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Best Supplements For ADHD: Vitamins, Minerals & Herbs For Focus

Morgan Chamberlain
Author: Medical reviewer:
May 27, 2023
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
Darja Djordjevic, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical review by
Darja Djordjevic, M.D., Ph.D.
Darja Djordjevic holds an MD PhD from Harvard Medical School and She is a Clinical Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Nassau University Medical Center in New York.
May 27, 2023
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

If you’re an individual living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you’ve probably noticed that certain aspects of your diet can help support focus and attention, while others make your symptoms significantly more challenging to manage. 

When I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2022, I wondered if medication was the only option. Sure, it can help you keep up with neurotypicals, but those side effects? Yikes. And if you hadn’t considered a more natural remedy for ADHD before last year, I’m willing to bet you’ve had to at least contemplate operating sans prescription during the nationwide Adderall shortage (which is still going on, btw). 

The truth is that although supplements aren’t a direct replacement for stimulants, they can certainly help you achieve healthy micronutrient levels and enhance your ability to focus and concentrate

What are the best supplements for ADHD?

“There is growing evidence to support the use of supplements in individuals with ADHD,” explains naturopath and nutritionist Katherine Maslen, N.D. She recommends addressing the symptoms of ADHD that impact a patient’s mental health, cognition, and sleep with herbal medicine and nutrition support for the nervous system, neurotransmitter function, and sleep/wake cycle (such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium).

Board-certified integrative neurologist Romie Mushtaq, M.D. adds that while supplements can help with attention and overall brain health, they aren’t meant to replace prescription medication (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse). That said, supplementation can be a beneficial facet of a holistic care plan. “In addition to a healthy diet, high-quality supplements can help provide your brain with the nutrients it needs to support neurotransmitters involved in focus and attention,” she says. 

ADHD supplement ingredients to look for


Omega-3 fatty acids

Of all the supplement ingredients on this list, omega-3 fatty acids have the most compelling evidence supporting their efficacy for protecting and supporting brain function in individuals with ADHD. 

“Fish oil is one of my go-to supplements when it comes to helping neurodiverse patients,” Maslen previously wrote for mindbodygreen. “It's literally food for your brain, so it's no surprise that research backs up its use in ADHD. We know that adults and children diagnosed with ADHD tend to be low in omega-3 fatty acids1 and that supplementation improves clinical symptoms of ADHD2 in both children and adolescents.”

Mushtaq explains that essential fatty acids (i.e., omega-3s and omega-6s), aka EFAs, also play an important role in brain function and structure. “Omega-3s are especially important for protecting brain tissue and aiding communication between brain cells. A 2017 Dietary Lipids in Health and Disease review investigated the benefit of omega-3 and omega-6 in treating ADHD in children and young adults; EFA supplements showed improvements in attention, visual learning, short-term memory, hyperactivity, and impulsivity,” she says.

Consider a premium fish oil supplement that delivers 1.5 to 2 grams (or 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams) of EPA plus DHA for optimal brain health benefits.


Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is critical for a number of cognitive functions that impact ADHD—namely, serotonin production3 and dopamine regulation4. Additionally, evidence suggests a link between vitamin D deficiency (VDD) and ADHD exists, especially in children and adolescents. 

In a 2018 meta-analysis from Advances in Nutrition, children and adolescents with ADHD were found to have lower vitamin D levels5 than the general population. What’s more, a 2018 Annals of Pharmacology clinical trial found that vitamin D supplementation helped improve cognitive function6 in children with ADHD and VDD.

Given the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency among U.S. adults (29% are deficient7 and other 41% are insufficient) and the evidence suggesting increasing vitamin D intake can enhance cognitive functions in ADHD patients, both Meslan and Mushtaq recommend that individuals with ADHD get their serum 25(OH)D levels checked and take a quality daily D supplement to optimize their vitamin D status.

To achieve truly optimal vitamin D levels [i.e., 25(OH)D levels of 50 ng/ml or above], look for a high-quality vitamin D supplement that delivers 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (not D2).


B vitamins

B vitamins play vital roles in cognitive function, mood regulation, stress management, and help synthesize numerous neurotransmitters—including dopamine and norepinephrine. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that B vitamin insufficiencies are prevalent in the ADHD population. 

Case in point: Individuals with ADHD were found to have lower concentrations8 of riboflavin (B2), vitamin B6, and folate (B9) in a 2016 BJPsych Open study. A link between MTHFR gene polymorphisms and a number of psychological disorders (including ADHD) has also been found in recent studies, according to a 2022 9PLOS One9 meta-analysis9. Seeing as individuals with MTHFR gene variations aren’t able to convert methylation-critical B vitamins as efficiently, Mushtaq says it’s “important to support methylation with lifestyle changes and supplements.”

These bioactive B vitamins include:

  • B2: riboflavin-5-phosphate
  • B6: pyridoxal-5-phosphate
  • B9: (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (the active form of folate)
  • B12: methylcobalamin


A 2021 meta-analysis from Scientific Reports found that patients with ADHD are more likely to have lower circulating levels of zinc and may be more prone to zinc deficiency10 than individuals without ADHD. This essential mineral is critical for neurotransmitter production and overall gut health, and researchers hypothesize that these mechanisms may lead people with ADHD to be affected by inadequate levels.

Zinc levels should be considered when developing a holistic ADHD treatment plan. 


Caffeine & L-theanine

As a stimulant, caffeine influences the brain’s dopamine system like ADHD stimulant medications do (though, in slightly different ways). 

"Stimulant medications for ADHD work to increase the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain by slowing down its reabsorption, thus promoting increased focus," Uma Naidoo, M.D., a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist and author of This Is Your Brain On Food previously told mindbodygreen.

"Therefore, consuming stimulating substances like caffeine can have similar effects on those with ADHD. Modest amounts of caffeine have been shown to help improve focus, stimulate the mind, and clear brain fog. Individuals with ADHD benefit from this form of a 'brain boost' as it helps them to focus on completing each task at hand." 

It’s no surprise that many people with ADHD self-medicate with caffeine—sometimes even before they receive a formal diagnosis. However, caffeine usage can come with a plethora of side effects (e.g., heart palpitations, jitteriness, anxious thoughts). That’s where L-theanine comes in.

L-theanine has been shown to mellow out some of caffeine’s stimulant effects and increase alpha waves11 in the brain, which can help you achieve a “flow state” as you work. In a small 2020 randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in Scientific Reports, researchers found that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine was more effective at alleviating ADHD symptoms in boys (including mind wandering, rash behavior, and inhibitory control) than either phytonutrient on its own. 

The zen, focused calm that comes from this synergistic duo can be helpful for individuals with ADHD when they’re trying to channel their energy into a task that requires concentration. 



Iron is another micronutrient that people with ADHD can fail to get enough of—84% of children with ADHD12 had significantly lower iron levels than kids without ADHD in one JAMA Pediatrics study. 

Iron regulates dopamine productio13n, which means getting enough in your diet and/or supplementation routine is an important aspect of managing ADHD symptoms. In fact, one study from the Annals of Medical Health Sciences Research suggests that “low iron stores may explain up to 30% of ADHD severity14.”

Consider testing your iron levels to see if you could benefit from adding this essential mineral to your supplement regimen.



Magnesium can help support individuals with ADHD thanks to its ability to calm an overactive nervous system15 (which is common in ADHD). In a 2020 study published by the international Journal of Preventive Medicine, a magnesium supplement was found to help improve behavior problems in children with ADHD when paired with vitamin D. 

Be sure to check for magnesium deficiency with a blood test before adding a supplement to your daily routine.


Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi (aka water hyssop) is an Ayurvedic herb that helps balance neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin16, soothe the nervous system, and enhance memory. In a clinical trial published by Advanced in Mind-Body Medicine, 225 milligrams of brahmi extract daily was found to significantly reduce symptoms in 85% of children with ADHD17, including inattention, impulsivity, restlessness, and poor self control.


Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Another adaptogenic herb that can help support folks with ADHD is gingko. In one clinical trial published in a German journal, children with ADHD that took 240 milligrams of Gingko biloba extract daily for three to five weeks saw a reduction in symptoms18 with minimal negative side effects. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What vitamins help with ADHD and anxiety?

When it comes to essential vitamins, vitamin D3 and B vitamins are most valuable for supporting individuals with ADHD. A number of other supplement ingredients—including minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron; omega-3 fatty acids; and botanicals like brahmi and Gingko biloba—can also be beneficial for managing ADHD symptoms.

What supplements and vitamins boost dopamine in ADHD?

Individuals with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine and often struggle to maintain healthy dopamine synthesis. Many supplement ingredients—including vitamin D3, B vitamins, caffeine, iron, and the Ayurvedic herb brahmi—have been scientifically shown to support dopamine synthesis and/or regulation.

The takeaway

ADHD is a complex neurological disorder that’s impacted by nutritional choices and lifestyle choices. As such, many individuals with ADHD seek out alternative treatment options to use instead of or in conjunction with more traditional ADHD treatment options (i.e., stimulant medication and cognitive behavior therapy). 

Although supplements aren’t a direct replacement for ADHD medications, there are many vitamins, minerals, bioactives, and botanicals that have clinically demonstrated efficacy in reducing ADHD symptoms and supporting focus and concentration. If you’d like to try one or more of the ingredients on this list, be sure to talk to your health care provider to come up with a holistic treatment plan.

Morgan Chamberlain author page.
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.