The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between hair essential trace element and mineral content and ADHD in preschool (4–6 years old) and primary school children (6–10 years old) in relation to age and gender. Hair essential trace element and mineral content in 90 Russian children with ADHD and 90 age- and gender-matched neurotypical controls were assessed using inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry after microwave digestion. The obtained data demonstrate that hair Co, Cu, Mn, Si, and Zn contents in ADHD children was significantly reduced by 18%, 10%, 27%, 16%, and 19% as compared to the control values, respectively. The most significant decrease in children with ADHD was observed for hair Mg levels, being 29% lower than those in neurotypical children. After adjustment for age and gender, the observed difference in hair element content was more characteristic for preschool children and girls, respectively. Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that in a crude model (hair element levels as predictors), only hair Zn content was significantly inversely associated with ADHD (β = − 0.169; p = 0.025). Adjustment for anthropometric parameters (model 2) did not increase the predictive ability of the model, although it improved the association between hair Zn and ADHD in children (β = − 0.194; p = 0.014). Hypothetically, the observed alterations may at least partially contribute to neurobehavioral disturbances in children with ADHD. Moreover, the results of the present study raise the question about the potential benefits of Zn and Mg supplementation in children with ADHD. However, further detailed studies are required to investigate micronutrient deficiencies in ADHD.
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