By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Eating for two takes on added significance with a new study suggesting that a mother's diet during pregnancy could affect her child's risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Spanish researchers found a link between levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in umbilical cord blood and ADHD at age 7.
The fatty acids play an important role in the structure and function of the central nervous system, particularly during later stages of pregnancy, the researchers explained.
Their study included 600 children from four regions in Spain. To assess ADHD symptoms, teachers completed questionnaires when the children were 4 years old and parents did so three years later.
Researchers also analyzed samples of umbilical cord blood plasma from participants.
At age 7, the number of ADHD symptoms rose 13 percent for each unit of increase in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
The researchers said a balance between the two fatty acids is important, because they have opposing functions. Omega-6 promotes inflammation; omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory.
Omega-6 is found in certain vegetable and plant oils, seeds and nuts, while omega-3 is generally found in fish and fish oil, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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