Leaky Gut Syndrome May Cause Magnesium Deficiency which Correlates to ADHD in Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a syndrome with many contributing causes including environmental toxins, nutrition deficiencies, food sensitivities, and leaky gut syndrome (see my previous blog for more information about leaky gut syndrome). Throughout the United States, ADHD has become an alarming epidemic. About 10-15% of all school children have the disorder and the rates are doubling every 3 to 4 years. More than 3 million American children diagnosed with ADHD are treated with Ritalin®, a central nervous stimulant with properties similar to cocaine, and the amount of the drug being prescribed has more than quadrupled in the last 10 years with more than 10 tons being produced in recent years (1).

Leaky gut syndrome causes inflammation which can result in the malabsorption of many important nutrients, such as magnesium and zinc. A leaky gut also allows for the passage of environmental toxins into the body through the intestinal wall. Therefore, it is not surprising that a leaky gut plays a role in triggering most chronic diseases and ADHD hyperactivity behaviors. In fact, researchers have found lower than normal levels of magnesium in people with ADHD (2). Low magnesium results in a syndrome of abnormalities including depression, irritability, restless sleep, muscle spasms, memory loss and low physical endurance. In one study, 95% of a group of 116 children with ADHD had below normal magnesium levels. Treatment was administered to 50 children with low blood and hair magnesium with 200 mg magnesium daily for 6 months. Compared to a control group given ‘standard therapy’ without magnesium, the supplemented children showed a significant decrease in hyperactivity (3).

Magnesium is one of the necessary chemical elements in our intestinal tract and is required by every cell of the body. As an essential electrolyte, it works with calcium and phosphorus to build bones and it is needed for muscle and nerve function. Magnesium also helps to prevent and relieve constipation, regulates the heart and converts foods to energy. Consequently, magnesium deficiencies can cause hyperactivity, psychiatric disorders and convulsive seizures in children (4).

It is important for children with ADHD to eat a diet rich in magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium are green vegetables, (such as spinach and okra), nuts (almonds and peanuts) pumpkin seeds, and black beans. The recommended daily allowance for most people is between 300 and 400 milligrams per day of magnesium. A delicious child friendly way to get more magnesium in the body is to eat 1 ounce (142 seeds) of pumpkin seeds (equal to 151 milligrams magnesium) or 1 cup of okra (equal to 94 milligrams magnesium). My kids love okra roasted, and then sprinkled with sea salt. When they were small I told them it is nature’s pretzel.


Serves 4-6

1 pound fresh small whole okra (less than 3” in length)

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil.
  2. In mixing bowl, toss okra with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes or until brown and tender. Turn okra once, after 5 minutes, while roasting. Transfer to serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.


(1) United Nations Nation’s Information Service Annual Report (1996). United nation’s warnings on rialin. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/backlash/un.html

(2) The Georgetown University Medical Center Office of Continuing Professional Education and The International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, and the International Health Foundation, Jackson, Tennessee Symposium (2000). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Causes and Possible Solutions NOHA NEWS, 1: 1-3. Retrieved from http://www.nutrition4health.org/NOHAnews/NNW00ADHD.htm.

(3) Kozielec, T., Starobrar-Hermelin, B. (1997) Assessment of magnesium levels in children with ADHD. Magnesium Research, 10 (2): 143-8. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235.

(4) Mousain-Bosc, M., Roche, M., Rapin, J., and Bali, (2004). Magnesium Vitb6 intake reduces central nervous system huperexcitability in children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23 (5): 5454-548. Retireved from http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/5/545S



  1. Kant Chander said,

    July 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

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  2. Lorraine wright said,

    January 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I think I have leaky gut I have been through the mill with doctors I . I had H-pylori for 15 years 1 went to doctor after doctor as I was getting sicker and sicker now I have permanent gut problems . Many different drugs tricker it off and foods . This time I haven’t eaten for 24 hours . Trying to explain to a doctor is so hard nobody seems to care I feel so physically sick week drinking plenty water though Should I start a course of daily free probiotics

  3. March 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks designed for sharing such a good thinking, piece of writing is nice,
    thats why i have read it entirely

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