ADHD And Magnesium

ADHD And Magnesium: Can Magnesium Help Symptoms of ADHD?

magnesium supplement


Importance of Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals necessary for human survival. Magnesium serves hundreds of functions within our cells, yet studies show that between 68% and 80% of Americans do not consume the governments recommended daily intake of magnesium. Even more frightening are studies showing that around 1 in 5 Americans do not consume even half of the government’s recommended daily intake of magnesium.

Magnesium is important because it has been shown to build and strengthen our bones, contribute to a healthy immune response, relax our muscles, produce enzymes responsible for energy, help in transmitting nerve signals, regulate blood pressure and essential vitamins and minerals in our body.


Why Is Magnesium Deficiency So Prominent?

There are a number of factors that contribute to low magnesium levels:

  • Aging
  • Consumption of too much alcohol
  • Stress and sickness
  • Drug dependency, over the counter drugs, or taking prescription drugs such as antibiotics, birth cortisone, control pills, asthma medications or diuretics, to name a few
  • Diuretics found in tea and coffee (caffeine) also raise excretion levels
  • Diets high in sugar cause Magnesium to be excreted from the body
  • Modern farming techniques contribute to the depletion of magnesium from topsoil
  • Consumption of highly processed foods


Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Although having one or more of these symptoms does not mean you have magnesium deficiency-they should be explored with your doctor:

  • Potassium deficiency
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Weakness
  • Decreased attention span
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tremors
  • Respiratory issues
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor memory
  • Dizziness
  • Type II diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Poor heart health


Magnesium and ADHD

A number of experts believe that children with ADHD may have a mild magnesium deficiency. In one preliminary study of 75 magnesium-deficient children with ADHD, those who received magnesium supplements showed an improvement in behavior compared to those who did not receive the supplements. It has been found that magnesium can interfere with certain medications such as blood pressure medications and antibiotics. It is for this reason and others, that we caution parents that adding too much magnesium to the diet can be dangerous so consultation with a doctor is essential.

Meanwhile, many researchers believe increased magnesium intake in children and adults could drastically lower rates of chronic symptoms related to insulin resistance, heart health, nervous system disorders, and pain from muscle cramps and tension. More and more research and information is being made available regarding the benefits of magnesium supplementation, and scientists are beginning to understand the factors that link, for example, magnesium’s use in preeclampsia and its benefits toward heart health.


ADHD Treatment

It has been noted that some ADHD symptoms have some similarities to magnesium deficiency, which include irritability, mental confusion, and decreased attention span. A University of Maryland Medical Center study of 75 children with ADHD and magnesium deficiency found that those who received magnesium supplements showed behavioral improvement compared to the children who did not consume the magnesium supplements.

Magnesium supplements, if taken as directed by a physician, can be a safe, effective way to ensure an adequate magnesium intake to ensure good health. Magnesium supplementation therapy is recommended by both researchers and health practitioners alike when experiencing symptoms of low magnesium.


Magnesium and Diet

Most medical professionals with knowledge of magnesium deficiencies report that in order to obtain enough magnesium from the diet it takes a concerted effort and one must gain knowledge of magnesium-rich foods so that they can eat more of these foods.

Foods rich in magnesium include green vegetables, tofu, almonds, whole grains, cashews, peanuts, buckwheat, pecans, and Brazil nuts.

Magnesium Supplements

Not all magnesium supplements are created equal. When buying first ask your doctor what type is best for you as some can cause side effects or interfere with medications. There are also transdermal magnesium products which are better absorbed and which prevent problems associated with the GI tract. Examples include Epsom salt baths (magnesium sulphate) as well as magnesium oils, gels and lotions (usually magnesium chloride), which can be a better way to increase the amount of magnesium in your body.

The main factor to consider when determining supplement quality is the bioavailability of magnesium; how well it is absorbed by the body. Magnesium Gluconate and Magnesium Citrate are the two best types of magnesium supplements due to how well they are absorbed by the body and their record of safety. And Magnesium Glycinate is also a great alternative if you have digestive trouble with the other types of magnesium. However, as we have done throughout this article- we want to stress the importance of speaking with your primary care doctor in determining the best type for you.


Have ADHD? Get Help

ADHD coaching can give teens, college students and adults the support, tools and guidance needed to better manage your ADHD. Schedule an appointment today.



Liebscher DH, Liebscher DE. About the Misdiagnosis of Magnesium Deficiency. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004;23(6):730S-731S. []

Dean C. The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books; 2007. []

King D, Mainous A 3rd, Geesey M, Woolson R. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun 24(3):166-71.


Precautionary Warning: All the information presented in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. Article information and that on our website should not be viewed as medical advice. This information is not medical consultation or instruction. We recommend that you do further research and do not take action solely on the basis of this article contents. We advise all our readers to consult a health or mental health professional regarding any issue related to their health. Please note that the advice in this article is not specific to any one individual. We recommend that all readers consult with their primary care doctor before trying any new medical or nutritional course of action.

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Can Mindfulness Help ADHD?

Mindfulness and ADHD

Mindfulness and ADHD

There is a growing interest and curiosity in the use of mindfulness meditation in helping people with ADHD. Mindfulness, developed from Buddhist meditation practices, and brought to the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who in 1979 founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Because of his interest in Mindfulness practices he developed the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program, adapting Buddhist teachings on mindfulness. He later created a structured eight-week course called the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

Jon Kabat-Zinn described his definition of mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Since it’s inception, the use of mindfulness by health and mental health practitioners, educators and others has been growing because it has been found to be helpful in enabling people to focus their awareness on the present moment, while concurrently acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Also, practitioners have found that there are additional benefits of this meditation practice which include stress reduction and self-acceptance.

Given all these benefits-mindfulness practice for those with ADHD appears to be exactly what people with ADHD need due to their challenges with being and staying in the moment; their inconsistency in maintaining focus, and oftentimes, their low self-esteem.

Research on ADHD and mindfulness indicates that mindfulness training can be adapted for those with ADHD so that it can improve concentration and hyperactivity. For these reasons, many educators, ADHD Coaches, and mental health professionals are teaching mindfulness to those with whom they work.

Several researchers at University of California-Los Angeles, Lidia Zylowska, M.D, and Susan Smalley, Ph.D, created a research center called Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) to study the effects of mindfulness on those with ADHD. The researchers and their colleagues at MARC have adapted traditional Mindfulness practices for those with ADHD. They then did some research using this newly created program, the Mindful Awareness Practices for ADHD (MAP) program.

The MAP program was tailored for those with ADHD by making it more gradual and flexible for people with ADHD. Research participants included 25 adults and 8 adolescents who started meditating for just five minutes at a time and increased slowly to 20 minutes. If they found it too difficult to stay seated, they could do mindful walking instead.

The MAP for ADHD program differed from traditional mindfulness approaches in it’s addition of visual aids. Visual aids were added to the program because people with ADHD tend to be visual learners.

MAP Program

At the core of the MAP ADHD training are two key elements that are practiced throughout the day:

  1. focusing on the present moment;
  2. having an attitude of openness, curiosity and acceptance (having a nonjudgmental attitude).

The purpose in practicing these to activities is to improve the person’s ability to pay attention to patterns and to subtle changes that happen from one moment to the next. The theory is that the more people are aware of their own behaviors-the better able they are to change impulsive and other attention related behaviors.

Results of the MAP Study

Most of the participants in the MARC study reported improvement in their level of hyperactivity and attention. Self reports, and tests given before and after the program to measure cognitive impairment and attention showed improvement in conflict attention(ability to stay focused despite distractions) and some of the inhibition-implying measures, though working memory wasn’t strongly affected. Although these findings are encouraging, there was no control group in this study so further research is needed to validate the research results.

Other Studies on Mindfulness and ADHD

Other studies going on nationally include using the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts. This study by Amishi Jha at University of Pennsylvania, looked into the effects of mindfulness training (MT) on attention and working memory. This research used two types of mindfulness training to examine factors that are believed to contribute to attention: alerting, orienting, and conflict monitoring. Many familiar with the study have suggested that a key component of this mindfulness training is the ability to elicit relaxation that counteracts stress. Others argue that this mindfulness training’s utility is in cognitive training of attention which allows the individual to re-interpret stressors (Teasdale, Segal, & Williams,1995). The study authors concluded that it is possible that MT does not directly improve attention but that physiological effects of the training, such as a reduction in autonomic nervous system “fight-or-flight” functions affect attention.

Although further study in needed using mindfulness, these studies seem to show promise using an adapted form of mindfulness meditation for people with ADHD in helping them to stay focused, improve their ability to manage hyperactivity, be less impulsive, and be less affected by stress.




Boyce, T. , Kabat-Zinn, J. Full Catastrophe of Living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delta, 1991.


Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. [V.], & Williams, J. M. G. (1995). How

does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help? Behaviour Research &

Therapy, 33, 25-39.


Zylowska L, Smalley SL: Mindful Awareness for ADHD. In Mindfulness and its Clinical Applications Didonna F (ed). Springer, 2008.


Zylowska, Lidia The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals. Trumpeter Books, 2012.


Can Mindfulness Help ADHD? Yes it can!

Are You Thinking Too Small? Think Bigger!

Is Your Thinking Too Small? Think Bigger!

Thinking small





Many of us know that we are capable of more. We know that a better life is possible. We long for it. We see others with the life we’d like to have and yet, things have not changed for us. Or, they have not changed fast enough. This article is dedicated to those who are stuck. My hope is that this article will inspire you to take some action to change some things in your life so that you can be on a path to more happiness and prosperity.


9 Signs You Are Thinking Too Small

1. When you take stock and look at your life, you are mostly focused on a miserable present and not the future

2. You feel you are stuck “in a rut” and can’t find a way to get out of it

3. You have feelings of self doubt which prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities

4. You let other people tell you what you are capable of doing

5. You start something and can’t seem to find the time to finish it, or are constantly making excuses

6. You start something and give up because of a fear of failure without considering your options

7. You are good, but know you can be better or more consistent, and don’t do anything about it

8. You use often words in your language like “I shouldn’t,” “I can’t,” “I don’t think I can,” “There’s no way,””Why can’t I just,” “I’ve never,””How can I,”and similar phrases

9. If things don’t work out- you blame others and often don’t take responsibility


Now that you know the telltale signs of small thinkers-let’s look at the difference between small and big thinkers.


10 Characteristics of Big Thinkers

1. Take the time to look at what is getting in the way of their change

2. Take action when they need to by making a dedicated and consistent effort to change what needs to be changed

3. Believe that they should be accountable to themselves and others

4. Are honest with themselves and others about their barriers to success

5. Consistently set deadlines and are clear on timelines for themselves and others

6. Take the time to know themselves and when they need to delegate things they do not like or that are time wasters

7. Take the time to explore what motivates and inspires them

8. Invest the time and money to get the help they need to succeed

9. Always look at their situation, both as it is in the present, and as it could be in the future

10. Explore protective function of negative thinking, and replace irrational negative thinking with positive thinking


Obviously, this is a short list of what I have seen as a coach and therapist of characteristics of small and big thinkers.  These patterns of thinking and behaving have evolved over many years- so let’s now explore the process of making the change.


Making the Change

So how does one make the switch from small to big thinking? Make no mistake, no one can change their way of thinking in a short period of time. This way of thinking has served you well in some respects so you need to explore what to retain, what to discard, and what to add. By giving these issues some thought and exploration; both looking at the present and future, as well as creating new patterns of thinking and behavior- one can begin to live a more purposeful life.


Methods of Thinking Bigger

I believe that anyone can learn to think big. I do not believe that this way of thinking and acting is innate for all. The method I use with my coaching clients involves taking one situation from their life that they’d like to improve on, exploring that situation in depth; creating and implementing strategies to work on that situation. In the process of doing this focused work, new, constructive patterns of thought and behavior are learned that can be used in other problematic situations.

We use techniques and tools borrowed from cognitive behavior therapy, positive psychology, mindfulness, my coaching work, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and others methodologies.


Taking Action

Learn more about Think Big Coaching by taking action-make an appointment for your first coaching session by using the “Contact” Tab on my website.

College Adjustment Strategies For College Students With ADHD or ADD

College Students With ADHD or ADD: Making the College Transition As Smooth As Possible


coaching for college studentsGoing to college for the first time can be a particular challenge for students with ADHD. Being away from home can be both stressful and exciting.  For students to have finished high school and made it to college they had to have gained significant independent study skills in preparation for this event. However, given the additional challenges of a new setting, living situation, and school format-they will need to learn new strategies, and put in place additional structure and a support system to make this transition as smooth as possible.


College Adjustment Strategies

Here is a list of college adjustment strategies that, if implemented, will assist your ADHD teen in the transition:

Use A Calendar/Planner To Manage Time/Activities

  • Use a (written, paper) daily planner to write due dates of homework assignments, projects, papers and to track appointments
  • If you are comfortable with, or already use electronic devices like smartphones, and timers, use these to remind yourself of things to do/actions needed throughout the day using the calendar/schedule, and alarm features.
  • Check this schedule frequently. Look at the drop down menu for the whole day and then each hour.
  • Take the time to learn how to use all your relevant device calendar features. Get help from a tech expert or friend to set this up as it will be worth the time and effort.


Use Sticky Notes

If it helps, use virtual and/or paper sticky notes on your computer as a reminder of an important date/and action to take. For example, due dates of papers/projects, appointments, reminder of actions to take, etc. But, only put up one or two at most at a time


Minimize Distractions

  • Wear earplugs if it is too noisy to go to sleep
  • Use white noise apps on your computer or phone to block out distracting noises


Note Taking

  • Use a large 3 ring binder to house all your notebooks. Have a different notebook for each class with matching bi-fold/folder with pockets to put loose note paper, homework assignments, etc. Use color coding/matching; so if the Chemistry notebook is blue- then the Chemistry pocket folder should be blue.
  • Take notes in class, consistently, even if you do not usually take them.


Use Visual Daily Reminders/ Routines

  • Use a large wall calendar to get a short- and long-term visual picture of what you have to do, and when you need to do it. Plan due dates for exam and write in time for studying and writing papers
  • Create daily routines and rituals (schedule these until 2nd nature) to minimize forgetting to do important things
  • Create/Implement a regular sleep, diet, nutrition, and exercise schedule


Plan For Transitions

  • Take time to wake up and do your morning routine. Set aside time to settle down and get ready to fall asleep.
  • Take time to gather books and belongings and walk to class.
  • Set a timer or alarm to remind you when you need to start/stop and activity


Practice Good Studying Behavior

  • Establish a regular time and place to study.
  • Plan for long-term projects: Divide a project into smaller pieces, estimate the time required for each piece of the project, make deadlines for each piece as well as for the entire project.


Manage Time Effectively

  • Write down when assignments are due right when you get them. You can write the due date in your phone calendar with alert when it is due, or use your hardcopy planner.
  • If long-term project- plan to do it in stages with different due dates for each part of project.
  • If short term project- try to do it the day it is assigned, or the next day-don’t leave it for the day it is due or right before.
  • Don’t overbook your schedule because you will need time for homework and other things you may want to do like sports, friends and other ways to take care of your self.


Organize Smarter

  • Keep desk neat- so you can find things more easily.
  • Same thing with your room-keep it clean and organized. Keep objects in a logical place, e.g. keys go on a hook near the door
  • Group like items in the same place. Top drawer school supplies, bottom drawer medicine, etc. If it helps-label drawers.
  • Less is more-the less stuff you have, the more organized you can be., and the easier it will be to find things. If you don’t need/use something bring it home on the school break.


Implement Strategies Early

Students with ADHD that succeed in college are those that implement these strategies as soon as they begin the school year. By putting these tactics in place, students find that they are less stressed, report feeling more organized and on top of their work. Because there is typically less parental involvement when students go to college, it is important that students develop the structure and skills needed for independent living that will make life less of a struggle for them, not only in college, but after graduation as well.  Parents should discuss their expectations with their teens about the frequency and nature of how they will be communicating with their teen around their classwork. Most schools have support services available should the student need additional support. Also, many college area, community based agencies tailor services to students with ADHD  and may have workshops, or other college adjustment strategies for college students with ADHD or ADD should this be needed.

StayFocusd: Time Management Productivity Tool

stayfocusd extension logo

Have ADD or ADHD and Need Help Managing Your Time?

Since I work with, and coach a number of people with ADD and ADHD who have trouble managing their time, I decided to try and find a tool that can help them manage their time better.

One of the challenges of people with ADD and ADHD is their difficulty in predicting how much time it takes to complete specific tasks. For example, many people describe to me that they simply get on the computer thinking they are going to do a quick, simple task, or look up information for a few minutes- only to realize that an hour, two, or more has gone by. This can cause them to miss deadlines, waste time they feel they should be working, or be late for appointments.

The ADHD Brain and Attention

There are structural differences in the brain of those with ADHD that result in low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is active in the brain’s frontal lobes. It is believed that these low levels of dopamine make it hard to “shift gears” from fun activities to boring and necessary tasks.

As a result, children and adults with ADHD usually struggle to focus on certain types of tasks related to attention. They struggle with tasks they find boring, as well as those that do not deliver instant feedback and reward, and oftentimes hyperfocusing. Is a way to compensate.

Although it is wrongly believed that all people with ADD or ADHD cannot sustain attention for long periods of time. Some people with ADHD can sustain their attention for very long periods of time, oftentimes to the exclusion of everything else, if they find something interesting. This hyperfocusing helps them to get things done, however, the downside is they lose track of time. People with ADHD have challenges with an “inconsistency” of attention, or a “disregulation” of attention, rather than a “deficit” of attention- so “attention deficit” is really a misnomer.

A Tool for Productivity

Many web browsers come loaded with features, and there are many free downloadable “extensions” that can give your browser some useful tools to manage your time, both for your personal life as well as in your business.


StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused. It limits the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have set up to be blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.

StayFocusd is highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire websites, specific pages, specific subdomains, specific paths, and even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).  You can even set which days or times of day to be allowed or blocked.

StayFocusd was developed by Warren Benedetto at Transfusion Media (, an interactive product development and design studio specializing in Javascript, HTML5, and PHP/MySQL development for advanced web, mobile, and Facebook apps.

You can download the StayFocusd extension here



Does Acupuncture work for ADHD?

Non-Medication Options for Symptoms of ADHD

As an Ambassador with my local Chamber of Commerce, I often meet with new members to introduce them to the Chamber and review all it has to offer. Recently, I spoke with a new Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce member, Yi Luo of Eastway Acupuncture who told me she was making great progress with people with ADHD through her Yi LuoAcupuncture work.

As we got to talk more about her work, I found the results that she has been getting fascinating and her approach, very holistic.

Many people with ADD or ADHD, with whom I work, have expressed interest in learning more about non-medication options for dealing with their symptoms of ADHD so I recorded this video to give you some more information on how it works.

It seems Yi really takes a customized approach to her work, taking into account the energy level of patients, nutrition, exercise, and emotional state before creating a treatment plan.

tuning fork acupunctureneedle








Yi reported using a customized combination of treatments including, acupuncture, acupressure, chinese herbs, Tai Chi, massage, cupping, magnets, oils with herbs, lotions, electrical muscle stimulation to name a few.

Results can be achieved in as few as 4 sessions, and she says some people experience relief quicker.

If you are looking for non-medication options to treat ADHD, you may want to consider Acupuncture, acupressure, and other Chinese techniques.



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