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Nutrition and Herbs for ADHD

Nutrition for Anxiety + Sleep Support in ADHD

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Due to stressful working conditions and aging, inflammation, and sometimes coexisting health conditions, it is estimated that one-third of the world population suffers from sleep disorders, mainly insomnia, and these disorders are more frequent in women and in the elderly. A whopping 40-60% of ADHDers report sleep issues.

Sleep disorder significantly affects the life quality of a large number of people but is still an underrecognized disease. Dietary nutrition is believed to play a significant impact on sleeping wellness.

Common sleep disorders reported in ADHD in both adults and children include
early and middle insomnia, nocturnal awakening, nocturnal activity, snoring, restless sleep, parasomnias, nightmares, daytime sleepiness, delayed sleep phase disorder, short sleep time and anxiety around bedtime.

Current evidence suggests that healthy eating patterns that meet food-based dietary recommendations and nutrient requirements may assist in the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety and can assist in a better night's sleep.

Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to the underlying pathology of behavioral health disorders because of the essential role of nutrients in the neuroendocrine system including anxiety and insomnia. Nutrients, including tryptophan, vitamin 6, vitamin 12, folic acid (folate), phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine, choline, and glutamic acid are necessary for production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are involved in the regulation of mood and cognition and are the main neurotransmitters connected to ADHD.

Melatonin is a circadian hormone produced at night by the pineal gland, regulated by the light/dark cycle, under the control of the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Melatonin is an indoleamine, synthesized from the essential amino acid tryptophan via serotonin which ADHDers often have an imbalance.

In my opinion, because Melatonin is a hormone, it is best to increase Melatonin naturally vs. taking a supplement. 

Some tips on addressing low melatonin naturally:
  • 2 ounces organic tart cherry juice 1 hour before bed if needed for sleep
  • Blue light blockers
  • Exercise in the morning 
  • Lower stress levels (including toxins)

Nutritional support for Anxiety and Sleep in ADHD

  • Marine-derived omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids regulate dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmission, which can decrease both depression and anxiety and aid in a better night's rest
  • Increasing natural melatonin production through fruits, vegetables, and tart cherry juice supports a decrease promotes an increase in sleep quality and aa reduction in ADHD symptoms
  • Eat healthy proteins. Amino acids help reduce anxiety and are precursors for ADHD hormones/neurotransmitters.Studies have suggested that diet deficient in omega-3 essential fatty acids  disturbed nocturnal sleep though affecting the melatonin rhythm and circadian clock functions
  • Increase vitamins + minerals through whole fruits and vegetables daily

1:1 Support for ADHD


If you have ADHD and you are struggling with sleep and anxiety, you are not alone.  It can get overwhelming learning what herbs and supplements are safe & effective for your ADHD needs. I'm here to guide you and be your partner. My holistic protocols are simple and effective. It is my mission to provide genuine, caring, & safe ADHD support. Learn more about my process you can book a free discovery call here.

References

  1. Pereira N, Naufel MF, Ribeiro EB, Tufik S, Hachul H. Influence of Dietary Sources of Melatonin on Sleep Quality: A Review. Journal of Food Science. 2020;85(1):5-13. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.14952
  2. Wajszilber D, Santiseban JA, Gruber R. Sleep disorders in patients with ADHD: impact and management challenges. Nat Sci Sleep. 2018;10:453-480. Published 2018 Dec 14. doi:10.2147/NSS.S163074
  3. Lambrinakou S, Katsa ME, Zyga S, et al. Correlations Between Nutrition Habits, Anxiety and Metabolic Parameters in Greek Healthy Adults. In: Vlamos P, ed. GeNeDis 2016. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Springer International Publishing; 2017:23-34. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-57379-3_3
  4. Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS, Hibbeln JR, et al. Nutrition and behavioral health disorders: depression and anxiety. Nutr Rev. 2021;79(3):247-260. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuaa025
  5. Mah J, Pitre T. Oral magnesium supplementation for insomnia in older adults: a Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021;21(1):125. Published 2021 Apr 17. doi:10.1186/s12906-021-03297-z