Best Natural Options for Battling ADHD Symptoms

The use of ADHD medications has skyrocketed among children as well as adults in recent years. With those synthetic medications also comes a long list of potential side effects ranging from mild such as insomnia, irritability and stomach upset to the more severe like high blood pressure, increased heart rate, psychiatric problems and even substance abuse.

Unfortunately, the many side effects can be worse than the symptoms of the original problem; making it only common sense to try natural options first. Here are some to consider that others have found to be highly effective.

Fish oil

Fish oil has been shown to improve ADHD symptoms in children and adults as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. For those that follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, flax oil can be beneficial as it is high in omega-3s; however, fish oil is preferable as it contains EPA and DHA which benefits the brain.

Studies have shown that individuals with ADHD may have naturally lower levels of essential fatty acids in their body and by increasing these through adding fish oil this can help improve the ability to focus.

Better overall diet

Improving the diet can be highly beneficial at reducing the symptoms of ADHD.

Including plenty of antioxidant rich foods such as what is found in deeply-pigmented fruits and vegetables as well as dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula as well as carrots and brightly colored berries.

Avoiding processed and packaged foods including those that contain chemicals and preservatives such as MSG and food dyes; as well as exposure to nicotine and cigarette smoke. Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption is also a good idea.

Beneficial herbs

There are also a number of herbs that can be beneficial in reducing ADHD symptoms, including:

• Pine Bark Extract. The technical name for pine bark extract is Pycnogenol. It is known to decrease distractibility and irritability while promoting healthy neural functioning. A study published in the May 13, 2006 issue of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry confirmed its effectiveness in treating this disorder. It was shown to improve attention, visual-motor coordination and concentration.

• Lemon Balm can improve mental focus, enhance attention span and memory. The Greeks used it as a cure-all for many afflictions for centuries. It works as a potent anti-anxiety aid and also helps improve sleep.

• Ginko Biloba improves memory and the ability to concentrate, relieves irritability and also promotes restful sleep. Many synthetic medications overlook the common ADHD symptom of irritability and actually tend to exacerbate the problem.

• Gotu Kola can ease anxiety, improve concentration and counteract the negative effects of stress.


Physical activity can work just as well if not better than synthetic medications in some people for reducing ADHD symptoms. Consider exercise as a daily remedy for improving mood, increasing attention span and improving sleep.

Exercise improves fitness in the entire body, including the brain, causing it to release important chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels. Increasing dopamine levels helps to increase your attention system’s ability on a regular basis.

As little as 30 minutes of physical activity four times a week can make a positive difference.


Just five to ten minutes of meditation each day on a regular basis has been shown to cause positive structural and physiological changes in the brain that can reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Studies have revealed that many people find meditation to be more effective than ADHD medications.

Meditation can enhance self-esteem, improve the ability to focus, increase attention span and reduce impulsivity.

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K.C. Dermody

K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer, writing for YCN, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, and OMG! Yahoo as well as other web content projects, and working on a historical fiction novel based in ancient Ireland. She has a passion for travel, having traveled to over 40 U.S. states, Ireland many times, as well as other European countries, Mexico, Barbados and St. Vincent. She also has a love of history and an addiction to sports, especially the Oakland Raiders.

Follow K.C. Dermody on LinkedIn: k-c-dermody and Twitter: @kcdermody

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