How Does Vitamin D Help ADHD?

Vitamin D is a superhero among vitamins! Yet it is only recently that we realize it had super powers.

20 years ago, we thought Vitamins Ds job was to make strong bones, because of its role in regulating calcium. Now we know Vitamin D plays a much bigger role than just our bones. It has a vital part in our physical, mental and psychological well being.

Vitamin D is the only Vitamin that is a hormone and each tissue in the body has Vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D is needed by every part of our body, including our brain, heart and immune system, so that we can operate at our best. Having optimum levels of Vitamin D protects against many illnesses and diseases including depression, flu, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers and much more.

Despite being so important, vitamin D levels in the general population are at an all time low. One of the leading reasons for this is because in the 1980s, we started to use more sunscreen. Optimum levels for a healthy person is 50 nanograms /ml. However, most people living in the modern world don’t meet these requirements.

Why is Vitamin D important when you have ADHD?

There is a connection between ADHD and low Vitamin D levels. A recent study found that Vitamin D deficiency was seen more in children with ADHD than in the control group. In children with ADHD, the average vitamin D level was 16.6 ng/ml; in contrast, in children without ADHD, it was at 23.5 ng/ml.

4 reasons why keeping your Vitamin D levels within the recommended range is extra important when you have ADHD

Vitamin D:

  • Increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which reduces the negative symptoms of ADHD)
  • Increases production of Acetylcholine, which helps you to maintain focus, and concentration
  • Encourages the growth of nerve cells for memory storage and executive function; both of which can be problematic when you have ADHD
  • Is involved in the release of serotonin, which helps with depression and SAD: 2 conditions that people with ADHD can struggle with

Your Vitamin D Action Plan!

1)     Find out What your Vitamin D Levels Are.

Do you know what your Vitamin D level is?  Most people dont know what theirs is because testing isn’t routinely done by your doctor. However, you can ask to be tested! There are 2 test options. The best one for checking your overall Vitamin levels is the 25 (OH)D test; also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

2)     Create a Plan to Increase Your Levels.

It will probably involve spending more time in the sunlight (though be careful not to burn) and taking a supplement.
Taking a Vitamin D3 has been found to be more helpful in raising and keeping vitamin levels at a healthy level than D2.

How much should you take?

The recommended amount seems to vary depending who you ask!
From 600IU to 2,000 IU, and much higher. It would be best to consult with your doctor and get a personalized recommendation based on your current Vitamin D levels, your weight, skin type as well as your general health and the meds you are on.

3)     Recheck Your Levels

After you have implemented your plan for a period of time (e.g 6 months), get your levels rechecked to see if there has been an improvement. In addition to the test results, after a short period of time, you will (hopefully) notice improvement to your mood, memory, attention, etc.


  1. Have you heard of the NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE movement? As of 2007, the aims of the No Child Left Inside Coalition had been endorsed by 58 organizations including the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, and the National Wildlife Federation.
    Two US legislative bills were introduced during the 2000s using the phrase “No Child Left Inside.”

    The 2005 Richard Louv book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” created an increased interest in children’s environmental awareness.

    *norepinephrine is the correct spelling

  2. Sriram Chadalavada says:

    I had been taking the vitamins and using a sunlight lamp but since moving to Toronto in January have not been doing so. I do consume milk and milk products though. Thanks for a good reminder to get back.

  3. I bought some sunlight lamps for my office to get daylight in the winter. I also take a vitamin D supplement every day. It does seem to help 🙂

    X x x

  4. Cynthia Orman says:

    I’m a 70-year-old diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago (thankfully!), and I take 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D. I just want to point out that as we age our bodies manufacture this vitamin from sunlight exposure less and less well. So it’s even more important for us older folks (over 50, if I remember correctly) to take a supplement!

  5. Indeed Vitamin D has positive effects on people with ADHD as has been shown by several studies. I take a vitamin pill just in case, but my real sources are milk and sunlight 🙂

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