Natural Remedies ADD and ADHD
© PeterSmithUK.com #1There’s not I one size fits all prescription for ADD or ADHD, it’s a spectrum and there are different individual manifestations, strengths and variations.
Furthermore there are no precise tests to determine which type of ADD or ADHD you have.
The way to deal with this type of complexity is and work out which treatments will produce the best results is through personal experimentation and trial and error.
What causes ADD and ADHD is not fully understood, brain imaging techniques show it’s more than just imbalances in neurotransmitters and involves different levels of activity in specific regions of the brain; ADD and ADHD brains seem to be wired differently.
We may develop treatment to rewire the brain in the future but the best we can do at the moment is to use brain training techniques that encourage some neuroplastic rewiring and use drugs and natural remedies to change the level of neurotransmitter activity and compensate for low levels of activity in parts of the brain involved.
Drug and natural remedies treatments focused on increasing dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and GABA can be helpful, generally boosting neuroplasticity on the health of the brain may also help.
Understanding how to educate, engage with and apply the ADD/ADHD brain is important, if you have ADD/ADHD learning how you think, focus and how to apply your brain can be a tremendous help.
The classic drugs for ADD/ADHD such as Ritalin stimulate activity in the brain by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels, unfortunately these drugs can have side-effects and are addictive. There are natural remedies you can also use to increase dopamine/norepinephrine activity, these remedies do not produce side-effects or addiction, however it has to be said they are less powerful than the drugs and in order to achieve a powerful therapeutic effect with natural remedies you need to combine several of them together all the same time in what is described as a stack.
Managing ADD/ADHD spectrumFor Classic ADD/ADHD with the symptoms of: inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsivity and disorganised behaviour there can be a lack of dopamine activity in the frontal lobes and cerebellum of the brain, there may be a lack of blood flow in these regions and a lack of activity in the basal ganglia where dopamine is produced.
The goal is to increase dopamine activity and blood flow, increasing GABA with L-theanine may also be helpful.
When procrastination, daydreaming, disconnected and introversion are significant features i.e. not hyper active or impulsive implies low dopamine activity in the prefrontal cortex.
The goal is stimulating dopamine and phenylethylamine (PEA) the brain’s natural amphetamine with amino acids, a high protein/low carbohydrate diet and exercise. See my page on How to Boost PEA
When overfocused, difficulty shifting attention, being inflexible and or obsessing on negative thoughts or behaviours are significant features implies dopamine and serotonin deficiency in the anterior singular gyrus.
The goal is boosting serotonin and dopamine. Inositol may also help with obsessive thinking.
When behavioural problems such as aggressivity, quick anger, paranoia are significant features coupled with difficulty learning it implies imbalanced GABA activity.
The goal is to emphasise GABA production to control over firing in the brain and enhance learning.
When low self-esteem, sadness, helplessness and low mood are significant features it implies imbalanced activity in the limbic system.
The goal is to increase norepinephrine activity which gives us more confidence with DL phenylalanine, SAM-e and CDP choline.
When hypersensitivity to noise, light, touch combined with fearfulness are significant features it implies whole brain overactivity and probable neuro inflammation from a leaky blood-brain barrier, mood/chemical sensitivities caused by a leaky gut.
The goal is to track down and eliminate any and every source of inflammation such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut, under methylation (MTHFR gene mutation), hidden or stealth infections, overactivity in the brains HPA stress pathway, see The Stress Solution. Use anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric/curcumin, NAC, vitamin a, vitamin C, EGCg, resveratrol, and anti-inflammation diet. Not much progress will be made until you have eliminated inflammation so prioritise this, but in addition to eliminating neuro inflammation the goal is to calm excess activity in the brain by boosting GABA.
Aluminium intoxication can over provoke the immune system causing allergies, autoimmunity and inflammation, it also weakens the blood-brain barrier, in children this can result from aluminium containing vaccinations; see How to Detoxify Aluminium and The Anti-Inflammation Diet, Eliminate Inflammation Naturally.
When tension, highly stressed, stress headaches, stress stomachaches, freezing in stress provoking situations, performance anxiety are significant features it may imply overactivity in the basal ganglia which is the opposite to most types of ADD/ADHD and stimulating dopamine/norepinephrine with natural remedies or standard drug treatments alone before combating excessive stress first may make tension and anxiety symptoms worse.
The goal is to entrain the HPA axis and relaxation circuits of the brain with brain training exercises, breathing exercises, meditation etc to combat stress first and boost GABA levels then apply standard ADD/ADHD dopaminergic remedies. During the 1st phase of treatment you would use the specific probiotic lactobacillus reuteri to promote GABA and HPA rebalancing, lactobacillus reuteri can be supplemented from Primadophillus probiotic.
- Exercise. For some reason exercising in our door green coloured environments (yes green) has a more powerful effect on ADD/ADHD than exercising in other environments. Also if you preload DL phenylalanine or just D phenylalanine before performing vigourous exercise you can increase PEA the brain’s natural amphetamine. See How to Boost Phenylethylamine Naturally
- DHA/EPA omega-3 fish oils with the DHA emphasised with fish oils the quality of the product is perhaps more important than with any other supplements, don’t use cheap low quality omega-3 fish oils; look for pharmaceutical grade highly concentrated high quality brands.
- Test for aluminium toxicity or simply performing aluminium detoxification treatments.
- Follow and anti-inflammation diet, rich in polyphenols (coloured fruits and vegetables), eliminating high GI carbohydrates and wheat.
Natural remedies to boost dopamine activity you can try a combination of:-
- L-tyrosine (an amino acid building block for dopamine
- CDP choline (also has acetylcholine boosting effects)
- alpha GPC (also has acetylcholine boosting effects)
- Bacopa (also boosts neuroplasticity/brain regeneration)
- Coffee (obviously not the children)
Natural remedies to boost cerebral blood flow:-
- Ginkgo biloba (increases 3 blood flow, also combats anxiety)
- Coherent Heart Rate Variance Breathing (see…)
Natural ways to boost oxygenation to the brain:-
- Gamma E
- Buteyko breathing
Natural remedies to boost GABA activity:-
- L theanine
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Passion Flower
Natural remedies to boost serotonin activity:-
- Tryptophan (NB tryptophan and 5 HTP must be taken with sufficient cofactors including magnesium, B6, zinc and the elimination of excessive stress levels otherwise supplementing these remedies may produce neurotoxic quinolinic acid rather than beneficial serotonin)
- 5 HTP
- St John’s wort (this should not be combined with drug treatments)
Natural remedies to boost acetylcholine activity:-
- Rosmarinic acid
- CDP choline (also boosts dopamine)
- alpha GPC (also boosts dopamine)
- Coffee (obviously not for children)