A supplement containing fish fatty acids, GLA, zinc and magnesium makes hyperactive children pay more attention and focus better. Psychiatrists at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany tested Esprico [esprico.de] on over eight hundred children whose parents had enlisted the help of doctors for their child's disorder. This is the biggest study on the effect of nutrients on ADHD that has been published so far, and the results are promising.
One in twenty schoolchildren has ADHD. Though doctors still prescribe medicines for the disorder, there is an increasing demand for complementary forms of support and even alternative therapies based on nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acid EPA has been shown to have interesting effects in trials, and nutritional studies have found low concentrations of zinc and magnesium in children with ADHD.
The makers of Esprico were inspired by the results of these studies. Esprico is produced by Engelhard Arzneimittel [engelhard.de], the sponsor of the study mentioned here. The first author, professor Michael Huss, works with Engelhard on the development of supplements for children with ADHD.
The test subjects for the study were children aged between 5 and 12. They had concentration problems, found it difficult to pay attention, and showed hyperactive and impulsive behaviour. The children took 4 Esprico chew tablets daily for twelve weeks. The composition of the supplement is shown below.
Just before they started taking the supplement [Baseline], after 2-4 weeks [Interim] and at the end of the period [Final], the researchers examined the children with the help of the SNAP-IV questionnaire. The figures below show the scores for two parts of the assessment. A child with a score higher than 16 for 'attention deficit' and higher 13 for 'hyperactivity/impulsivity' is classified by doctors as having a 'clinically relevant disorder'.
The lower the score, the better. Children with no problems at all score 0-3.
As the figures show, Esprico can't make an ADHD child into a completely problem-free child. But the supplement can help rid a child of an ADHD label.
The supplement also reduced sleep problems in the children. No serious side effects were observed.
The researchers stress that they have not proven that their supplement can replace medication like Ritalin. But parents could certainly use the supplements to complement medication.