10 Best Supplements for ADHD: Buyer’s Guide

10 Best Supplements for ADHD: Buyer’s Guide

The best supplements for ADHD are vitamins, minerals, hormones, and herbs that can relieve some symptoms in people with ADHD. Although ADHD isn’t caused by nutrient deficiencies, many people who suffer from unpleasant ADHD symptoms do have deficiencies in similar nutrients. Supplementing with these nutrients can reduce ADHD symptoms in some people.

These are the criteria for the best supplements for ADHD.

  1. Effectiveness. An effective supplement for ADHD has to work, which means users must experience some improvement in their symptoms.
  2. Ease of Use. The best ADHD supplements are easy to take. They should be easy to swallow, in one or two daily doses, with relatively few unpleasant side effects.  
  3. Safety. The best ADHD supplements are safe for the person taking them. They’re non-toxic and unlikely to cause injury or illness.
  4. Cost. The best ADHD supplements are affordable for most people. Unlike prescription medications, these ADHD supplements don’t cause financial strain for users.
  5. Availability. The best ADHD supplements are easy to obtain for most people. Consumers can purchase them over-the-counter at most grocery and drug stores.

Of course, these criteria may vary in different people with ADHD. For example, some ADHD supplements are safe for adults but not children. Likewise, some people may be sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients in some supplements, meaning supplements that may be safe for others are unsafe for them. 

Users should do careful research and, if possible, consult with a holistic healer or medical professional before taking any supplements or medications. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice.

There are several factors consumers should consider when comparing ADHD supplements to one another. 

  1. Effects. Different supplements treat different symptoms. People with ADHD should choose supplements tailored to their unique constellation of symptoms.
  2. Research. Many supplements have scientific research and evidence supporting their use in people with ADHD, while others have more anecdotal evidence in their favor.
  3. Drug Interactions. Some supplements interact with prescription medications, including those for ADHD, in unexpected ways. Consumers should be aware of potential interactions between their current medications and any supplements they plan to take.

These are the three best supplements for ADHD.

  1. Natures Craft Neuro Health (Best Overall Multivitamin)
  2. Magtein Magnesium Supplement (Best Total-Body Supplement)
  3. Nature Made Kids First Melatonin Gummies (Best for Sleep and Energy)

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. Its feature is that it controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. The body produces more melatonin after dark, which causes sleepiness, and produces less in response to daylight, causing wakefulness. 

In people with ADHD, the body doesn’t increase melatonin production until much later in the evening. This delay in melatonin onset can cause sleep disturbances and disorders, regardless of whether the person takes stimulant medication to treat their ADHD. 

The effect of melatonin supplements for people with ADHD is that it boosts melatonin on demand rather than waiting for the body to produce it naturally. Taking melatonin synchronizes the circadian rhythm by telling the body when it’s time to sleep. 

The benefit of melatonin for people with ADHD is that they experience improved sleep quality and fewer sleep disturbances when they take melatonin. Some people with ADHD also experience reduced anxiety by using melatonin supplements.

The side effects of melatonin include drowsiness, irritability, dizziness, headaches, and increased bedwetting in young children. However, these side effects of melatonin are rare and generally mild.

Melatonin comes in pill, chewable, and gummy forms. Children should take 1 to 3 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime, or up to 6 mg if sleeplessness persists. Adults should take 1 to 5 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime, or up to 10 mg if sleeplessness persists. 

These are the three top brands of melatonin for people with ADHD.

  1. Nootropics Depot Melatonin Capsules 300 mcg
  2. Nature Made Kids First Melatonin Sleep Gummies 1 mg
  3. Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Strawberry Tablets 10 mg

One thing to know about melatonin is that it may be unsafe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should check with their doctor before taking melatonin.

One thing to care about when taking melatonin is that the safety of long-term use has not been studied. Daily use is generally believed to be safe, but the long-term effects of daily melatonin use are unknown, especially in children.

The cost of melatonin supplements varies from brand to brand. For example, you can get 120 capsules of 300 mcg each for around $15, which comes down to about $0.12 per day. On the other hand, some brands cost around $17 for 45 gummies of 1 mg each, which works out to $0.37 per day.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral used in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Its main feature is that it helps with the regulation of blood sugar, production of energy, and transmission of impulses through the nerves. 

People with ADHD also often suffer from magnesium deficiency. This deficiency can worsen ADHD symptoms, including hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. This may be due to the way magnesium interacts with the nervous system.

The effect of magnesium supplements for people with ADHD is that it remedies this common mineral deficiency. The benefit of magnesium supplements for people with ADHD is that it reduces the severity of common symptoms, including those related to social, emotional, and attentive difficulties.

Magnesium supplements are particularly effective in children taking stimulant medication to manage their ADHD symptoms. They reduce the severity of the “rebound effect,” when ADHD symptoms briefly worsen after stimulant medications wear off. 

Side effects of magnesium supplements include nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, or constipation. 

Adults should take up to 420 mg of magnesium daily for men or 320 mg for women. Pregnant people should take up to 360 mg per day. Children should take up to 50 mg (ages one to three) or 110 mg (ages 4-8) per day. Consumers should take magnesium supplements with food.

These are the top three brands of magnesium supplements for people with ADHD.

  1. UMZU Daily Magnesium 420 mg
  2. Now Magnesium Malate 115 mg
  3. Mary Ruth’s Kids Magnesium Calm Gummies 50 mg

One thing to note about magnesium supplements is that Vitamin B6 improves their bioavailability. This means that taking Vitamin B6 with magnesium makes it easier for the body to absorb. 

One thing to care about when taking magnesium supplements is that some different forms of magnesium have different effects. For example, magnesium malate is believed to be the easiest form for the body to absorb, while magnesium citrate can cause diarrhea and other unpleasant digestive symptoms.

The cost of magnesium supplements varies from brand to brand. For example, you can get 200 capsules of 420 mg each for around $10, which comes down to $0.05 per day. On the other hand, some brands cost around $22 for 120 capsules of 105 mg each, which works out to $0.73 per day.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is used in a variety of bodily processes. Its main feature is that it’s necessary for building bone, but it’s also believed to impact cognitive development. Many children and adults are deficient in vitamin D.

However, children with ADHD often have even lower levels of Vitamin D in their bodies than children without ADHD. Though Vitamin D deficiency is not believed to cause ADHD, pregnant people who are deficient in Vitamin D are more likely to have children with ADHD.

The effect of supplementing with Vitamin D is that it remedies this common vitamin deficiency. The benefit of Vitamin D supplements for children with ADHD is that they reduce the severity of ADHD symptoms, including hyperactivity, attention, and impulsivity.

The side effects of Vitamin D supplements are dry mouth, nausea, and weakness. Continuous overuse of Vitamin D can cause calcium toxicity in the blood, which increases these side effects.

Children and adults should take 600 IU of Vitamin D per day. 

These are the top three brands of Vitamin D supplements for people with ADHD.

  1. Nature Made Vitamin D3 10,000 IU 
  2. Life Extension Vitamin D3 5000 IU 
  3. Garden of Life Kids Organic Vitamin D3 Gummies 800 IU 

One thing to note about Vitamin D supplements is that it’s hard to overuse. According to one study, up to 50,000 IU of Vitamin D per day can be safe long-term.

However, one thing to care about while taking Vitamin D supplements is that high levels of Vitamin D can cause kidney pain and kidney stones.

Vitamin D is an inexpensive supplement. Some brands of Vitamin D cost around $8 for 60 softgels, or $0.13 per day, while others cost up to $14 for 60 gummies, $0.23 per day. 

4. Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that the body only needs a small amount of each day, but it’s used in nearly 100 chemical processes in the body. Zinc’s main feature is that it supports immune function, but it’s also needed for wound healing, building DNA, and growing cells.

People with ADHD often have deficient levels of zinc in their bodies. Symptoms of zinc deficiency often mirror those of ADHD, including inattentiveness and cognitive difficulties. 

The effect of zinc supplementation is that it remedies this common deficiency. The benefit for people with ADHD who have a zinc deficiency is an improvement in these and other ADHD symptoms. Zinc supplements may also improve the effectiveness of stimulant medications for treating ADHD.

The side effects of zinc supplements are uncommon and fairly mild. They may include gastrointestinal upset, stomach pain, and, in extreme cases, headache, fatigue, and fever. However, most people tolerate zinc supplements without any significant negative effects.

People with a zinc deficiency should take 7 mg per day (for children), 8 mg per day (for women), or 11 mg per day (for men). A dose of up to 40 mg daily is safe for most adults, but exceeding that amount can cause significant side effects.

These are the three top brands of zinc supplements for ADHD.

  1. Now Foods Zinc Gluconate 50 mg
  2. Solgar Zinc Citrate 30 mg 
  3. Swanson Zinc Picolinate 22 mg 

One important thing to know about zinc supplements is that they can reduce impulsive behavior, especially in people with ADHD. Zinc helps the brain manage dopamine production, which helps with impulse control.

One thing to care about regarding zinc supplements is that intranasal zinc can impact your sense of smell. Take oral zinc supplements instead. 

Zinc supplements are exceptionally inexpensive. Some brands cost around $10 for 100 capsules of 30 mg each, or $0.10 per day, while others are around $3 for 60 capsules of 22 mg each, or $0.05 per day. 

5. Iron

Iron is an essential mineral in the body. Its main feature is that it supports the function of red blood cells and energy. Iron deficiencies are common across all populations, but they’re even more so in children with ADHD. In one study, 84 percent of children who had ADHD in one study had a significant iron deficiency.

This may be because the brain requires iron to produce dopamine, and low dopamine levels are believed to be the primary cause of many ADHD symptoms. The effect of iron supplements is that they remedy this deficiency in people with ADHD. One study found that the benefits of iron supplements are comparable to those of stimulant medications in people with ADHD who have an iron deficiency. 

Iron supplements are generally well tolerated in people with an iron deficiency, though some side effects are possible. Common side effects include cramping and abdominal discomfort. Serious side effects such as chest or throat pain, bloody stools, or double vision are rare but possible.

Adults and children with an iron deficiency should take up to 80 mg of iron daily to experience improvement in ADHD symptoms. 

These are the top three brands of iron supplements for people with ADHD.

  1. Puritan’s Pride Ferrous Sulfate 28 mg
  2. Spring Valley Iron 65 mg
  3. Nature’s Truth Iron 65 mg 

One important thing to know about iron supplements is that they can cause constipation, diarrhea, and stomach cramps in some people. One thing to care about regarding iron supplements is that they should only be taken by people with a noted iron deficiency. People without an iron deficiency can easily overdose on iron, which can be serious. 

Iron supplements are generally inexpensive, costing around $10 for a 100-day supply, or about $0.05 per day.

6. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a tree whose leaves are often used in herbal medicine and supplements. The main feature of Ginkgo Biloba is that it increases blood flow in the brain. The effects of Ginkgo Biloba supplements are improved memory retention and speed of mental processing.

In people with ADHD, the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba supplements are improved attention when taken with stimulant medication.

Side effects of Ginkgo Biloba supplements include upset stomach, dizziness, headache, heart palpitations, and allergic reactions in some people. 

Ginkgo Biloba is most effective when taken in several doses throughout the day. People with ADHD should take 240 mg or more daily in two to three doses for at least three weeks for improved attention.

These are the top three brands of Ginkgo Biloba for people with ADHD.

  1. Carlyle Ginkgo Biloba 3000 mg
  2. Mason Natural Whole Herb Ginkgo Biloba 500 mg
  3. Sundown Naturals Ginkgo Biloba 60 mg

One thing to know about Ginkgo Biloba is that it’s been used in ancient medicine to improve memory and cognitive function for centuries. One thing to care about regarding Ginkgo Biloba supplements is that they’re not effective in treating ADHD symptoms on their own and must be used with stimulant medications to be effective.

Ginkgo Biloba supplements are fairly inexpensive, but the cost varies from brand to brand. Generally, you can expect to pay around $5 to $10 for a 100-day supply, or around $0.10 per day.

7. Inositol

Inositol is a sugar that acts like a vitamin in the body. It occurs naturally in many foods and is produced in the body when you consume carbohydrates. Its main feature is that it helps keep mood hormones and other compounds in the brain balanced.

Inositol has a wide range of physical and mental health effects. It improves some people’s panic disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder symptoms. The benefits of inositol in people with ADHD are that it increases serotonin activity in the brain, which can improve ADHD symptoms.

Side effects of inositol are mild and relatively rare. They include stomach upset, insomnia, and headache. Taking less than 12 mg of inositol per day can reduce these side effects.

Adults and children can take 10 to 18 mg of inositol per day.

These are the three top brands of inositol supplements for people with ADHD.

  1. GNC Inositol 
  2. Swanson Inositol 
  3. Now Foods Inositol Powder 

One thing to know about inositol is that it can also be helpful for people with autism, schizophrenia, and premenstrual syndrome. One thing to consider with inositol supplements is that studies of their effectiveness for people with ADHD are still ongoing. Most evidence in support of their use is anecdotal at this time.

The cost of inositol supplements varies wildly from brand to brand. Some brands sell 100 inositol capsules for $6, which comes out to about $0.06 per day, while others sell around 200 doses of inositol powder for $60, which comes out to about $0.30 per day. 

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that make up the cell walls of the body, aid in the production of energy, and keep many of the body’s systems operating smoothly. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have a wide range of health effects, including reducing inflammation and joint pain, aiding in neurological development, and easing symptoms of depression.

People with ADHD often have a fatty acid imbalance, with higher omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. The benefits of remedying this balance with omega-3 fatty acid supplements for people with ADHD are improved memory and learning and reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity. 

Omega-3 supplements have relatively few side effects. Because most are made from fish oil, side effects often include bad breath, nausea, and unpleasant body odor. Some people also experience stomach upset and diarrhea when taking omega-3 supplements.

There is no official recommended dose of omega-3 fatty acids for people with ADHD. Children and adults should get between 1,000 and 2,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily for maximum health benefits.

These are the three top brands of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for people with ADHD.

  1. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega ($28/30)
  2. Carlson Super Omega-3 Gems ($20/130)
  3. Nature Made Burp-Less Mini Omega-3 ($17/60)

One thing to know about omega-3 supplements is that studies have shown an increased risk of prostate cancer with high levels of long-term omega-3 use. One thing to care about when taking omega-3 supplements is that they may increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people taking blood thinners and NSAIDs.

Omega-3 supplements vary in cost based on brand and formulation. Some brands cost as little as $20 for a 130-day supply, or about $0.15 per day, while others cost as much as $28 for 30 days, which is almost $1 per day.

9. French Maritime Pine Bark Extract

The bark of a particular pine tree species (Pinus pinaster) contains compounds known to improve circulation, boost immune function, reduce inflammation, and prevent infections. Pine bark extract has many physical and mental effects, such as easing asthma symptoms, lowering cholesterol, and improving memory.

Some studies have shown that Pycnogenol, the brand name of maritime pine bark extract,  can benefit people with ADHD. In particular, pine bark extract reduces hyperactivity and inattentive episodes, though exactly how it works is unknown.

French maritime pine bark extract has few side effects, including dizziness and stomach upset. Adults can take up to 450 mg of maritime pine bark extract per day for up to one year for ADHD symptom relief.

These are the top three brands of French maritime pine bark extract.

  1. Life Extension, Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark Extract 100 mg
  2. California Gold Nutrition French Maritime Pine Bark Extract 100 mg
  3. Health Thru Nutrition Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark 50 mg

One thing to know about French maritime pine bark extract is that it may increase nitric oxide production in the brain, which may enhance neural activity. One thing to care about is that French maritime pine bark extract has not been tested for safety in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

The cost of French maritime pine bark extract varies from brand to brand. It can cost as much as $48 for a 30-day supply, or $1.60 per day, or as little as $20 for a 60-day supply, or $0.33 per day.

10. Multivitamin/Multimineral for ADHD

Multivitamins and multiminerals are specially formulated combinations of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients into one easy-to-take supplement. They often combine many essential nutrients with additional ingredients to treat specific conditions. 

The effects of multivitamins are general improvement of health, boosted immune function, and healthier hair and skin. The benefit of multivitamins for people with ADHD is that they make it possible to combine useful supplements rather than take several different pills simultaneously.

The side effects of multivitamins are generally mild, but they may cause stomach upset in some people. They’re generally taken once daily, with or without food. The best time to take them is typically in the morning, before breakfast, but taking them with food or on a full stomach may reduce the likelihood of stomach upset.

These are the three top brands of multivitamins for people with ADHD.

  1. GNC Multivitamin + Focus Complete
  2. Doctor’s Best Multi-Vitamin
  3. Super Nutrition Super Immune Seasonal Wellness Multivitamin

Something to know about multivitamins is that they can improve ADHD symptoms in children and adults, even without stimulant medication. One thing to care about when taking multivitamins is the risk of toxicity or overdose, particularly when taken with other supplements. Always compare ingredients to ensure you’re not doubling up on nutrients.

Multivitamins are generally more expensive than individual nutrient supplements. They can cost $15 for a 60-day supply, which is around $0.25 per day, or $44 for a 120-day supply, which is around $0.36 per day.

What Are ADHD Supplements?

ADHD supplements are vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that can improve or help manage the symptoms of ADHD. Some are used on their own to reduce the severity of certain ADHD symptoms, while others can be used with stimulant medication to increase its effectiveness.

What Are the Things You Should Consider Before Choosing a Supplement for ADHD?

Before choosing a supplement for ADHD, consider whether it is for a child or an adult and whether they have any identified nutrient deficiencies. It’s also important to consider the symptoms to be treated and whether the potential side effects outweigh the possible benefits of taking the supplement. 

It’s also important to consider that the scientific evidence supporting supplements for ADHD is still being collected. Much of what we know about ADHD supplements is based on anecdotal evidence. Anyone considering using supplements to treat ADHD symptoms should monitor their results for themselves to determine how effective they are.

What Is the Importance of Taking ADHD Supplements?

Taking ADHD supplements is important because it can improve symptoms in many people with ADHD, whether or not they’re also taking prescription stimulant medication. Some people find relief from their symptoms without taking any prescription medications at all, exposing themselves to fewer potentially dangerous ingredients and unpleasant side effects.

Supplements can make those medications more effective for people who take stimulant medication to manage their ADHD symptoms. Some people even find that they need less stimulant medication when they take it with certain ADHD supplements. 

ADHD supplements are also affordable and accessible to people who may not be able to afford traditional clinical healthcare. Taking supplements to manage ADHD symptoms can help people who otherwise would not have access to any treatment at all. 

What Natural Supplement Is Good for ADHD?

These are the top three natural supplements for ADHD.

  1. Natures Craft Neuro Health (Best Overall Multivitamin)
  2. Magtein Magnesium Supplement (Best Total-Body Supplement)
  3. Nature Made Kids First Melatonin Gummies (Best for Sleep and Energy)

What Is the Best ADHD Supplement for Children?

The best ADHD supplement for children is magnesium because it reduces hyperactivity and inattention. Magnesium supplements also reduce the severity of the “rebound effect” in many children when their stimulant medication wears off between doses. 

These are the top three best ADHD supplements for children.

  1. KidsActive from Zahler (Best Multivitamin for Kids)
  2. Clarity Kids Supercalm (Best Magnesium Supplement for Kids)
  3. GreenPeach Liquid Iron (Best Iron Supplement for Kids)

What Is the Best ADHD Supplement for Adults?

The best ADHD supplement for adults is melatonin because it improves sleep quality and helps people with ADHD reset their circadian rhythm. Melatonin supplements that contain magnesium are doubly effective at helping adults with ADHD. 

These are the top three best ADHD supplements for adults.

  1. Amazing Nutrition Melatonin (Best Sleep Aid for Adults with ADHD)
  2. Nature’s Way Pycnogenol (Best for Focus)
  3. Igennus Neurobalance (Best Multivitamin for Adults with ADHD)

Do ADHD Supplements Have Proven Results?

In laboratory studies, many ADHD supplements, such as magnesium, melatonin, and iron, have been proven effective for treating ADHD symptoms. However, other ADHD supplements are only beginning to be studied and do not have the same kind of scientific evidence in their favor. This does not mean that they’re not effective – only that the science is still developing. 

What Are the Effects of Taking ADHD Supplements?

The effects of ADHD supplements vary depending on the type of supplement and dosage. However, in general, ADHD supplements have several benefits.

  1. Increased effectiveness of the stimulant medication.
  2. Improved sleep.
  3. Reduced anxiety, depression, and stress.
  4. Improved focus.
  5. Reduced hyperactivity.
  6. Improved attention.

Is a Prescription Required for ADHD Supplements?

No, there is no prescription required to purchase or take ADHD supplements. They are available over the counter without a prescription.

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Athletic Insight Research

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

The Athletic Insight Research team consists of a dedicated team of researchers, Doctors, Registered Dieticians, nationally certified nutritionists and personal trainers. Our team members hold prestigious accolades within their discipline(s) of expertise, as well as nationally recognized certifications. These include; National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT), National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC), International Sports Sciences Association Nutritionist Certification.