Most parents seeking nootropics for their kids are interested in their effects on attention or mood issues. If your child is struggling with troubles focusing or managing hyperactivity, it’s natural to look into alternative treatment plans that may help them in their daily life.
However, there is one main concern when considering adding nootropics to a child’s diet: safety. It’s important to remember that not every drug that is safe for adults is also safe for children. The brain is still growing and maturing at a young age, therefore you’ll only want to use nootropic supplements that have shown safety and efficacy before giving them to children.
Highlighted below are the nootropics that have been shown to safely help with attention and mood in children.
Natural Versus Synthetic Nootropics
Nootropics fall into two categories: natural and synthetic nootropics. Natural nootropics are derived from plant sources and pose a much smaller health risk than synthetic nootropics. In a way, you can think of synthetic nootropics as more of an experimental drug.
Clinical studies for nootropics are more frequently conducted on adults. While adults may choose to take the risk of using these compounds, more caution should be taken before giving them to kids since there are fewer studies that evaluate the safety profile of nootropic for kids.
Since natural nootropic supplements have the lowest risk associated with them, it is best to use these for children. Nevertheless, you’ll always want to discuss the addition of any supplements with your child’s physician as they can help you to determine whether a new supplement is appropriate and what dosage is best.
Nootropics for Increased Focus and Positive Mood
It seems like more and more children are having trouble focusing in class. They’re often distracted and may struggle to finish their work. They can sometimes battle impulsivity and mood problems including aggression or frustration. Consequently, these children get diagnosed with attention disorders.
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Many parents would like to avoid prescription medications to alleviate these symptoms. Side effects can be severe, and sometimes it can be hard to tell if your child is just going through a normal stage or if it is something more serious.
Some natural nootropics highlighted below are the best targets for parents looking to help calm their kids down and give them the tools they need to focus.
Fish Oil: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Pediatric studies have found that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids have helped children with reading and writing disorders, dyspraxia (developmental difficulties that result in troubles with coordination), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.1
Additional findings suggest that fish oil supplements (the most common type of omega-3 supplement) may help boost mental performance in children aged eight to twelve with ADHD.
Another study found symptomatic improvements in attention, hyperactivity, behavior, and the ability to think clearly when children aged seven to twelve were given a supplement containing fish oil and evening primrose oil.2
While more research is required before conclusions can be drawn regarding the effect of omega-3 supplementation for kids with attention difficulties, these studies offer hope that fish oil may help.
As there are few side effects associated with omega-3 supplementation in children, it may be a good option for those who are seeking a natural aid for inattention and mood difficulties.3 Fish oil is perhaps the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, as it contains EPA and DHA, two of the omega-3 fatty acids thought to benefit brain health and mood.
Many children who struggle with inattentiveness and hyperactivity have lower levels of zinc in their bodies. Because zinc is used in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and in the maintenance of brain structure and function, it is not too surprising that a zinc deficit has been tied to psychological problems and a lack of alertness.4
In fact, zinc is used in the metabolism of melatonin, which is important for the regulation of sleep and the neurotransmitter dopamine. Learning, attention, and emotional response are a few things that dopamine helps to regulate. The progression of hyperactivity disorders has been tied to dopamine dysfunction. Therefore, making sure that your child is getting enough zinc may help improve symptoms of hyperactivity.5
Zinc sulfate, when used together with the ADHD drug Methylphenidate, has shown favorable effects for kids with ADHD. Studies have also found zinc supplements to decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity in children.6
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of zinc varies based on age. For children between the ages 9 and 13, the RDA of zinc is 13 mg.7 Be sure to speak with a physician before adding this supplement to your child’s daily routine.
American Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba
One study on kids between the ages of 3 and 17 years old found that 200 mg of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) plus 50 mg ginkgo biloba extract taken twice daily improved symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention.8
While the results of this particular study are promising, more research is needed to confirm the benefits of ginseng and gingko biloba on children with ADHD.
When it comes to improving cognition, it is best to maintain a healthy diet and have emotional support. Most physicians will recommend that you provide your child with the nutrients they need through a proper diet rather than supplementation unless there is a specific reason to believe supplementation may provide added benefits. Generally, this is in the case of deficiencies or health conditions.
Some studies suggest that certain natural nootropic supplements may help improve focus and attention in children who struggle with hyperactivity or have trouble focusing. Nevertheless, be sure to speak with your doctor before you start using any nootropics for your kids.
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