ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are among the most over-diagnosed conditions in the United States, as evidenced by the volume of associated prescription drugs sold each year, like Ritalin and Adderall. While some people may have need for these medications, a far greater number can do as well, or even better, on natural alternatives scientifically validated to improve concentration and focus, and reduce hyperactivity enough to maintain level attention spans for given tasks. Each of them have no lasting negative side effects when taken in normal amounts, or even in large amounts, and in fact more often improve the short- and long-term health of the person who uses them.
- L-Tyrosine: L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that stimulates the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, two neurotransmitters key in helping mental focus and concentration. Taking 2-3 grams on an empty stomach, or more, can bring about a noticeable improvement in attention span.
- Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids are a proven “brain” supplement, which not only can lift your mood, but increase your ability to focus without getting easily distracted. For the most part, barring extremes, the more you take the better. You might not notice much difference with a few capsules or a single teaspoon, but take several tablespoons and you’ll really feel it.
- DMAE: DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol, is an amino alcohol naturally present in tiny amounts in the brain. It works by acting as a precursor to choline, which the brain uses to make a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which functions as a messenger molecule in the brain. Try 500mg on an empty stomach, if you’re using a powdered or capsule form, and if you don’t notice much effect, gradually increase the dosage until you do.
- Pycnogenol: Pycnogenol is an extract from the French maritime pine tree, that has a now medically-validated ability to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. A 2012 double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that daily supplementation of 1mg of pycnogenol per kilogram of body weight produced a significant reduction in hyperactivity and inattention, and a marked improvement in motor-visual coordination, in children with an average age of 9 1/2 after just one month. The results were based on formal psychological evaluation, as well as measurements on three other metrics—the Child Attention Problems Scale, the Connor’s Teacher Rating Scale, and the Connor’s Parent Rating Scale.
- Phosphatidyl Serine: Phosphatidyl Serine is a phospholipid crucial in supporting memory function, in addition to higher brain functions concentration and mental acuity, and it has been the subject of more than 3,000 research papers and 60 clinical trials. Daily supplementation of just 500mg has been proven to improve overall brain function, even visible on brain scans.
- Huperzine A: Hyperzine A is an extract from the Chinese club moss Huperzia serrate. While DMAE acts as a precursor two steps removed from acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter, Huperzine A works by protecting acetylcholine itself. It not only improves mental focus and concentration, but it also boosts memory, so much so that it’s more commonly used in China by students preparing for examinations for an extra boost.