In this article, we investigate various Nootropic Supplements for ADHD. We assess the neurological foundation of ADHD and hypothesize the use of certain brain-altering compounds to manage the disorder.
How Much Can Science Tell Us About ADHD?ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most prevalent neurobehavioral disorders in our society. But don’t be deceived, it is by no means a single or simple disorder. There are several theories regarding ADHD. The most commonly accepted is the low arousal theory which suggests that ADHD/ADD patients have lower tonic dopamine levels in the brain. In short, this results in the patient displaying problematic symptoms related to attention and hyperactivity. Other informal research methods suggest that there can be up to 7 main types of ADD believed to affect distinct areas of the brain — the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum primarily. Although the cause of ADHD still remains of mystery, scientists seem to agree that the symptoms result from an imbalance in the neurochemicals; dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.
Symptoms of ADHDBefore discussing the effectiveness of certain Nootropic Supplements for ADHD, let’s first take a look at the acknowledged symptoms of the common ADHD patient. Note ADD is characterized by the same core symptoms of ADHD (excluding hyperactivity). It is equally as common. Visual signs of ADHD
- Excessive daydreaming
- Forgetful or easily loses things
- Difficulty staying still
- Careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- Decreased ability to resist urges
- Lack of social skills
Why Nootropic Supplements for ADHD?
As we medical researchers still do not fully understand the mechanism behind ADHD/ADD, it comes as a surprise that extremely strong and addictive medications are so often prescribed. Don’t get me wrong, these drugs can improve the symptoms of ADHD, but the host of unfavorable side effects should not be neglected. Some of these stimulants’ side effects include; headaches, sleep problems, loss of appetite, tolerance, and dependency.
Why Are Stimulants Given to ADHD patients?Two major categories of clinical treatments are methylphenidate and amphetamines – both potent stimulants affecting of tonic dopamine levels. For users without ADHD, these drugs will increase symptoms of hyperactivity whereas in ADHD patients, they result in a decreased urge to seek tonic dopamine in the environment – theoretically decreasing hyperactivity. Some common of these dopamine stimulating medications include Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta So you might be wondering… Can’t nootropics increase dopamine in the brain too? Correct, nootropic supplements like Rhodiola Rosea, green tea extract, Ginseng, and amino acids like L-tyrosine and 5-HTP are all shown to increase dopamine activity in the brain. These remedies are now receiving the attention of clinical Studies aiming to determine their effectiveness in relieving ADHD symptoms. This is supported anecdotally across internet forums where ADHD patients are reporting improved symptoms following nootropic supplementation.
Are Nootropic Supplements for ADHD Effective?As scientists still define the effectiveness behind common nootropics I believe it may be in our best interest to seek anecdotal n=1 reports to answer this question. One Reddit ADHD suffer mentions the following;
“I’ve been struggling with debilitating ADHD and anxiety since my early teenage years. I tried lots of SSRI, SNRI, Wellbutrin, Ritalin, benzos with little help. I even ended up in the hospital from benzo withdrawals and had two seizures. My anxiety levels were overwhelming to the point I could not stand out of a bed for half a year… Anxiety actually came out from ADHD symptoms that I couldn’t manage and really messed my life in the long term (financially, relationship-wise…etc). But in the past year, I have been experimenting with nootropics and think I have found a sweet spot for anxiety-ADHD related problems. So after my years of struggling and trying different psych meds and two months of nootropics I can say I got my glasses and lasers back on the track!”There are many comments similar to the above that have sparked the global interest of many medical scientists. This then grants the question, “which Nootropic Supplements for ADHD work best?” Check out our ultimate guide on how to boost dopamine sensitivity today using nootropics; here
Nootropics for ADHD
Note the full effects of phenibut are still not well understood and has been observed to cause severe addiction in recreational users. Nevertheless, it is available for over-the-counter purchase in the United States.Phenibut is a GABA psychotropic drug found to produce potent anxiolytic and intellectually stimulating effects. It originates from Russia where it is commonly prescribed for PTSD, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, depression, and alcoholism. The pharmacological properties of the compound, include effects on GABAA, GABAB, dopaminergic, and benzodiazepine receptors,which have been compared to the effects of diazepam and piracetam [study] In the United States, phenibut is listed as a nutritional supplement. Despite this, it is commonly abused for recreational purposes. Those who regularly partake in these activities report signs of addiction and dependence and for these reasons, some countries such as the UK have prohibited the trade of Phenibut.
Results on ADHDNevertheless, in controlled environments, Russian scientists have experimented with the effectiveness of Phenibut in the treatment of ADHD sufferers with great success. There is research proposing that phenibut can help relieve the symptoms of inattentiveness in ADHD patients. This is best explained in one study of 50 Russian children with ADHD, where levels of cognition, self-control, persistence, attention, and memory were significantly improved after 1 month of dosing 500-700 mg of phenibut per day. Being a rather small study, one should not conclude that phenibut is effective in the treatment of ADHD symptoms. However, these are promising steps that indicate a potentially effective solution to treat ADHD without stimulants. Future studies regarding phenibut in relation to ADHD should build upon the well-founded neurostimulatory properties that the drug produces.
Korean GinsengKorean Ginseng, (also known as Panax Ginseng, Asian ginseng, and Chinese Ginseng), is a class of plants whose root provides a vital source of ginseng. It is a longer-living plant that grows in the mountainous regions of East Asia. The following list of proposed benefits have regarded as an integral part of Asian and traditional Chinese medicine:
- Stimulation of the immune system
- Increase vitality
- Adapt to stress
- Support heart health
- Reverse impotence
- Treat diabetes
Results on ADHDKorean Ginseng, particularly Korean Red Ginseng, has been recognized for its strong potential to relieve symptoms of inattentiveness in attention-deficit patients. This is best exemplified in clinical studies, that found Korean Red Ginseng to significantly improve the attention of ADHD children. These outcomes have been proposed to offer a natural solution to more addictive stimulant medications, however, its effects on other symptoms of ADHD such as depression and anxiety have not been actively assessed and require further study. Whether Korean Ginseng can improve the symptoms of ADHD to the extent of not requiring other stronger forms of medication is not yet known. However, researchers are optimistic about the potential behind this root and its effect on the ADHD brain. Some believe that the root may pave the way to a holistic form of treatment for the disorder.
Amino Acid Precursors; L-Tyrosine and 5-HTPWe introduced this article stating that ADHD can be recognized as an imbalance of the neurochemicals dopamine and serotonin. The body is faced with the task of constructing both of these compounds using the proteins that we obtain from our diet. This understanding has led to the hypothesis that concentrated forms of these naturally occurring amino acid molecules may assist the body’s capacity to build these aforementioned neurotransmitters – thus potentially reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, motivation, and inattentiveness. This hypothesis has been considered fitting in this clinical study where 85 ADHD children subjects were treated with both L-tyrosine (the amino acid precursor of dopamine) and 5-HTP (the amino acid precursor of serotonin). ADHD symptoms were then measured 8 weeks following treatment via a globally recognized ADHD symptom scale. Here is what the paper concluded;
In total, 67% of participants achieved significant improvement with only amino acid precursors of serotonin and dopamine.These are indeed very promising results. The paper also discusses that the effectiveness of most traditional stimulant treatments was not significantly higher than results achieved through the amino acid supplementation – indicating that further research should compare the effectiveness of these natural treatments vs the usual stimulatory medical interventions that result in many more negative side effects.