Can Micronutrients Treat ADHD?

Little is known about what causes Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leaving many children or adults with the condition suffering without sufficient treatment options. But recent research now shows what many nutritionists have suspected for a while: nutritional deficiencies are linked with ADHD, so eliminating these deficiencies may be the key to its successful treatment.

Research in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that micronutrient supplementation significantly improved ADHD symptoms in those suffering with the condition. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. The term is used to refer to nutrients we need in smaller doses compared to macronutrients like amino acids or fatty acids. The children in the study who were given micronutrient supplements experienced improved overall function, reduced cognitive impairment, improved attention, better emotional regulation and reduced aggression. While they still experienced hyperactivity, the bulk of the other symptoms the children experienced improved.

Earlier research in the online medical journal BJPsych Open assessed the nutritional status of people with ADHD compared to those without a diagnosis of the condition. They found that those suffering from ADHD had lower levels of vitamins B2, B6 and B9 (also known as riboflavin, pyridoxine and folate, respectively).

ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder. Common symptoms of the condition include: hyperactivity, impulsivity and a reduced attention span.

The B-complex vitamins are involved in proper energy management and the body’s ability to manufacture brain hormones known as neurotransmitters, which communicate brain messages to other parts of the brain or to the body—processes that are crucial to brain and neurological health. In multiple studies, including the BJPsych Open study, supplementation with the B vitamins riboflavin, pyridoxine and folate resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms of ADHD.

Many people still have the incorrect notion that vitamins are a nice dietary boost but aren’t essential to health. The definition of “vitamin” is organic substances that are necessary for health. The ADHD studies demonstrate both the problems linked with vitamin deficiencies as well as the benefits of increasing their amounts in the diet and through supplementation. Because B complex vitamins are water soluble, we do not store them for later use, which means we need to obtain them from our diet every day. B complex vitamins like B2, B6 and B9 are primarily found in fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens, yet most people simply do not consume adequate amounts of these nutrients.

Nutrient deficiencies can also indicate digestive disturbances that result in inadequate absorption of nutrients through the walls of the small intestines into the bloodstream. If that’s the case, even eating more of these critical nutrients may not be enough to correct the deficiencies. Ideally, to address the deficiencies, improve gut health at the same time as boosting fresh fruit and vegetable intake, and supplementing with B-complex vitamins. That involves eating more probiotic-rich foods like live culture sauerkraut, yogurt or vegan yogurt, kimchi, fermented pickles, etc.

Eliminate any microbial overgrowth in the intestines by taking oregano essential oil (follow package directions) and drinking thyme tea (1 teaspoon of dried thyme to one cup boiled water steeped for 10 to 15 minutes before straining). If you’re not eating fermented foods on a daily basis, add a probiotic supplement to your daily diet. To help ensure adequate B vitamins, take daily a B-complex vitamin supplement, which are usually measured in 100 milligram doses; however, some of the B vitamins will be measured in micrograms depending on the nutrient.

And, of course, eliminate sugar other than naturally-occurring sugars found in fruit to prevent rapid blood sugar spikes that impair brain signals and contribute to harmful microbial overgrowth in the intestines. Nutritional and dietary approaches are not the same as popping drugs that act to mask symptoms, they work on a cellular level to rebuild bodily health so allow at least a couple of months for improvements.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds:  The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a month ago

Our son's doctor found there was a link between vitamin A deficiency and ADD and dyslexia. She told us to stop using 2% milk and go back to whole milk. When they take the fat out of milk they also take the vitamins A & D. She also put him on cod liver oil. Within a year people were coming to me saying they could now understand when he talked to them.

Danii P
Danii P2 months ago

thanks for sharing

Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

odd that when i was in grade school no allergies, no ADHD no inhalers???? what changed from then- to now????

Sharon B
Sharon B2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Irene S
Irene S3 months ago

Could the lack of micro nutrients cause ADHD?

ERIKA S3 months ago

thank you for sharing

Chad A
Chad A3 months ago

Thank you!

Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago


Bill E
Bill E3 months ago

Micro nutrients are lots better than drugs. Personally, I like drinking coffee. It works for me.

Janis K
Janis K3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.