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Iron Supplementation May Help Children With ADHD

Iron Supplementation May Help Children With ADHD

Thursday, December 9th 2004

Iron deficiency may contribute to the physiopathology of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to the results of a controlled group comparison study published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. Iron supplementation may benefit this population.

"Iron deficiency has been previously considered a potent cause of poor cognitive impairment, learning disability, and psychomotor instability," writes Eric Konofal, MD, PhD, from Robert Debrï Hospital in Paris, France, and colleagues. "[I]ron deficiency could lead to ADHD symptoms in relationship with central dopaminergic dysfunction."

In the study, the investigators found that serum ferritin levels were significantly lower in children with ADHD (n = 53; mean age, 9.2) compared with age- and sex-matched control subjects (n = 27; mean age, 9.5) with mild reading disabilities.

Serum ferritin levels were also abnormally low (< 30 ng/mL) in a significantly greater proportion of children with ADHD compared with control subjects (84% vs 18%; P < .001).

In children with ADHD, low serum ferritin levels were correlated with more severe general symptom scores on the Conners' Parent Rating Scale (Pearson correlation coefficient [r] = - 0.34; P < .02) as well as greater cognitive deficits (r = - 0.38; P < .01). A trend toward a correlation with greater hyperactivity was also observed but did not achieve significance (r = - 0.57; P = .055).

"Only the cognitive subscore correlated significantly with low ferritin levels," the authors note. "This correlation suggests that the iron-deficient children are mainly inattentive and distractable and suffer from learning disabilities, a finding consistent with the role of iron deficiency in cognitive defects and mental retardation.

"[I]ron supplementation could be considered a first-line treatment for children with ADHD and iron deficiency," the authors conclude, adding that such therapy may improve central dopaminergic activity and decrease the need for psychostimulants.

The authors report no pertinent financial conflicts of interest.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:1113-1115

Yael Waknine

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful Iron supplements:

Family C - 150gm
Floradix Formula 500ml
Floravital Yeast and Gluten Free
Gentle Iron
Spirulina Powder
Superbeet Formula
Superior Iron
Sublingual Methylcobalamin
Ultimate Greens Powder 100g

Related health information can be found here:

Beet Root - a splendid liver and kidney cleanser, full of nutrients and iron
Iron Deficiency
Menustrual Problems
Spirulina - nature's richest whole food source
Vitamin C is essential for fighting infections, wound healing and coping with stress

Related articles can be found here:

Calm Children at Last
Fish Oils for Dyslexia & ADHD
Iron Helps Women's Brain Power
Iron Supplementation Beneficial in Healthy, Full-Term Infants
Working with Children

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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