Archives for January 2013

ADHD and Dopamine

ADHD and DopamineDid you know that the brain of a person with ADHD doesn’t produce as much dopamine as someone without ADHD? This shortage affects the anterior frontal cortex part of the brain and impacts attention and focus and impulsivity, mood, and motivation…core symptoms of ADHD.

The way ADHD medications work is by positively affecting dopamine levels. For example, Ritalin and Adderall work by blocking dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake so the dopamine that is produced stays in the synapse for longer. Adderall causes more neurotransmitters to be produced.

When your brain doesn’t have enough dopamine, it craves it. You might find yourself driven to do activities that aren’t particularly healthy, like overeat on carbs, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, drive fast, have extramarital affairs, over spend or take street drugs.

However, there are things you can do to increase the levels of dopamine in your brain in a healthy and natural way.

1) Exercise

When you exercise your brain produces more dopamine. Find an exercise you love and do it every day.

2) Take Omega 3

Omega 3 increases your levels of dopamine. Take a supplement as well as including more Omega 3 rich foods in your diet.

3) Meditate

When you meditate you also increase your dopamine levels.

4) Vitamin C

Include lots of Vitamin C in your diet. Vitamin C is very helpful in ensuring the dopamine synapses is working well.

5) Eat foods that raise dopamine levels contain the amino acid phenylalanine, once eaten the body converts it to tyrosine and then tyrosine manufactures dopamine. Include beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds in your diet as these are all good sources of phenylalanine.

6) Your body needs iron and vitamin B6 to convert food from phenylalanine to dopamine. So get your iron levels tested by your doctor, if they are low ask about taking a supplement. In one study researchers found that 84% of the children with ADHD had an iron deficiency, so it’s worth finding out.

7) Sleep

When you sleep you don’t use much dopamine, which means your dopamine levels increase overnight ready for the new day.

8) Reduce stress… stress depletes dopamine.

ADHD and Mind Maps

ADHD and Mind MapsMind maps are a great tool to use when you have adult ADHD as they help you to organize information in a visual way this in turn allows you to process the information, understand it, and remember it. Mind maps work so well for ADDers because they tend to be visual people, and a colourful mind map helps clarity of thought and memory.

Each mind map is created around a central topic and then from that sub-concepts branch from it. You can add as many branches and sub-concepts, and branches from the sub-concepts until you have documented all the information.

You can create mind maps on the most basic subjects to very complicated subjects. Shopping lists, organizing a family vacation, group projects, school assignments, presentation for work, speeches, note taking, and reviewing for exams are just a few examples.

Mind maps allow you to ‘map’ out your thoughts and ideas. They help you to organize information because you can see clearly what is related to what, and therefore, encourage brainstorming and creative thinking. In contrast, lists are linear and can stifle that broader thinking.

Although a visual map of thinking of have been around for 100’s of years, Mind maps were made popular by Tony Buzan, a UK psychologist.

There are 2 ways you can create your mind maps, on a piece of paper, or use a mind mapping software…this is the one I use and recommend,

This week try creating 1 mind map on a topic that is causing you to worry or feel overwhelmed. When it’s out of your mind and on a mind map you will feel tons better!

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ADHD and New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year always brings with it an enthusiasm to look at yourself and your life and make some positive changes. While tons of research has been to done to show that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. We also know that creating habits and setting goals do work.

So, why not make use of this New Year energy to make some positive changes using goals and habits in your life? Wondering what areas to address? Why not your health? As the healthier you are, the less problematic your negative ADHD symptoms are. For example, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, exercising every day, taking supplements, such as, Omega 3, managing stress are all known to help your long term health, but also your ADHD symptoms right now.

There is a brilliant website that is dedicated to your health called The site’s creator, Dr. Roizen is a cardiologist and wanted to motivate people to take better care of their bodies. He realized everyone wants to be youthful so used this as an incentive. Some people are younger physiologically and mentally than their calendar age because they active make healthy eating choices while some people are older.

Take the quiz which covers all topics related to health, from what you eat, drink and smoke to how fast you drive and how often you use your cell phone.

After you get your results and find out how old you ‘really’ are you are given a compressive checklist of actions to take to reduce your real age. You can use the checklist to motivate you and guide you to know what new goals and habits to make in 2013

Good luck and I would love to hear what changes you will be making!!!