A new study out of Germany tested 810 children ages 5-12 referred for evaluation of ADHD using a food supplement for ADHD that contained magnesium, zinc, and Omega-3 called ESPRICO found that after 12 weeks of consuming the supplement, the children showed ‘considerable’ improvement in hyperactive/impulsive symptoms and in attention.
Zinc, magnesium and the omega-3 fatty acids supplementation may help ADHD in different ways. In the case of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, the food supplement may address underlying deficiencies in both these nutrients. Most people with ADHD are not deficient in magnesium however and magnesium may help ADHD by addressing the sleep disturbances often seen in people with many ADHD.
Every grocery store today has omega-3 enriched eggs and omega-3 enriched milk and there are many omega-3 supplements and fish oil capsules available for both children and adults that can be readily purchased. In addition to diet intake, you can get magnesium through bathing. Magnesium is absorbed when taking a epsom salts bath. Magnesium and zinc are also found in multi-grain cereals and in children and adult multivitamins. The dose of zinc generally recommended to help ADHD is 12.5 mg daily and not all children’s vitamins contain this amount. Magnesium can cause diarrhea in very large amounts but the levels of magnesium absorbed from an epsom salts baths rarely cause gastrointestinal side effects.
Magnesium is generally not deficient in people with ADHD but it cause sedation and magnesium may help ADHD by improving the sleep disorders that can accompany the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
the most interesting about this study is that the results point to the supplements greatly improving sleep disorders. Sleep and learning go together like eating and obesity. The more you sleep the more likely you are to learn. It is hard to separate the inattention of Inattentive ADHD (ADHD-PI) or the combined type of ADHD (ADHD-C) with the inattention of sleepiness.
Another recent study on adolescents without a diagnosis of ADHD has perfectly correlated the hours of sleep with school performance. There is a clear and parallel line between the amount of sleep a teenager gets and how well they will do in school. The fewer hours of sleep the child gets, the poorer they will do in school. Sleepiness affects your level of arousal and we have known for years that there is a ‘perfect’ level of arousal for learning.
It is unknown whether food supplements for ADHD help by correcting the vitamin and nutrient deficiencies in people with ADHD or if food supplements aid in improving emotional, mood or sleep issues that are often associated with ADHD. Regardless of the cause of improved symptoms, these supplementation must be considered for any child or adult that has an illness with impairing symptoms such as inattention, impulsive behavior or hyperactivity.