Picamilon for ADHD

There are many studies that show some benefits from taking vitamins and supplements for Attention Deficit Disorder but there are no studies that confirm the benefits of Picamilon (also known as Picamilone, Pycamilon, Picamillon, Pikamilon and Pikamilone) for the treatment of ADHD or for ADHD symptoms.

 Picamilon is a supplement invented in the Soviet Republic in the late 1960s. The vast majority of studies performed on Picamilon have been performed in the former Soviet Union or in Japan. In these parts of the world physicians have used this supplement to treat a number of conditions including traumatic brain injury, cerebral vascular disease, migraine headaches, glaucoma, depression, anxiety and alcohol withdrawal.

Studies have confirmed the benefits of Picamilon for improving brain circulation and for improving the symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are no human studies that I have found that point to this supplement specifically helping ADHD. One study performed on rats showed some improvement in short term memory following Picamilon injection but, other than this study, I was unable to find any studies indicating that Picamilon improved cognition.

The reason that Picamilon has been considered for ADHD is that the GABA action on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain is inhibitory. It is thought that this inhibitory action may have the ability to neutralize the neurotransmitter actions that are thought to cause hyperactivity and impulsive behavior but as I mentioned before, this has not been studied. There are, however, several studies that I found that were performed trying to determine if dyslexia could be improved using Picamilon but the dyslexia studies did not show any improvement in symptoms after supplementation with Picamilon.

The Picamilone chemical is a combination of GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) and Niacin in one molecule. The niacin allows the GABA to enter the brain. GABA supplements without the Niacin cannot cross the blood brain barrier. Niacin has benefits all its own so it is difficult to tease out, given that I did not find any studies testing this, what benefits you would get from simply taking Niacin vs. taking the Picamilone which contains Niacin.

GABA alone is an amino acid that acts on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain much like the anti-anxiety drug Valium acts in the brain. GABA receptors regulate relaxation, anxiety, and vascular tone and muscle tone and for this reason GABA has been shown in studies to have an effect on certain types of seizure disorders, certain types of migraine headaches and certain types of eye conditions.

Niacin is also called vitamin B3 and is made up of nicotinic acid and niacinamide. Niacin is used by some patients to treat ADHD symptoms but studies have not indicated improvements in ADHD symptoms following supplementation with Niacin.

Natural Niacin is found in most proteins, green vegetables, and in cereal grains. The supplement tryptophan that has been used to treat insomnia and depression is converted to niacin in the body. The National Institutes of Health reports that Niacin is effective for the treatment of high cholesterol and is "possibly" effective for the following conditions: Osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Heart disease (atherosclerosis), Circulatory disorders, Diabetes, types 1 and 2 and for the prevention and treatment of cataracts, an eye condition.

Few or no Attention Deficit studies have been performed on Picamilone.  There are no reported findings indicating any improvement in learning, memory or cognitive functioning but it seems to work well, at least according to most reports, for anxiety and for sleep. It is considered to be pretty safe though no long term studies have been done on adults or children to confirm its safety. It is well tolerated by most people though some people report rebound anxiety and some people report extreme lethargy and long sleep periods after taking it.

If Picamilon turn out, in studies, to help ADHD, it would seem to be a better supplement for the Combined type and Hyperactive/Impulsive type of ADHD because of the inhibitory actions of GABA that I have described above. Further studies on this supplement should provide a clearer picture of how useful Picamilon might be in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder.

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