The pathophysiology of attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is still obscure. Some studies have discussed that magnesium levels are lower in the serum and erythrocytes of children with ADHD. However, these findings are controversial. The aim of our study is to identify whether magnesium levels are in fact lower in children with ADHD. We conducted a thorough search of the literature and examined the connection between magnesium insufficiency and ADHD. A total of twelve studies were included into the current meta-analysis. The results of our meta-analysis found that peripheral blood magnesium levels, either in plasma, serum, or whole blood, of children diagnosed with ADHD were significantly lower than those in controls (k = 8, Hedges' g = -0.547, 95% CI = -0.818 to -0.276, p < .001). The subgroup meta-analysis with serum sample sources also suggested that peripheral serum magnesium levels of children diagnosed with ADHD were significantly lower than those in controls (k = 6, Hedges' g = -0.733, 95% CI = -0.911 to -0.555, p < .001). The subgroup meta-analysis focusing on subjects with ADHD diagnosed by definite diagnostic criteria also suggested significantly lower peripheral serum magnesium levels in ADHD children than those in controls (k = 4, Hedges' g = -0.780, 95% CI = -0.985 to -0.574, p < .001). We also noted that magnesium levels in the hair of children diagnosed with ADHD were significantly lower than those in controls (k = 4, Hedges' g = -0.713, 95% CI = -1.359 to -0.067, p = .031). In this meta-analysis, we found that children diagnosed with ADHD have lower serum and hair magnesium levels than children without ADHD. Further study may be needed to investigate the behavioral influence on ADHD due to lower magnesium levels, the association between brain and serum magnesium levels, and the effects brought about by larger longitudinal cohort studies.
Keywords: ADHD; Magnesium; Meta-analysis; Nutrition; Trace element.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.