Zinc supplements may enhance treatment of children being treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to one small study. Forty-four children took part in the study, which was conducted by researchers in Iran. All were treated with methylphenidate (the active ingredient in the stimulant drug Ritalin used to treat ADHD). Half also took 55 mg of zinc sulfate while the other half took a placebo.
After six weeks of treatment, the researchers found greater improvement among the kids who took the zinc. However, these youngsters were more likely to report nausea during the study and a metallic taste from the medication than the ones who got the placebo.
The researchers said that zinc is needed for production and modulation of melatonin, which regulates functioning of the neurotransmitter dopamine, believed to play an important role in ADHD.
The findings support those of a previous study on the effects of taking zinc supplements in connection with ADHD treatment. The study results were published in the April 2004 issue of the journal BMC Psychiatry.