Six Guidelines for Taking ADD / ADHD Supplements

by | Jun 7, 2011 | ADHD Symptom Control | 5 comments

ADD / ADHD SupplementsTaking your supplements and vitamins to get the best results for treating your Adult ADD / ADHD can be a bit confusing. What time of day should you take them? With or without food? How fast will they work? Today I’ll share with you my six guidelines for taking ADD / ADHD supplements.

The first place to look for information is on the package. Sometimes everything you need to know is there. Except what if the package doesn’t say?

Six Guideline for Taking ADD / ADHD Supplements

  1. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, the most common ADD / ADHD supplement, can usually be taken any time of day. If you take more than 1000 mg of Omega-3s per day it makes sense to divide the dose. It usually doesn’t matter what time of day you take multivitamins.
  2. Think full stomach and plenty of fluids. Unless otherwise directed, take your supplements at meal time. If you don’t have consistent meal times, many adults with ADD / ADHD don’t, do you eat at least one meal regularly? Here’s a blog post to guide you in remembering to take your supplements.
  3. Take vitamins and supplements consistently. A couple of years ago my doctor recommended I take a vitamin vacation on weekends. Gradually I noticed how on Mondays my thinking was foggier and I was more sluggish. With my doctor’s agreement, I started taking my ADD / ADHD supplements on weekends again. Mondays aren’t hard for me anymore.
  4. Be patient. Vitamins and supplements aren’t magic pills. You may not notice the full effect of adding a new supplement for a couple of months. This is the hardest idea for my ADD coaching clients to grasp. ADD / ADHD adults aren’t patient people. We want immediate results. Give those fish oil pills at least two months before you ditch them and move on to something else.
  5. Pay attention. Following the recommendation of Dr. Ned Hallowell, my favorite ADD guru, I tried taking 2000 mg of Omega-3 Fatty Acids a day; his recommended dosage for treating adult ADD / ADHD. Except at 2000 mg I noticed my legs and arms got achy. When I cut back to one gram the aches went away. I eat an Omega-3 rich diet, so I suspect I can take less Omega-3  supplements. Perhaps that was the problem. I don’t really know, but I listen to my body.
  6. Tell your doctor. Be sure to keep your physician up-to-date on what supplements you take to treat your ADD / ADHD.

A number of people have written asking what multivitamin and Omega-3 supplements I recommend. Here’s what the Rayburn family takes: NOW Foods Special Two multivitamin and NOW Foods Omega-3. The price is reasonable and our trustworthy, healthfood co-op recommends the NOW brand. I like how easy it is to buy them from Saves a trip to the store so we never run out and can follow these important guidelines for taking ADD / ADHD supplements.


  1. Mary Bruner

    So far this is the first web page I have found plotted out easy to read. Along with ADD, i am dyslexic, so my patients for trying to read long explanations on what I can do to help myself is limited!! I have found as an adult, my ADD is getting harder to manage. And currently having no insurance, rules out the options of getting medicine from a doctor. My ADD is not only effecting my work environments, but me relationships with not only my life partner but friends and family also! No one seems to understand it, and they are also running out of patients with me. I hope what I have found on your site will help get me on the right path. Thank you for making this simple and easy to understand with out all the hoopla!!

  2. Abir Chakraborty

    Extremely useful. But i am still confused on the daily dosage of omega 3 as there are sundries of recommendations making it very complicated. The products also contain different amount of omega3 making it further confusing.
    Is there any right recommendation of omega3?

    • Dana Rayburn

      ADHD experts, Drs. Edward Hallowell and Daniel Amen, recommend between 2000 and 4000 mg a day of a high quality fish oil.

  3. Nancy

    Hi Dana, I am finding many more articles on adhd than add. I don’t have the “H.” I am wondering if doses of fish oil are as helpful or more helpful to one or the other diagnosis. Also, how much is too much? I know you mentioned your legs hurting, but other than that? Also, What Dosage of EPA, which I’ve read is more highly recommended ? Thank you so much. I’ve had no luck with adderol

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Nancy! Great questions. Fish oil is recommended for Inattentive Type ADHD (no H), too. The rule of thumb according to Drs Hallowell and Amen is 2000 – 4000 mg a day. What I tell my clients is if they eat a diet rich in Omega-3s than aim for the lower number. If they don’t eat an Omega 3 rich diet than go for the higher number. Even if the medication works I recommend boosting your brain care – diet, sleep, exercise, hydration, Omega-3s, meditation, etc. Good luck!



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