Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Vitamins and Minerals for ADHD: Do Supplements Boost Your Brain Power?

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From Bryan: This is a guest post by Caryn Talty, B.S.Ed., M.A.  Caryn Talty is the editor at Healthy Family, an organic living blog that has been online since 2007. She spends most of her days hanging out with her four wonderful kids.

Vitamins and minerals are great for memory and concentration problems that come with ADHD. A lot of people don’t know about this, so I thought I would talk a little bit about vitamins and minerals for ADHD.

If you are a parent I know what you are probably thinking about now. The last thing you want to do is give your ADHD kid vitamins that are going to give him or her excess energy. I hear you. More energy seems counterproductive for a kid who likes to hang from the ceiling fan and jump on the hoods of cars in his spare time.

But hold on for just a minute, because I’m going to blow open that myth about vitamins and minerals.

First a little Background on Why Vitamins and Minerals Might be Good for ADHD

Bryan wrote a story early this year where he talks a little bit about food and how it can affect ADHD. That was our family story. One of our little boys was having some food intolerance problems back in 2007. They were making his symptoms worse, but we didn’t know it for a long time.

In our case we learned that our son has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where the body’s small intestine attacks itself every time gluten is eaten. We had to change our son’s diet to avoid foods with wheat and gluten in them. After almost a year he got better, but until then our doctor prescribed a compounded vitamin and mineral supplement. He said this would help our son concentrate, improve his memory, and make him calm down a bit.

Why Vitamins are Good for Boosting Brain Power in People with ADHD

Certain vitamins are excellent for the brain. Did you know that the B vitamins are essential for proper brain function? Vitamin B6 is the most essential supplement for ADHD symptoms. If you are deficient in it you will get the jitters. But don’t just get B6 vitamins. You need a complete B complex vitamin that also has plenty of Riboflavin and B12 in it too. These vitamins are found in green leafy vegetables. So if you’ve got a kid who doesn’t eat greens, a good B vitamin supplement is vital for brain power.

Why Minerals are Important for Boosting Brain Power in People with ADHD

The number 1 mineral for calm is magnesium. If you’ve got a kid who can’t sleep and is doing Olympic sized floor routines instead, you may be dealing with a magnesium deficiency. Are you seeing symptoms of irritability? A magnesium deficiency will also cause memory problems too. It’s not common in the general population. But a magnesium deficiency is very common with celiac disease patients. So if your ADHD symptoms are connected to a food sensitivity, you can probably now see how fixing the diet can really help.

What’s magnesium for, anyway? Well, in the body magnesium is used to regulate pretty much all aspects of your body. It’s sort of like the engine oil for your car. If you don’t keep it available in good, fresh supply, your car’s engine will start to break down. It won’t run right.

Guess what? Magnesium can help that. It acts as a muscle relaxer. Do you get a lot of painful leg cramps? It can help that too. So if you’ve got ADHD and these symptoms as well, it’s possible you could benefit from a little magnesium.

Don’t Just Start Dosing Yourself with Vitamins and Minerals for ADHD

It’s important for people to understand that vitamin and mineral supplements for ADHD be given in a proper dose. In our case we went and have some lab tests done through our doctor after our son was diagnosed with celiac disease. He gave us a report that showed our son’s vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Then he explained the vitamins he prescribed and why.

It’s very important for people to understand how to supplement properly for ADHD. Have you ever had your foot fall asleep? There are several reasons for this. But did you know that one reason could come from improper B vitamin dosing? Here’s the thing: there are a lot of articles out there about vitamins for ADHD. They are pretty basic and they only talk about generalities. They don’t often talk about the synergistic relationship that supplements have.

What do I mean when I say synergistic? Let me explain.

It’s possible to take too high a dose of B vitamins. If you do and you don’t take enough magnesium you could cause numbness and tingling in your arms or legs. Also, if you take too much magnesium you could give yourself diarrhea. This is not cool when you’re on stage for a school play or about to score a goal in a championship soccer game.

My best advice for people with ADHD who want to try vitamins and minerals to boost their brain power: get some blood testing done. Do you also have some symptoms of a food allergy? Tell your doctor. Ask to get a complete blood count and test your vitamin mineral levels. Be sure to mention magnesium, too. This isn’t often checked automatically.

ADHD people are some of the most imaginative, high energy, and creative people I know. In a lot of cases vitamin and mineral supplements can help them gain more focus, ability to wind down to sleep, and remember important facts. If you think this could be you, consider finding out more for yourself and talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.

Have you had specific testing for your vitamin needs? Have supplements helped? Share in the comments.

Caryn

**Checked out my new blog Positive Writer. It’s about inspiring, encouraging and motivating you. My latest post: How to Not Destroy Your Creativity! Lessons from Steve Jobs.

Photo Credit Creative Commons by manoftaste.de

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Tami November 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm

There are so many benefits to vitamin supplements but it’s important to understand what they do and how much you need. Too much of good thing can hurt.

Terry@YoungAchievers November 19, 2012 at 9:46 am

Hi Caryn

I have just been prescribed mineral magnesium to assist with cramping and muscle/joint pain. Of course the first thing I did when I got home was to google how magnesium can help etc. and I was just blown away about how critical certain minerals and vitamins are.

Thank you for bringing the importance of vitamins and minerals to the fore:)

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