ADD Natural Remedies: Natural Treatment for ADD

Page content

Dietary Changes

Natural treatment for ADD comes in many forms. One of the most basic ADD natural remedies requires a change in diet. According to Dr. William Sears, many people diagnosed with ADD should actually be diagnosed with NDD, an acronym he coined that stands for “Nutritional Deficit Disorder.” Therefore, he maintains that people with ADD symptoms should try to avoid refined sugar, refined grains, artificial colors and flavors, monosodium glutamate, and preservatives. Instead, they should focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy proteins like beans, cheese, lean meat, nuts and eggs. In particular, they should try to get plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids through eating tuna, salmon, olive oil, canola oil, and walnuts. In addition, they should try to keep their phosphate levels low, since high levels of phosphorus may lead to hyperkinesis (exaggerated muscle activity), a prime symptom of ADD. Fatty meats and other types of fat are particularly high in phosphates, as are carbonated drinks. Therefore, people with ADD on the NDD Diet should try to avoid them as well.

The Feingold Diet is a second dietary plan meant for people who have ADD. It also advocates eliminating artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives from the diet. In addition, parents following the Feingold Diet eliminate various foods from their child’s diet that they think might be causing the ADD symptoms. They then monitor the child’s behavior to see if the ADD symptoms improve.

Vitamins and Supplements

Some vitamins and supplements have been shown to improve ADD symptoms as well. For example, a 2005 study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology showed a correlation between the levels of zinc and inattention in children. The study looked at the zinc levels of close to fifty subjects and compared them to how the subject’s parent or teacher rated his or her attention span. Those with higher levels of zinc had a higher-rated attention span. Therefore, one natural treatment for ADD involves eating plenty of zinc-containing foods, such as seafood, red meat, poultry, dairy, nuts and legumes, whole grains and zinc-fortified cereals.

In addition, some people treat ADD by taking fish oil pills. These pills include plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids and may improve ADD symptoms, such as the ability to think more clearly, attention span and behavior management.

Herbal Remedies

Some people take herbs to improve their ADD symptoms as well. For example, ginkgo biloba improves the flow of the blood through the nervous system, which brings fresh oxygen more efficiently to the rest of the body. Gotu kola lowers the levels of adrenal corticosterone in the bloodstream, which leads to lowered stress levels and increased concentration. Brahmi, which improves learning ability and minimizes free radical damage, can be used to strengthen thinking skills related to ADD. Green Oats (avena sativa) is an herb that acts similarly to caffeine, increasing attention and nourishing nerve cells.


Another natural treatment for ADD is aromatherapy, which is based on the belief that smelling the chemicals in essential oils can help to treat various disorders. Essential oils recommended for ADD include lavendar (to relax and calm), cedarwood (to stimulate brain function), vetiver (to balance the nervous system and give stimulation to the circulatory system), and cloves (to stimulate the mind but relax the emotions).

These ADD natural remedies can be effective in taming ADD symptoms. Speak to a holistic practitioner or dietition before trying out any of these treatment techniques.


WebMD. “ADHD Diets.”

WebMD. “ADHD Alternative Treatments.”

WebMD. “Vitamins and Supplements for ADHD.”

Alternative Medicine. “Aromatherapy/Essential Oils for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

Thompson, Tess. Native Remedies. “Adult Herbs for ADHD.”

Arnold, L. Eugene et al. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. “Serum Zinc Correlates with Parent- and Teacher-Rated Inattention in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.”

This post is part of the series: Alternative Treatments for ADHD

The articles in this series discuss various alternative treatments for ADHD, including herbs and therapies.

  1. ADD Natural Remedies: Dietary, Herbal and Therapeutic Treatment Options
  2. Focus on Herbs and Natural Treatments for ADHD Adults
  3. Spotlight on Herbal Supplements for Hyperactivity