Natural ADHD Alternatives

December 4, 2014 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

A stunning new survey sponsored by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids reports that 20% of all college students and roughly 15% of non-student young adults abuse stimulant medications. The legal drugs in question, intended to treat ADHD, include best sellers such as Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse. The most commonly cited reasons for the noted abuse include a desire to enhance academic or work performance and to stave off normal feelings of nighttime sleepiness. What’s even more disturbing is that 28% of the young adults surveyed, aged 18 to 25, misrepresented the severity of their ADHD symptoms in order to attain higher dosages of these conditionally dangerous drugs. In addition, the practice of selling and/or sharing said medications with family, fellow students and friends is quite common.

In recent months, several studies have found positive results with natural, non-stimulating remedies which may provide a safer alternative for those living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In the dietary supplement arena, Bacopa monnieri (225 mg/day of a standardized extract), Ginkgo biloba (240 mg daily of a patented extract) and Korean red ginseng (1 gram, twice-daily) have been proven beneficial in scientific trials mostly involving adolescents and children. However, I see no reason why similar results wouldn’t apply to older subjects as well. A review appearing in the June 2014 issue of the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry examined 52 studies and determined that non-allergenic (“elimination”) diets and menus rich in fish and fish oil are “promising dietary interventions for a reduction in ADHD symptoms”. Lastly, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation and Tai Chi have recently been found to improve academic scores, emotion dysregulation and inattention in adults and children diagnosed with ADHD. In my opinion, all of these natural therapies and others should be considered prior to resorting to the use of powerful stimulants with addictive potential.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – ADHD Stimulant Drug Abuse Common Among Young Adults: Survey (link)

Study 2 – Open-Label Study to Elucidate the Effects of Standardized Bacopa (link)

Study 3 – Ginkgo Biloba Extract EGb 761® in Children with ADHD(link)

Study 4 – Effects of Korean Red Ginseng Extract on Behavior in Children (link)

Study 5 – Diet in the Treatment of ADHD in Children – A Systematic Review (link)

Study 6 – Dietary Patterns in Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity (link)

Study 7 – Omega-3 Fatty Acid & ADHD: Blood Level Analysis & Meta-Analytic (link)

Study 8 – Effect of Supplementation with Long-Chain ω-3 Polyunsaturated (link)

Study 9 – Does Acupuncture Have a Positive Effect on School Success (link)

Study 10 – A Pilot Trial of Mindfulness Meditation Training for ADHD in (link)

Tai Chi May Improve Certain ADHD Symptoms

Source: Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Jan 27;8:13. (Link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements

25 Comments & Updates to “Natural ADHD Alternatives”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: Tai chi improves mental health, sociability and more in adolescents …

    Int J Psychol. 2015 Mar;50(2):101-5.

    The beneficial effect of Tai Chi on self-concept in adolescents.

    Previous research has documented the beneficial effect of Tai Chi, but most of the studies focused on elders and patients with specific health conditions. The aim of the study was to test whether Tai Chi can help to improve self-concept in adolescents with a longitudinal study. The sample comprised 160 students from a Chinese middle school; half of students formed the experimental group and the rest formed the control group. A 1-year Tai Chi intervention was delivered in 60-minute sessions, five times a week. Both groups were instructed to complete the measure of self-concept at the beginning and end of the intervention. Statistical analysis shows the significant reduction of good behaviour, intellectual and school status, popularity and anxiety in the experimental group compared with the control group. The results suggest that the Tai Chi intervention could improve self-concept in adolescents.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update 04/24/15:

    Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Mar 19.

    Reduced Symptoms of Inattention after Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Boys with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common child psychiatric disorders, and is often treated with stimulant medication. Nonpharmacological treatments include dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, although their effectiveness remains to be shown conclusively. In this study, we investigated the effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on ADHD symptoms and cognitive control in young boys with and without ADHD. A total of 40 boys with ADHD, aged 8-14 years, and 39 matched, typically developing controls participated in a 16-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Participants consumed 10 g of margarine daily, enriched with either 650 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) each or placebo. Baseline and follow-up assessments addressed ADHD symptoms, fMRI of cognitive control, urine homovanillic acid, and cheek cell phospholipid sampling. EPA/DHA supplementation improved parent-rated attention in both children with ADHD and typically developing children. Phospholipid DHA level at follow-up was higher for children receiving EPA/DHA supplements than placebo. There was no effect of EPA/DHA supplementation on cognitive control or on fMRI measures of brain activity. This study shows that dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduces symptoms of ADHD, both for individuals with ADHD and typically developing children. This effect does not appear to be mediated by cognitive control systems in the brain, as no effect of supplementation was found here. Nonetheless, this study offers support that omega-3 supplementation may be an effective augmentation for pharmacological treatments of ADHD.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 05/03/15:

    Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice – Published Online: April 18, 2015

    Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. A randomized, placebo-controlled, trial

    Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba as a complementary therapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Methods: Children and adolescents with ADHD received methylphenidate (20–30 mg/day) plus either G. biloba (80–120 mg/day) or placebo for 6 weeks. Parent and teacher forms of the ADHD Rating Scale-IV (ADHD-RS-IV) were completed at baseline, week 2, and week 6. Treatment response was defined as 27% improvement from baseline in the ADHD-RS-IV.

    Results: Compared with placebo, more reduction was observed with G. biloba regarding ADHD-RS-IV parent rating inattention score (−7.74 ± 1.94 vs. −5.34 ± 1.85, P < 0.001) and total score (−13.1 ± 3.36 vs. −10.2 ± 3.01, P = 0.001) as well as teacher rating inattention score (−7.29 ± 1.90 vs. −5.96 ± 1.52, P = 0.004). Response rate was higher with G. biloba compared with placebo based on parent rating (93.5% vs. 58.6%, P = 0.002). Conclusions: The G. biloba is an effective complementary treatment for ADHD. Further studies with longer treatment duration are warranted in this regard. Be well! JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update 05/13/15:

    J Atten Disord. 2015 Feb 2. pii: 1087054715569282.

    Effects of Physical Exercise Intervention on Motor Skills and Executive Functions in Children With ADHD: A Pilot Study.

    OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effect of a 12-week table tennis exercise on motor skills and executive functions in children with ADHD.

    METHOD: Fifteen children with ADHD received the intervention, whereas 15 children with ADHD and 30 typically developing children did not. The Test of Gross Motor Development-2, Stroop, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) were conducted before and after the intervention.

    RESULTS: After the intervention, the ADHD training group scored significantly higher in the locomotor as well as object-control skills, Stroop Color-Word condition, and WCST total correct performance compared with the ADHD non-training group, and we noted improvements in the locomotor as well as object-control skills, Stroop Color-Word condition, and three aspects of the WCST performances of the ADHD training group over time.

    CONCLUSION: A 12-week table tennis exercise may have clinical relevance in motor skills and executive functions of children with ADHD.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update 07/09/15:

    Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:962857.

    Mindfulness Meditation Improves Mood, Quality of Life, and Attention in Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Objective. Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) display affective problems and impaired attention. Mood in ADHD can be improved by mindful awareness practices (MAP), but results are mixed regarding the enhancement of attentional performance. Here we evaluated MAP-induced changes in quality of life (QoL), mood, and attention in adult ADHD patients and controls using more measures of attention than prior studies. Methods. Twenty-one ADHD patients and 8 healthy controls underwent 8 weekly MAP sessions; 22 similar patients and 9 controls did not undergo the intervention. Mood and QoL were assessed using validated questionnaires, and attention was evaluated using the Attentional Network Test (ANT) and the Conners Continuous Performance Test (CPT II), before and after intervention. Results. MAP enhanced sustained attention (ANT) and detectability (CPT II) and improved mood and QoL of patients and controls. Conclusion. MAP is a complementary intervention that improves affect and attention of adults with ADHD and controls.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:

    J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Jul 13.

    Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapy for Treating Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate clinical effects of equine-assisted activities and therapy (EAA/T) for treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children age 6-13 years.

    METHODS: This 12-week, prospective, open-label trial included 24 sessions of EAA/T. Twenty participants (19 boys and 1 girl) completed 12 weeks of EAA/T. Various clinical tests were administered at baseline and after EAA/T. Assessments included the investigator-administered ADHD-Rating Scale (ARS-I), Clinical Global Impressions (CGI)-Severity Scale, Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement Scale (CGI-I), Gordon Diagnostic System, Korea-Child Behavior Checklist (K-CBCL), Self-Esteem Scale, second edition of the Bruininks-Oseretsky test of motor proficiency (BOT-2), and quantitative electroencephalography. The primary efficacy measure was the response rate.

    RESULTS: The response rate was 90% based on a 30% or greater decline in the ARS-I score or 85% based on CGI-I scores of 1 or 2. The mean±standard deviation ARS-I score decreased from 33.65±6.42 at baseline to 16.80±6.86 after 12 weeks of EAA/T (p<0.001, paired t-test). EAA/T also resulted in significant improvement in the social problems subscale of the K-CBCL and in the manual dexterity, bilateral coordination, and total motor composite subscales of the BOT-2. The theta/beta ratio on electroencephalography was decreased significantly at the Pz electrode after 12 weeks of EAA/T.

    CONCLUSION: This is the first study demonstrating that EAA/T is effective for improving core ADHD symptoms. On the basis of these results, EAA/T could be a viable treatment strategy as a part of a multimodal therapy for children with ADHD.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 09/17/15:

    Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Sep;40(10):2298-306.

    Reduced Symptoms of Inattention after Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Boys with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common child psychiatric disorders, and is often treated with stimulant medication. Nonpharmacological treatments include dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, although their effectiveness remains to be shown conclusively. In this study, we investigated the effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on ADHD symptoms and cognitive control in young boys with and without ADHD. A total of 40 boys with ADHD, aged 8-14 years, and 39 matched, typically developing controls participated in a 16-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Participants consumed 10 g of margarine daily, enriched with either 650 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) each or placebo. Baseline and follow-up assessments addressed ADHD symptoms, fMRI of cognitive control, urine homovanillic acid, and cheek cell phospholipid sampling. EPA/DHA supplementation improved parent-rated attention in both children with ADHD and typically developing children. Phospholipid DHA level at follow-up was higher for children receiving EPA/DHA supplements than placebo. There was no effect of EPA/DHA supplementation on cognitive control or on fMRI measures of brain activity. This study shows that dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduces symptoms of ADHD, both for individuals with ADHD and typically developing children. This effect does not appear to be mediated by cognitive control systems in the brain, as no effect of supplementation was found here. Nonetheless, this study offers support that omega-3 supplementation may be an effective augmentation for pharmacological treatments of ADHD.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 10/30/15:

    J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Sep;27(9):2915-9.

    Effects of combined exercise on physical fitness and neurotransmitters in children with ADHD: a pilot randomized controlled study.

    [Purpose] The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of a jump rope and ball combined exercise program on the physical fitness the neurotransmitter (epinephrine, serotonin) levels of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    [Subjects and Methods] The subjects were 12 boys attending elementary school, whose grade levels ranged from 1-4. The block randomization method was used to distribute the participants between the combined exercise group (n = 6) and control group (n = 6). The program consisted of a 60-min exercise (10-min warm-up, 40-min main exercise, and 10-min cool down) performed three times a week, for a total of 12 weeks.

    [Results] The exercise group showed a significant improvement in cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance and flexibility after 12 weeks. A significant increase in the epinephrine level was observed in the exercise group.

    [Conclusion] The 12-week combined exercise program in the current study (jump rope and ball exercises) had a positive effect on overall fitness level, and neurotransmission in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 1/8/16:

    Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Jan 7.

    Acute Exercise Improves Mood and Motivation in Young Men with ADHD Symptoms.

    PURPOSE: Little is known about whether acute exercise affects signs or symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. This experiment sought to determine the effects of a single bout of moderate intensity leg cycling exercise on measures of attention, hyperactivity, mood and motivation to complete mental work in adult men reporting elevated ADHD symptoms.

    METHODS: A repeated measures crossover experiment was conducted with 32 adult men (18-33 years) with symptoms consistent with adult ADHD assessed by the Adult Self-Report Scale V1.1. Measures of attention (CPT, Bakan), motivation to perform the mental work (VAS), lower leg physical activity (accelerometry) and mood (POMS, ARCI amphetamine scale) were measured before and twice after a 20-min seated rest control or exercise condition involving cycling at 65% VO2 peak. Condition (Exercise versus Rest) X Time (Baseline, Post-1 and Post-2) ANOVAs tested hypothesized exercise-induced improvements in all outcomes.

    RESULTS: Statistically significant Condition x Time interactions were observed for vigor (p < .001), amphetamine (P < .001), motivation (P = .027), and POMS depression (P = .027), fatigue (P = .030), and confusion (P = .046) scales. No significant interaction effects were observed for leg hyperactivity, simple reaction time or vigilance task performance (accuracy, errors or reaction time). CONCLUSION: In young men reporting elevated symptoms of ADHD, a 20-minute bout of moderate intensity cycle exercise transiently enhances motivation for cognitive tasks, increases feelings of energy and reduces feelings of confusion, fatigue and depression but has no effect on the behavioral measures of attention or hyperactivity employed. Be well! JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 02/14/16:

    Nutr Neurosci. 2016 Feb 11.

    Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention.

    Objective: L-theanine is a constituent of tea which is claimed to enhance cognitive functions. We aimed to determine whether theanine and theanine-caffeine combination have acute positive effects on cognitive and neurophysiological measures of attention, compared to caffeine (a positive control) and a placebo in healthy individuals.

    Design: In a placebo-controlled, five-way crossover trial in 20 healthy male volunteers, we compared the effects of l-theanine (200 mg), caffeine (160 mg), their combination, black tea (one cup) and a placebo (distilled water) on cognitive (simple [SVRT] and recognition visual reaction time [RVRT]) and neurophysiological (event-related potentials [ERPs]) measures of attention. We also recorded visual (VEPs) and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) to examine any effects of treatments on peripheral visual and motor conduction, respectively.

    Results: Mean RVRT was significantly improved by theanine (P = 0.019), caffeine (P = 0.043), and theanine-caffeine combination (P = 0.001), but not by tea (P = 0.429) or placebo (P = 0.822). VEP or MEP latencies or SVRT did not show significant inter-treatment differences. Theanine (P = 0.001) and caffeine (P = 0.001) elicited significantly larger mean peak-to-peak N2-P300 ERP amplitudes than the placebo, whereas theanine-caffeine combination elicited a significantly larger mean N2-P300 amplitude than placebo (P < 0.001), theanine (P = 0.029) or caffeine (P = 0.005). No significant theanine × caffeine interaction was observed for RVRT or N2-P300 amplitude. Discussion: A dose of theanine equivalent of eight cups of black tea improves cognitive and neurophysiological measures of selective attention, to a degree that is comparable with that of caffeine. Theanine and caffeine seem to have additive effects on attention in high doses. Be well! JP

  11. JP Says:

    Updated 03/09/16:

    Br J Nutr. 2016 Jan;115(2):361-73.

    A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial investigating the behavioural effects of vitamin, mineral and n-3 fatty acid supplementation in typically developing adolescent schoolchildren.

    Nutrient deficiencies have been implicated in anti-social behaviour in schoolchildren; hence, correcting them may improve sociability. We therefore tested the effects of vitamin, mineral and n-3 supplementation on behaviour in a 12-week double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial in typically developing UK adolescents aged 13-16 years (n 196). Changes in erythrocyte n-3 and 6 fatty acids and some mineral and vitamin levels were measured and compared with behavioural changes, using Conners’ teacher ratings and school disciplinary records. At baseline, the children’s PUFA (n-3 and n-6), vitamin and mineral levels were low, but they improved significantly in the group treated with n-3, vitamins and minerals (P=0·0005). On the Conners disruptive behaviour scale, the group given the active supplements improved, whereas the placebo group worsened (F=5·555, d=0·35; P=0·02). The general level of disciplinary infringements was low, thus making it difficult to obtain improvements. However, throughout the school term school disciplinary infringements increased significantly (by 25 %; Bayes factor=115) in both the treated and untreated groups. However, when the subjects were split into high and low baseline infringements, the low subset increased their offences, whereas the high-misbehaviour subset appeared to improve after treatment. But it was not possible to determine whether this was merely a statistical artifact. Thus, when assessed using the validated and standardised Conners teacher tests (but less clearly when using school discipline records in a school where misbehaviour was infrequent), supplementary nutrition might have a protective effect against worsening behaviour.

    Be well!


  12. JP Says:

    Updated 03/28/16:

    Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Mar;95(12):e3096.

    Dietary Habits Are Associated With School Performance in Adolescents.
    Kim SY1, Sim S, Park B, Kong IG, Kim JH, Choi HG.

    Several studies suggest that dietary habits are associated with poor academic performance. However, few studies have evaluated these relations after adjusting for numerous confounding factors. This study evaluated the frequency of various diet items (fruit, soft drinks, fast foods, instant noodles, confections, vegetables, and milk) and the regularity of meal times (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) all at once.A total of 359,264 participants aged from 12 to 18 years old were pooled from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS) for the 2009 to 2013 period. Dietary habits over the last 7 days were surveyed, including the regularity of consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner and the frequency of eating fruits, soft drinks, fast foods, instant noodles, confections, vegetables, and milk. Physical activity, obesity, region of residence, subjective assessment of health, stress level, economic level, and parental education level were collected from all of the study participants. School performance was classified into 5 levels. The adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of dietary habits for school performance were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression analyses with complex sampling. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the effects of diet factors on school performance while considering the effects of other variables on both diet factors and school performance.Frequent intakes of breakfast (AOR = 2.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.20-2.48), fruits (AOR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.62-1.86), vegetables (AOR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.37-1.61), and milk (AOR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.28-1.43) were related to high levels of school performance (each with P < 0.001). In contrast, soft drinks (AOR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.38-0.46), instant noodles (AOR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.55-0.70), fast food (AOR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.72-0.96), and confectionary (AOR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.80-0.93) were negatively associated with school performance (each with P < 0.001).This study confirms previous studies of school performance and dietary habits that find a positive association with eating breakfast and consuming fruits and milk and a negative relation with soft drinks, instant noodles, fast foods, and confections. Be well! JP

  13. JP Says:

    Updated 04/06/16:

    J Res Pharm Pract. 2016 Jan-Mar;5(1):22-6.

    Omega-3 and Zinc supplementation as complementary therapies in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of zinc and omega-3 supplements as adjunctive drugs in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) of children.

    METHODS: This study is a randomized, double-blind clinical trial conducted on 150 children aged 6-15 years old that diagnosed as new cases of ADHD. Study subjects were evaluated for 8 weeks. Besides of drug of choice (methylphenidate) for the ADHD, patients received placebo in the control group (n = 50), zinc sulfate in second group (n = 50), and omega-3 (n = 50) in third group. Clinical improvement was checking by Conners’ Parent and Teacher Rating Scales before and in 2(nd), 4(th), and 8(th) week of treatment. Results were analyzed with SPSS version 16 software.

    FINDINGS: In this study, mean scores of Conners’ scale showed significant improvement during treatment in the zinc group compared to control group in children that affected to attention-deficit disorder subtype of ADHD (P = 0.02). Moreover, in omega-3 group, better clinical response was seen than other groups (P < 0.05). However, there was no significant difference between omega-3 group compared to placebo group in the mean scores of Conners' scale (P = 0.89). CONCLUSION: Zinc supplementation accompanied by the main treatment significantly improves symptom of attention-deficit disorder subtype of ADHD. However, omega-3 supplementation was superior to zinc and placebo in the clinical improvement of ADHD. Be well! JP

  14. JP Says:

    Updated 06/04/16:

    Front Psychol. 2016 May 10;7:578.

    Mindful Reading: Mindfulness Meditation Helps Keep Readers with Dyslexia and ADHD on the Lexical Track.

    This study explored the effects of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on reading, attention, and psychological well-being among people with developmental dyslexia and/or attention deficits. Various types of dyslexia exist, characterized by different error types. We examined a question that has not been tested so far: which types of errors (and dyslexias) are affected by MBSR training. To do so, we tested, using an extensive battery of reading tests, whether each participant had dyslexia, and which errors types s/he makes, and then compared the rate of each error type before and after the MBSR workshop. We used a similar approach to attention disorders: we evaluated the participants’ sustained, selective, executive, and orienting of attention to assess whether they had attention-disorders, and if so, which functions were impaired. We then evaluated the effect of MBSR on each of the attention functions. Psychological measures including mindfulness, stress, reflection and rumination, lifesatisfaction, depression, anxiety, and sleep-disturbances were also evaluated. Nineteen Hebrew-readers completed a 2-month mindfulness workshop. The results showed that whereas reading errors of letter-migrations within and between words and vowelletter errors did not decrease following the workshop, most participants made fewer reading errors in general following the workshop, with a significant reduction of 19% from their original number of errors. This decrease mainly resulted from a decrease in errors that occur due to reading via the sublexical rather than the lexical route. It seems, therefore, that mindfulness helped reading by keeping the readers on the lexical route. This improvement in reading probably resulted from improved sustained attention: the reduction in sublexical reading was significant for the dyslexic participants who also had attention deficits, and there were significant correlations between reduced reading errors and decreases in impulsivity. Following the meditation workshop, the rate of commission errors decreased, indicating decreased impulsivity, and the variation in RTs in the CPT task decreased, indicating improved sustained attention. Significant improvements were obtained in participants’ mindfulness, perceived-stress, rumination, depression, state-anxiety, and sleep-disturbances. Correlations were also obtained between reading improvement and increased mindfulness following the workshop. Thus, whereas mindfulness training did not affect specific types of errors and did not improve dyslexia, it did affect the reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to stay on the straight path of the lexical route while reading. Thus, the reading improvement induced by mindfulness sheds light on the intricate relation between attention and reading. Mindfulness reduced impulsivity and improved sustained attention, and this, in turn, improved reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to read via the straight path of the lexical route.

    Be well!


  15. JP Says:

    Updated 06/11/16:

    Nutrients 2016, 8(6), 352

    Dietary, Nutrient Patterns and Blood Essential Elements in Chinese Children with ADHD

    Dietary or nutrient patterns represent the combined effects of foods or nutrients, and elucidate efficaciously the impact of diet on diseases. Because the pharmacotherapy on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was reported be associated with certain side effects, and the etiology of ADHD is multifactorial, this study investigated the association of dietary and nutrient patterns with the risk of ADHD. We conducted a case-control study with 592 Chinese children including ADHD (n = 296) and non-ADHD (n = 296) aged 6–14 years old, matched by age and sex. Dietary and nutrient patterns were identified using factor analysis and a food frequency questionnaire. Blood essential elements levels were measured using atomic absorption spectrometry. A fish-white meat dietary pattern rich in shellfish, deep water fish, white meat, freshwater fish, organ meat and fungi and algae was inversely associated with ADHD (p = 0.006). Further analysis found that a mineral-protein nutrient pattern rich in zinc, protein, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and riboflavin was inversely associated with ADHD (p = 0.014). Additionally, the blood zinc was also negatively related to ADHD (p = 0.003). In conclusion, the fish-white meat dietary pattern and mineral-protein nutrient pattern may have beneficial effects on ADHD in Chinese children, and blood zinc may be helpful in distinguishing ADHD in Chinese children.

    Be well!


  16. JP Says:

    Updated 08/28/16:

    Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016 Jul 26;12:1869-82.

    Critical appraisal of omega-3 fatty acids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment.

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder. The classical treatment of ADHD where stimulant medication is used has revealed severe side effects and intolerance. Consequently, the demand to search for alternative treatment has increased rapidly. When comparing levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) in ADHD patients with those in age-matching controls, lower levels are found in ADHD patients’ blood. ω-3 PUFAs are essential nutrients and necessary for a proper brain function and development. Additionally, there are strong indications that ω-3 PUFA supplements could have beneficial effects on ADHD. However, the results of ω-3 PUFA supplementation studies show a high variability. Therefore, we reviewed recent studies published between 2000 and 2015 to identify effective treatment combinations, the quality of design, and safety and tolerability of ω-3-containing food supplements. We searched the databases MEDLINE, PubMed, and Web of Science with keywords such as “ADHD” and “ω-3/6 PUFA” and identified 25 studies that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The results of these ω-3 PUFA studies are contradictory but, overall, show evidence for a successful treatment of ADHD symptoms. Tolerability of the given supplements was high, and only mild side effects were reported. In conclusion, there is evidence that a ω-3 PUFA treatment has a positive effect on ADHD. It should be added that treatment could be more effective in patients with mild forms of ADHD. Moreover, the dosage of stimulant medication could be reduced when used in combination with ω-3 PUFA supplements. Further studies are necessary to investigate underlying mechanisms that can lead to a reduction of ADHD symptoms due to ω-3 PUFA treatments and also to determine the optimal concentrations of ω-3 PUFAs, whether used as single treatment or in combination with other medication.

    Be well!


  17. JP Says:

    Updated 12/08/16:

    Nutr Neurosci. 2016 Dec 7:1-8.

    Effect of vitamin D supplementation as adjunctive therapy to methylphenidate on ADHD symptoms: A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have shown that serum levels of vitamin D were lower in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) children compared to healthy controls. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of vitamin D supplementation as adjunctive therapy to methylphenidate on symptoms of children with ADHD.

    METHODS: Sixty-two children aged 5-12 years with a diagnosis of ADHD based on DSM-IV criteria were randomly assigned into two groups to receive either 2000IU vitamin D or placebo in addition to methylphenidate for 8 weeks. Symptoms severity was assessed by Conner’s Parent Rating Scale-Revised[S] (CPRS), ADHD rating scale-IV (ADHD-RS), and Weekly Parent Ratings of Evening and Morning Behavior (WPREMB) at weeks 0, 4, and 8. Serum levels of 25(OH)D were measured at baseline and after 8 weeks. Anthropometric variables, dietary intake, physical activity, sun exposure, and side effects were assessed.

    RESULTS: Fifty-four participants completed the trial. After 8 weeks of supplementation, serum levels of 25(OH)D significantly increased in the vitamin D group. ADHD symptoms decreased significantly in both groups (P < 0.05). Evening symptoms and total score of WPREMB scale were significantly different at weeks 4 and 8 between the two groups (P = 0.013, 0.016, respectively), but no differences were found in symptoms by CPRS and ADHD-RS scales. DISCUSSION: Vitamin D supplementation as adjunctive therapy to methylphenidate improved ADHD evening symptoms. Future research is needed to clarify vitamin D effects as monotherapy in ADHD and its mechanism. Be well! JP

  18. JP Says:

    Updated 12/14/16:

    Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Dec 5.

    Reduced inattention and hyperactivity and improved cognition after marine oil extract (PCSO-524®) supplementation in children and adolescents with clinical and subclinical symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

    INTRODUCTION: This study investigated the effects of a marine oil extract (PCSO-524®) on inattention, hyperactivity, mood and cognition in children and adolescents. PCSO-524® is a standardised lipid extract of the New Zealand green-lipped mussel and is an inflammatory modulator that inhibits the 5′-lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase pathways and decreases concentrations of the pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid (AA).

    METHODS: PCSO-524® or a matched placebo was administered for 14 weeks to 144 participants (123 males/21 females; mean age 8.7 years) with high hyperactivity and inattention in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The primary outcome was the Conners Parent Rating Scale assessing parental reports of behavioural problems. Secondary outcomes assessed changes in cognition and mood.

    RESULTS: The results of the present study did not support the hypothesis that PCSO-524® improves parental reports of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity in children ages 6 to 14 years over placebo. Repeated measures ANOVA on post hoc subsample analysis indicated significant improvements in hyperactivity (p = 0.04), attention (p = 0.02), learning (p = 0.05) and probability of ADHD (p = 0.04) with a medium to large average effect size (d = 0.65) in those children who did not meet criteria for combined hyperactivity and inattention. Furthermore, significant improvements in the PCSO-524® group were indicated in a whole sample repeated measures ANCOVA on recognition memory between baseline and week 8 over placebo (p = 0.02, d = 0.56); this difference was not sustained at week 14.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results presented indicate that PCSO-524® may be beneficial in reducing levels of hyperactivity and inattention in a population of children with clinical and subclinical symptoms of ADHD.

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  19. JP Says:

    Updated 01/26/17:

    PeerJ. 2017 Jan 12;5:e2883.

    Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    This study investigated whether a yoga exercise intervention influenced the sustained attention and discrimination function in children with ADHD. Forty-nine participants (mean age = 10.50 years) were assigned to either a yoga exercise or a control group. Participants were given the Visual Pursuit Test and Determination Test prior to and after an eight-week exercise intervention (twice per week, 40 min per session) or a control intervention. Significant improvements in accuracy rate and reaction time of the two tests were observed over time in the exercise group compared with the control group. These findings suggest that alternative therapies such as yoga exercises can be complementary to behavioral interventions for children with attention and inhibition problems. Schools and parents of children with ADHD should consider alternatives for maximizing the opportunities that children with ADHD can engage in structured yoga exercises.

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  20. JP Says:

    Updated 11/01/17:

    The Journal of At-Risk Issues Summer 2006 volume 12 number 27

    Using Stress Balls to Focus the Attention of Sixth-Grade Learners

    Sheryl Stalvey and Heather Brasell

    Abstract: This pilot study investigated the effects of allowing sixth-grade students in a rural south Georgia school to use stress balls during direct instruction and independent practice. Data from learning style inventories, surveys, journals, teacher observations, and formal assessments were collected for 29 sixth-grade students in a language arts class. Students were videotaped and observed for three weeks before the intervention and for seven weeks when they used the stress balls. The frequency of distraction incidents decreased during both direct instruction and independent practice when students used stress balls. Kinesthetic learners used the stress balls more consistently and their attention spans increased more when compared to other learners. Student achievement on writing paragraphs improved. Based on journal entries, all types of learners thought that their attitude, attention, writing abilities, and peer interaction improved due to stress ball use.

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  21. JP Says:

    Updated 12/05/17:

    J Med Food. 2017 Nov 8.

    The Effect of Experimental Supplementation with the Klamath Algae Extract Klamin on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurobiological condition with onset in childhood. The disorder is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and/or motor hyperactivity, which often affect the development and social integration of affected subjects. Phenylethylamine (PEA), naturally contained in the Klamath Lake microalgae and concentrated in the Klamin® extract, is an endogenous molecule with a general neuromodulatory activity. It functions as an activator for the neurotransmission of dopamine and other catecholamines, and very low concentrations of PEA may be associated with specific psychological disorders such as ADHD. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of the Klamin extract in treating a group of subjects diagnosed with ADHD. Thirty subjects, aged 6-15, who had been diagnosed with ADHD according to the DSM-IV TR criteria, were enrolled. The supplement was administered to all the subjects, who reported to an ADHD clinic for routine follow-up visits. Observations were made and data collected over a 6-month period. After 6 months of therapy the subjects appeared to show significant improvements based on assessments of their overall functioning, behavioral aspects related to inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, attention functions in both the selective and sustained component and executive functions. The study appears to confirm the initial hypothesis that the Klamin extract may positively affect the expression of ADHD symptoms. Additional larger studies on the effects of Klamin on ADHD are needed to further investigate the potential of this extract in ADHD treatment.

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  22. JP Says:

    Updated 1/2/18:

    J Obes. 2017;2017:5923862.

    Relationship between Obesity and Cognitive Function in Young Women: The Food, Mood and Mind Study.

    Limited research addresses links between obesity and cognitive function in young adults. Objective. To investigate the relationship between obesity and cognitive function in young women. Methods. This cross-sectional study recruited healthy, young (18-35 y) women of normal (NW: BMI = 18.5-24.9 kg·m-2) or obese (OB: BMI ≥ 30.0 kg·m-2) weight. Participants completed a validated, computer-based cognitive testing battery evaluating impulsivity, attention, information processing, memory, and executive function. Questionnaires on depression and physical activity and a fasting blood sample for C-reactive protein and the Omega-3 Index were also collected. Cognition data are presented as z-scores (mean ± SD), and group comparisons were assessed via ANOVA. Potential confounding from questionnaire and blood variables were evaluated using ANCOVA. Results. 299 women (NW: n = 157; OB: n = 142) aged 25.8 ± 5.1 y were enrolled. Cognition scores were within normal range (±1 z-score), but OB had lower attention (NW: 0.31 ± 1.38; OB: -0.25 ± 1.39; ES: 0.41, CI: 0.17-0.64; p < 0.001) and higher impulsivity (NW: 0.36 ± 1.14; OB: -0.07 ± 1.07; ES: 0.39, CI: 0.15-0.62; p=0.033). Confounder adjustment had minimal impact on results. Conclusion. The OB group had normal but significantly lower performance on attention and were more impulsive compared to NW participants. This may indicate early cognitive decline, but longitudinal research confirming these findings is warranted. Be well! JP

  23. JP Says:

    Updated 2/15/18:

    Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2018 Feb 10.

    Effectiveness of super brain yoga for children with hyperactivity disorder.

    PURPOSE: This study aimed at determining the effectiveness of super brain yoga for children with hyperactivity disorder.

    DESIGN AND METHOD: This quasiexperimental and interventional research was conducted on 80 school-age children through a pretest-posttest design.

    RESULTS: Results showed that there was a significant difference between the means of severity of hyperactivity disorder before (75.1) and after the intervention (63.5) (p < .001). PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Practicing super brain yoga reduced the symptoms of hyperactivity disorder among the school-age children. Be well! JP

  24. JP Says:

    Updated 10/14/18:

    Explore (NY). 2018 Aug 22.

    Beneficial Effects of School-based Mindfulness Training On Impulsivity in Healthy Adolescents: Results From a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Since impulsivity is associated with unhealthy behaviors in adolescents, interventions targeting impulsivity could positively affect such behaviors. Whether integrating mindfulness training (MT) into standard school-based health education could improve impulsivity is unknown.

    PURPOSE: To obtain preliminary estimates of effect of MT integrated in standard high school health education on impulsivity.

    METHODS: Two high schools in Massachusetts were randomized to school-based health education plus MT (HE-MT) or to health education plus attention control (HE-AC). The outcome was change in impulsivity at end of treatment (EOT) and 6 months after EOT.

    RESULTS: Students (n = 53; 30 HE-MT, 23 HE-AC) were on average 14.5years old and 40% belonged to ethnic minorities. Compared to the control condition, HE-MT had significant effects on impulsivity at EOT (beta = -9.7; SE = 3.8, p = 0.01), while smaller, non-significant differences were seen 6 months after EOT.

    CONCLUSION: This rigorous pilot study suggests that MT could have a beneficial effect on impulsivity in adolescents. Improvements in impulsivity could have important implications should future larger studies show that such improvements result in healthier behaviors.

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  25. JP Says:

    Updated 10/19/18:

    Eur J Nutr. 2018 Oct 16.

    The effects of acute wild blueberry supplementation on the cognition of 7-10-year-old schoolchildren.

    PURPOSE: Previous evidence suggests consumption of flavonoids, a sub-class of polyphenols, is associated with improved cognitive function across the lifespan. In particular, acute intervention of a flavonoid-rich wild blueberry (WBB) drink has been shown to boost executive function (EF), short-term memory and mood 2-6 h post-consumption in 7-10-year-old children. However, confirmation of the aspects of EF and memory susceptible to WBB ingestion is required, particularly during childhood, a critical period of neurological development. In addition, the child literature on berry flavonoid supplementation and cognition highlights the potential for such interventions to elicit positive benefits to real-world educational scenarios, such as reading, a complex ability which relies upon aspects of cognition already known to improve following WBB.

    METHODS: Here we examined which aspects of EF and memory are susceptible to acute WBB, as well as investigating whether acute WBB could further benefit reading ability. Fifty-four healthy children, aged 7-10 years, consumed a 200 ml WBB drink (253 mg anthocyanins) or a matched placebo according to a randomised, single-blind, parallel-groups design. Verbal memory (Auditory Verbal Learning Task; AVLT), EF (Modified Attention Network Task; MANT), and reading efficiency (Test of Word Reading Efficiency-2; TOWRE-2) were assessed at baseline and 2 h post-consumption.

    RESULTS: For the MANT, significantly quicker RTs were observed for WBB participants when compared to placebo participants on 120 ms trials, without cost to accuracy. Furthermore, WBB participants showed enhanced verbal memory performance on the AVLT, recalling more words than placebo participants on short delay and memory acquisition measures post-consumption. Despite these significant improvements in cognitive performance, no significant effects were observed for reading measures.

    CONCLUSION: Consumption of WBB was found to significantly improve memory and attentional aspects of EF. This indicates that a flavonoid-rich blueberry product, equivalent to 240 g or 1½ cups of fresh blueberries can provide acute cognitive benefits in children. These findings support accumulating evidence that flavonoid-rich products are beneficial for healthy brain function, particularly during critical developmental periods. However, the lack of findings relating to reading ability suggested acute WBB may not be sufficient to elicit benefits to reading. Chronic supplementation and other more sensitive reading measures should be considered for examining the effects of WBB on such a complex skill in the future.

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