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Treating ADHD with Vitamins and Minerals

Can micronutrient supplements treat ADHD?

Micronutrients” is a fancy word for vitamins and minerals such as iodine, copper and zinc and vitamins like A, C, D, E and the various B-complex entities, among others. To my knowledge, using these all together as a treatment for mental illness (I discuss zinc and vitamin D in prior blogs) has never been formally considered in a double blind fashion until now. A new study out of New Zealand points to the possible benefits (and safety) of treating ADHD symptoms with vitamins and minerals.

The study consisted of 80 un-medicated adults; 42 participants were given multi-vitamin and mineral supplements, while the remaining 38 were given a placebo. After an eight week period, their adult ADHD was evaluated. Hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention were statistically improved in those receiving the supplements. As a plus, even depressive symptoms improved.

The lead author, Professor Rucklidge, claims those individuals taking the vitamins and minerals were significantly better than the placebo group, showing that micronutrients may be an effective way to treat ADHD, and are an alternative for those who are unable to take standard medications. Critics point out that the study was too short to prove real world efficacy, there were no children involved (where most ADHD is found) and that the 15 capsules a day of vitamins and minerals is not an easy regimen by any standard.

Of course, more studies will be required with more patients over an extended period of time, but this is an exciting first step. As I’ve pointed out in a prior blog, ADHD: The High Price Of A Quick, Quick Fix, ADHD is vastly over diagnosed and over-medicated. Anything that may slow down the prescription stimulant epidemic is welcome news.

Dale Archer, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller, Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

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