Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an inability to pay attention, concentrate, or complete tasks. It occurs in adults and children; sometimes accompanied by hyperactivity. Previously ADHD was called ADD (attention deficit disorder), but experts now refer to this disorder as ADHD and differentiate three types: inattentive, hyperactive-compulsive, and combined.
ADHD may be related to deficiencies in specific nutrients. Supplementation might improve some of ADHD symptoms.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the most important nutrients in ADHD. A deficiency of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been linked to ADHD. Deficiencies in PUFAs cause ADHD symptoms. Supplementing with PUFAs for 12 weeks produces improvement in ADHD symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia).
Vitamins provide protection from free radical damage and support neurotransmitter metabolism. Multivitamin/mineral supplements given to children with behavioral conditions similar to ADHD controlled antisocial behavior. Poor nutrition in children causes low blood-level concentrations of water-soluble vitamins and impairs brain function; possibly leading to serious antisocial behavior. Correcting low vitamin concentrations in blood improves brain function and antisocial behavior.
Mineral supplements are beneficial in controlling ADHD. Magnesium levels are low in ADHD; supplementation with magnesium reduces hyperactivity. Zinc is a cofactor for production of neurotransmitters, fatty acids, prostaglandins, and melatonin, and indirectly affects metabolism of dopamine and fatty acids, all of which are factors in ADHD. Lower serum zinc levels are found in healthy, normally nourished children with ADHD compared to children without ADHD. Zinc deficiency may cause poor response to stimulant therapy.