Micronutrients for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Youth: A Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate whether micronutrients (vitamins/minerals) benefit attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and irritability in a North American pediatric sample.

Method: A three-site 8-week placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of micronutrients was conducted in unmedicated children ages 6-12 with ADHD and at least one impairing irritability symptom by parent report on the Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory-5 (CASI-5). A priori-defined primary outcomes were Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) (CGI-I of 1 or 2 = treatment responder) and parent-rated CASI-5 composite score of ADHD, oppositional defiant, disruptive mood dysregulation, and peer conflict symptoms, including impairment scores.

Results: Of 135 randomized (mean age 9.8 years), 126 (93%) comprised the modified intention-to-treat population. Blinding was maintained. For the CGI-I, 54% of the micronutrient and 18% of the placebo group were responders (Risk Ratio=2.97, 97.5% CI: 1.50, 5.90, p<0.001). CASI-5 composite scores improved significantly for both groups (p<0.01) with a mean change of -0.31 (95% CI: -0.39, -0.23) in the micronutrient group and a mean change of -0.28 (95% CI: -0.38, -0.19) in the placebo group. But the between group difference was not significant (mean change = -0.02; 97.5% CI: -0.16, 0.12, ES = 0.07, p=0.70). The micronutrient group grew six millimeters more than the placebo group (p=0.002). No serious adverse events nor clinically significant changes from baseline in blood and urine tests occurred.

Conclusion: Micronutrients showed global benefit over placebo by blinded clinician rating, but not by parent-report CASI-5 composite rating in a population with ADHD and irritability. Micronutrients showed greater height growth. Micronutrients were well tolerated and the majority adhered to the number of capsules prescribed. This RCT replicates safety and efficacy reported for ADHD in two smaller trials of a similar formula containing all vitamins and known essential minerals in amounts between the Recommended Dietary Allowance and Upper Tolerable Intake Level.

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Micronutrients for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Youth: A Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial

Johnstone JM, Hatsu I, Tost G, Srikanth P, Eiterman LP, Bruton A, Ast HK, Robinette LM, Stern MM, Millington EG, Gracious B, Hughes AJ, Leung BM, Arnold LE. Micronutrients for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Youth: A Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2021 Jul 21:S0890-8567(21)00473-1.

†The micronutrient formulation studied was a pre-2013 version of Truehope EMPowerplus which was co-formulated by David Hardy and Anthony Stephan. Truehope EMPowerplus is a registered trademark of The Synergy Group of Canada Inc., which was co-founded by David Hardy and Anthony Stephan in 1999. David Hardy officially resigned as a shareholder of The Synergy Group of Canada Inc. and director of Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. in 2013 to focus his efforts exclusively on Hardy Nutritionals®.