Dr. David Clark, Dallas Functional Neurologist and world-renowned ADHD expert, talks about the exciting news connecting ADHD and Vitamin D.
A research study from Sweden just published found that low levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with ADHD. Now let me explain why that matters to your child....
The subjects in this study were diagnosed as ADHD and had their blood drawn and analyzed. These ADHD subjects had low levels of Vitamin D.
Now, what should happen is their parathyroid hormone (PTH) should go up in order to compensate (skipping some steps, here)---but in these ADHD subjects, the PTH did not increase as it should.
This is called a blunted response to Vitamin D deficiency....and magnesium deficiency is the cause of this blunted response to low Vitamin D.
I’ve posted on this topic of magnesium deficiency before, and there is a wealth of information in the scientific literature--some as old as 1996. Some as recent as 2006. All of this data together proves that kids diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have a magnesium deficiency.
What I’m telling you here is that magnesium deficiency can show up in a bunch of different places. It can show up if your child has low Vitamin D levels, but also has low parathyroid hormone levels. I mean something’s wrong, and the thing that connects those two is magnesium; that’s the point.
You might think that you can go out to the health food store, buy some magnesium supplement and safely give it to your ADHD child. I wouldn’t do that.
I would find out why your child is deficient in magnesium.
If all you do is supplement, the fire could still be burning--and you have not put it out. You’ve kind of covered up the symptoms for awhile. Believe me, I don’t blame you for wanting to do that. But it’s better to do some detective work and find out why your child is magnesium deficient in the first place.
Could just be malnutrition, right? The kid’s just not eating enough things that have magnesium. But there are also other physiological problesm that, if your doctor (whoever’s helping your child), is good enough, they will take a comprehensive approach and figure out what the cause is.
Please don’t run out and go supplement with magnesium just because you heard me say this. I don’t think that’s a smart thing to do.
A few important points to remember about magnesium deficiency and ADHD...
If you go ask your doctor about this topic, he/she's probably not going to understand what you're talking about. They may offer to run a blood test for magnesium. The thing I want to tell you about the blood test for magnesium is there’s basically two kinds...and they're night and day different.
- Red Blood Cell magnesium
- Serum magnesium
The red blood cell magnesium is the most sensitive. The magnesium in the red blood cell gets depleted first..then the magnesium in the serum. So it's a great marker, but pretty darn expensive and I would doubt your doctor would ever run it because of that expense (that's another issue).
So, for practical purposes, the serum magneisum is the test to look at for deficiency. But there is a major problem...
If your child’s serum magnesium numbers are not below the lab ranges, your doctor’s not going to do anything about it....and that’s a massive mistake in my opinion.
I don't use the lab's normal ranges. I use a "functional" range, which is a narrower range, so I pick up the need for magnesium before the levels get below the lab's low end numbers.
If your child's serum magnesium is "functional low" then he has a need for magnesium If your child's magnesium is lab low, he has a magnesium deficiency. And in both cases, this magnesium problem MUST be handles. But we also have to find out what’s causing it.
- Low parathyroid hormone is related to ADHD in the following ways.
- The study from Sweden showed that these ADHD subjects had low levels of 25-hydroxy Vitamin D.
- Now please don’t run out and go supplement that either because that’s a whole other story. You can actually make your child a lot worse if you don’t do the correct testing before you supplement and after you supplement.
So you have low parathyroid hormone, low Vitamin D, but because of this low Vitamin D, the parathyroid hormone should go up. If PTH doesn’t go up, it’s blunted and it’s most often caused by a magnesium deficiency, which is a well-know connection with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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© 2010 Dr. David Clark
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Dr. David Clark
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist