Recent Study Shows the Possible Link Between an Unhealthy Diet During Pregnancy With ADHD in Children


Early onset conduct issues alongside the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, otherwise known as ADHD are the two most common branches of child mental health issues referral. These two mental health issues often occur in tandem and for the most part, can be induced because of some possible links with the pre-natal experiences – be it because of distress or even a poor diet with lack of nutrition.

A new conducted study (R) by the scientists from the prestigious King’s College London along with the University of Bristol established a possible connection between the consumption of a high fat and high sugar diet during pregnancy to be the reasons behind the symptoms of ADHD and lack of substantial conduct in an early stages of a child’s life.

Conduct disorder like that of consistent fighting and lying along with signs of ADHD account for one of the leading child mental health issues in the United Kingdom. Statistics show that 40% of children with conduct disorders are also diagnosed with ADHD. This study was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

In the study (R), 83 children with early-onset conduct and behavioural issues were compared with 81 children from the town of Bristol who showcased lowered levels of conduct disorders.

The researchers then assessed the possibility with the possible prenatal connections attached with the altered epigenetic changes otherwise referred to as the DNA methylation process specifically of the IGF2 which is solely responsible in the overall fetal development along with the development of the brain associated with the areas implicated for ADHD – the hippocampus and cerebellum.

This sudden spiked interest arose when the researchers connected the possibilities with that of the reports that were given back in the days of World War II when similar DNA methylation of the IGF2 gene occurred because of extended exposure to famine in the Netherlands.

The researchers from the King’s College and Bristol University dug deeper and concluded for a fact that the higher risks of conduct disorders along with ADHD in children roots from rises from the mother’s consumption of high-fat and high-sugar diet which ends up causing methylation of the DNA, especially the IGF2 gene which is associated with major functions of mental health.

The higher the rate of IGF2 methylation, the higher are the symptoms associated with ADHD. The same showcased the most prominence between the ages of 7 and 13.

One of the scientists associated with the study, Dr Edward Baker from the King’s College exclaimed saying this new study culminated by them evidently highlights the importance of a healthy diet plan during pregnancy. The concluded results claim that a healthy diet plan during the pregnancy can help downsize the possibilities of ADHD. A nutritional diet has the possibility of arresting the altered risks relating to epigenetic changes.

The researchers are currently looking into the kind of diets that would be the most beneficial diet plans for pregnant women to help curb the possible inception of ADHD and related cognitive alterations.