Vitamins to Help Kids Focus

by Josienita Borlongan
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help improve your child's focus.

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help improve your child's focus.

Some children may exhibit attention or focus problems. Often, these attention problems manifest in children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Although prescription medication can aid in reversing the effects of ADD and ADHD, some vitamins can also help kids focus whether they have attention disorder or not.

Types

A study conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2007 shows that omega-3 supplements rapidly diminish ADHD, ADD and bipolar disorder among kids. Magnesium also helps alleviate attention span disorders and hyperactivity among children. Vitamin B6, an essential element for normal brain function, helps in processing brain chemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Iron fortifies the child's blood circulation to optimize the brain's function and responsiveness. Taking fatty acids and melatonin, zinc supplements can benefit a child with ADHD by regulating neurological structure.

Sources

The human body does not produce omega-3 fatty acids, which fall under the essential fatty acids found in polyunsaturated fats. You can find omega-3 in abundance in most oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel. You can also find omega-3 in flax oil and seeds, hemp oil, rapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybean oil and walnuts. When it comes to magnesium, Swiss chard and spinach are excellent sources while food sources for Vitamin B6 include cereals, banana, tuna, potato, chicken breast, pork and beef. Iron-fortified foods include almonds, apricots, black berries, cereals, chicken, eggs, green leafy vegetables, fish, kelp, peaches, pears, raisins, sesame seeds and turkey. Finally, the table of food sources for iron include oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, crab, lobster, breakfast cereals and dairy products.

Recommended Dosage

Kids with ADHD who are ages 1 to 13 should get 80 mg to 240 mg of magnesium. Iron starts at 11 mg for a 7-month-old child and older until the age of 13, when the amount should decrease to 8 mg. Give 2 mg zinc from the age of 6 months old to 8 mg when the kid reaches 13. As for vitamin B6, a daily intake of 0.5 mg for children between the ages of 1 and 3 years old, 0.6 mg for children 4 to 8, and 1 mg for children 9 to 13. When it comes to omega-3, there's no established dose for children. Children should avoid eating fish that have high concentration of mercury, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish.

Considerations

Consult your child's doctor before administering these supplements to help you choose what will work best for your child. Your child's doctor can give you guidance when it comes to proper dosage in addition to assessing the overall health of your child. He'll take into consideration your child's other existing health conditions if any exists and other medications that may counteract with taking additional supplements.

Warning

Excessive intake of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage to the arms and legs. Taking too much magnesium can cause an erratic mental state, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, extremely low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. Too much zinc causes nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches. Taking more than 200 mg iron per day can lead to blood poisoning. Do not give iron supplements to a child without checking with a doctor first. Iron can be toxic in children who have normal levels of iron.

About the Author

Josienita Borlongan is a full-time lead web systems engineer and a writer. She writes for Business.com, OnTarget.com and various other websites. She is a Microsoft-certified systems engineer and a Cisco-certified network associate. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from Saint Louis University, Philippines.

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