Find our updated list of natural alternatives to ADHD meds here for more ideas!
Five years ago, when it was confirmed that our oldest son, then three, was suffering from severe ADHD, I knew that I would treat him naturally. Medication was not and has not been our desire, and though it’s been a tough journey, we are gaining victory every day! A few months ago, our holistic practitioner suggested several supplements, some of which we tried and some we decided to wait on. After all, we had tried magnesium before without seeing any improvements in behavior, so it wasn’t high on our list of priorities. However, once we learned that we had magnesium deficiency, we decided to begin supplementation.
According to studies, “magnesium is known to play a major role in cellular metabolism and is critical for nervous system functioning. [Deficiency] in magnesium leads to biochemical deregulation and may contribute to psychological and neurological disorders.” (source)
In other words, magnesium is critical to brain health and cellular function. This probably isn’t news to you, because we know that all vitamins and minerals play their own critical parts in the health of our bodies, including our brains. But what you might not know, is that all magnesium is not created equally! Through our practitioner, we learned about a new form of magnesium, formulated especially for brain health! According to this article by Dr. David Perlmutter, “one of the most aggressively studied forms of magnesium threonate is a patented product called Magtein, developed by researchers at MIT including a Nobel Prize winner. Their research has demonstrated actual restoration of function in aging neurons in laboratory animals. Further, it appears that this specific form of magnesium, Magtein, may in fact be the only form of magnesium that significantly increases the levels of magnesium within the brain.”
This sounded promising, so we were excited to give it a try! We got our new supplement in the mail late in the day and gave our son his first dose that evening. I could not believe what a huge difference I saw in his behavior the next day, after only one dose! He was so much calmer and was better able to focus on his schoolwork (we homeschool). It seems to help to calm his mind and we’ve noticed less anger and Oppositional Defiant Disorder-type outbursts. I have started taking it as well and it has helped with headaches as well as increased energy. If we run out or forget to take it for a few days, I notice behavioral changes and am reminded to start back up with it.
There is only one kind we have tried, and it’s the only one our holistic practitioner has recommended, so we have stuck with it and ordered several bottles now. We buy from a trusted brand whose supplements we have found to be helpful, as well as free of junky ingredients. The kind we use is called MagMind, and we follow the supplementation directions on the bottle: two capsules in the morning (I feel this has been key to starting his brain off right first thing!) and one capsule with dinner.
Other Helpful Supplementation
As you may know, diet has been such an important change we’ve made for our health, and we now stick to a mostly paleo/primal diet, free of grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed dairy (we love our raw milk and cheese!).
There are a couple of other supplements that we always take, no matter what: a good probiotic and a high-quality fish oil, and it should be noted that just as any old magnesium supplement won’t give you the same results as magtein, we are pretty picky about the probiotics and fish oil we take. The only probiotic we have had success with time and time again is GutPro, and we use extra virgin cod liver oil. Good gut bacteria is the basis for good health overall, and the good omega fats in cod liver oil support and nourish the brain.
We have recently begun a new supplement routine with an innovative product called Neural Balance. So far, the results are promising, as impulse control continues to improve and hyperactivity is diminished. Check it out here.
While I prefer that we get as many nutrients as we can from whole, organic foods, it’s just not possible to get high doses of things like magnesium and other vital nutrients from our depleted and over-farmed soils. We do our best and try to eat our veggies, but wise supplementation can be helpful to fill in the gaps.