Background: Micronutrients containing vitamins are reported to reduce symptom levels in persons with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but data on vitamin levels in ADHD are sparse.
Aims: To examine the relationship between vitamin concentrations, ADHD diagnosis and psychiatric symptoms in young adult ADHD patients and controls.
Method: Eight vitamins and the nicotine metabolite cotinine were analysed in serum samples from 133 ADHD patients and 131 controls aged between 18 and 40, who also reported ADHD symptoms and comorbid conditions.
Results: Lower concentrations of vitamins B2, B6 and B9 were associated with the ADHD diagnosis, and B2 and B6 also with symptom severity. Smokers had lower levels of vitamins B2 and B9.
Conclusions: ADHD patients were overrepresented in the group with low levels of some vitamins, possibly indicative of inadequate dietary intake of these micronutrients in a subgroup of patients. It is important to identify these patients in dietary intervention trials of ADHD.
Declaration of interest: J.H. has received lecture honoraria as part of continuing medical education programmes sponsored by Novartis, Eli Lilly and Company, and Janssen-Cilag.
Copyright and usage: © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license.