We have always been told that we must get our vitamins to stay healthy. Food packaging highlights the vitamin content and in some cases the health benefits. We are bombarded by healthy this and healthy that commercials. But is there any truth to the assertion that ADHD alternative vitamins may actually help eliminate ADHD symptoms?
It is not surprising that there has been a great deal of research conducted in both the area of conventional vitamin supplementation and mega vitamin supplementation. Let's start with conventional vitamin supplementation.
Conventional Vitamin Supplementation
One fairly recent study found that supplementing children's diets with a multi-vitamin and mineral formula proved effective at increasing nonverbal intelligence. This study supports the theory that vitamins and minerals play an essential part in brain function. Nutrients especially important to proper brain and nervous system function include niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium manganese, potassium, and zinc. A deficiency of any of these essential nutrients will result in impaired brain and nervous system function. In most medical circles it is accepted that a deficiency of a number of vitamins and minerals will result in impaired mental performance. Low levels of nutrients in the diet will not allow the brain to function properly. Providing the brain with the nutrients required to function at optimal levels, through diet or supplementation, can prevent or reverse these nutritional deficiencies.
An undetermined number of cases of ADHD may be exasperated by poor nutrition especially since good nutrition plays a vital role in physical, mental, and social development in childhood.
Mega Dose Vitamin Therapy
Dating all the way back to 1940 a few doctors have advocated the use of very large doses (mega doses) of vitamins for both cognitive and emotional difficulties, describing megavitamin therapy as a safe an defective treatment for several kinds of behavioral disorders. At present all one can say is that these claims are not confirmed. Nevertheless, some believe that a trial use of large doses of vitamins would at least be natural and therefore safe. This is simply not the reality; large doses of certain vitamins can have serious side effects in both adults and children. If you are a parent considering this you should check with your doctor before implementing this approach. Although further information may show megavitamins therapy to be effective, there is currently no evidence confirming its effectiveness in the treatment of ADHD.
In summary, when approaching ADHD alternative vitamin supplementation from a natural or general health perspective one could make the case for a daily multi-vitamin and mineral formula for promoting optimal health in ADHD children. Additionally, many natural health advocates suggest combining vitamin supplementation with a safe and effective alternative ADHD treatment, such as homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies for ADHD work gently with your body to address common ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity, erratic behavior, and lack of concentration. The combination of ADHD alternative vitamins and homeopathy is an option that may be worth investigating further.
A final note: In a 2008 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine it was found that vitamin B12 supplementation did improve mental function in adults. This same study also found that there were no side effects or toxicity from higher dosages. The study did not mention ADHD.