Hair Essential Trace Element and Mineral Content and ADHD in Two Age Groups

In a study published in Biological Trace Element Research, researchers analyzed the relationship between hair essential trace element and mineral content and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in two groups of children: preschool (aged 4-6 years) and primary school children (aged 6-10 years).

Relationships were evaluated on the basis of age and sex. This analysis included 90 Russian children with ADHD whose hair essential trace element and mineral content were assessed against age- and sex-matched neurotypical controls. Analysis was conducted with inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry after microwave digestion.

The following reductions in hair contents were observed in children with ADHD, compared with controls: copper, 18%; cobalt, 10%; manganese (Mg), 27%; silicon, 16%; and zinc (Zn), 19%. The most significant difference was for hair Mg levels, which were 29% lower in children with ADHD compared with controls. In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, hair element content differences were more characteristic for preschool children and girls, respectively. Upon multiple linear regression analysis, in a crude model with hair element levels as predictors, the only significant inverse association observed was between hair Zn content and ADHD (P=0.025). When adjusting for anthropometric parameters, the model’s predictive ability did not increase, but the association between hair Zn and ADHD was improved.

The authors concluded that their findings may partially explain the neurobehavioral disturbances associated with ADHD and said that the study further begs the question of the possible benefits of Zn and Mg supplementation in children with ADHD. Further research into micronutrient deficiencies in ADHD is needed.