Balanced diet, vitamins and magnesium may help ADHD kids


Words: Leap Communications

Improved diet and increased nutrients such as magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12 may reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affects up to 10 % of South African children, studies show.

ADHD is a childhood behavioral disorder with symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity which may continue into adulthood.

study by the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands found that ADHD may be triggered by food intolerances. And,extensive research on ADHD  by the University of Maryland this year, show increased intake of magnesium may help decrease ADHD symptoms such as irritability, decreased attention and mental confusion.

About 70% of the global population may be deficient in magnesium with this rate rising to 95% of children with ADHD. Magnesium plays a key role in over 300 biochemical processes including building strong bones, healthy nerve function, regulating blood pressure and promoting relaxation.

While parents often seek relief in prescription drugs for ADHD, research shows some popular medication may have adverse short-term side effects such as nervousness, insomnia, joint pain, fever, nausea, dizziness, angina, and in severe cases, psychosis.

In addition to seeking professional medical and behavioural advice, nutritional consultant, Vanessa Ascencao suggests parents seek nutritional input on diet, food intolerance and supplementation. She says the most common food intolerances in children with ADHD are diary, gluten, wheat and food additives which may interfere with behavior, focus and attention span. Ascencao says children with ADHD often show deficiencies in the following:

  • Omega 3 fats: vital for brain development and found in salmon, tuna, sardines , nuts, seeds and fish oils.
  • B vitamins: known as anti-stress vitamins, important for energy, sleep and metabolism. Supplementation is recommended.
  • Magnesium: known as the calming mineral, studies show that supplementing with magnesium may reduce hyperactivity.
  • Zinc: low zinc may lead to slow growth, delayed puberty and picky eating and ADHD medication may deplete zinc levels.

Ascencao further advocates a well-balanced diet, high in natural, whole foods including fresh fruit and vegetables and lean, organic protein and fatty fish. She proposes supplementation, including BetterYou’s Magnesium Oil transdermal spray and B12 Boost oral spray -- both proven to deliver significantly higher levels of magnesium and B12 respectively than pills.

A clinical trial by Cardiff University found that applying magnesium to the skin (transdermally) is absorbed faster than tablets while a separate study showed oral sprays guaranteed 227% higher absorption than traditional tablets due to the rich system of veins in the inner cheek and under the tongue.

  • See here for further info on magnesium supplementation and here for B12 supplementation.
  •  10 % of South African children study