Thursday, May 01, 2008

ADHD or Lack of Vitamin D?

We've long known that kids need plenty of vitamin D for healthy bones. We urge parents to make sure kids get plenty of sunshine. We put vitamin D in milk. And my Mom went a step further: forcing me to swallow tablespoons of nasty cod liver oil.

Now scientists at Children's Hopsital and Research Center in Oakland California have discovered that a lack of vitamin D can cause brain dysfunction.

Turns out that vitamin D affects proteins in the brain directly involved in learning, memory, and motor control. There's also a suggestion, no proof yet, that lack of vitamin D is involved with controlling behavior.

So you can add vitamin D deficiency to the growing list of factors that look like ADHD but aren't. Get kids drinking enough vitamin D fortified milk, playing outdoors in the sunshine, and eating the few foods high in vitamin D (oily fish like salmon). Maybe those annoying ADHD behaviors will stop.

Fish oil capsules and vitamin D supplements are also recommended but that's up to a pediatrician, not a blogger.

African-American kids and their parents tend to lack more vitamin D than whites because darker skin absorbs absorbs fewer ultra-violent rays from the sun. So it's not racial profiling to ask if Black kids who show ADHD behaviors suffer nothing more than a lack of vitamin D. An easily corrected deficiency.

And, of course, those blond, fair-skinned kids can end up with brutal sunburns from too much sun--eventually leading to skin cancer.


P.S. Be sure to sign up for the free, weekly "ADHD Answers Now" TeleChat. Each week I'll look at a new ADHD topic. You can ask your question right there on the sign up page. I'll answer your question on the call.

On the next call, May 6, I'll be talking about how to raise Dopamine levels without drugs. (Most ADHDers have low dopamine levels. Stimulant drugs increase Dopamine.)


Brenda said...

Hi Mary Jo! Great post on vitamins and ADHD. I'm sending my readers over :)

Paula said...

yes i completely agree that lack of vitamin D causes brain dysfunction and every parents must ensure that their kids are getting the required amount.Children healthy eating

Kell Arellano said...

In regards to Vitamin D's interaction with dopamine does the lack of Vitamin D lead to hallucinations in children?