Increased ADHD if Mom Overweight?

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A study out of Europe, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, looked at 2000 Swedish kids and found that there was a reduced ability to pay attention in school or preschool among those whose mothers had been overweight.

Some possible reasons given:

  • Excess weight might disrupt mothers’ metabolism, making it harder for nutrients essential to brain development to reach the fetus
  • Pregnancy puts huge stress on the metabolism, and excessive weight gain might throw it out of balance – perhaps by raising mothers’ levels of blood glucose, or of the hormone leptin
  • Inadequate vitamin D, which is linked to mental development and is known to be present in lower levels in overweight women
  • Greater exposure to damaging chemicals, which accumulate in body fat.

The author wanted to emphasize that the study could not determine whether maternal obesity actually caused these problems, however the results are still very interesting and show that there are health consequences to being overweight.

If you are expecting, or thinking of having a baby, there are a number of things that you can do to prep your body and give your growing baby a step up. Here are my suggestions:

1. Prenatal vitamin: Make sure that there is 800mcg of folic acid, and at least 18mg of iron.

2. Calcium and Magnesium:  Your baby will suck the calcium out of your bones so make sure that you are supplying both you and your growing one enough of these bone building minerals. 1500mg per day of calcium and 700-800mg of magnesium should be your target.  Take into account the amount of foods that you eat as well as what may be in your prenatal vitamin.  Foods rich in calcium include dark leafy greens, almonds, canned salmon, legumes and organic dairy products.

3. Vitamin D3: The sunshine vitamin. More and more research emphasizes the importance of this vitamin. I would recommend at least 1000IU per day.

4. DHA: This Essential Fatty Acid is critical for brain health and development. Aim for 200 to 400mg per day. Research has shown that children with ADHD have decreased levels of this nutrient.

As with any supplement, always consult with a health care professional before taking them and to see what is appropriate for you.  For questions, contact us.

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March 2023