7 Crucial natural remedies for ADHD and ADD

These natural remedies for ADHD give you the crucial edge for life-changing results.

“…academic performance improves and behavioural problems diminish significantly when children [with ADHD] are given nutritional supplements.” Patrick Holford – Nutrition expert, author, and CEO, Food for the Brain Foundation

1. Magnesium

Here's how badly you need magnesium for ADHD... 

Nutritionist Patrick Holford quotes a study by Dr. Bernard Rimland, who found that giving magnesium and vitamin B6 to children with ADHD was ten times more effective than Ritalin!

Magnesium is sometimes called “the miracle mineral.” It is one of the most important natural remedies for ADHD because it is naturally calming AND it is an essential nutrient for the brain and body.

Shockingly, research at the Pomeranian Academy of Medicine in Poland found that, of the children with diagnosed ADHD who were studied, 95 percent were deficient in magnesium.

2. Essential fatty acids

natural-remedies-for-adhd-fish-oil © Karen AlisonEssential fatty acids help ADHD and ADD

Children need essential fatty acids (EFAs) like plants need sunlight. They are one of the most important natural remedies for ADHD.

Why? Because the brain is about 60 percent fat and, without the nutrients from EFAs, your child’s brain and nervous system don’t develop or function properly.

Sadly, the foods most of us eat don’t offer anywhere near enough omega-3 fatty acids and DHA to help with ADHD in children (or ADD in adults, for that matter.)

A second problem is that ADD kids may have trouble absorbing the essential fatty acids they do eat. 

Does your child eat wheat and grains, milk or dairy products, or foods that are high in salicylates*? These foods often cause allergies and block the conversion of EFAs to prostaglandins. Big trouble - because prostaglandins are messengers in the brain's communication system and if they don't get their essential fatty acids, the brain can't work properly. 

Your child may also need some helpful vitamins to absorb those EFAs well (see #3 below.)

If your ADHD child is quite young or has trouble taking pills, you can rub the essential fatty acids right onto his or her skin. Try the thigh or inside the elbow. EFAs are oils so they will cling to the skin and be absorbed into the body.

Essential fatty acids are called “essential” because our bodies can’t make them, so we have to get them from food or supplements. Boys need even higher levels of EFAs than girls do.

* Salicylates are found in many foods. Symptoms of sensitivity or allergy to salicylates include hyperactivity, memory loss, poor concentration, itchy skin and rashes, asthma and upset stomach. Children who react to salicylates often have disrupted gut flora. Here is an excellent list of foods that contain salicylates

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids are found in:

  • fish oil
  • flax oil and ground flax seeds
  • hemp seed oil
  • evening primrose oil
  • oily fish like salmon, herring and sardines
  • chia seeds

One of the best fish oil sources is fermented cod liver oil which also contains vitamins A and D.

3. B vitamins and vitamin C

Dr. Abram Hoffer was a renowned Canadian Ortho-Molecular physician who co-wrote the famous book on vitamin C with Linus Pauling.

In his research, he found that giving 3 grams of vitamin C and 1.5 grams (or more) of B3 improved the behaviour of 32 out of 33 children with ADHD.

B3, B6, and other B vitamins, along with vitamin C, magnesium and zinc are needed to help with the conversion of essential fatty acids so the brain can use them.

As mentioned above, Patrick Holford says, “Dr Bernard Rimland… found that supplementing B6 and magnesium was ten times more effective than Ritalin!

Does your child eat lots of sugary foods? Sugar burns through the B vitamins (and minerals) in his or her body the way wildfire burns through a dry forest. Then those vitamins and minerals are not available to help out with the normal processes of the child's body and for growth and development. So taking extra is a wise choice.

4. Zinc

This “micro-nutrient” is in every cell of your body! So, if you want to be healthy, ya gotta have it. Are you surprised to learn that kids with ADHD often lack zinc?

Zinc is one of those minerals that’s burned up to metabolize sugar and other toxins. Such as?... Food colourings and preservatives, chemicals in personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotions) and household cleaners, and other pollutants that cause trouble for your child’s health.

That means that when your child needs zinc and other minerals for her physical and mental development, they’re just not there. So, don’t take a chance.

5. Heal the gut -
the most crucial of natural remedies for ADHD

I know gut health is not one of those subjects you supposed to talk about in polite society. But it is CRUCIAL to your child’s brain health – and yours!

In fact, if you were only going to use one of these natural remedies for ADHD to help your child, this is the one I’d focus on. (Well, this and supplementing with magnesium and B vitamins.)

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has found that ADHD in children is caused by toxins from the gut that harm the brain.

So gut health is pivotal to learning, behaviour, critical thinking, self-calming, social skills and all the other processes we associate with the brain. (Not to mention your child’s lifelong health.)

This is such an critical topic that I wrote a specific article to tell you about natural remedies for ADHD that heal the gut.

6. Avoid brain-harming food allergens

Food can be one of your best natural remedies for ADHD, or your worst nightmare.

Have you ever seen this?

  • On some occasions, your child can print or write words normally, but other times, the words are completely unreadable
  • Sometimes your son behaves like an angel, then everything changes and he has a temper tantrum and is unable to calm down
  • There’s nothing wrong with your child’s IQ but she just doesn’t do that well in school
  • Your child behaves better – or worse – at certain times of the year

If you said yes to any of these, your ADHD child will benefit from avoiding the most common food allergens.

Foods, molds and chemicals directly affect brain and behaviour. Even a person who does not have ADHD can go dyslexic or have a behaviour change (like a sudden burst of anger) from something they ate or inhaled.

The worst culprits are...

Chocolate milk - a combination of problem foods for ADHD kids © Karen Alison
  • Junk foods and foods with artificial flavours, preservatives and colourings
  • Wheat, corn, gluten
  • Dairy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Oranges and citrus
  • Soy
  • Yeast
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners

Unfortunately, when your child has an allergy or intolerance to a food, he or she may show an addiction to that food. Then when the food is taken away, the child can actually have withdrawal symptoms. But if you can stick it out, your child will benefit enormously from the change in diet.

You may want to have your child tested for food allergies or intolerances.  Blood tests are considered the most accurate, as scratch tests do not show delayed reactions to food intolerances. There are also electro-dermal tests that involve holding an electrode against the hand or finger. It’s painless and allows many foods to be tested quickly.

7. Clear chemical toxins and heavy metals

Chemical toxins and heavy metals can have the same bad effects on your child’s brain and behaviour as the wrong foods.

So the natural remedies for ADHD you need are natural and unscented products, especially for laundry and personal care.


Well, do you believe your skin is a barrier to the outside world? I used to.

It’s not. The scary reality is that your skin absorbs anything it touches, and it goes right into your body!

So your child’s body absorbs molecules of the artificial scents and chemical laundry cleaners in sheets, pillowcases, pajamas and other clothing. Once those chemicals are in the fabric, your child also inhales them.

Same with chemically-based household cleaners. When you use them, they’re in your household air and on surfaces where kids touch them, breathe them in or put them in their mouths.

Chemical toxins disrupt gut flora and the way signals are transmitted to and from the brain. Toxins cause havoc for your child’s thinking and behaviour. (They’re not doing you much good, either.)

It’s a shock when you find out how much indoor pollution is in your house from different products! They include:

  • Paints, glues and epoxies, thinners – molecules leak out into your home air even when the lid is on
  • Synthetic broadloom
  • Fire-proofed upholstery and clothing
  • Vinyl products such as shower curtains and toys
  • Strong-smelling pens and markers
  • Plastic bags and plastic containers – keep them sealed in metal tins or industrial-sized glass jars and just take out ONE when you need it.

Other considerations:

  • Never cook with plastic - When plastic is heated, it goes right into your food. Inside your body, plastic molecules act as xeno-hormones or foreign bodies that take up receptors where real hormones should fit. Hormones of all kinds help to run your body, but xeno-hormones cause problems. Not helpful.
  • Never allow children to dye their hair. Hair dye may contain lead and is one of the most unregulated beauty products. Lead is highly toxic and is implicated in ADHD.
  • Your child's bedroom is the most important room to keep clear of chemicals since that’s where she sleeps. During sleep, our bodies restore themselves for the next day. But if the bedroom is full of toxins, your body stays busy dealing with them instead of recovering from the day. A toxic bedroom is one of the common causes of insomnia and restless sleep.

By the way, if you have PMS or other menstrual problems, clearing your house of scented and chemically-based products can help to relieve or even end your symptoms.

When you’re looking for a calmer, happier, more focussed child, get rid of the toxins and use the natural remedies for ADD and ADHD in this article. The rest of the family will benefit, too.

Bonus natural remedy for ADHD

Play outside in nature!

The Human-Environment Research Lab at the University of Illinois found that “green outdoor spaces …relieve the symptoms of attention-deficit disorders.” Staying indoors to watch TV or playing outside on a paved surface make ADHD symptoms worse.

Nature is a great healer and turns out to be one of the best natural remedies for ADHD! Need some ideas about how kids can spend time outdoors? I found a wonderful book full of fun projects and games called, “Run Wild! Outdoor Games and Adventures” by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks.

Play outside! © Karen AlisonTake time to smell the flowers

All those who love Nature she loves in return, and will richly reward… with bright and happy thoughts, contentment and peace of mind.” – John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature

Related Articles

The Gut-Brain Connection and how to heal it for ADD and ADHD symptoms - Use these powerful natural remedies for ADD and ADHD to heal the gut and its effects on the brain. Your brain – or your child’s – reaps HUGE benefits when you heal “leaky gut syndrome” and balance gut flora

Natural Remedies for ADD -how can they help you or your child?

ADD in Adults - What are the symptoms? Learn about the natural remedies for adults with ADD.

Leaky Gut Syndrome - Is this disaster causing your chronic health or brain problem? Learn how to fix it naturally.

Find more articles on our Site Map and Articles List


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