Can minerals and vitamins make a difference in children with ADHD?

Scientists from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand have released the intriguing findings of a small clinical trial into whether mineral-vitamin supplements can change the bacteria in the microbiome of children with ADHD.

Why is this important? Researchers in the field are increasingly finding new evidence that children with ADHD have significant differences in microbiome, or gut bacteria, to those not displaying ADHD symptoms. This provides a fascinating area of research for scientists as gut bacteria can be altered with relative ease, both beneficially and detrimentally, through changes to diet.

Seventeen children with ADHD took part in the trial with half given micronutrients and half given a placebo for a period of 10 weeks.

As reported on the New Brain Nutrition website, at the end of the 10 week period researches observed:

  • Taxonomic units (a measure of richness and diversity of gut bacteria) significantly increased in the treatment group but not in the placebo group.
  • A greater decrease in abundance of genus Bifidobacterium from phylum Actinobacteriain active versus placebo and that the more it decreased, the more the ADHD symptom scores dropped.
  • A significant positive correlation between Actinobacteriumabundance and Clinician ADHD IV-RS rating scale before the intervention was introduced, which suggests that Actinobacterium may play a role in the expression of ADHD.

The researchers acknowledge that the sample size was extremely small and that much larger, long term studies must be conducted before any definitive conclusions can be drawn, however the results still add to the increasing body of evidence pointing to a correlation between the health of our gut and the health of our mind.