ADD in Adults -

Symptoms and Solutions with
Natural Remedies for ADD

ADD in adults - learn about the signs and symptoms and the powerful, life-changing natural remedies for ADD that can help.

ADD in adults is NOT something that’s easy to self-diagnose. It is considered a psychiatric disorder, not a medical condition – however, if you are an adult with ADD or ADHD there’s a good chance that you have had it since childhood, even though the condition may have gone undiagnosed.

Also, remember that people with ADD are often very creative, so it’s not all bad!

Signs and symptoms of ADD in adults...

Difficulty with…

  • Getting organized
  • Listening; following through on commitments; inconsistent work performance
  • Being easily distracted – low boredom threshold, trouble with prioritizing and focussing on important tasks, trouble with concentration, losing things
  • Procrastination; lateness
  • Relaxing – restlessness and needing to be in constant motion (fidgeting, restless leg, etc.) is the adult version of hyperactivity in children
  • Losing temper, becoming frustrated, emotions feeling out-of-control
  • Recklessness, accidents, car accidents; sometimes involvement in extreme sports
  • Relationships – may not perceive other’s feelings or be able to express own feelings appropriately or effectively
  • Solving problems - not examining and understanding consequences of actions

All of us may have some of these issues some of the time. But they are not consistently part of life the way they are when you have ADHD or ADD.

Natural remedies for ADHD
and ADD in adults

1. Magnesium and B vitamins

Magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds © Karen AlisonPumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium

Magnesium and B vitamins are two of the most important natural remedies for ADD in adults.

Up to 80 percent of people in the industrialized world are deficient in magnesium. But up to 95 percent of children with ADHD are deficient in this important mineral. If you have ADD in adult life, chances are good that you have had this deficiency ever since childhood!

Dr. James LaValle says “Symptoms of low magnesium include...

  • anxiety,
  • insomnia,
  • nervousness,
  • leg cramps and heaviness in the legs,
  • fatigue,
  • palpitations, and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat.)
  • sleep disturbances…”

Magnesium also helps with restless leg syndrome and muscle relaxation and recovery.

Dr. Bernard Rimland found that giving magnesium and vitamin B6 to children with ADHD was ten times more effective than Ritalin! These nutrients are just as important for ADD in adults.

Magnesium expert Dr Carolyn Dean says the best absorbed forms of this mineral are: magnesium glycinate, citrate and taurate.

2. Essential fatty acids (EFAs)

EFAs are absolutely crucial for brain performance and transmitting brain signals. The brain is up to 60 percent fat.

Essential fatty acids are crucial for ADD in adults © Karen Alison

Dr. Mercola says that essential fatty acids called “eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) keep the dopamine levels in your brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of your brain, and increase cerebral circulation.”  All of this helps to keep you calm and focussed.

Unfortunately, the typical North American-style diet of processed and fast foods does not contain good brain nutrients and the fatty acids you need.

For ADD in adults, supplementing with essential fatty acids is an absolute MUST.

Good sources include...

  • fish oil
  • flax oil
  • ground flax seed
  • evening primrose oil
  • high-quality, cold-processed EFA-balanced oils

3. Heal your gut

Your gut and your brain are connected - no two ways about it. Both gut and brain create neuro-chemicals or neuro-transmitters, so they both have to be functioning well for those signals to get where they're going properly.

Disrupted gut flora and leaky gut syndrome are a disaster for ADD in adults.

When you have ADD or ADHD you probably had several courses of antibiotics or steroids in childhood.

Antibiotics kill off the microbes in your digestive tract and allow the pathogenic or bad bacteria take over from the good ones. These pathogens leak out through gaps in the intestinal wall and migrate to your brain and other parts of your body, causing inflammation and dysfunction. 

Literally, these toxins can poison your brain.

Were you born by Caesarean section? If so, you missed out on picking up important bacteria from the birth canal. That bacteria was needed to populate your infant gut. 

If you had a regular birth, but your parents had disrupted flora, that would have been passed on to you in the birth canal, so you began life with abnormal gut flora.

Now you can fix it.

Since good gut flora is so important to brain function, here are some natural remedies for ADD in adults that help to heal your gut, and calm your brain.

Natural remedies for good gut flora

Probiotics and probiotic foods

Sauerkraut made the old-fashioned way is a great probiotic © Karen AlisonSauerkraut is a great probiotic food

Probiotics put much-needed good bacteria into your intestines. They have been called natural Prozac, since they help to restore gut function.

Remember, there are neuro-transmitters in your gut, just like in your brain, so that good bacteria will actually help you think more clearly.

Healthy gut flora also helps to reduce anxiety and depression and increase the production of serotonin, a feel-good neurochemical.


L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps restore the lining of your intestines, keep it healthy, and promote good bacteria in your gut.

The intestinal lining is like millions of tiny fingers (villi) waving around that are part of your digestive process. If they are damaged, you’re not going to get the nutrients you need from your food AND the bad bacteria leaks out through gaps in the damaged intestinal wall.

With ADHD or ADD in adults, you need all the critical nutrients you can get to make sure your brain is functioning at its best. So use L-glutamine to heal your villi.


Antifungals help kill off the pathogenic (bad) microbes in your gut so the good bacteria can take over.

If you have taken antibiotics, birth control pills or other drugs, chances are good that you have an overgrowth of pathogenic microbes in your gut that affect your brain and behaviour.

People with a big sweet-tooth (or craving for alcohol) often have this overgrowth and it will drive your food (and alcohol) cravings!

I used to be a huge sweet freak. But once I balanced my gut microbes and healed my leaky gut, I was astonished to find that my tastes changed, I lost my sweet cravings, and I could think much more clearly.

Garlic is a great antifungal © Karen Alison

Here are some antifungals to include as part of an effective program of natural remedies for ADD in adults:

  • Olive leaf extract
  • Cat’s claw
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Oregano oil
  • Caprylic acid
  • Garlic or deodorized garlic

Word to the wise: killing off the bad microbes can feel pretty awful for a few days, so do this when you have some time off so you can rest from any symptoms that might arise.

Eat a low-sugar diet

The Paleo diet is an easy and delicious way to do this.

Sugar is the food of the bad bacteria – if you feed it, it will grow.

When you have a “sweet tooth”, chances are it’s the fungus, yeast and other pathogens in your gut that make you crave sweets, especially if you are prone to fungal infections, athlete’s foot, PMS, yeast infections or depression.

Beware of food allergens

Get tested for food allergens and or avoid the most allergenic foods (see below) because foods affect your gut and your brain. A lot.

In fact, Dr. James Braly says that food allergens like wheat create abnormal brain waves – exactly the same abnormal brain waves that show up in ADD in adults and ADHD in children!

Want more information about how to have good gut flora and why you desperately need it?

Read this comprehensive article.

4. Eat a brain-supporting diet

What are the best foods for your brain?

REAL foods:

  • proteins like meat, fish, poultry and eggs
  • healthy fats
  • green and orange vegetables (well, almost all vegetables except white potatoes)
  • a little fruit
  • nuts and seeds (unless you are allergic to them.)

Eating a Paleolithic or Paleo diet is a simple way to keep your meals focussed on real food.

What are the worst foods for your brain?

Sugar, wheat and junk food are worst foods for your brain © Karen Alison
  • sugar, sugar, sugar
  • wheat and other cereal grains
  • junk food, fast food, "pretend foods"
  • artificial sweeteners
  • MSG and food preservatives

Many of these faux foods are neurotoxic, meaning they actually harm your brain. They can also impact your blood sugar-insulin balance, heart rate, blood pressure and weight.

Drinking a lot of caffeine can make you feel distracted and unfocussed or hyper and anxious. Coffee isn’t the only source, although it contains the highest levels of caffeine, clocking in at between 80 and 175 milligrams in 8 ounces.

Soft drinks contain anywhere from about 20 to 80 mg in 12 ounces, so a couple of sodas and two cups of coffee in a day can speed up your heart rate and raise your blood pressure.

Caffeine is also an ingredient in some drugs and cold medications.

5. Avoid chemical toxins

Did you know that the scented and chemically-based products you use in your daily life may contain chemicals and heavy metals like mercury that can act as neuro-toxins, harming your brain?

What kind of products? The ones you use for laundry, personal care, and cleaning.

If you have ADD in adults, these brain poisons aren’t helping you, especially if you often feel irritated, anxious, nervous, depressed, hyper, easily distracted, or blow up from time to time.

How to escape from chemical pollution
in your own home

To escape from chemical pollution in your own home and give your nervous system a break, try this:

1. Box up all your scented and chemical products (most of the regular products you buy in the grocery store for personal care, laundry, and house cleaning), along with your perfumes, colognes and scented aftershaves, air fresheners and scented candles.

2. Put them out in the garage or at least in a room that’s away from your bedroom.

3. Now go and collect all the plastic bags in your house and put them in cookie tins, big popcorn tins, or industrial sized glass jars with tight-fitting lids. This will keep the plastic molecules in the bags from floating around in your home air.

4. Leave the box of scented/chemical products in the garage for a month.

5. During that month, get a few natural and unscented products to use. Try unscented and/or natural soap, shampoo, lotion or skin cream, laundry detergent, fabric softener (or just ditch the fabric softener and don’t over-dry your clothes), dish soap and all-purpose cleaner are good places to start.

6. As the weeks go by, notice how you feel.

Are you calmer? Do you feel more relaxed and less irritated? Do you find it easier to concentrate?

Did you suddenly lose your temper when you met someone who was wearing a lot of perfume and fabric softener or when you opened a tin of paint?

Most of us are not used to noticing how much these everyday products affect us. But when you stop walking around in a cloud of chemicals that stress your nervous system, you’ll be surprised how much your brain and body can relax.

6. Meditate, sleep more
and get out into Nature

Nature is a time-honoured remedy for calming and focusing the mind © Karen Alison

For ADD in adults, these are three great natural remedies that might seem too simple to be effective. But sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful.

Don’t believe me? Think about how you spend your day.

How much time do you spend in front of the computer, on your cell phone, watching TV, or driving? Do you stay up late playing video games or surfing the web?

Is most of your day spent indoors?

Up until around the time of the Industrial Revolution, no one lived that way. For most of human history, most people spent a lot of time outdoors, and no one had electronic devices. People didn’t sit as much as we do.

They also got more sleep. Before electric light appeared on the scene, people slept an average of 9 hours a night.

So what does all this mean for ADD in adults?

It means you want to give yourself a lot of love by:

  • Getting more sleep instead of staying up late surfing the interweb. The National Institutes of Health says bluntly that, Sleep helps your brain work properly.”
  • Spending time in Nature – whether that means gardening, fishing, or walking in the park. There are centuries of evidence for Nature’s relaxing effects and more current evidence about the benefits of horseback riding for the brain.
Meditation may change your brain to improve mental focus © Karen Alison
  • Meditating. Meditation is an ancient technique for improving brain function, relaxing the mind, and increasing your ability to concentrate. It may even change your brain to improve mental focus.

These habits will also improve your physical health and help you with anxiety and depression.

7. Use EFT Tapping to help you focus

EFT tapping is today’s version of ancient acupressure. You gently tap on specific points with your fingers – no needles are involved.

It’s incredibly effective for stress relief and it can help you to focus when you’re distracted.

If you don’t know how to tap, there are instructions on this page, or you can watch this video.

The instructions will show you exactly where to tap on your head and torso.

A tapping script for improving concentration:

KC: Even though I’m distracted, I prefer to focus and concentrate
KC: Even though I’m having trouble concentrating, I’ve decided to focus
KC: Even though I’m distracted, I choose to focus and concentrate

EFT Tapping helps to relieve stress © Karen AlisonEFT Tapping points
EFT Tapping points

EB: I’m distracted
SE: Having trouble concentrating
UE: I’m distracted
UN: My attention is all over the place
CH: I can hardly concentrate on this tapping
CB: But I prefer to be focussed
UA: I want to get things done
H:  Except I’m distracted

EB: I’m having trouble concentrating
SE: What if I could focus?
UE: I’m distracted
UN: I choose to concentrate
CH: I’m distracted
CB: But now I’m telling my brain to focus
UA: I’m ready to concentrate
H:  It’s easy for me to focus

Take a deep breath. Repeat the rounds of tapping if necessary.

And now for something completely different…

Looking at pictures of puppies and kittens increases  your concentration. © Karen Alison

Here’s an usual natural remedy for ADD in adults: look at pictures of puppies and kittens.

No kidding!

A recent Japanese study found that when you look at photos of kittens, puppies and other cute baby animals, your ability to focus increases by 44 percent!

Researchers learned that “…participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images.” This included tasks that called for physical (fine motor) skills and those that needed mental concentration.

Who knew?

Related articles

7 Crucial natural remedies for ADHD

Natural remedies for ADD - Learn how they can help you or your child.

Natural remedies for ADHD that heal your gut and help your brain. Enhance your gut flora and heal leaky gut to improve your brain function. 

Leaky gut syndrome - what it is and how to heal it. Healing leaky gut is key for ADD in adults and children.

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Have health questions or questions about natural remedies? Ask them here. Your success stories, comments and ideas are welcome, too!

Have EFT Tapping questions? Ask them here. Or share your interesting Tapping experiences.

Further Reading:

Essential fatty acids and human brain
University of Utah - Caffeine Content Of Popular Drinks
University of Michigan Health Service - Caffeine
National Institutes of Health - Why is Sleep Important?
Brain Scans Show How Meditation Improves Mental Focus

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