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Keywords:

  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • complementary and alternative;
  • memory;
  • phosphatidylserine;
  • school children

Abstract

Background

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder of childhood, affecting 3–5% of school-age children. The present study investigated whether the supplementation of soy-derived phosphatidylserine (PS), a naturally occurring phospholipid, improves ADHD symptoms in children.

Methods

Thirty six children, aged 4–14 years, who had not previously received any drug treatment related to ADHD, received placebo (= 17) or 200 mg day–1 PS (= 19) for 2 months in a randomised, double-blind manner. Main outcome measures included: (i) ADHD symptoms based on DSM-IV-TR; (ii) short-term auditory memory and working memory using the Digit Span Test of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children; and (iii) mental performance to visual stimuli (GO/NO GO task).

Results

PS supplementation resulted in significant improvements in: (i) ADHD (< 0.01), AD (< 0.01) and HD (< 0.01); (ii) short-term auditory memory (< 0.05); and (iii) inattention (differentiation and reverse differentiation, < 0.05) and inattention and impulsivity (< 0.05). No significant differences were observed in other measurements and in the placebo group. PS was well-tolerated and showed no adverse effects.

Conclusions

PS significantly improved ADHD symptoms and short-term auditory memory in children. PS supplementation might be a safe and natural nutritional strategy for improving mental performance in young children suffering from ADHD.