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Children (Basel). 2014 Sep 29;1(3):261-79. doi: 10.3390/children1030261.

Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Zinc Deficiencies in Children Presenting with Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

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University of Arizona, 2800 E. Ajo Way Suite 300, Tucson, AZ 85713, USA.
Mercy Children's Hospital, 621 S. New Ballas Road, Suite 693A, Saint Louis, MO 63141, USA.


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder increasing in prevalence. Although there is limited evidence to support treating ADHD with mineral/vitamin supplements, research does exist showing that patients with ADHD may have reduced levels of vitamin D, zinc, ferritin, and magnesium. These nutrients have important roles in neurologic function, including involvement in neurotransmitter synthesis. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of each of these nutrients in the brain, the possible altered levels of these nutrients in patients with ADHD, possible reasons for a differential level in children with ADHD, and safety and effect of supplementation. With this knowledge, clinicians may choose in certain patients at high risk of deficiency, to screen for possible deficiencies of magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, and iron by checking RBC-magnesium, 25-OH vitamin D, serum/plasma zinc, and ferritin. Although children with ADHD may be more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and iron, it cannot be stated that these lower levels caused ADHD. However, supplementing areas of deficiency may be a safe and justified intervention.


attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ferritin; iron; magnesium; vitamin D; zinc

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