My daughter has been on Adderall for 6 years.
Q. Hi Terry, “My daughter has been on Adderall for 6 years. She is 24 and in great shape, eats well, and exercises regularly. She has no other health issues and isn’t taking any other medications. I can definitely notice a difference when she runs out because it is very hard for her to concentrate and stay focused. I have been talking to her about trying a natural approach, what would you recommend?” — Ruth D., Green Bay, WI
A. Dear Ruth, I strongly believe that diet plays a significant role in all aspects of our lives, including concentration and focus. If she is not doing so already, I would have your daughter avoid all sugar and foods made with sugar, refined flour, and carbohydrates. That means soft drinks, sweetened and diet, crackers, candy, cookies, bread, pasta, cakes, and ice cream. While I understand this takes a huge effort, it can make a real difference in your daughter’s life. Click on my healthy diet plan for more information. For additional information, I also recommend checking out the following websites: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com and www.drperlmutter.com.
In addition to dietary changes, there are powerful natural substances that can help improve concentration and focus. Many integrative practitioners believe that ADD/ADHD may actually be a result of chronic inflammation. This inflammation prevents the neurons from communicating properly and can have adverse effects on how we process information.
The most powerful anti-inflammatory substance in the natural world I know of is curcumin. Curcumin is able to cross the blood brain barrier so it can go to work where it is needed. This means curcumin can protect the brain cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which play a role in chronic inflammation.
I recommend choosing a curcumin that features excellent absorption and has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses curcumin blended with turmeric essential oils in a patented process. I would have your daughter take 750 mg twice per day.
It has been frequently reported that people with ADD/ADHD (both adults and children) have an increased risk of emotional disturbances, particularly depression, social phobias, and anxiety. Whether this is a component of the trait or the excess inflammation, relieving anxiety improves mood and concentration.
For anxiety, I recommend a specialized Echinacea extract from Echinacea angustifoliae. There are compounds in this special extract called echinacosides that can trigger feelings of calm and relaxation. Dosage is extremely important because many people are familiar with taking hundreds of milligrams of Echinacea for immune support. However, this is a different Echinacea species and I recommend taking 20-40 mg of this extract per day.
I think a combination of bioactive B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, P-5-P) and magnesium are incredibly beneficial for nervous system function. P-5-P is an important nutrient for making the hormone serotonin, our “feel good” hormone. Magnesium is an extremely important mineral for nervous system function and is a great partner for P-5-P. Minerals can be hard to absorb so I recommend finding a magnesium that is available as magnesium glycinate chelate. I would take 30-60 mg of P-5-P and 100-200 mg of magnesium glycinate chelate two or three times per day.
Additionally, I believe omega-3s could benefit your daughter. I prefer omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients.
Terry . . . Naturally