HEALTHY LIVING
08/14/2011 11:17 am ET | Updated Oct 14, 2011

A Spot Of Tea Could Help ADHD: STUDY

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If you are one of numerous adults who suffer from attention deficient/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there may be a simple solution to help ease your symptoms right in your cupboard … tea. A recent article suggests that the caffeine in tea may help ease fatigue and improve focus in people with ADHD.

However, we should note that this is currently only a hypothesis; this group has conducted no research as of yet. Their point though could be valid. Stimulants are often successfully used in the treatment of adult ADHD and the scientists propose that consuming stimulants in the diet as caffeine, may be just as beneficial and easier to do. We’re not saying you should throw out your ADHD medication yet, but there does seem to be some validity to the hypothesis.

If this sounds like something you want to try, start your own experiment.

  • Start with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning with breakfast.
  • Make sure that the tea is not herbal, such as rooibos, chamomile, ginger, etc.
  • Green, black, earl grey, English/Irish breakfast, and white tea are all great options.
  • To keep your calories down, have the tea or coffee without milk or sugar.
  • You could also add a cup to your lunch, but just be aware that caffeine can interfere with sleep, so you might want to schedule your tea party to happen before noon.

Another way to attack adult ADHD without the drugs is through cognitive behavioral therapy. Working with a therapist on ways to handle various situations could help harness your focus. If you want to control your symptoms through diet, in addition to caffeine, also consider the quality of your diet. One study found that teens that ate a “western” diet (high in fast food, pizza, sugar, sodium) were more likely to suffer from ADHD. A diet high in protein and low in saturated fat that includes organic vegetables and fruits, flaxseed, primrose or omega-3 oils, has been found to be beneficial to some with ADHD.

More from FYI Living:

Tea: The Drink That Helps Preserve Your Brain

ADHD Not Hype, It’s in Our Genes

Ditch the Neon Colors: Food Dyes May Contribute to ADHD

How Tea May Help with Adult ADHD

Summary


Psychiatric ailments like adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) result in disruption of the functioning of many domains of the brain. Consumption of stimulants is a common treatment for ADHD in adults usually resulting in a 70 to 80 percent success rate, but is often not followed rigorously, resulting in the continuation of certain symptoms. Tea is a well-liked and mild stimulant and is effective in treating ADHD symptoms in adults. “The caffeine in tea can reduce one’s fatigue, increase people’s self-confidence, motivation, alertness, vigilance, efficiency, concentration and cognitive performance,” according to the researchers of this recent study.

Introduction


ADHD is a developmental condition that manifests in an adult by causing impulsive hyperactivity without focus. The sufferer finds it hard to complete important tasks and be organized, resulting in an overall bad performance in life. Other consequences that patients with ADHD face are depression, anxiety, and addictions. The most successful treatment for ADHD is the use of stimulants. These stimulants lessen ADHD symptoms like inattention and restlessness, and improve alertness, focus and even short-term memory. However, the use of stimulants is harmful beyond certain doses. Many people with ADHD do not adhere to the prescribed dose and therefore continue to experience the symptoms. This paper recommends tea drinking as an easy solution for ADHD treatment.

Methods

  • In this study, the effects of caffeine consumption on human behavior are considered.
  • Physiological reasons for the effects of caffeine are discussed.

  • Certain effects that cannot be experimentally demonstrated are also discussed in this study.
  • The effect of caffeine treatment on human and animal subjects is explained. Coffee and tea are traditional drinks in many parts of the world and are known to cause desirable effects. The properties of tea as a desirable stimulant for treating ADHD are discussed.

Results

  • When blood plasma levels of caffeine reach 0.25 to 2 mg/L, it results in improved mood, better performance at certain tasks like driving and typing, and lessening of tiredness in patients with ADHD. It is found that there are not many harmful effects at this caffeine level.
  • Caffeine acts by antagonizing brain receptors, resulting in modulation of neuronal activity. The areas of brain that it affects are involved in thinking, remembering and understanding.
  • Although it has not been possible to experimentally show these effects in humans, after caffeine consumption has reported improved concentration, mood and attention span.
  • The addition of small doses of caffeine to medical treatment of ADHD shows improved effects. Improved memory has also been shown in rats treated with caffeine.

Conclusion


In the U.S., 4.4 percent of the adult population suffers from ADHD carried over from childhood. Recently, the awareness has increased, and so there is pressure to find treatments for ADHD. Although the use of stimulants is the best-known way to treat the syndrome in adults, it is hard to get into the habit of taking these drugs consistently. In addition, dose-dependent side effects of these drugs are a big concern. Tea is a popular drink all over the world and a known stimulant. When compared to dry coffee, dry tea has more caffeine at 32 to 42 mg/150 ml and is probably more effective in stimulating the human mind. This paper proposes drinking tea as an effective, safe and convenient way to treat the residual symptoms of ADHD seen in adults.

For More Information:

Tea Consumption May be an Effective Active Treatment for Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Publication Journal: Medical Hypotheses, 2011
By Kezhi Liu; Xuemei Liang; Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.