As a parent of 2 kids with ADHD, there are many things that overwhelm me when it comes to making choices for my children. Natural remedies, like nutrition and supplements have been something we have worked on for years.
I have tried many different things and can honestly say, that I have found the best proven natural remedies that help my kids’ ADHD.
Be sure to keep reading for our updates one and two years later and how we were able to reduce my sons medication by half and then take him off completely, using only natural remedies for ADHD.
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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 two boys with ADHD and have found out that what goes into their bodies can have a huge effect.
2 First Steps in My ADHD Parenting Journey:
- The goal is for my boys to have healthy bodies, overall. I am extremely vigilant about sticking to an adhd diet for both my teenage boys with ADHD. We stay away from gluten and corn completely. We limit processed sugar to a once or twice a week treat. I buy organic fruits and vegetables as much as we can. We are low on grains and eat mostly grass fed meat. Dairy is extremely limited. Both boys drink water or unsweetened almond or coconut milk, pretty much exclusively.
- I have read tons of parenting books to help our struggles, as well. I fully acknowledge that I can be part of the problem when it comes to my kids’ behavior. I have learned so much about how my actions can directly affect my kiddo’s ability to cope, remain calm – you name it!
These two steps alone have made a big impact on both of my boys.
And HEY, We are not perfect!! My teens do stray from their ADHD Diet at parties and friends’ houses etc. But at home I serve food that helps them stick to an ADHD Diet.
But, my son still needed prescription meds – for awhile.
That being said, even with excellent nutrition, my son took prescription medication to help him focus at school for about a year and a half.
As of October 2018, my son stopped taking his prescription medication all together.
We gradually moved to 100% natural remedies to help my son’s ADHD symptoms for many reasons, which are covered in our ADHD STORY.
But, whether your kiddo takes prescription medicine for ADHD or not, these natural remedies for focus and attention can be an important and a vital part of treating the whole child.
Important Points About Natural Remedies for ADHD
- Every kid is different. Unfortunately, there is not one size fits all solution when it comes to finding natural remedies for ADHD. Finding what works may take a bit of trial and error, as it did with us.
- If you can get professional help from an integrative doctor or wholistic nutritionist, it could save you lots of time. These professionals can run tests and figure out if there specific things that are going on with your child. It was not until my boys hit puberty, that I sought the help of a wholistic nutritionist.
- Certain supplements, like magnesium can have the opposite effect on people with certain genetic compositions, like the mthfr gene. Stop taking any supplement, obviously, if your child has an adverse reaction. Genetic tests are fairly easy to get these days as well as simple blood tests run by a functional doctor.
- Find a reputable source for your supplements. Your local drugstore is most likely, not the place to purchase supplements. I mention great brands in this article with reliable links, but also, check your local health food store or Whole Foods for reliable brands.
I am not a physician or certified nutritionist – just an overly zealous mom who has tried so many things to naturally help my sons’ ADHD symptoms. These supplements were what we landed on after trying many other things. These worked for us (and still do at 13 and 15!) and I share them in the hopes that it may help you in your search to find the best natural supplements for your ADHD Kiddo.
The BEST natural “remedy” is our weighted blanket
Okay, I will get to the supplements in a second. But, first, I have to share that one of the best things to help my son’s ADHD was – and still is, 7 years later – a weighted blanket. A lot of ADHD kids have trouble settling into sleep, and staying asleep. My oldest was one of them. From the very first night we got a weighted blanket, I knew it was gold.
Under his weighted blanket, my son falls asleep in 10 minutes and does not get up at all during the night. You can read more about it here and check out the clearance section where we have now purchased two blankets – one for each of my kids.
Okay, now on to the supplements we have found great success with. Remember, this is a description of what has worked for us and not a prescription for all kids with ADHD.
Related: Our ADHD Story Part One
Natural Remedies for Focus and Attention
When our standby, KidsCalm Multi, was discontinued, I went on a search for a replacement multivitamin. My standards are strict and sadly, it’s hard to find a vitamin without added sugar or other icky things.
You can follow my search on Instagram and read other’s suggestions from lovely readers in the comments below, too.
I landed on Bluebonnet Animalz Multiple and my kids take it without even a reminder – a plus of our low sugar diet – these taste yummy to them! These have a lot of B Vitamins and also Inositol(B8) – which has been shown to help with brain function and the balance of serotonin and dopamine(two important mood chemicals ADHD kids seem to be deficient in).
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.
Some of the flavors have added sweeteners, like xylitol, which are made from corn. While we try to avoid corn in our diet, this small amount does not seem to effect my boys. Just a word of caution if you are avoiding corn completely for an allergy – check the label.
This fish oil, has also had an overall great effect on my boys’ health, too. They 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 our 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. These chewable tablets by NOW Foods , taken every day can help to get a good dose of healthy gut bacteria. These taste great, there is no complaining.
Be careful what you purchase! Many probiotics, tested by third parties, have zero beneficial strands left in them from sitting on the shelf. I love the NOW Foods brand because they made Mamavations BEST list.(Leah tests the heck out of everything on her website.)
What I notice: My boys rarely get sick or have a need for antibiotics. Their day to day physical health is pretty amazing. Their overall wellness contributes greatly to all aspects of their life, including reducing the symptoms of ADHD.
Like the fish oil, these have Xylitol – a sweetener derived from corn. I have not noticed any ill effects in my kids who normally stay away from corn in general, but some people steer clear of all corn sweeteners. It’s hard to find a good chewable without it, sadly! As soon as my youngest can swallow big pills, we’ll transition off chewables.
This multi vitamin is brand new to us and I love it!!!! The company reached out to me and sent me the first jar cost free to see if I would try it. The supplement is made for kids on the spectrum because of its super safe formula that is designed to support enhanced neurological function. While neither of my boys carry an ASD diagnosis, this supplement is so high quality and packed – I mean packed- with good stuff, I have now ordered two more jars on my own.
It is a powder that mixes easily with applesauce, smoothies, etc so for my kiddo who still can’t take pills, it’s perfect!! Simple Spectrum helps help fill the vitamin and mineral gaps when you have a hard time getting your kiddo to eat all the right foods. Just read the testimonials HERE.
Update on Probiotics for ADHD – We are currently taking Just Thrive Probiotics – my kids are older and can mostly take capsules now. (Although, these can be opened up and mixed into just about anything – even baked into our oatmeal casserole and cowboy cookies.)
I learned all about the Just Thrive brand on The Wellness Mama podcast and was sold on them very quickly. Turns out, a lot of the good bacteria in killed in the stomach by the digestive acids. Makes sense, right?
So Just Thrive’s Probiotics are spore based, which means they can survive in the stomach. In fact, the survivability rate of this product is INCREDIBLE. The probiotic strands have 1000x higher rate of survival than greek yogurt! Wow.
My kids take one a day and pair it with a prebiotic from Just Thrive, too.
Here’s the thing about probiotics – they need to be met in the gut with good food to help them survive – or they won’t last very long. You can naturally eat lots of prebiotics in fruits and veggies, but with two teens in the house, I don’t always want to fight with them about food.
This product is a bit of an insurance policy for me. No use spending lots of money on probiotics if they starve to death once they hit the gut.
I can not sing the praises enough for MagMind by Jarrow for my oldest son with ADHD. (He used to take one of these in the morning to help keep him calm enough until his ADHD meds kick in for school. It takes about 20 minutes to see the effects, so I made sure he got one on rising.)
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our body, needed for over 300 metabolic reactions.
Now, as a teen, I now give him two MagMind capsules about 30 minutes before bedtime. I see a noticeable difference in his ability to settle and fall asleep much faster. The MagMind, combined with our weighted blanket makes our evenings so much easier – and he rises in a much better place!
I take MagMind myself, before bed, and it has an incredible effect on my ability to have a really good night’s 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.
Magnesium L-Threonate is shown to be the form of magnesium that crosses the blood brain barrier the easiest, making it super effective for brain function.
Related: The Best Weighted Blanket for ADHD
If your teens are refusing their vitamins
(This is an update as of September 2022)My oldest started refusing to take his vitamins last summer and to make a long story short, in therapy, we uncovered that he hates how the vitamins taste (He took them for a few years without saying anything, but, you know, our kids do love to keep us on our toes!)
So, I searched for a yummy multi to to with the Barlean’s Fish Oil (the only thing he continued to take this summer because it tastes SO GOOD). I opted for Garden of Life’s MyKind Organics by Alicia Silverstone. They are pretty clean and super delicious.(They do have organic cane sugar in them.)
There have been no arguments about vitamins since we started them, so I’d say it’s a WIN.
MyKind Organics has Kids’ Gummies, too.
This mix contains calming magnesium and focusing B vitamins. There is an overlap with our other supplements, so we don’t double up when my kids drink this. My younger son seems to favor the Bluebonnet Multi, while my older son loves the KidsCalm Drink Mix.
We are taking these drops with a few ounces of OJ (Vitamin C helps with iron absorption) in the evening before bed (best on an empty-ish stomach) until we get another blood test. Please consult a doctor before taking Iron, as too much iron can be dangerous.
Where should I begin, these are costly!!
The cost of these natural remedies for ADHD can add up quickly. I’d work on maximing sleep and eating good food, first. This summer, we used KidsCalm Drink mix almost exclusively(with MagMind at night). If you choose just one supplement or want to start slowly, I’d recommend this one first.
A Sneaky Boost of Nutrition and Protein!
My kids are getting pickier the older they get, especially in the protein department. Our nutritionist suggested using Sun Warrior Protein Powder to give them the protein boost they need.
This turns just about anything into a protein packed meal. We add it to oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods, and energy balls to give my kids the sustained fuel they need.
Best part, its not filled with fake stuff and chemicals or alcohol sugars. And – it tastes great!
Great Lakes Gelatin is another source of protein and because it’s tasteless, I can add it to anything! It’s so great for my carb loving kiddo who hates meat! I add it to smoothies, oatmeal, soups, baked goods and OJ.
It’s great for hair, skin and nails, so I add it to my coffee, too.
Natural remedies have noticeable results, but not a miracle
These supplements are meant to be used as part of an overall nutrition plan and they are not miracle pills. Both of my sons still have struggles with their emotions from time to time.
BUT, I have seen a huge difference with these supplements. The calm times far outweigh the crazy ones. These supplements can be a great compliment to ADHD meds, too.
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.
Other Ways to Parent ADHD Naturally
This ADHD parenting journey can be really difficult and I often find myself standing in front of one of my kids not knowing how to react to something they have just done or said.
My whole outlook and approach to parenting has done a 180 degree turn over the years. Gone are the time outs and sticker charts. Empathy, understanding, and working together to solve problems are what’s in.
But suffice it to say, this book, has probably saved my life.
Not only has it turned my parenting ideas on their heads, it has given me the tools to work with my son to get underneath the behaviors and solve what it really going on.
If you only read one parenting book, let it be THIS ONE.
Please let me know how these supplements work for you, if you give them a try!
More Natural Help for ADHD?
I’ve got a great GIFT GUIDE FOR ADHD BOYS HERE.
Read about my favorite breakfasts for ADHD here.
Our ADHD Story is in two parts, HERE and HERE. See how much we have learned about treating ADHD without drugs.
The One Night That Changed My ADHD Parenting, is quickly becoming my most read post on how to parent an ADHD child.