Current Psychiatry Reports

, 19:8 | Cite as

The Role of Nutritional Supplements in the Treatment of ADHD: What the Evidence Says

  • Klaus W. LangeEmail author
  • Joachim Hauser
  • Katharina M. Lange
  • Ewelina Makulska-Gertruda
  • Yukiko Nakamura
  • Andreas Reissmann
  • Yuko Sakaue
  • Tomoyuki Takano
  • Yoshihiro Takeuchi
Attention-Deficit Disorder (A Rostain, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Attention-Deficit Disorder


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder in children and adolescents and may persist into adulthood. Insufficient nutritional supply of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) and other components including various minerals has been suggested to play a role in the development of ADHD symptoms. This review presents the evidence regarding the role of nutritional PUFA, zinc, iron, and magnesium supplements in the treatment of ADHD with a focus on the critical evaluation of the relevant literature published from 2014 to April 2016. The evaluation of therapeutic nutritional LC-PUFA supplementation in ADHD has shown mixed and inconclusive results and at best marginal beneficial effects. The benefits of PUFAs are much smaller than the effect sizes observed for traditional pharmacological treatments of ADHD. The effectiveness of PUFA supplements in reducing medication dosage has been suggested but needs to be confirmed. Zinc, iron, and magnesium supplementation may reduce ADHD symptoms in children with or at high risk of deficiencies in these minerals. However, convincing evidence in this regard is lacking.


ADHD Nutritional supplements Polyunsaturated fatty acids Zinc Iron Magnesium 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus W. Lange
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joachim Hauser
    • 1
  • Katharina M. Lange
    • 1
  • Ewelina Makulska-Gertruda
    • 1
  • Yukiko Nakamura
    • 1
  • Andreas Reissmann
    • 1
  • Yuko Sakaue
    • 2
  • Tomoyuki Takano
    • 3
  • Yoshihiro Takeuchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Developmental and Behavioral PediatricsShiga University of Medical ScienceOtsuJapan
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsShiga University of Medical ScienceOtsuJapan

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