Insight into the Efficacy of Supplements to Treat Childhood ADHD

Page content

Supplements for Childhood ADHD

Children with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the drive for reward and motivation. Stimulant medications are often prescribed to treat ADHD symptoms.

Omega 3 is considered to be beneficial in brain development and is often used in ADHD diets. St. John’s Wort is a herb believed to help relieve anxiety issues. Some other herbal supplements found in ADHD treatments for children include: Hyoscyamus, Arsen iod, Verta alb, and Tuberculinum. There are many natural remedies for ADHD children to treat a variety of symptoms like restlessness, hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness.

Benefits of Supplements

The efficacy of supplements to treat childhood ADHD is not completely known, but unlike prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, supplements do not have the same serious side effects. By using supplements to control ADHD symptoms, the following side effects that are found in prescription drugs, can often be avoided:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Upset stomach
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Tics
  • Allergic reactions
  • Liver damage

Supplements come in liquid for powder form. Some supplements are in capsules, which are swallowed with juice or water. Others are added directly to juice or water and ingested. A few supplements are put on the tongue and slowly dissolved.

There is very little evidence surrounding the use of supplements for ADHD in children and whether or not there are any short-term or long-term effects of using the supplements. To date, there is no solid evidence that supplements have any short-term or long-term health risks.

Supplements do not carry many side effects and most are easy to take. Supplements can be harmful if over-used or not used correctly though. It’s always important to speak to a medical professional before starting any treatments.

Downside of Supplements

While there are many claims and testimonials of first-hand users, there is very little scientific data to back up the efficacy of supplements to treat childhood ADHD; very few controlled studies have been conducted. The Mayo Clinic notes that vitamins, supplements and herbs have all been said to reduce symptoms of ADHD but they also point out that concrete evidence is still pending.

Unlike prescription drugs, supplements are not covered by insurance. They can be quite costly and will not be eligible for re-imbursement through medical plans.

Supplements are also not always monitored by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. In the event of product recalls, users may not get notice if the supplier they purchased the supplements from doesn’t keep adequate records.

Interactions between different supplements and other medications are not always known. When using herbal supplements, it’s advised to seek medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist. Some herbal supplements can react with other herbs and/or prescription medications.


National Resource Center on ADHD: What is ADHD or ADD?

Mayo Clinic: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children