Magnesium Supplementation in Children Diagnosed with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common, early-onset and enduring neuropsychiatric disorder characterised primarily by inappropriate deficits in attention, hyperactivity, increased impulsivity and emotional deregulation - impairing multiple domains of professional and personal life.

Evidence for dietary and nutritional treatments of ADHD varies widely. The mineral magnesium is necessary for sufficient brain function and aids smooth transmission of communications through the central nervous system, calms the central nervous system and is an important component in the production of serotonin. Magnesium deficiency is marked by several reductions in cognitive abilities and processes including reduced attention span along with increased instances of aggression, fatigue and lack of concentration. Additional, common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include - irritability, mood swings, nervousness and fatigue.

A recent study (2016) published in the journal of Medical Human Genetics assessed the red cell magnesium levels of 25 children diagnosed with ADHD. The assessment was conducted on 25 age and sex matched controls. Patients were considered eligible for the study if they fulfilled criteria of ADHD according to the DSMIV, their age range was between 6-16 and their IQ above 70. The results from this study indicated that magnesium deficiency was more prevalent in males than females. It has been previously suggested that a gender difference could be partly due to hormonal differences between males and females where oestrogen secretion is responsible for improved magnesium utilisation by young female adolescents. In addition to this finding, it was noted that after 30 days of magnesium glycinate supplementation ADHD patients showed significant decreases in anxiety, and impairment of attention and hyperactivity scales. It was also noted that the combination of magnesium and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (B6) significantly reduced aggression in children with ADHD.

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