Iron Stores Predict Symptom Severity

Research has shown that slower brain development can result from iron deficiency in infancy. This slow brain development leads to poor performance in school at a later stage in childhood. Studies on animals have also shown that iron deficiency can lead to restlessness and abnormal muscle movement. People who suffer from restless legs syndrome often also have an iron deficiency.

According to WebMD, Eric Konofal who is a lead researcher involved in studying the effects of iron deficiency, says that his findings have lead him to believe that iron deficiency plays a key role in ADHD.

His studies involved measuring the blood levels of the protein ferritin (this protein allows the body to store iron) in 53 children suffering from ADHD and a further 27 children without the disorder but presenting with mild reading disabilities. Of the children suffering from ADHD, 84% had abnormally low ferritin levels where as only 18% of the children without ADHD had low ferritin levels

Interestingly, the children who were the most impulsive, inattentive or hyperactive were also those with the most severe iron deficiencies. As a result, it is found that as much as 30% of the severity of ADHD is a direct result of low iron stores. It is not known why some children present low iron levels as none of the children appeared to be malnourished.

  • In conclusion, iron is a co-enzyme in the anabolism of catecholamines. That means that without iron, certain neurotransmitters would not be created. It is a key element in the regulation of dopamine activity (dopamine is a neurotransmitter). A deficiency in iron is almost always associated with neurological problems. It makes sense that boosting the iron levels / intake of children suffering from ADHD and concentration problems, will have a positive effect.
  • Helpful reference reading about Anaemia and its contribution to ADHD/ul

B12 / Folic Acid

B12 and folic acid must work together to make up all the cells in the body. They play a vital role in the process of Methylation. DNA methylation is a process by which methyl groups (genetic material) are added to DNA. Methylation modifies the function of the DNA. DNA methylation is therefore essential for normal development and is associated with a number of key processes including genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, repression of repetitive elements, and carcinogenesis. If the methylation cycle is unable to work properly; it will result in the presence of excess heavy metals such as mercury and lead in the system.

A healthy methylation process (which requires healthy b12 and folic acid levels) is needed for:

  • Detoxification
  • Neurotransmitter synthesis and utilization