ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition that shows uniquely in each child but generally affects their ability to pay attention, control impulsive behaviors, and regulate brain activity levels. Those difficulties can impact a child at school, home, or socially.
It is a condition that typically begins in childhood but can persist into adulthood, but children may not be identified until later in life. It often depends on a child's unique pattern of assets and deficits and typically how a child does in school.
ADHD can affect cognitive and executive functions in several ways. Children with ADHD may struggle to do tasks that are not interesting to them or require prolonged attention, such as studying or listening to a lecture.
Furthermore, these kids need help organizing and prioritizing tasks. It means they need guidance starting and completing school projects or household chores. They may also need help remembering or retaining important information.
Children and teens with ADHD also have issues regulating emotions, which leads to impulsive behavior, outbursts, frustration, or disappointment. In the same way, they find it hard to control their impulses. It's why they interrupt others, blurt out inappropriate comments, and engage in risky behaviors.
Whether you are out there searching on your own or getting support from our FREE FB community, parents are looking for natural solutions that support attention and brain health, and that is a good thing.
6 Natural Cognitive Enhancers for ADHD
Although stimulant drugs and non-stimulant medications are commonly used to manage ADHD symptoms, they may not be appropriate for children as they may cause potential side effects.
Claire was sharp as a whip but struggled to get everything on time. “I forgot” was always her answer when her parents wanted to know why her schoolwork was turned in late. Her parents tried almost every option they knew, including Adderall and Concerta, to no avail. It wasn't until they added supplements, changed her diet, and used CALM PEMF™ in our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program that things turned around for her.
In such cases, natural solutions for ADHD present a more viable treatment option because they are scientifically proven to provide an alternative way to manage the condition. In addition, dietary supplements can help address your cognitive impairments and support brain function.
Neurotransmitters are created in the body with the help of magnesium. Magnesium is also needed for these neurotransmitters to communicate or work properly. It is essential in neurotransmitter synthesis, nerve transmission, and neuromuscular conduction.
ADHD children may have low magnesium and Vitamin D levels. They are also deficient in ferritin and zinc. However, a recent study found a significant decrease in conduct problems, social problems, anxiety, and shyness after eight weeks of Vitamin D and magnesium supplementation (Askari et al., 2020).
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve cognitive performance in people with ADHD. These supplements help increase attention, reduce impulsivity, and lower hyperactivity.
Children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and low levels of omega-3 may gain many potential benefits from taking omega-3 fish oil supplements, as they have been shown to enhance attention and vigilance (Chang et al., 2019).
Zinc plays a crucial role in brain function. Studies have shown that children with ADHD may have lower zinc levels in their bodies. Therefore, zinc supplements may improve their attention level while decreasing hyperactivity.
Zinc has been found to have various functions in neurological processes, one of which involves the synthesis and regulation of melatonin. This hormone, in turn, is significant in modulating dopamine levels. Additionally, zinc is a vital cofactor in the elongation and desaturation pathways of essential fatty acids, specifically Omega-6 and Omega-3 (Dubik, 2004).
Iron is another essential mineral that plays a role in brain performance. Studies have shown that children with ADHD may have lower iron levels in their bodies. Therefore, iron supplements may improve attention and decrease hyperactivity in people with ADHD.
An early study found a correlation between iron deficiency and ADHD symptoms, such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity. It also discusses the possible mechanisms behind this relationship, including iron's role in dopamine regulation and brain metabolism (Kennedy, 2005).
5. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is a natural remedy for various cognitive and neurological conditions, including ADHD. Ginkgo Biloba may benefit cognitive function, memory, and attention.
Early research shows how Ginkgo biloba treatment significantly improved patients' mean scores, particularly in hyperactivity, inattention, and immaturity factors. Ginkgo biloba may be a potentially valuable and effective treatment for attention deficit disorder with few adverse effects (Niederhofer, 2009).
6. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri, or Brahmi, is a traditional herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve cognitive function and memory. Bacopa monnieri supplementation may improve attention, working memory, and mental processing speed in children and teens with ADHD.
Other Natural Solutions for ADHD
Aside from nutritional supplements, there are other evidence-based natural treatment options for ADHD. The road is often long and hard when looking for help for your child with ADHD, so it is often surprising for parents to learn that there is so much they can do to help their child.
When combined with lifestyle changes, these natural solutions can make the symptoms of ADHD, such as cognitive deficits, short-term memory issues, and poor mental performance, more manageable. More importantly, these methods can address root causes.
Regular physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain, improving focus and concentration. According to several studies, physical activity has shown promising results in treating mild to moderate depression and can be equally effective as medication. Moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise effectively reduced cognitive, behavioral, and physical symptoms associated with ADHD (Ng et al., 2017).
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It can help improve attention and reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity.
3. Healthy Diet
A healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients can help support brain function and reduce ADHD symptoms. A nutrient-dense diet is the foundation of a healthy brain. As impossible as it seems to eat healthily, it can improve attention. In addition, research suggests a diet low in sugar and artificial additives is particularly beneficial.
Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and can help reduce ADHD symptoms. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and establish a regular sleep routine. Children and teens with ADHD are mostly sleep-deprived individuals.
ADH kids experience more sleep problems related to bedtime schedules and restlessness. Parents of children with ADHD reported sleep deprivation more often than other parents (Hvolby et al., 2009).
Yoga combines physical movement with mindfulness techniques, making it a potential way to improve focus, reduce stress, and manage ADHD symptoms. In addition, yoga is considered a complementary and alternative medicine with a favorable therapeutic effect on neuropsychological problems.
One study aimed to assess the attention level of female orphan children with ADHD who underwent an 8-week ADHD yoga module. Thirty-eight female children aged 6 to 10 participated in the study, with a single group pre-post test design.
The results showed significant improvements in attention levels, as assessed by parent and teacher scales. The study suggests that yoga may increase attention levels in children with ADHD (Indudhar et al., 2018).
6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment of ADHD commonly known as talk therapy. It offers cognitive training interventions focusing on changing an individual's thinking patterns. How one thinks about a problem can be a significant obstacle to improvement, particularly when the brain is dysregulated.
Neurofeedback therapy involves training children diagnosed with ADHD to boost certain brain waves that are linked to attention and focus, namely theta and beta waves. Positive feedback is given to the child's brain when they can generate these targeted brain waves. This feedback may take the form of playing a video game, a movie, or a sound.
There are decades of research to support the efficacy of neurofeedback in reducing ADHD symptoms. One study suggests that NIRS-based frontal lobe training might be an effective intervention for patients with ADHD, and further studies should focus on training specificity and optimization (Ehlis & Fallgather, 2016).
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is a non-invasive treatment involving electromagnetic fields to improve health and treat various medical conditions. PEMF therapy significantly improved symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It is also effective in reducing anxiety and depression in adults with ADHD. CALM PEMF™ is a mobile device you can take anywhere to help calm the mind and body.
Tips for Natural Cognitive Enhancement
Incorporating nutritional cognitive enhancers and natural treatment solutions into your ADHD management plan can be a helpful way to complement prevailing treatments. Using stimulants and medications with synthetic compounds will significantly affect your child's brain activity, mental skills, and motor function. Here are some tips:
1. Talk to your Medical Practitioner
Before adding any natural cognitive enhancers to your ADHD management plan, it's essential to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine which supplements or strategies may be safe and effective for you and advise you on potential interactions with other ADHD medications or health conditions.
2. Start at Lower Doses
When incorporating natural cognitive enhancers, starting with small doses and gradually increasing them as needed is essential. It can help you monitor your child's response and minimize health risks.
3. Be Consistent
Consistency is essential to see the full benefits of natural cognitive enhancers. Set a schedule for taking supplements or implementing other natural strategies, and stick to it as closely as possible.
4. Monitor Your Child's Progress
Keep track of changes in your cognitive function or ADHD symptoms as you incorporate natural cognitive enhancers into your management plan. Doing so can help you determine the most effective strategies and adjust as needed.
5. Combine with Other Strategies
Natural cognitive enhancers can be helpful to other ADHD management strategies, such as neurofeedback and PEMF therapy. Find out more about what other natural solutions work best with natural cognitive enhancers.
6. Choose High-Quality Supplements
When taking natural supplements, choosing high-quality products from reputable manufacturers is essential. In addition, look for supplements that have been independently tested for purity and potency.
Askari, G., Hemamy, M., Heidari-Beni, M., Karahmadi, M., & Maracy, M. (2020). Vitamin D and magnesium supplementation help address behavior problems in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 11(1), 4. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijpvm.ijpvm_546_17
Chang, J. P.-C., Su, K.-P., Mondelli, V., Satyanarayanan, S. K., Yang, H.-T., Chiang, Y.-J., Chen, H.-T., & Pariante, C. M. (2019). High-dose eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) improves attention and vigilance in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and low endogenous EPA levels. Translational Psychiatry, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-019-0633-0
Dubik, M. (2004). Zinc, Methylphenidate, and ADHD. AAP Grand Rounds, 12(1), 6–6. https://doi.org/10.1542/gr.12-1-6Ehlis, A.-C., & Fallgather, A. (2016). NIRS neurofeedback in ADHD. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/conf.fnhum.2016.220.00088
Hvolby, A., Jørgensen, J., & Bilenberg, N. (2009). Parental rating of sleep in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 18(7), 429–438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-009-0750-z
Indudhar, L., Murthy, S., BAMS, V., & Venkatram, R. (2018). Effect of Yoga on Attention Level of Orphan Girls with ADHD. International Journal of Advanced Research, 6(6), 316–322. https://doi.org/10.21474/ijar01/7216
Kennedy, M. S. (2005). ADHD and Iron Deficiency. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 105(3), 22. https://doi.org/10.1097/00000446-200503000-00012
Ng, Q. X., Ho, C. Y. X., Chan, H. W., Yong, B. Z. J., & Yeo, W.-S. (2017). Managing childhood and adolescent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with exercise: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 34, 123–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.08.018
Niederhofer, H. (2009). Ginkgo biloba treating patients with attention-deficit disorder. Phytotherapy Research, 24(1), 26–27. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2854
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