View Full Version : Journal Reports on Effects of Supplements on ADHD, Cognitive Performance, Etc.

02-18-17, 05:24 PM
This thread is for the posting of journal reports (preferably full text, but abstracts if that is all you can find free of charge) on the demonstrated effects of supplements on ADHD or related cognitive impairments. And, of course, I also mean to invite informed discussion & criticism of the methods and results of such journal reports. There is no intention of trying to limit the scope to only "pro-supplement" interpretations.

However, there are other threads for your general opinions about supplements vs pharma meds, or your experiences with any of the supplements mentioned, so please don't post those here unless you are actually citing research or specifically commenting on cited research.

While mactavish's old 2009 thread is on point, I felt it was getting very long and cluttered, making it hard to focus on finding recent research on supplements, some of which is becoming more interesting with the use of newer imaging technologies and more refined tests of cognitive performance.

As well, I have noticed citations of published research are also sprinkled around many other threads, as well, making them even harder for others to find and compare. So as I come across posts specifically citing published research, credible or otherwise, I would like to repost those here, if that is permissible, so we can start collecting supplement research citations in one place, regardless of the thread in which they initially were posted, or the point originally being made.

Finally when posting supplement research, please include somewhere in the post (1) the names of the supplements referred to so your post will come up in a search of that supplement, and (2) the year of original publication, to make it easier to see what is most recent.

I hope this thread will -- over time-- become something of interest and value to others besides myself. Thank you for your cooperation.

02-18-17, 05:54 PM
why are we so sure there is "no benefit" for those with ADHD, depression, etc?

Not really wanting to be a poster girl for supplements (and I realize "research" can often point in different directions until the key processes and interactions are pinned down), but I said I would post a line of research showing fairly modest amounts of ordinary supplements had measurable cognitive effects in healthy people, so here it is.

Kennedy et al 2010
[Berocca= multivitamin & minerals: Vit. C B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 Folic Biotin B12 Calcium Magnesium Zinc see ] found small but significant performance improvements in the supplemented group;
White et al, 2016 [MVM=multi-vitamins & minerals: Vit. C B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 Folic Biotin B12 Calcium Magnesium Zinc see Table 1] using fMRI found observable changes in functional brain activity after supplementation, though these were not clearly reflected in corresponding changes in performance (however neither tasks nor sample size were designed to detect small changes in performance).
[plus I recall seeing a study from UK along these lines by somebody named Green that I just can't find at the moment]

Of course both studies leave open the question whether the results reflected suboptimal nutritional status in the study population rather than the value of higher-than-recommended intakes for cognitive tasks. But as long as the supplemented group and the control group were adequately matched and randomly assigned, the improvements in the supplemented group suggest at least making sure you are getting more than the recommended dietary intake of (at least) the common B & C vitamins used in these studies.

Finally I just have to mention one more study supporting supplements--this time for ADHD--that veers into the realm of weirdness by apparently using good RCT methods to study what must be Canada's most controversial supplement, Empower Plus, by Truehope: Rucklidge et all, 2014

However of the 36 nutrients (I couldn't find a complete list of ingredients, though it reportedly includes 14 vitamins, 16 minerals, 3 amino acids, and 3 antioxidants) in the product, the study monitored blood concentrations of only 9. Of those, the only ones for which the differences between the test and control groups were statistically significant were B6, B12 and Vitamin D (not that any symptom reduction had to come only from the 9).

Between the potential for individual genetic and epigenetic differences now discoverable from gene research and the functional and metabolic data now available from the neuroimaging technologies (such as PET, SPECT, and fMRI), it seems possible that some of the controversy and conflicting data in our understanding of nutrition, drug therapies, and sympton clusters will start to yield some useful treatment guidelines.

02-18-17, 06:38 PM
This PubMed article was cited in another paper on conventional Western supplements cited by Rockefeller83 (here:, the article on TOHM being

Although the authors were critical of the quality of research they reviewed (most of it claiming TOHM was as effective as methylphenidate), and although they concluded "Currently, there is not strong evidence that TOHM is effective in treating the core symptoms of ADHD....", I thought it was interesting to bring in material published in Chinese, Japanese and Korean language in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, which (where specified) includes botanical supplements available but not commonly referenced in the West, including Codonopsis Ophiopogonis Rehmannia Schisandra chinensis Scrophularia Glycyrrhiza Acori tatanowii Ginseng Polygala etc. see Table 2).

With newer methods of measuring outcomes, it will be interesting to see what further developments are published in the years following 2010.