Can Vitamin D Supplementation Improve ADHD Symptoms? : Terry Talks Nutrition

Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Can Vitamin D Supplementation Improve ADHD Symptoms?

It’s easy to discount the importance of common vitamins and minerals because they seem so familiar and are often included in fortified foods.

Although vitamin D is frequently cited as a major factor for healthy bones and the immune system, growing evidence shows that it is vitally important for the emotional and cognitive processing of the brain.

In this clinical study, vitamin D supplementation improved attention span, impulsive behavior, and other cognitive factors in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Interestingly, children diagnosed with ADHD also had lower serum vitamin D levels prior to supplementation, and there is other research that shows correlation between the two.

Vitamin D, synthesized in the body after exposure to sunlight, can be short supply in northern latitudes and in the diet. Supplementation may be a simple way to help children develop helpful habits of concentration and focus that will benefit them for a lifetime.


Elshorbagy HH, Barseem NF, Abdelghani WE, et al. Impact of Vitamin D Supplementation on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children. Ann Pharmacother. 2018;52(7):623–631.

Background: The role of nutrients and dietary factors in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains unclear.

Objectives: The primary objective was to evaluate the serum vitamin D level in children with a diagnosis of ADHD. The secondary objective was to detect the effect of vitamin D supplementation on cognitive function in those with vitamin D deficiency.

Methods: A total of 50 children with ADHD and 40 healthy controls were included in the study. We measured the serum level of vitamin D. Patients with vitamin D deficiency were subdivided into 2 groups: one with vitamin D supplementation and the other without vitamin D supplementation. Further assessment and follow-up of children with ADHD was done. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Conners' Parent Rating Scale, and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children were performed at baseline and follow-up in all cohorts with an ADHD diagnosis.

Results: The diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency was significantly greater in children with ADHD compared with the control group ( P < 0.05). Children with ADHD had significantly ( P = 0.0009) lower values of serum vitamin D (17.23 ± 8.98) than the control group(31.47 ± 14.42). The group receiving vitamin D supplementation demonstrated improvement in cognitive function in the conceptual level, inattention, opposition, hyperactivity, and impulsivity domains.

Conclusion: Vitamin D supplementation in children with ADHD may improve cognitive function.

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