functions, such as attention, processing speed, and executive function in people with ADHD.
This is an amino acid that is a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that are involved in attention and motivation. It may help increase the availability of these neurotransmitters in the brain, and may improve working memory, focus, and mood in people with ADHD.
This is an amino acid that is found in green tea. It may have calming and relaxing effects, and may reduce stress and anxiety in people with ADHD. It may also modulate the effects of caffeine, and may enhance alertness and attention without causing jitteriness or insomnia.
This is a stimulant that is found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and some nootropic supplements. It may increase arousal and alertness, and may improve attention and reaction time in people with ADHD. However, it may also cause side effects, such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and tolerance.
This is another amino acid that is a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine. It may have similar effects as L-tyrosine, but it may also increase the levels of phenylethylamine (PEA), a neuromodulator that may enhance mood and motivation in people with ADHD.
Zinc is an essential trace element that plays a role in neurotransmission and brain development. Zinc deficiency has been associated with ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor attention span. Zinc supplementation may improve the efficacy of psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate, by reducing the required dosage and enhancing the response rate. Zinc can be given to children with ADHD safely in moderate doses of 15 to 30 mg per day, but higher doses may cause adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and copper deficiency.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism and modulates immune and inflammatory responses. Vitamin D deficiency is common among children with ADHD and may contribute to the pathophysiology of the disorder by affecting neuronal development, synaptic plasticity, and neurotransmitter synthesis. Vitamin D supplementation may improve ADHD symptoms, such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, by enhancing cognitive function and reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Vitamin D supplementation should be based on serum levels and individual needs, as excessive intake may cause toxicity and hypercalcemia.
Iron is a vital mineral that participates in oxygen transport, energy metabolism, and neurotransmitter synthesis. Iron deficiency is prevalent among children with ADHD and may impair brain function and behavior by reducing dopamine and serotonin levels and affecting myelination and neuronal growth. Iron supplementation may alleviate ADHD symptoms, such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, by restoring iron status and enhancing cognitive performance and emotional regulation. However, iron supplementation should be guided by a blood test to avoid iron overload and potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal distress, constipation, and liver damage.
Multivitamin/multimineral supplements are formulations that contain various vitamins and minerals that are essential for normal growth and development. Children with ADHD may have inadequate dietary intake or increased requirements of certain micronutrients due to genetic or environmental factors. Multivitamin/multimineral supplementation may improve ADHD symptoms by correcting nutritional deficiencies and supporting brain function and metabolism. However, not all multivitamin/multimineral supplements are equally effective or safe for children with ADHD. One specific combination that has shown promising results is Daily Essential Nutrients (DEN), which contains 36 micronutrients in balanced ratios and forms that are well absorbed and utilized by the body.
Magnesium is a cofactor for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including those involved in neurotransmission, energy production, and antioxidant defense. Magnesium deficiency is common among children with ADHD and may contribute to the disorder by impairing neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission, and neuroplasticity. Magnesium supplementation may improve ADHD symptoms by calming hyperactivity and agitation, indirectly aiding attention and learning. Magnesium can be supplemented orally or transdermally in doses of 200 to 400 mg per day for children with ADHD, but higher doses may cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
There are also at least 5 companies out there that produce natural alternatives to traditional ADHD medications, these are listed below.
Vyvamind incorporates caffeine, L-theanine, and L-tyrosine, aiming to enhance cognitive performance. Caffeine is renowned for boosting energy and alertness but should be taken as advised to prevent sleep disturbances. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine can bolster cognitive enhancements. L-tyrosine might elevate cognitive and physical performance in stressful conditions by increasing dopamine. The supplement, manufactured in the USA, adheres to cGMP standards.
Performance Lab Mind
This supplement features patented ingredients including Sharp-PS® Green and Cognizin® citicoline, believed to aid memory and focus, potentially assisting in managing ADHD. However, more extensive research is warranted to substantiate these claims.
PureHealth Research Mushroom Formula
Enriched with medicinal mushrooms and natural adaptogens, this supplement promises cognitive enhancement and stress relief. However, scientific validation of the specific impacts of these mushrooms on cognitive health is somewhat limited.
NooCube includes ingredients like Vitamin B7 and Alpha-GPC for cognitive enhancements, but comprehensive human studies are needed to confirm their efficacy in ADHD and cognitive health.
Onnit Alpha BRAIN
A study affirmed the efficacy of Alpha BRAIN® in enhancing memory. However, its proprietary blend’s individual ingredients and their concentrations need further exploration to determine their specific roles and efficacy.
These are some of the nootropic supplements and individual ingredients that are considered best for ADHD according to some of the current science from ADHD research and resources. However, as I mentioned before, the evidence for their effectiveness and safety is still limited and inconclusive. Therefore, I recommend you to do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking any nootropic supplements for ADHD.
Orlando ADHD Coaching and all employees receive no benefit from the dissemination of the above information.