Vitamin-mineral treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults: double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial

Julia J. Rucklidge , Chris M. Frampton , Brigette Gorman , Anna Boggis
  • Declaration of interest

    None.

Abstract

Background

The role of nutrition in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is gaining international attention; however, treatments have generally focused only on diet restriction or supplementing with one nutrient at a time.

Aims

To investigate the efficacy and safety of a broad-based micronutrient formula consisting mainly of vitamins and minerals, without omega fatty acids, in the treatment of ADHD in adults.

Method

This double-blind randomised controlled trial assigned 80 adults with ADHD in a 1:1 ratio to either micronutrients (n = 42) or placebo (n = 38) for 8 weeks (trial registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12609000308291).

Results

Intent-to-treat analyses showed significant between-group differences favouring active treatment on self- and observer- but not clinician-ADHD rating scales. However, clinicians rated those receiving micronutrients as more improved than those on placebo both globally and on ADHD symptoms. Post hoc analyses showed that for those with moderate/severe depression at baseline, there was a greater change in mood favouring active treatment over placebo. There were no group differences in adverse events.

Conclusions

This study provides preliminary evidence of efficacy for micronutrients in the treatment of ADHD symptoms in adults, with a reassuring safety profile.

Footnotes

  • Funding

    Funding and thanks to the Vic Davis Memorial Trust (E5672), Marie Lockie for her private donation, the Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury for ongoing research support, and three summer studentships awarded by the University of Canterbury.

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