Vitamin C and Adderall: Do They Interact?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition in children that lasts until adulthood. Treatment is usually through Adderall medication to control the hyperactivity symptoms of children and improve their neurodevelopmental functions. Adderall can effectively reduce ADHD symptoms.

Key takeaways:
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    Adderall works by improving focus and attention and reducing hyperactivity of patients diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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    Food and other supplements rich in vitamin C reduce the absorption of Adderall, thus making it less effective.
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    When taking Adderall, ask your doctor if you can also take supplements like iron, magnesium, and ashwagandha to improve treatment and prevent certain side effects.
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    Consult your doctor on which supplements are most effective for your case. Make sure to follow a schedule of intake of these medications to prevent unwanted interaction.

However, acidic food sources can interfere with it. As such, doctors recommend that ADHD patients avoid foods high in vitamin C, including fruits and juices, at least an hour before taking Adderall.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a drug containing the central nervous system (CNS) stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine used to treat ADHD patients. It improves the activity of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, stimulating nerve functioning, and leading to increased focus and attention, decreased hyperactivity, and reduced impulsivity. Many studies have proven the efficacy of Adderall against the symptoms of ADHD across different age groups. Meanwhile, the FDA classified Adderall under controlled-use substances due to its addictive effects.

What does it look like?

Adderall (IR) is commonly given in tablet form, one to three times daily — depending on the case. Different dosages of this medicine can be differentiated through color: 5 mg is usually white/off-white, 7.5 mg and 10 mg are blue, and higher dosages are yellow.

What are Adderall XR and Adderall IR?

There are two available forms of Adderall on the market. Adderall IR – immediate-release, and Adderall XR – extended-release. Both forms contain the same active ingredients. However, Adderall XR contains a mixture of immediate-release and delayed-release beads, which regulate the release of the medicine.

Adderall IR is manufactured in tablet form, differentiated through color depending on the dosage. When taken, the medicine is released quickly, and its effect lasts about four hours or less, but in some cases, it can last up to 8 hours. On the other hand, Adderall XR is produced in capsule form, and it takes longer for the medicine to release fully; thus, its effects last longer than Adderall IR (about 10-12 hours).

How does Adderall work?

Adderall works by improving the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine — important neurotransmitters in the CNS — which controls the symptoms of ADHD by reducing hyperactivity and improving focus and concentration. Patients with ADHD cannot produce normal dopamine levels, causing impaired neurodevelopmental conditions leading to difficulty focusing, lower attention span, and increased activity, among others. Adderall may also be given to patients suffering from narcolepsy as it is found to reduce sleepiness.

An Adderall prescription depends on the patient's requirement based on their daily activity, overall health, and response to the medication. Commonly, Adderall IR is taken 2-3 times a day, 4-6 hours apart because its effect only lasts for up to 4 hours. On the other hand, Adderall XR is usually taken only 1-2 times a day since it lasts up to 12 hours — both can be taken with or without food and take effect within 30-60 minutes. However, make sure to follow your doctor's instructions when taking the prescription to ensure maximum efficacy.

What is vitamin C?

Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a powerful antioxidant that aids our immune system in fighting infections, neutralizing harmful free radicals, and producing proteins that support health. Although our body needs it, we cannot effectively produce and store vitamin C on our own, so it is encouraged that we take the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin through diet and/or food supplements. The best sources of ascorbic acid are fruits and vegetables.

The following are the most common sources of vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit).
  • Bell peppers.
  • Strawberries.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Papaya.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower).
  • Other leafy vegetables.

Taking Adderall with vitamin C

Although Adderall is proven effective in controlling the symptoms of ADHD, it is important to follow the treatment plan designed by your doctor because the absorption and efficacy of Adderall are dependent on several factors, including body chemistry and diet. In addition, there are references showing an interaction between Adderall and other medications and vitamins.

Adderall has a highly alkaline pH, so vitamin C and other acidic foods and supplements are known to neutralize the active ingredients — dextroamphetamine and amphetamine — in Adderall, thus decreasing the absorption of both Adderall IR and XR in the body.

Although ascorbic acid and Adderall have contraindications, ADHD patients are still recommended to consume vitamin C to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients. Vitamin C should be taken at least an hour apart from taking Adderall or, better, at night.

Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of mixing Adderall and vitamin C:

The Benefits:

  • Vitamin C helps in controlling the side effects of Adderall, such as insomnia, anxiety, nausea, and dizziness.
  • Ascorbic Acid helps flush down excess amphetamines in the body, which can prevent dependency on the drug.
  • In case of an adverse reaction to Adderall, Vitamin C can hasten the removal of the drugs in the system.

The Side Effects:

  • Taking Adderall and Vitamin C together reduces the efficacy of the former.
  • High levels of Vitamin C in the system can completely disable the effects of Adderall.

Taking Adderall with other supplements

Nutrient deficiency has been linked to the development of ADHD symptoms. Adderall causes nausea, loss of appetite, and weight loss in patients, thus limiting them from getting the appropriate nutrients from food which is why supplements and vitamins are commonly prescribed together with Adderall. Below are examples of supplements that may be taken to manage Adderall.

Ashwagandha and Adderall

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb known for its adaptogen properties against stress and anxiety. It also helps promote intellect and memory; thus, it has some beneficial effects for patients with ADHD. Taking Ashwagandha with Adderall helps reduce the drug's side effects, specifically lowering cortisol levels in the blood to lessen anxiety. It also provides a relaxing effect.

Iron and Adderall

Studies show that iron deficiency correlates to inattentiveness, increased irritability in children, and increased symptoms of ADHD, which is why patients may also be prescribed iron supplements. There have been explorations on how to manage ADHD by complementing Adderall with iron supplements to better control the symptoms with lower doses of stimulants. Reports show that iron supplementation can also lessen the symptoms of ADHD. There have been no reports regarding the contraindications of iron supplements and Adderall.

Magnesium and Adderall

Similar to Ashwagandha, magnesium has a calming effect on the body — mainly on the muscles. One of the common side effects of Adderall is muscle tension; this is where magnesium can help. It can also help in managing anxiety and slow down the stimulating effect of Adderall. Usually, magnesium is taken at night to help patients relax after a day of taking Adderall.

Other supplements to take with Adderall

Many other supplements and vitamins help manage symptoms of ADHD, control the side effects of Adderall, and prevent dependency on the drug. Some supplements such as zinc, L-tyrosine, and caffeine help to increase the effectiveness of Adderall and may also aid in prolonging its effects. Other supplements like L-theanine and L-tyrosine also reduce the effects of excess amphetamines in the system, the same with Vitamin C.

Important note
Before taking these supplements, it is important to consult your doctor to determine the most effective treatment plan.

Considerations for taking ADHD medication

ADHD medications are designed to treat different symptom severities and other factors such as age and overall health. Always seek professional advice for better management.

If you are already taking ADHD medication such as Adderall, here are some tips to maximize the effects of the medication:

Orange juice and other foods high in vitamin C should be avoided when taking Adderall, consider a schedule of medicine and supplement intake for optimal results.

Consult your doctor to know what not to eat or drink while taking Adderall.

Include nutrient-rich foods in your diet to prevent the side effects of Adderall and reduce nutrient deficiency. Consider taking supplements that boost the absorption and efficacy of Adderall. This can help you manage the symptoms with lower doses of Adderall.

Take the medicine properly and on the prescribed schedule. Do not deviate from the prescription without your doctor's advice.

Always seek your doctor’s consult if there are any changes in your health or your daily activity while taking Adderall to prevent the development of harmful side effects.

Adderall help treat ADHD symptoms to help people maintain focus and concentration by stimulating the central nervous system. Its active ingredients also help control narcolepsy. When taken as directed by a doctor's prescription, the drug can be very effective. Because supplements like vitamin C inhibit the absorption of Adderall's active ingredients, people taking Adderall need to be aware of interactions with other medications and supplements.

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