- Adderall is a common medication used to treat symptoms of ADHD — and it can be a life-changing treatment. However, like any other pharmaceutical, it doesn’t come without risks.
- One of the most common issues associated with Adderall use is nutrient depletion. Essential vitamins and minerals may not be absorbed properly when using Adderall, and these can induce even worse symptoms over time if not addressed.
- Taking certain daily supplements is recommended for both ADHD patients and people using Adderall. In fact, symptoms of nutrient deficiencies like B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium can be extremely similar to those of ADHD. Paying attention to your nutrient needs can drastically improve your quality of life with ADHD.
Fidgeting, not feeling clued-in on social cues, and hyperactivity…
Living with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD) can feel extremely isolating.
Getting an official diagnosis often feels like reaching the light at the end of a tunnel. Finally, you (or your child) can begin treatment.
But before jumping into stimulant treatment for ADHD, it’s important to understand the risks and side effects of this unique pharmaceutical.
Although stimulant medications like Adderall may seem like the easy answer to your problems, they can cause unnecessary side effects (nutrient deficiencies, for example).
Understanding your risk for deficiency and knowing how to treat it is key to using Adderall responsibly. By working alongside your medication (instead of against it), you can safeguard yourself from side effects and even help to improve your symptoms over time.
Let’s explore Adderall vitamin deficiencies and the best supplements for ADHD.
Table of Contents:
- Is Adderall Vitamin Deficiency Common?
- What Vitamins Does Adderall Deplete?
- Best Supplements for ADHD
- More to Know About Adderall: It May Induce Mitochondria Dysfunction
- High Potency B Vitamins Could Be a Game Changer for Your ADHD Symptoms
Is Adderall Vitamin Deficiency Common?
Yes, vitamin deficiency caused by Adderall is common, although it often goes untreated.
Vitamin deficiencies can sometimes mirror symptoms of ADHD (especially since they can mess with brain structure), so they may go undetected.
There also may be knowledge gaps, where both patients and doctors aren’t well informed to look out for nutrient deficiency symptoms caused by Adderall.
Finally, it takes a few months for nutrient stores to drop noticeably. This means, you may feel better initially when taking Adderall, but run into more symptoms later, especially if you choose to discontinue the drug. Symptoms of nutrient deficiencies may be “brushed off” as a relapse.
Here’s how Adderall can cause nutrient deficiencies: It blocks absorption in the gut and interferes with the metabolization of nutrients. It can even cause nausea, divert regular eating patterns, and make you crave more junk food.
What Vitamins Does Adderall Deplete?
Adderall is most commonly associated with these deficiencies:
- B vitamins (particularly B12)
- Vitamin C
Like any pharmaceutical medication, Adderall can induce changes within the body (some desired, some not). Side effects in the form of nutrient deficiency are not only common but should be anticipated.
Our recommendation is to stay ahead of Adderall vitamin deficiency by eating a nutrient-dense diet of whole foods. For well-known deficiencies (like vitamin C and magnesium), it’s prudent to take daily supplements that make up for the lack of these nutrients in our food supply.
Finally, remember to pay attention to your body and track any symptoms that pop up while taking stimulants. You may experience different Adderall side effects than other people.
Best Supplements for ADHD
A recent study documents the relationship between ADHD and a predisposition to nutrient deficiencies. Even before using Adderall, it’s well-documented that ADHD patients may not have enough magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
If you’re hesitant about getting a prescription for Adderall, it may be helpful to try building up your vitamin and mineral stores before trying the medication. Or, if recent Adderall shortages make the drug unavailable to you, supplements may help mitigate symptoms while you wait.
In another study, vitamin D and magnesium supplements were shown to “decrease conduct problems, social problems, and anxiety and shy scores compared to placebo.”
On the flip side, this shows how important it is to keep up with your supplements while taking Adderall — so your symptoms don’t become worse over time due to poor vitamin and mineral absorption.
Here are some of the best supplements for ADHD, regardless of your relationship with Adderall:
1) Magnesium and Adderall
Magnesium is well-known for its connections to better digestion, headache relief, improved sleep quality, and sore muscle relief. But it’s also closely associated with brain function. This study shows magnesium’s unique role in nerve signal transmission. It explains, “[Magnesium] deficiency contributes to systemic low-grade inflammation, the common denominator of most diseases. In particular, neuroinflammation is the hallmark of neurodegenerative disorders.”
It’s estimated that about half of the population isn’t getting enough magnesium. And by “enough,” we mean the bare minimum required for organ and brain function. Magnesium deficiency isn’t your fault — and most likely stems from industrialized farming practices and extremely processed foods that are stripped of nutrients.
But supplementing extra magnesium alongside a healthy whole-food diet could make a real difference in your symptoms. Look into options like magnesium L-threonate to support your brain, and magnesium glycinate for a calming effect.
2) Vitamin C and Adderall
Vitamin C is the master antioxidant. It's most well known for its ability to protect the cells against free radical damage and boost the immune system. Vitamin C is also used by the body to create neurotransmitters in the brain — which could directly impact symptoms of ADHD.
It’s so common to “band-aid” a disease by using pharmaceutical medications to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. However, getting to the root cause of ADHD with supplements like vitamin C is possible — and often more effective long-term.
3) Vitamin B12 and Adderall
When it comes to dopamine and serotonin production (hormones responsible for mood, sleep, and emotional wellness), vitamin B12 is a key player. It may be connected with anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity.
One study looked at vitamin levels in patients diagnosed with ADHD versus patients without it. The ADHD patients had inherently lower levels of vitamin B12 and B6.
Whether or not you’re using Adderall, supplementing with B vitamins may help to reduce your symptoms naturally, and keep you more stable throughout your journey.
More to Know About Adderall: It May Induce Mitochondria Dysfunction
Here’s an important thing to know about Adderall: You’re not supposed to use it long-term. Adderall is supposed to re-balance and increase neurotransmitters in the brain. But overuse can have the opposite effect — increasing mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and even DNA damage.
This occurs because of:
- Excess glutamate released in the brain.
- Increased reactive oxygen (a free radical) production in the cells.
- Lowered ATP levels leading to cell death.
According to studies, the combination of free radical damage and lowered ATP can produce a significant loss of nerve terminals (which release neurotransmitters), potentially leading to nerve injuries, chronic illnesses, and long-term brain and memory concerns.
Stimulants may boost dopamine in the brain for a time, but can eventually cause depletion. Especially when going off the medication, dopamine depletion is a real concern — and may leave you feeling worse.
Adderall can be a life-changing intervention for people struggling with ADHD. However, it’s important to understand the risks and do everything you can to prevent them. Look to the root cause of ADHD (potentially, nutrient deficiencies) and do your best to support your whole body when pharmaceuticals are necessary.
High Potency B Vitamins Could Be a Game Changer for Your ADHD Symptoms
When you first went to the doctor to discuss your ADHD symptoms, did they talk with you about potential vitamin deficiencies?
It’s extremely common for patients with ADHD to have lower levels of B vitamins. This may be due to ADHD causing increased stress on the body, heightening the need for available B vitamins.
Or, it could be directly related to the root cause of your diagnosis.
Either way, most people with ADHD (especially those using Adderall) feel better when they supplement with high-potency B vitamins. Vitamins and minerals are important safeguards that help to protect your brain while you’re taking pharmaceuticals, too.
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