Studies find low levels of magnesium in ADHD affected children. Oral magnesium supplementation is a proven therapy for managing ADHD
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is possibly one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated mental health conditions facing European children and adults. [Source: An ADHD Project funded by the European Commission] . For years, Europe’s attitude toward ADHD echoed its response to depression—scepticism towards acknowledging the condition.
But with time attitudes are changing. Europeans are starting to consider this disease, characterised by impulsive behaviour and aggressiveness, as a ‘disorder’ and many therapies are in place to treat it.
What exactly is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a diverse and complex condition characterised by hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness. People with ADHD are prone to constant fidgeting. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder among school-aged children. It interferes with the normal everyday functions of an individual and can have a detrimental impact on child and adult development and family relationships.
The common characteristic features of ADHD are:
- Inattentiveness: Very short attention span, over-frequent changes of activity
- Over-activity: Excessive movements, especially in situations expecting calmness such as classrooms or mealtimes
- Impulsiveness: Affected person will not wait his/her turn, acts without thinking, thoughtless rule-breaking
Magnesium and ADHD
Relationship between low levels of Magnesium and ADHD has been the topic of much research. A study conducted by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that children afflicted with ADHD may benefit from intake of magnesium .To assess the magnesium levels among ADHD patients, a clinical study was conducted with 116 ADHD children between the ages 9 and 12. Magnesium deficiency was present in 95% of the examined children with ADHD leading to the conclusion that there is a marked higher prevalence of magnesium deficiency among children with ADHD .
These findings were further supported by Mousain-Bosc et al (2004) who found that out of 52 children diagnosed with ADHD, 30 had 17- 25% less intracellular magnesium as compared to typical magnesium values for normal subjects . In 2006, Mousain-Bosc found that decreased magnesium levels were associated with increased hyperactivity, poorer attention and sleep disturbances .
In laboratory studies, extremely low levels of magnesium in the body have been known to trigger hyperexcitability coupled with convulsive seizures. These symptoms were effectively reversed by administration of magnesium. Studies also suggest that the use of magnesium supplements can effectively increase the learning process as well as behavioural response .
Magnesium Supplements as a Treatment
In a treatment trial conducted by Kozielec T, Starobrat-Hermelin B in 1997, 75 children all diagnosed with ADHD were divided into two groups in a preliminary and controlled trial and their Magnesium levels were studied. A group composed of 50 children, including 20 who displayed disruptive behaviour, were treated with 200 mg of magnesium supplements per day for a period of 6 months, along with their standard treatment. The second group of the remaining 25 children, including 10 who also displayed disruptive behaviour were given their standard treatment, without magnesium supplementation.
Another research reported in the journal Annales Academiae Medicae Stetinensis (Poland) found that magnesium supplementation should go hand in hand with standard ADHD treatment. 
Oral and Transdermal Magnesium Therapies
If you or your child displays signs of ADHD, it is recommended that you first go for a thorough check up to establish the condition. Doctors will usually prescribe a mix of therapies (Behavioural, occupational, cognitive, psychotherapy). Parent management training/schoolteacher training and school intervention may also be recommended. A growing number of parents also use complementary treatments for their children with ADHD. Nutritional therapies are common—usually consisting of a diet rich in complex carbohydrates and protein.
Since magnesium deficiency is prevalent among children with ADHD, oral supplementation of magnesium, (200 mg per day) is recommended. You can try a good magnesium supplement like to complement the standard treatment prescribed by your doctor. M contains magnesium citrate along with zinc and Vitamin C for good DNA development.
It is important to note that we don't recommend magnesium supplementation as a replacement for the standard treatment for ADHD. Instead, it should be administered in conjunction with medical treatments. If you are interested in using magnesium as a complementary treatment, be sure to check with your doctor first.
- Knowing Me, Knowing You: MAPPING ADHD across Europe (http://www.adhs-deutschland.de/pdf/pdf0007.pdf)
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2004;23:545S–48S).
- Kozielec T, Starobrat-Hermelin B. Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Magnes Res. 1997;10(2):143-148.
- Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Rapin J, Bali JP. Magnesium VitB6 intake reduces central nervous system hyperexcitability in children. J Am Coll Nutr 2004;23:545S-8S.
- Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP. Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res 2006;19:46-52.
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- Magnesium Research. 1997 Jun; 10(2): 149-56
- Kozielec T, Starobrat-Hermelin B Department of Family Medicine, Pomeranian Medical Academy, Poland: The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with ADHD. Mag Res 1997; 10(2):149-56.
- Ann Acad Med Stetin. 1998;44:297-314. Polish