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My ds has attention issues and we have always done other things to get him through school.  However, high school has really made him hit a wall.  We have outsourced some of his school and it is not going well. (Completing High School at home is not going great either)  He is very frustrated and complains he can't concentrate and will take hours to complete math. He is almost 16 and we did hold him back a year, but at this rate we will not make it through high school 😐

The dr wants to put him on ADD meds, but I have been told this could hinder if he decides to join the military later and he doesn't want to take the meds. 

Sorry for the ramble....Does anyone recommend a good natural alternative to ADD meds?  There are numerous on Amazon.  He has started protein shakes with a coffee shot and says that helps a little. 

I am hoping there are others who have walked this road and have experience and suggestions.

C

 

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One of mine has mild attention issues.  It does take effort to start work and to stay on task.  We have pinpointed 3 issues in Smart but Scattered Teens and work together on putting in work to accomplish.  It seems like winter break got us both off track.

We also take L-Theanine.  It does seem to help  .  Also exercise helps a lot. With coffee/tea first thing in the morning. He is going to the gym 3 mornings a week.  In the fall he is in a running team and practices hard.

For us local classes for school with outside accountability were key.  We did do some online through 9th for certain subjects.

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If he is very strong for the military otherwise, a lot of people do join with waivers.  

A lot of things require waivers. 

It does just depend.  

Something to ask about — for the military, do they look at whether he takes medication currently?  Could he go off it for a year before he would join the military?  I have heard of that but I don’t really know.

I think it is a catch-22 in some ways, because some people will say if they had had ADHD medication in high school, they would have done better in high school and not even joined the military.  

You can definitely talk to a recruiter about the military, it is not too early.  

In general, with waivers.... first, it depends on how many people they need to join, and how many people want to join.  Second, it depends on overall how good someone seems.  If someone seems great except one thing, they are a lot more likely to receive a waiver.  

If your son, for example, is very physically fit and has a high ASVAB score, he is a lot more likely to receive a waiver, than if he barely meets physical requirments and has a low ASVAB score.  That is basically how waivers work.  

It can just depend, though.  If they can fill all their slots without anyone who needs a waiver, then it is less likely.  

But many, many people receive waivers.  

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There are other reasons I really do not want him on medication.  Thought we can try a natural vitamin.  There were many listed on Amazon.  Hoping someone has experience with one.

 

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We use Native Remedies Focus ADDult and Triple Brain Tonic. No one here is officially diagnosed but my son and dh seem on the inattentive side and say it helps. It's a little pricey though.

Edited by summerreading
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Some people find heavy exercise first thing in the morning is very helpful--a 6 AM swim or run can help at least for the first part of the day. (I once taught a kid who did well as long as he got an hour's exercise before school AND took his meds AND played soccer year-round. It also helped some that he had PE in the middle of the school day.)

I'd ask your pediatrician about supplements.

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Daily exercise without fail.

Whole30.

 

(Responding with lessons learned about my husband, not my young kids)

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My DS takes L-Theanine and it has changed his life in terms of calm and focus. I am in no way a bandwagon jumper and I am a huge skeptic until I see the neurobiological mechanisms to everything. However, a trusted friend was using it for her son and I saw incredible improvements in him. I decided to try it and it has been amazing. We have forgotten it a couple of times and it was readily noticable. My DH decided to try it as well and it has also been amazing for him. I was so close to trying medication at one point but this was what helped him enough to take that off of the table.

Edited by nixpix5
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7 hours ago, Slache said:

Daily exercise without fail.

Whole30.

Did you notice a difference with the Whole 30.  I eat this way anyway, but he does not.

 

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3 minutes ago, raganfamily said:

Did you notice a difference with the Whole 30.  I eat this way anyway, but he does not.

Yes. It took about 2 weeks.

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7 hours ago, nixpix5 said:

My DS takes L-Theanine and it has changed his life in terms of calm and focus.

Thank you!  I will order that and try it first.  This gives me hope.  He had two test grades come back since I posted a 44 in Biology and a 48 in Algebra I.  A's on all his homework and projects.  He is frustrated and I am frustrated and feeling more and more as a failure. 😞 

I did order Genius Conscious it is a powder to put in a drink.  Here it the label image.png.57c21e639a6e6ecc6220e7daf48efc27.png

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We get the Suntheanine chewables from Amazon which are a bit spendy but my little guy doesnt like swallowing pills. You can probably get it cheaper as a capsule.

Is there any chance he could have test anxiety exacerbating his focus issues too? My oldest grown son also had ADD and he had horrible test anxiety. It took him a long time to find a strategy that worked for him. 

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I have patients try a chelated magnesium, not oxide, to make sure a child is sleeping deeply first, then:

Tyrosine, an essential amino acid, raises dopamine, the brain chemical that ADHD drugs mostly affect.

 Neurolink by Designs for Health has tyrosine and nutrients to support other neurotransmitters. Rarely is there a problem with only one neurotransmitter.

I usually recommend it with Brain Vitale, also by Designs for Health, which helps with memory and motivation to learn.

But trying one, then the other, then the other is a good idea.

Eric Braverman M.D. used to have a great book about raising neurotransmitters naturally and now I can’t find it.

Dan Amen and Billie Jay Sahley’s books are good too.

It’s really criminal that drugs are even allowed to be recommended before these things.  It is an extremely rare pediatrician or psychiatrist who is even aware of these alternatives. We really live in a drug culture.

 

Edited by drjuliadc
Typo
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Daniel Amen has a variety of suggestions for what he considers different types of adhd—lists in one of his books, perhaps online.

I have found bacopa to help some.  Not theanine.  Which obviously is different than people above, and I think underlines that not all people have the same thing help.  

The same is true as I understand it for prescription medication where not all people with adhd are helped by same medication.  

 

Besides either supplements or medications it could be helpful to be sure he doesnt need basic nutrition improvements, vitamins and minerals.  

B-vitamins, zinc, other things also can easily be depleted when feeling stressed—and not being able to concentrate would itself be a stressor.  

Edited by Pen

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On 2/9/2019 at 6:19 AM, drjuliadc said:

I have patients try a chelated magnesium, not oxide, to make sure a child is sleeping deeply first, then:

Tyrosine, an essential amino acid, raises dopamine, the brain chemical that ADHD drugs mostly affect.

 Neurolink by Designs for Health has tyrosine and nutrients to support other neurotransmitters. Rarely is there a problem with only one neurotransmitter.

I usually recommend it with Brain Vitale, also by Designs for Health, which helps with memory and motivation to learn.

But trying one, then the other, then the other is a good idea.

Eric Braverman M.D. used to have a great book about raising neurotransmitters naturally and now I can’t find it.

Dan Amen and Billie Jay Sahley’s books are good too.

 

Thank you for this protocol.  I will get some of the magnesium today.    I will look into reading books from those authors, as well.

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High protein/low sugar whole foods

Good sleep and sleep hygiene!!!

Exercise

Pomodoros

Fidget/Activity to do while needing to focus

Patience 

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On February 7, 2019 at 9:11 AM, raganfamily said:

this could hinder if he decides to join the military later

Does he want to join the military? The only thing I've seen that is evidence-based and actually has some research on it is l-tyrosine. There was a study showing that in sufficient doses it could get results similar to Vyvanse. 

We waited till my dd was your ds' age to do meds. We tried the caffeine first and got a small bump, enough to let us know it was on the right track. All the other stuff is rabbit trails and not going to get him there. We got the meds and my dd's ACT scores went up 50% in a matter of months. That's the difference between top scholarships (which are what she got) and NOTHING. 

In other words, your ds might have a lot more capability than you realize that is not showing because he has not yet gotten access to the actual ADHD meds. You won't know till you try. If he LOVES the military, I see your point. But if the military thing was a back-up plan for thinking he couldn't do whatever else he wants to do, then maybe actually give him the meds and let him see what he can do. 

Edited by PeterPan

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On February 11, 2019 at 1:44 PM, Heathermomster said:

mindfulness breathing daily.

Yes, mindfulness for a brief amount daily is evidence-based to improve EF (executive function) by up to 30%. Highly recommend.

However for the op remember that you are already finding that stimulants (caffeine) make a significant difference. The half life is quite short on caffeine, which means he would have to dose over and over. Meds like Vyvanse use specialized delivery that will give very stable results and improve his ability to work for up to 12 hours, which is what he needs.

The other thing the op needs to consider is driving. The stats for unmedicated ADHD driving are scary. Your ds is ASKING for meds and he'll probably find they improve his comfort with driving also.

Have you thought about letting HIM have the choice? He's almost old enough to join the military, tote a gun, die for a cause. He's old enough to weigh the consequences of paths and choose whether he wants the meds or not. That's what we ended up doing because there were split opinions in our house.

Edited by PeterPan

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Your ds stands a lot better chance of getting into the military if he has good grades and a solid work ethic behind him.  That may mean taking ADHD meds now to develop the habits he needs to be successful and actually get through high school.  Yes, it's possible he may need to be off meds for a year before the military will accept him, but he may not want to join the military anymore at that point anyway, if being able to focus and be successful academically has opened up new options to him.    

If you and he are opposed to prescription meds at this point, you might want to research the mental focus benefits some get from L-tyrosine, cod liver oil/fish oil, sublingual B12, and/or intense exercise.  Perhaps you will decide one or more of those will be a better fit.  

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17 hours ago, PeterPan said:

The only thing I've seen that is evidence-based and actually has some research on it is l-tyrosine. There was a study showing that in sufficient doses it could get results similar to Vyvanse. 

 

You don't happen to know what doses they looked at, do you?

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14 minutes ago, MerryAtHope said:

 

You don't happen to know what doses they looked at, do you?

They were pretty high. The other thing is that it's more complicated than that because tyrosine is part of that whole serotonin, dopamine, etc. thing. So like if I give my ds tyrosine, his methyl levels go up. I think, and this is just me informally, that it's balances out with the rest. So it's not like some kind of impervious choice if the person has genetic defects affecting other pieces in that production cycle. You're definitely creating an imbalance.

I *think* the dose was in the 200-400mg a day range, but don't quote me. I don't know if the study will pop up if you board search. You can probably find it with google. There's a google scholar too, isn't there? I think geodob had given then link originally. 

So even though in theory it can work, my ds doesn't take it and my dd has stayed on her vyvanse. 

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Google scholar is scholar.google— but if u just add the words google and scholar as part of search terms u get mostly the academic links

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12 hours ago, MerryAtHope said:

Here's one interesting study that included l-tyrosine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035600/

I'm a little tired to read the whole thing through right now, but just skimming I notice they were using 5HTP *and* l-tyrosine, which is kind of interesting. When I tried l-tyrosine on my ds, who requires a pretty stiff dose of 5HTP to keep stable, the dosing of the l-tyrosine seemed to undo the effect of the 5HTP. Now he actually has genetic issues there, and they didn't run genetics to say which kids might have had low propensities due to genetics vs where they were topping off normal levels. I think it's more complicated than they imply, which could explain the unnuanced, boring results. Also, for ds the improvement of the l-tyrosine came pretty quickly but the destabilizing took more time to become obvious. Their 5-8 weeks seems really short to me to draw conclusions.

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5 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I'm a little tired to read the whole thing through right now, but just skimming I notice they were using 5HTP *and* l-tyrosine, which is kind of interesting. When I tried l-tyrosine on my ds, who requires a pretty stiff dose of 5HTP to keep stable, the dosing of the l-tyrosine seemed to undo the effect of the 5HTP. Now he actually has genetic issues there, and they didn't run genetics to say which kids might have had low propensities due to genetics vs where they were topping off normal levels. I think it's more complicated than they imply, which could explain the unnuanced, boring results. Also, for ds the improvement of the l-tyrosine came pretty quickly but the destabilizing took more time to become obvious. Their 5-8 weeks seems really short to me to draw conclusions.

 

Yes, and if you read the whole thing, they also include some other things. Promising/encouraging, but they also concluded that more studies are needed. I hope someone can do them though--it would be nice to have more solid options out there than just meds!

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Quote

I have patients try a chelated magnesium, not oxide,

What is the difference in chelated and oxide? I got some magnesium a few days ago for my daughter and now I look and see that it's oxide. Should I get the other kind?

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Oxide has very low absorption.  Glycinate, mslate, aspartate, citrate, threonate are all chelated forms of magnesium that are around 10 times more absorbable than oxide.  Oxide can be helpful for constipation though and it is not harmful.

it is almost universal for low quality supplements, like those carried in big box stores and drugstores, to have the oxide forms. They are cheaper for a reason.

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On 2/7/2019 at 1:53 PM, Melissa in Australia said:

We are currently trying fish oil. Mozart playing in the background and chewing gum for twins. The difference is very slight. 

I am not ready to use chemical control yet

 

We notice a difference not just with fish oil but increasing animal fats generally, avoiding hydrogenated vegetable fats, avoiding sugar, artificial colors and flavors.  Etc.  

 

On 2/11/2019 at 10:44 AM, Heathermomster said:

Heavy exercise and a minimum of 5 minutes mindfulness breathing daily.

 

On 2/11/2019 at 9:19 PM, Targhee said:

High protein/low sugar whole foods

Good sleep and sleep hygiene!!!

Exercise

Pomodoros

Fidget/Activity to do while needing to focus

Patience 

 

All this.  Sleep, exercise, mindfulness are major.  

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