Vitamin D and ADHD

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This afternoon I visited my doctor – just a check in on my depression. Since I’ve been having some troubles lately, mostly due to circumstances, she suggested adding Vitamin D to my diet. She said that research had shown remarkable results for depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and many other things.

I was curious about Vitamin D and ADHD, so I did some research of my own. Here are some of the things I found out:

Mary Jo (a twitter friend) who blogs at Brain Boosters for Your Kids did a post almost a year ago about the link between Vitamin D and ADHD. She cited a study done by Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland CA that found that insufficient Vitamin D can adversely affect brain function. You can read the entire article here.

This report, from the National AD/HD Alternative Association, also suggests that the addition of Vitamin D and other supplements can improve ADHD symptoms. Although I have never heard of this group before, their ideas and suggestions are very similar to my Natural ADHD Diet.

An article in ADDitude Magazine also suggests that diet may help ADHD symptoms. Although they do not mention Vitamin D specifically, they do mention vitamins in general. You can find the article here.

Even if you eat a healthy diet, you might want to consider some vitamins supplements. In much of the research I did, it was often mentioned that people were often deficient in vitamin levels. Magnesium and zinc, as well as Vitamin D were mentioned most often.

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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11 Responses

  1. funny you mentioned this because I just read an article in Clean Eating magazine talking about how Vitamin D deficient Americans are and that we should add a supplement of 1000 I.U. everyday.

    I also started supplementing with Peter Gillham’s Calm magnesium drink at night to help me sleep and it works like a dream (excuse the pun) plus helps with constipation.

    Thanks for the article resources. There is a good book that just came out called the Ultra Mind Solution. I believe for some people with ADHD stimulants work better for them than natural supplements but the author has some good points.

  2. Get your D (NOT really a vitamin!) from sunlight, the way your body was meant to produce it!

    Can’t get to sunny climate? Find a safe tanning salon in your area.

    Each tanning session (outside or inside) will give your body between 12,000-18,000 International Units of D!!!!!

    Vitamins for something that he body doesn’t naturally produce is fine (?) but substituting vitamins instead of allowing the body to produce it’s own will only hamper the ability to naturally produce D…. same principal of taking flu shots instead of sleeping, eating and exercising well, let your body produce it’s own or it may lose the ability to do so over time.

    Mori Goldlist,
    Toronto Canada

  3. Thank you, Mori, for your comments.

    While it’s true that your body naturally produces vitamin D (all the sources I checked referred to it as vitamin D), and that sunlight is a good source of D, most studies show that the majority of the population is not getting enough.

    Tanning beds were mentioned in several of the articles I researched, however, a tanning salon to me is not an acceptable alternative to taking a supplement. In addition to the expense, you have skin cancer risks associated with tanning.

    Here are a few of the articles I used when researching my post:
    Web MD
    Johns Hopkins
    Harvard School of Public Health

    In addition, the New England Journal of Medicine had a lengthy article on vitamin D deficiency, including the fact that people living in northern climates (Chicago and farther north) are not able to get enough sunlight in the winter to obtain adequate supplies of D. Since you need a subscription to read the article, I did not include it here.

    Thanks again for commenting.

  4. Thanks for the information, Linda. I’ve noticed several articles about Vitamin D since I wrote that post.

    All of the things that you mentioned – the magazine, the drink, and the book – sound worthwhile. I’m going to check them out. By the way, magnesium is also often mentioned as being good for people with ADHD.

  5. I just tottally stumbled across this site. you all have amazing ideas. I took both my sons the oldest whom is adhd for there yearly check ups and the blood results came back with Low Vitamin d for both boys. so i looked up what i could feed them to increase it. and up came fish oils and lots of soy stuff. which got me thinking I give my son fish oil for his adhd i wonder if there is a link to low vitamin d and adhd. thank you for confirming my thoughts.

  6. Thanks for getting this info out. The brain/vitamin D connection is an important one, I think.

    Getting enough Vitamin D from food is nearly impossible. For those who don’t get enough sunshine year round, supplementation is absolutely necessary.

    Testing at home using blood drop technology is starting to take off.

    The Vitamin D Council has a lot of good information on Vitamin D and autism that might have some bearing on ADD/ADHD if there is some kind of continuum at work.

  7. I just wanted to say, re: the tanning bed hysteria, that like with everything else, dosage is the key.

    There are studies saying that tanning beds increase bone density, so there is a beneficial side as well.

    If you were to use a tanning bed with the intention to get adequate UVB but not tan, you would probably be getting a safe dosage, similar to sitting out in the sun for moderate periods of time.

    Dark skinned people need more time in the sun or on a tanning bed to get the same amount of vitamin D. And showering with soap after sunning can actually interrupt the process of getting the Vitamin into your system.

  8. Someone I work with visits your blog quite often and recommended it to me to read as well. The writing style is great and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!