ZUMA, Uganda — A new study finds that vitamin B- 12 is also helpful for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and ADHD, both disorders that cause problems with concentration, executive functioning and memory.
The results of the study were published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics.
The study involved a large, randomized controlled trial of more than 1,000 children from 12 African countries, with an average age of 4 years.
“These are very important results because they demonstrate that B-6 is not only effective for children in the context of ADHD but also beneficial in children with depression and attention deficit disorder,” said Dr. James E. O’Neill, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The children were randomly assigned to receive one of two supplements of vitamin B12: a daily pill containing 50 mcg of B12 or a daily supplement containing 20 mcg.
“The daily B12 supplement was significantly better than the placebo in improving attention,” O’Neil said.
The B-4 supplement was equally effective.
The researchers found that children in whom B-24 had been taken in the past five years did not have significant differences in the improvement in attention or cognitive function, even after adjusting for other factors, such as age and the number of days in the study.
But there were some notable differences in overall brain health, such that the children in who received the B-3 supplement had higher levels of total brain and frontal gray matter.
“It was surprising that these B-23 children were the most improved,” said lead author Dr. David S. Brown, a child neurologist at Emory University School of Medicine.
“There were some very positive effects on their cognition.”
Dr. Brown also said he thought that there may be an interaction between B-7 and B-25.
B-26, which is also known as folate, has been shown to help prevent and treat ADHD in children and adults.
“This is the first time we have found that B12 could be useful in ADHD,” Brown said.
“We believe that vitamin D may be useful for ADHD.”
B-13 and B12 help with ADHD, attention deficit and memory problems The study also found that people who received B-5 were more likely to have higher levels in the prefrontal cortex, which helps with learning and memory and also regulates mood.
But, as with the B vitamin, there were also benefits in the children’s overall brain function.
“Some of these children have very good cognitive functioning and have good memory and attention,” said O’Brien.
“And that is important.
And these children may have a lower risk of developing other neurodevelopmental disorders.”
B vitamins may also be useful to prevent certain diseases in children, including Alzheimer’s disease and autism, which are both inherited, O’Connell said.
But for now, these findings are preliminary.
“Right now, we do not know whether this is really going to be beneficial for the children,” he said.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to these outcomes, O’sNeill said.
For example, the children were mostly from poor countries, and the participants were mostly girls, so the B vitamins might have been more beneficial in some cases, O’mann said.
In the study, B-16 was the only supplement that had a significant effect on attention and cognitive function.
B vitamins are generally not recommended for children and teens with ADHD because of their potential to increase the risk of cognitive impairment.
In some studies, B vitamins have been linked to decreased IQ, attention and memory scores, and even death.
“I am extremely concerned about this,” Brown added.
“If this is going to work, and if it does work, I would like to see it applied to children and adolescents with ADHD.”
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