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Brain Drain or Brain Gain—Do ADHD or Alzheimer’s Drugs Make You Smarter? And Are You Suffering From Nervousness or Anxiety?

girl ADHDNew Scientist magazine recently published an article on the science of the brain. They said for mental fatigue, better concentration, and easier recall, we might turn to today’s prescription drugs.

“Psychostimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall, prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Aricept, used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, have been shown to improve concentration and recall in healthy people, too,” according to the brief article, though no studies are cited. “Such drugs are not currently available without a prescription, but some researchers say they should be.” (No word on who these particular researchers are.)
“Multiply that extra brain power by the 7 billion members of the human race,” the article continues, “and the benefits to society and the pursuit of knowledge would soon start to add up. But is a race of drugged-up super-brains what we really want to be?”
Gee, New Scientist, you mean you aren’t completely sold on this idea?  Just in case those unidentified researchers are serious, let’s take a quick look at some of those brain-boosting drugs.
In a study involving 153 children, those who were given common ADHD medications including Ritalin did not grow as much as unmedicated children—and when the medication was stopped, they did not recover any of that lost growth. Ritalin has the same pharmacological profile as cocaine, but it’s more potent—the “high” experienced by addicts comes from the stimulation of neural transporters, and Ritalin, in pill form, occupies those neural transporters more effectively than even crack cocaine.
Ritalin may also cause cancer. A small University of Texas study showed damage to the chromosomes of twelve children who had taken Ritalin for just three months. It also may cause long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function, actually destroying the brain and increasing aggression. And Adderall can lead to liver problems, allergic reactions, and drug addiction.
As for the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept, two clinical drug trials have left volunteers dead or hospitalized. Side effects reported during trials included dizziness, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, and generalized pain. Well, did it work for Alzheimer’s? Not much.
The good news is that ADHD is easily controlled with natural treatments—and these are also applicable to anyone wanting a little extra sharpness in the brain department.
An additive-free diet (no preservatives, and no artificial colors or flavors) can calm hyperactivity in children with food sensitivities. An elimination diet to check for food allergies or sensitivities could be useful as a start. Reducing sugars (especially refined sugars) in the diet also controls hyperactivity. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and also burns off excess energy. Anyone with any common sense knows that young males are not allowed to move around enough in school and this hurts their ability to learn.
Ritalin and Adderall work by raising dopamine levels and creating a stimulant effect. You can get those benefits—without the nasty side effects—in phenylethylamine (PEA), which is found in raw cacao/chocolate or in supplement form. Patients with ADHD often have low concentrations of endogenous PEA. PEA is a natural chemical compound that is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. It acts as a mild mood elevator and an antidepressant, and it helps increase focus and alertness.
You might also try theanine, one of the ingredients of green tea. This amino acid is known to have calming properties. Research has shown theanine to calm the brain by producing alpha waves. Theanine is also thought to increase GABA, the brain chemical that naturally controls anxiety. GABA can also be taken as a supplement but is poorly absorbed. Thorne Research has a form of GABA called Pharma Gaba Pro that seems to be much better absorbed and can be a life saver for someone suffering from anxiety.
As we noted a few weeks ago, there are a number of excellent natural treatments for Alzheimer’s: coconut oil, fish oil (which controls inflammation), nattokinase enzyme (which removes amyloid plaque, a group of abnormal proteins that cause disorders in the brain), and some of the B vitamins (which can reduce the rate of brain atrophy in patients with mild cognitive impairment). These same treatments may also keep healthy brains functioning at peak performance.

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16 thoughts on “Brain Drain or Brain Gain—Do ADHD or Alzheimer’s Drugs Make You Smarter? And Are You Suffering From Nervousness or Anxiety?

  • Terah Rutledge

    Yes, I agree with the good news. You said it! Natural treatments works! Without the destroying affects of prescription drugs.

  • Best to move Quickly away from sugar substitutes of all kinds, diet sodas,corn syrups, and engage in a metals natural herbal detox for aluminum. Stop using all products with aluminum in the ingredients as the connection to Alzhiemers is obvious.

  • Reina

    Thank you very much for your educational information regarding drugs such as Retalin and Adderol. It is ashame how man has dominated man to his injury. My daughter is hooked on Adderol and she is not listening to me. Can you help her? I can not forward this educational information of yours to her because she will be deleting it thinking it is coming from me. However, I will forward it to one of my sibblings in hopes my daughter will listen to you by means of her aunt. If she can have the privilege of receiving the counseling directlly from you, great!!! Her e-mail address is: [removed]

    • Hi Reina, thanks for your comments. Unfortunately we don’t provide counseling to individuals, we simply provide information for the public who is willing to read it. If your daughter is interested, an orthomolecular physician is qualified to counsel on these matters. You can locate an orthomolecular physicians using the Practitioner Search tools found at http://www.icimed.org and http://www.acam.org.

  • More and more research is indicating that the brain of a person with ADHD is indeed wired differently than a typical brain. I’ve been reading what Brain Balance – http://brainbalancecenters.com – has to say about changing the brain. They contend targeted exercises, activities, and behavioral modifications tailored to the individual can help rewire missed connections in the brain, leading to a reduction of symptoms. It’s worth a read. It’s a more natural approach that is brain based not drug based.

    • Of course.
      To think that chronically taking any toxic “drug” for ANY chronic problem could possibly be a net positive is complete and total insanity.
      “A new study reveals that healthy kids who take Ritalin have a whopping 500 percent greater risk of sudden death. These aren’t kids with pre-existing heart conditions. The results would have been worse if they were included. The same study that found Ritalin stunts kids’ growth also found that it has no beneficial effect on behavior over a three-year period.” Doctor Al Sears MD, Note most schools receive about 1000 dollars/year for each student they can snare into the drug program
      It is time to wake up folks. Toxic drugs are destroying our society. Giving this crap to healthy kids is evil incarnate.
      ADD and ADHD exist mostly in the minds of those destroying this country.

      • Derek

        So you are saying that people with cancer shouldn’t undergo chemotherapy? Are you saying that Magic Johnson should not have taken medication in order to treat his HIV? Please make sure you understand both sides of an issue before posting online about it. Also, you agreed with a person who said that the mind of a person with ADHD is wired differently, yet you stated that “ADD and ADHD exist mostly in the minds of those destroying this country.” Which is it?
        P.S. -You really know a website is a reliable source when it’s written in different colors and has many typos.

    • Derek

      Although some of these drugs can be harmful if abused, they actually can be quite helpful when used as prescribed. Some cases of ADD/ADHD require medication when nothing else works, and these drugs are intended to help support people with this disorder. Drugs alone cannot cure ADD, but when used along with a specific program to develop healthy habits, they can provide many benefits.

  • Bernadette

    My son will soon be getting tested for ADD. He is NOT hyperactive, but has trouble completing school work due to an inability to stay focused. He is extremely smart though and tests advanced whenever is tested, but is failing in certain subject due to this problem for years. (mostly writing and reading) However, if you give him something to do that he loves (science based usually) he will stay focused with no issues. It’s the trivial work that he has trouble with.
    Anyway, it is hard to find solutions just for this because all you ever hear about is the hyper kids..not the ones who just have trouble focusing or sorting through their over working brain to write a story!
    It is frustrating, even to try & find natural solution because they are all targeted towards ADHD.
    I think he’s just perfect, but in order to succeed in school and on further he has to be able to stay focused to get certain tasks done. I am only getting him tested due to the school issues…unless he is “diagnosed” he can not be given extra time to complete assignments, etc. Then they will want to either know if I will medicate (which is my ultimate LAST choice) or what strategies to put in place that work for him. I hope we figure it all out. It affects his self esteem terribly.

    • Debra

      Hi Bernadette; I can speak from personal experience. Your son is slipping through the cracks, and will likely recieve less support simply due to his high capability. I would like to suggest a couple of things:
      1) NEVER give up on him. No matter what the schools or professionals tell you – do NOT allow them to interfere with your loving relationship with him. As along as he knows that you love and support him, he will survive (even extended family may give up on him, which is very painful).
      2) Learn about SPED laws, and get a good special ed advocate. The schools will demonize him for his ‘laziness’. Get someone who understands and knows about Functional POSITIVE Behavioral Assessments – FPBA’s (NOT someone from the school – their assessments are usually NEGATIVE, and hence – worthless).
      3) Learn about, and (softly) teach him about the criminal justice system. In particular, pay attention to the laws in your state regarding underage teen sex activities. Many innocent lives are getting caught up in this wide and unfair net. Our laws become more and more punitive – and prosecute for some of the most minor (non-violent) of infractions. And sadly, once there is a record, it never goes away. If I were to do this all over again, I would have an attorney well researched and in line before anything develops.
      As long as he has your love and support, and can manuever through the minefield of juvenile/criminal ‘law’ relatively unharmed – he should emerge just fine. Something that very few (both professionals and parents, alike) talk about, are the effects of the stresses when parents lock horns with schools. It can develop into problems later on down the road. We finally threw in the towel with the public school system, and home-schooled. It helped. We found our way out of the darkness. Our child is now fully on his own, successful and happy with life. We never thought we would get there.
      Just never give up.

  • I read an article just lately that if you have alzheimers that if you’ll start taking organic coconut oil it will cure it. Does anyone know about this? My sister has dementia and her daughter has started cooking with coconut oil and putting it in her food, like salads, oatmeal, etc. It really is good tasting.

  • yung jersey

    i started take a Adderol at my senior year in college and it has been the best thing i have ever had. I have try every thing i have did the fish oil 3 times a day, all vegan diet, and more tutors then i can afford. All my life i have failed at school can’t focus or retain anything in class. I went from a 1.9 GPA to a 4.0 for this year. Maybe if I had this 12 years ago, yes 5 at a 4 year school, i might have been something more in my life like a doctor or a lawyer. I have to retake all the class i have a D or an F in to graduate with a 3.0 but have been at this college for 6 years. My parent are going to stop helping me next year so i cant retake everything, but before this they had did owned me because my 2 brother are in medical school. Could imagine all you life your family calling you there biggest mistake and a being a below dumb, and 12 years of special Ed Classes. All this to say some people need the MEDS!!

  • Derek

    I appreciate how you showed that these drugs can be beneficial, and stated your view in a very factual, objective way. I agree that alternatives can be safer and much more natural, but also believe that drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall have their uses as well.

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