Micronutrients may be beneficial for children with ADHD

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A new study has found that children with ADHD and emotional dysregulation who consumed a micronutrient formula were three times as more likely to show symptomatic improvement.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, was led by investigators at Ohio State University. The triple-blinded study engaged 126 medication-free children aged six to 12 years with ADHD with at least one impairing irritability syndrome, and their parents at three locations: Portland, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio; and Alberta, Canada. Participants were either given micronutrient supplementation of vitamins and minerals or placebo capsules for a period of eight weeks.

Those participants given the micronutrient formula were 54 percent more likely to show symptomatic improvement over the placebo group which were 18 percent more likely to show such improvement.

In addition to behavioral and emotional benefits, children taking micronutrients grew six millimeters (mm) more in height than those taking placebo after adjusting for baseline height, according to the study.

“These findings, replicating results of a previous randomized trial of micronutrients in children with ADHD conducted in New Zealand, confirm that supplementation with a broad range of nutrients may benefit some children,” said lead author Jeanette Johnstone, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University and Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine, in a statement. “These findings may offer guidance to doctors and families seeking integrative treatments for their children with ADHD and related emotional dysregulation.”

According to the authors, future studies will focus on the micronutrients’ mechanisms of action and subgroup responses to understand for whom and why this intervention works. Mechanistic hypotheses to be tested include changes in the gut microbiome and its metabolome, reductions in inflammatory markers, replenishment of minerals, and optimization of neurotransmission.