Over the last few weeks, we have discussed the importance of dopamine and how individuals with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine in their brains. We have discovered that increased levels of dopamine lead to improved ADHD symptoms. At this point, we know that protein, zinc, iron and magnesium impact dopamine levels. Dopamine is formed through amino acid metabolism, which requires certain coenzymes. One of these coenzymes is Vitamin B6 (also known as Pyridoxine), which is this week’s nutrient to focus on.
Last week, we investigated the role that magnesium can play in ADHD, but the key to absorbing magnesium is having adequate levels of vitamin B6. Although more research is needed, one study found that symptoms of ADHD improved in children during an 8-week trial of magnesium and vitamin B6 supplementation. After the trial concluded and the supplements were discontinued, the ADHD symptoms returned. The study determined that magnesium cannot be absorbed into blood cells if vitamin B6 is not readily available. The active form of this vitamin (pyridoxine) is pyridoxal phosphate. This active form is involved in almost all reactions of amino acid metabolism in the body. One major role of the active form of B6 is in the production of neurotransmitters, which play a role in the behaviors associated with ADHD. Vitamin B6 leads to increased levels of dopamine, which causes increased alertness. This evidence shows that B6 must be included in treating ADHD symptoms. Meeting your vitamin B6 needs can easily be accomplished by including the right food sources in your diet, specifically: