As a parent of a kid with ADHD, there are many things that overwhelm me when it comes to making choices for my child. Nutrition and supplements have been something we have worked on for years. We keep tweaking our plan of attack -now we are gluten, corn and nearly sugar free. I have tried many different supplements and can honestly say, that I have found several natural supplements that really help with our ADHD. Be sure to keep reading for our update one year later and how we have been able to reduce my sons medication by half!!
I say “our” because ADHD is a family issue-one that really can affect everyone in the house, not just the person diagnosed. I have learned so much over the course of trying to figure how to best manage my son and have found out that what goes into his body can have a huge effect.
I am uber vigilant about what my both my boys eat. We stay away from gluten and corn completely. We limit processed sugar to a once a week treat. We buy organic fruits and vegetables as much as we can. We are low on grains and eat only grass fed meat. Dairy is limited to yogurt and eggs. Both boys drink water or unsweetened almond milk, exclusively. I have read tons of parenting books to help our struggles, as well. These steps alone have made a big impact on both of my boys.
That being said, even with our excellent nutrition, my son still takes medication to help him focus at school. He is not medicated in the mornings and after school and our nutritional measures definitely help him manage better during those times. Sometimes nutrition and supplements are enough to treat the symptoms of ADHD, but not in our case.
I love to share what works with us, in the hopes that it will help others find a little relief for their family. ADHD can leave the whole family feeling emotionally and physically depleted. These supplements have really worked for us(I take some of them, too!)
Natural Vitality’s Kids Calm Multi Vitamin
This is a liquid multi-vitamin with an emphasis on magnesium. The ingredient list is packed with fruits, veggies, fatty acids, magnesium and other important nutrients that many kids do not get in their daily diets.
What I notice: My kids love to take it–we usually take it at bedtime to capitalize on the calming effects of magnesium. I notice a marked difference in both kids and their ability to settle down for bedtime. A note on storage: this product will last longer if you store it upside down-otherwise all the heavy elements will sink to the bottom and form a rather solid mass. Shake very well before serving.
We have been hearing about the beneficial effects of fish oil for kids with ADHD for awhile now–especially boys, who’s brains seem to be starving. Some fish oil supplements taste icky or make you burp up a fishy taste-Barleans does not. The flavors are yummy and both my boys take a healthy dose of this every morning.
What I notice: While this is harder to notice concrete results, my boys seem to be more focused at school this year and have no trouble doing homework after school(it used to be a battle) While I can not directly correlate these improvements to the fish oil, I think it has had an overall great effect on their health. My boys are rarely sick and miss school one or two days a year for illness.
Gut health is another topic that has gotten so much press lately. Our gut, it seems, is like second brain, with it’s massive amount of neural tissue capable of affecting our mood and overall well-being. A healthy gut is vital for overall health, the absorption of nutrients, protecting the body from foreign invaders, and the regulation of many hormones. Yogurt can help to introduce good bacteria into the gut, but watch out for high sugar content and other added icky ingredients. My boys take these chewable tablets by Jarrow every day to insure they are getting a good dose of healthy gut bacteria. They love the taste, there is no complaining. In fact, they remember to take these without any reminders.
What I notice: My boys rarely get sick or have a need for antibiotics. Their day to day physical health is pretty amazing.
I can not sing the praises enough for MagMind by Jarrow for my son with ADHD. We take one of these in the morning and it helps keep him calm enough until his ADHD meds kick in for school. It takes about 20 minutes to see the effects, so I make sure he gets one on rising. Also, if we run out of Kids Calm Multi, I give him a MagMind capsule about 30 minutes before bedtime, too. Because Kids Calm Multi has magnesium, I make sure to take the MagMind at a different time of day(One in the a.m., the other in the p.m.
I take MagMind myself, before bed, and it has an incredible effect on my ability to have a really good nights sleep. Seems that most of the population is suffering from a deficiency of this very important mineral. This one is great for the whole family.
These supplements are meant to be used as part of an overall nutrition plan and they are not miracle pills. My son still has struggles with his emotions when he is not medicated. BUT, I have seen a difference with these supplements. The calm times far outweigh the crazy ones. We have found these supplements to be a great compliment to ADHD meds. I am not a doctor, but I am a mother who has learned from experience and a lot of trial and error. Every ADHD kid is different in what works for them, but these supplements stand to benefit ANY kid. Their quality is outstanding.
Please let me know how these work for you, if you give them a try! There are Amazon affiliate links in this post, which means that, at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you purchase these items with these links. These supplements can also be purchased at some health food stores and thru the companies individual websites. Make sure you are purchasing them from a reputable seller.
Trouble getting your ADHD kid to sleep? This used to be a fight nearly every night in our house. Now we are down to about once a week! Read what I do HERE to put kids with ADHD to sleep.
UPDATE–a year later and we are still using all of these. I have been able to cut my sons meds in half–which I consider HUGE!! I think the most effective supplement for both of my boys is the MAGMIND. I give them each a dose 30 to 45 minutes before lights out and they conk out! This means we do Kids Calm primarily in the morning.
While I LOVE Jarrow Products, we have also had success with a grocery store brand of a Calcium/Magnesium supplement as well. I have 3 great suggestions for books that have also helped us tremendously.