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NIH National Center for Complementary Health 7/2/19
More than 6 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although stimulant medications have been shown to be helpful for ADHD symptoms, some people also use complementary health approaches.
The evidence on whether omega-3 fatty acid supplements are helpful for ADHD symptoms is inconclusive. Some studies have shown modest benefits, but omega-3s don’t work as well as stimulant medications.
Melatonin may be helpful for sleep disorders in people with ADHD, and it appears to be safe when used short term. However, little is known about its long-term safety.
There’s not enough evidence to support the use of pycnogenol or ginkgo biloba for ADHD.
St. John’s wort is no better than a placebo (an inactive substance) for ADHD symptoms. This herb interacts in undesirable and potentially dangerous ways with many medicines.
There isn’t enough evidence to draw any conclusions about whether acupuncture is safe or helpful for ADHD symptoms.
No firm conclusions can be drawn about whether meditation-based therapies are helpful for ADHD. However, exercise, including yoga, can have short-term benefits on ADHD symptoms.
If you’re considering using any complementary health approach for ADHD for your child, discuss it with the child’s health care provider.