ADHD Breakthrough? Low iron found in many ADHD kids

According to French scientists, many children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have iron deficiency that may be linked to the disease. They suggest that such kids may benefit from iron supplements.

Low iron levels cause abnormal functioning of the brain neurotransmitter dopamine “and may contribute to the physiopathology of ADHD,” say the researchers in their report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The research team looked at 53 children with ADHD and a control group of 27 matched children and determined blood stores of iron and severity of ADHD symptoms.

They found that 42 (84%) of the children with ADHD had “abnormal” iron stores compared with only five children (18%) in the control group. They also noted extremely low iron stores in 17 (32%) ADHD subjects, but only one of the control kids.

The researchers reported that the lower the iron stores, the more severe were the ADHD symptoms, as well as specific mental deficits. They suggest that iron supplementation might improve children with ADHD, “decreasing the need for psychostimulants.”

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Dec;158(12):1113-5