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Magnesium and ADHD

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Taking magnesium supplements can help support ADHD symptoms.

Though there are several stimulant medications available to treat ADHD, this kind of treatment come with potent side effects. Thus, many parents seek herbal remedies to alleviate ADHD symptoms.

An important step to crucially treat ADHD is to ensure that your child gets adequate amount of magnesium. But, does magnesium help in treating ADHD in children. Let’s find out.

Magnesium and ADHD

The most important link between magnesium and ADHD is that some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency especially in children are also ADHD symptoms. These shared symptoms include irritability, mental confusion, shortened attention span and inability to focus on tasks for long periods.

This is the basis of all studies examining magnesium levels in ADHD children. Supplementation with magnesium was found to improve ADHD symptoms in some children.

The recommended dose of magnesium supplements in ADHD treatment is 200 mg per day.

However, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting on magnesium supplements since magnesium can disrupt the absorption and effect of certain antibiotics and antihypertensive drugs.

How It Works

Magnesium calms the central nervous system, which is important in children with hyperactivity symptoms. The body utilizes magnesium to help transmit messages throughout the nervous system.

Magnesium is a key factor in the production of serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter that promotes wellbeing. Low levels of serotonin are usually associated with moodiness, irritability, and depression.

With adequate amounts of magnesium in the body, children can think without any difficulty and focus better. It also promotes concentration and improves attentiveness.

Children with attention disorder usually have lower magnesium levels. Taking magnesium supplements can effectively help in alleviating the hyperactive behavior and improve focus and attention.

People with ADHD have differences in their metabolism, and they need natural ADHD supplements to help control this magnesium shortage.

Magnesium also relaxes the body. It is required for the relaxation of nerves and muscles. In the absence of adequate minerals in the body, spasms and twitches are common problems.

A calm body promotes emotional well-being and soothes the mind. It reduces the feeling of uneasiness that cause hyperactive children to become agitated.

Clinical Support for the use of Magnesium in ADHD Therapy

A Summary of Years of ADHD Research

A review of all available and published studies examining the effects of environmental and nutritional factors on ADHD was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2008.

Apart from finding many studies establishing that exposure to lead, mercury and pesticides do increase the risks of developing ADHD, the study also associate the medical condition with some nutritional imbalances.

The most important nutritional supplements that relieve the symptoms of ADHD were identified in the paper. These include magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and some vitamins.

Magnesium Levels in ADHD Children

A 1997 study done by researchers in Pomeranian Medical Academy in Poland determined the magnesium levels in 116 hyperactive children between the ages of 9 and 12. The researchers measured magnesium levels in red blood cells, serums, and hair of these children.

The result showed that 95% of the study group had magnesium deficiency. More specifically, magnesium deficiency was found in the hair for 77.6% of the children, in the red blood cells of 58.6% and in the serums of 33.6%.

The researchers decided these results showed a strong link between magnesium deficiency and ADHD and recommended magnesium supplements to help ADHD children improve their symptoms.

Benefits of Magnesium Supplementation in ADHD Children

The same Polish researchers published another study examining the benefits of magnesium supplementation in ADHD children.

This study involved 50 ADHD children between the ages of 7 and 12 whose serums, red blood cells and hair were deficient in magnesium. They were given 200 mg per day of magnesium for 6 months.

Another control group of 25 ADHD children with similar magnesium deficiencies were treated normally over the same period but without magnesium supplements.

To test any improvement in ADHD symptoms, these children were tested by the following standard ADHD metrics: the Conners Rating Scale for Parents and Teachers, Wender's Scale of Behavior and the Quotient of Development to Freedom from Distractibility.

The results showed that the children receiving magnesium supplements were no longer deficient in the mineral and also showed the most significant decrease in hyperactivity and a general improvement in other symptoms of ADHD.

Benefits of Magnesium and Vitamin B12 Supplementation in ADHD Children

A 2004 study done by French researchers, published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition and also presented in 2006 at Magnesium Symposium in Poland examined the benefits of combining magnesium and vitamin B12 supplements for treating ADHD children.

This study was performed with 52 ADHD children under the age of 15. While these children had normal serum levels of magnesium, they had low levels of magnesium in their red blood cells. The children were given magnesium and vitamin B12 supplements daily for 6 months.

At the end of the study, normal red blood cells magnesium levels were reported in all 52 children as well as improvements in ADHD symptoms. ADHD symptoms which showed the most improvements were signs of hyperactivity including physical aggression, emotional instability, short attention span and muscular spasms.

Other Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium aids in regulating blood sugar levels. It aids in absorbing and utilizing other vital minerals and nutrients.

It is known to activate enzymes that handle nutrient absorption, hormone production, energy production, and much more. It is also a potent antioxidant that provides protection from free radical damage.

All these aspects of magnesium can improve the overall health of your children and effectively alleviate ADHD symptoms.

Natural Sources of Magnesium

The best way to ensure that your child gets adequate amount of magnesium is to give magnesium rich foods.
Some of the foods that are naturally rich in magnesium are green vegetables, cashews, Brazil nuts, buckwheat, peanuts, tofu, pecans, brewer's yeast, molasses, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, peanuts, almonds, and kelp.  

Although a magnesium-rich diet is suggested, most parents of ADHD inflicted children find it helpful to include magnesium supplements.

The best way to ensure that your child gets adequate amount of magnesium is to use magnesium citrate powder that can be mixed easily in pure fruit juice without affecting the taste too much.

You may also consider using natural ADHD treatment options such as Listol, which contains magnesium among other safe and natural ingredients.

For more information on ADHD treatments, read these articles: Zinc & ADHD, B Vitamins for ADHD, and Vitamin B12 & ADHD.

Next Article: Learning Factors Review - By Natural Factors


Listol helps increase concentration and focus in kids and adults.