Micronutrients Improve Some Symptoms of ADHD

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Participants who received micronutrients had significantly improved overall functioning according to clinician ratings.
Participants who received micronutrients had significantly improved overall functioning according to clinician ratings.

According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral treatment improved overall function, emotional regulation, inattention, and aggression while reducing impairment in medication-free children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In this prospective controlled trial, children with confirmed ADHD who were not receiving medication for their disorder were randomly assigned to receive micronutrients (n=47; mean [SD] age 10.06 [1.56]; 74% boys) or placebo (n=46; mean age 9.43 [1.53]; 78% boys) for 10 weeks. ADHD symptoms were assessed with measures from parents, teachers, and clinicians.

In an intent-to-treat analysis, participants who received micronutrients had significantly improved overall functioning according to clinician ratings with the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement-Overall scale (effect size [ES] 0.46; P =.03); 47% of participants receiving micronutrients were “much” to “very much” improved, compared with 28% receiving placebo.

No differences in overall ADHD symptoms were reported based on parent, teacher, or clinician ratings (ES ranges 0.03-0.17).

More participants receiving micronutrients had a clinically meaningful improvement in inattentive symptoms compared with placebo (32% vs 9%; odds ratio [OR] 4.9; P =.005) but not hyperactive-impulsive symptoms (OR 1.0; P =.9). Furthermore, clinician, parent, and teacher ratings revealed greater improvements in emotional regulation, aggression, and general functioning compared with placebo (ES 0.35-0.66).

Rates of adverse events were similar in both groups, and no serious adverse events were reported.

In an interview with Psychiatry Advisor, Julia Rucklidge, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and lead study investigator, concluded that "micronutrients are a viable option forward for some children with ADHD and can confer positive effects across a broad range of symptoms. The low rate of adverse effects and the benefits reported across multiple areas of functioning indicate micronutrients may be a favorable option for some children, particularly those with both ADHD and emotional dysregulation."

Reference

Rucklidge JJ, Eggleston MJF, Johnstone JM, Darling K, Frampton CM. Vitamin-mineral treatment improves aggression and emotional regulation in children with ADHD: a fully blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial [published online October 2, 2017]. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12817

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