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Outcome Based Comparison of Ritalin Versus Food Supplement Treated Children with ADHD

Date: August 2003

Authors: Harding KL, Judah RD, Gant C

McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.


Source: Alternative Medicine Review 2003 Aug;8(3):319-30



Abstract

Twenty children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) were treated with either Ritalin (10 children) or dietary supplements (10 children), and outcomes were compared using the Intermediate Visual and Auditory/Continuous Performance Test (IVA/CPT) and the WINKS two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures and with Tukey multiple comparisons.

Subjects in both groups showed significant gains (p less than 0.01) on the IVA/CPT's Full Scale Response Control Quotient and Full Scale Attention Control Quotient (p less than 0.001).

Improvements in the four sub-quotients of the IVA/CPT were also found to be significant and essentially identical in both groups: Auditory Response Control Quotient (p less than 0.001), Visual Response Control Quotient (p less than 0.05), Auditory Attention Quotient (p less than 0.001), and Visual Attention Quotient (p less than 0.001).

Numerous studies suggest that biochemical heterogeneous etiologies for AD/HD cluster around at least eight risk factors:

  • food and additive allergies,
  • heavy metal toxicity and other environmental toxins,
  • low-protein/high-carbohydrate diets,
  • mineral imbalances,
  • essential fatty acid and phospholipid deficiencies,
  • amino acid deficiencies,
  • thyroid disorders, and
  • B-vitamin deficiencies.


The dietary supplements used were a mix of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids, essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and probiotics that attempted to address the AD/HD biochemical risk factors.

These findings support the effectiveness of food supplement treatment in improving attention and self-control in children with AD/HD and suggest food supplement treatment of AD/HD may be of equal efficacy to Ritalin treatment.