Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common impairing psychiatric condition affecting 5% to 7% of children. It can often persist into adulthood, with increased risk of poor educational achievement, substance abuse, incarceration, and ongoing psychiatric problems.
Current pharmacological treatments improve ADHD symptoms for many individuals, but concern continues over side effects, stigma, and long-term effects such as mild growth suppression.
Supplementation with single nutrients such as zinc and magnesium have shown mixed and modest benefit, with omega-3 showing the most consistent benefit.
In a recently published study, researchers evaluated whether micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals benefit ADHD and irritability in a North American pediatric sample. The results appear in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Micronutrients Importance in ADHD
The study was conducted in 3 different sites for 8 weeks. It was a placebo-controlled randomized trial in children aged 6 to 12 years with ADHD and at least 1 impairing irritability symptom. The study included a total of 135 children.
The team used capsules containing micronutrients in a blend of ingredients comprising all vitamins and known essential minerals, plus amino acids and antioxidants. A total of 9 to 12 capsules per day accumulated to doses above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) but below the Upper Tolerable Intake Level.
Participants in the micronutrient group were 3 times as likely to be treatment responders as those in the placebo group (54% vs 18%). The illness severity of 3 participants who received placebo worsened by 1 category on the CGI-S, whereas none worsened in the micronutrient group; 56% of participants in the micronutrient group vs 22% in the placebo group had illness severity reduced by at least 1 category on the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) rating scale, which is a measure of symptom severity, treatment response and the efficacy of treatments in treatment studies of patients with mental disorders.
Micronutrients showed a global benefit over placebo. They also showed greater height growth and were well tolerated.
Jeanette M. Johnstone, et al. Micronutrients for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Youths: A Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial. 2021. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2021.07.005