Nutrition, Herbs and Vitamins for Oppositional Defiance Disorder

A young girl is talking to a therapist.
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Oppositional defiance disorder, or ODD, is a mental condition that affects children and adults and which causes them to display patterns of defiance, hostility, anger and disobedience toward figures of authority, such as parents, teachers and law enforcement. The exact cause of ODD has yet to be clearly established; however, according to Pub Med Health, it appears as though ODD may result from biological, psychological and social factors. Although typical treatment of ODD involves both medication and psychological therapy, certain nutritional compounds may improve symptoms associated with ODD and other closely-related conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD. Consult your physician before beginning any type of nutritional treatment for ODD.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are fat compounds that are found in a variety of foods, particularly meat and fish, but also can be taken as a nutritional supplement. According to, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may help improve the behavioral symptoms associated with ODD. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the normal functioning of your brain and the production of certain brain chemicals, such as dopamine, which helps regulate mood and emotions.


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Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in a variety of foods, such as wheat, nuts, seeds and some vegetables. It also can be taken as a nutritional supplement to correct a vitamin E deficiency. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin E may act as an antioxidant in the brain and protect brain cells from free radicals that may contribute to cognitive disorders and decline. Vitamin E also can enhance the absorption and effects of omega-3 fatty acids by preventing the oxidation of omega-3 in the brain, which may further help enhance both vitamin E and omega-3's ability to treat ODD.



Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced by your body, but it also can be taken orally as a nutritional supplement for a variety of brain-related disorders, including ODD. Melatonin in your brain helps control your sleep-wake cycle and is available by prescription for the treatment of ODD and ADHD. Melatonin supplementation can normalize sleep patterns, which can work to balance hormones, such as serotonin, which regulates mood, aggression, anxiety and depression.



Zinc is a mineral found in meat, shellfish, poultry and most dairy products. A zinc deficiency may play a role in the severity of some of the neurological and behavioral symptoms associated with ODD and ADHD. Zinc promotes the production of brain chemicals that neutralize stimulants that can cause hyperactivity and impulsivity. Zinc also can decrease the amount of copper in your brain, which then decreases the incidence of behavioral and cognitive abnormalities that copper can cause.




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