By Sandra Kooij
Are combinations of vitamins and minerals useful for ADHD? It is known that Vitamin D levels in blood are often too low in people with all kinds of psychological problems such as depression and ADHD. This is less known of other vitamins and minerals. A recently well executed study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, documents the results of treatment with ‘Empower plus’, a combination preparation of several vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and amino acids.
80 adults with ADHD and associated disorders, who used no medication, received placebo or vitamin capsules. They had to take 15 capsules in 3 daily dosages, during 8 weeks. Participants and their families did not know who got what. They saw 30% improvement in ADHD symptoms after treatment with the vitamin preparation compared to placebo (in 64% in the vitamin, vs. 37% in the placebo group). Researchers also saw a significant, but less great improvement. There were no more side effects in the vitamin group than with placebo, and almost everyone kept well to the ingestion of the capsules. After treatment, the levels of vitamin D, B12 and folic acid were increased in the vitamin group, but not in the placebo group. Levels of magnesium, ferritin, iron, calcium, zinc, and copper remained unchanged.
Impact on daily practice
What is a good advice? Do you have to run to the drugstore for wild combinations of vitamins and minerals? It still seems too early. There may be low levels of vitamins and minerals in people diagnosed with ADHD, but which are deficient should be assessed on an individual basis before supplementing. Manufacturers of vitamins, like the pharmaceutical industry, do marketing to make money. They promise great results for example, that vitamins can replace medication for ADHD. This has not been proven yet. But using a vitamin D supplement during the winter in countries where the sun shines too little, is useful for people with ADHD or depression.