Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Basic First Steps

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a licensed physician or other qualified healthcare professional.


  • follow a Mediterranean-type diet with adequate protein and good fat to stabilize blood sugar
  • avoid processed foods
  • avoid sources of refined sugar
  • avoid sources of food additives
  • avoid any suspected allergic foods or foods you may be sensitive to

Nutrients to supplement daily:

  • multivitamin/mineral or B-complex
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • magnesium
  • zinc
  • fish oils

Further steps:

  • consider identifying potential food allergies and avoiding suspect foods
  • follow the Fiengold diet (See ADHD and Diet section)
  • test for iron deficiency
  • consider hair testing for lead and other heavy metals

Additional nutrients to consider supplementing:
(see each nutient for food sources and dosing information)

  • OPC formulas or nutrients (See OPCs) as single nutrients or formulas
  • B-complex (If not already taking)

If taking medications:

  • ask your doctor if they may be inducing your ADHD symptoms, and what can be done about it
  • research any associated nutrient depletions and consider supplementing those nutrients
  • do not discontinue taking medications without consulting with your doctor

Seek qualified guidance

  • Consider working with someone trained in Orthomolecular practice or Orthomolecular Psychiatry


Exercise has been shown to influence brain serotonin (Dunn, & Dishman, 1991) and may promote increased release of endorphins.

Exercise increased concentration scores in children with ADHD. These score increases were similar to two common ADHD medications (“Children with ADHD Concentrate Better after Walking in a Park,” n.d.).


Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the current moment, focusing on the breath, and bringing one’s awareness to the body.

Mindfulness training showed reductions in problem behaviors in adolescents with ADHD, and improvements in executive functioning (van de Weijer-Bergsma, 2012). Parents reported reduced parental stress and overreactive parenting after mindfulness training  (van de Weijer-Bergsma, 2012).

Dunn, A. L., & Dishman, R. K. (1991). Exercise and the neurobiology of depression. Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 19, 41–98.

Martinsen, E. W., Hoffart, A., & Solberg, Ø. Y. (1989). Aerobic and non-aerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Stress Medicine, 5(2), 115–120.

Moses, J., Steptoe, A., Mathews, A., & Edwards, S. (1989). The effects of exercise training on mental well-being in the normal population: a controlled trial. Journal of psychosomatic research, 33(1), 47–61.

Paluska, S. A., & Schwenk, T. L. (2000). Physical activity and mental health: current concepts. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 29(3), 167–180.

Petruzzello, S. J., Landers, D. M., Hatfield, B. D., Kubitz, K. A., & Salazar, W. (1991). A meta-analysis on the anxiety-reducing effects of acute and chronic exercise. Outcomes and mechanisms. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 11(3), 143–182.

Rakel, D., (2012). Integrative Medicine (3rd ed.). Elsiver.

van de Weijer-Bergsma E, Formsma AR, de Bruin EI, Bögels SM. The Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on Behavioral Problems and Attentional Functioning in Adolescents with ADHD. J Child Fam Stud. 2012;21(5):775-787.