Vitamin D and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is typically a neuro-developmental psychiatric disorder, where a child has significant problems in executing functions of day-to-day life.

An ADHD sufferer suffers in the lack of attention control, which leads to attention deficit, hyperactivity, or impulsiveness which is not appropriate for a person’s age.

Such symptoms usually must begin by the age of six to twelve and persist for more than six months for a diagnosis to be made.

In the school going children, inattention symptoms often result in poor school performance.

A novel research was presented at the American Academy of Paediatrics, where at The National Conference & Exhibition found that low vitamin D levels were prevalent in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common disorder amongst the children and is mainly characterized by an inability to remain attentive and struggle in behaviour control and behavioural patterns.


Researchers are still reviewing the reason of developmental disorders such as ADHD or autism. In both of these conditions, it is thought that the genes that ae responsible in developing these disorders.

Very recently, researchers have become interested in the possible role that environmental and nutritional status has to play in these developmental disorders.


Vitamin D is one the major factors of interest and researchers from Qatar recently conducted a study to determine if vitamin D deficiency is linked to ADHD.

A concerned research team recruited about 1,331 children with ADHD and 1,331 children without ADHD to serve as controls. Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, cholesterol and phosphorus were measured in every child from each of the groups. Information on socio-demographics and family history was also collected. The researchers then compared these amounts between the two groups to determine how children with ADHD differed from children without the disorder.


The conclusion they found was that vitamin D deficiency was more prevalent in children with ADHD when compared to the control group. The average vitamin D level in children with ADHD was 16.6 ng/ml, compared to 23.5 ng/ml in the control group. “The study showed that the vitamin D deficiency was higher amongst the school age children and adolescents with the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder compared to controls,” the researchers concluded.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a debatable developmental neuropsychiatric disorder in which there are significant problems with executing functions that cause attention shortfalls, hyperactivity or recklessness. Its prevalence in children is between 1% and 8% depending on which diagnostic criteria are used.


Signs and symptoms of ADHD include and they are not restricted to difficulty in concentrating, inability to follow instructions, recurrent fidgeting and excessive chatting.


ADHD was first identified to the 1920s and stimulants such as amphetamine were first used in the 1940s. One of the most dramatic and paradoxical clinical changes one can see in clinical psychiatry is the effect of speed (amphetamine, Ritalin, Adderall) on a child with ADHD.


It appears as if the occurrence of ADHD is aggregating over a period of time. Some studies have exhibited that 6% of our children are taking stimulants. Few questions arise: Is this because schools are so uninteresting that the children not able to pay attention, or is it due to alterations in diagnosis, or is the prevalence of ADHD really increasing on an alarming level?


For the first time, a group in Spain has exhibited that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy are related with a bigger risk of successive ADHD in the child.


Dr. Eva Morales, working under Professor Jordi Sunyer, studied about 1,650  children, aged 4, whose mothers had a vitamin D level measured at some time during their pregnancy. In general, 19% of the women had deficient (<20 ng/ml) and 33% had insufficient (20–29.99 ng/ml) levels of 25(OH) D while 48% had levels above 30 ng/ml. These are greater levels than observed in pregnant women in the USA, perhaps due to 25(OH)D detection method (the authors used high performance liquid chromatography). The prevalence of ADHD in the children ranged from 2% to 7% depending on how one measured it.

The risk of ADHD symptoms decreased as maternal 25(OH)D increased up to around 40 – 50 ng/ml when no further effect was seen.


You can’t see it clearly, but maternal vitamin D status appeared to explain much of the ADHD symptoms in the children. That is, when maternal 25(OH)D levels were above 40 ng/ml, the average child had no ADHD symptoms.


The Vitamin D Council recommends that pregnant women sunbathe when possible, otherwise take at least 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D. It may be that one of the benefits of doing so is a reduced risk of your child getting ADHD.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *