Q. I have taken prescription stimulants for ADHD in the past, but would like to stop taking Ritalin and try a natural remedy instead. What can I take to help keep me focused on my work and other responsibilities during my hectic day?
A. It's great that you want to try more natural remedies! There are many supplements that can help calm the mind, but here are my top suggestions:
DHA is one of the two main essential fatty acids in fish oil (EPA being the other), and is very nourishing and supportive to the brain. Nordic Naturals makes a product called DHA Xtra that features a very concentrated dose of DHA in 2 pills per day. Give this supplement a few weeks of consistent dosing to build up in your system, as it is a fat-soluble oil.
Albizzia Calm by Planetary Herbals is a wonderful herb for calming the mind and spirit as well as promoting happiness.
Cut out or seriously minimize sugar, alcohol and caffeine. These all act as stimulants and have a draining effect on the body. Avoid processed foods, especially those with food dyes. Adopt a whole food-based diet. Eat smaller meals packed with protein throughout the day, as healthy sources of protein will stabilize your blood sugar and help your brain to stay focused.
Exercise daily. Elevate your heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes every day. Exercise increases serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine—three brain chemicals found to be lower in those with ADHD and required in proper amounts for calmness, focus and happiness.
Try calcium and magnesium to help relax your body and ease tension (and support your bones while you're at it). I like Natural Vitality’s Calm Plus Calcium or Pure Essence Lab’s Ionic Fizz Calcium Plus—both in powder form for rapid and optimal absorption.
The information provided here is intended for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.