What a mother eats during pregnancy could affect her child’s risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As per a study by Spanish researchers, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, there is a link between the levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the umbilical cord blood and ADHD at the age of seven.
The researchers explained that fatty acids play an important role in the structure and function of the central nervous system, especially during the later stages of pregnancy.
The study assessed 600 children from four regions in Spain. As per the research, the number of ADHD symptoms rose by 13 per cent at the age of seven of each unit of increase in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
While omega-6 promotes inflammation, omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory. So, maintaining a balance between the two fatty acids is important, said the researchers. Omega-6 is found in certain vegetable and plant oils, seeds and nuts, while omega-3 is generally found in fish and fish oil. So, expecting mothers need to ensure they are eating right.
“The nutrient supply during the earliest stages of life is essential in that it programs the structure and function of the organs, and this programming, in turn, has an impact on health at every stage of life. As the brain takes a long time to develop, it is particularly vulnerable to misprogramming. Alterations of this sort could therefore lead to neurodevelopmental disorders,” study co-author Jordi Julvez, from Barcelona Institute for Global Health, was quoted as saying.