Food and Behaviour Research

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Prenatal Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms

López-Vicente M, Ribas Fitó N, Vilor-Tejedor N, Garcia-Esteban R, Fernández-Barrés S, Dadvand P, Murcia M, Rebagliato M, Ibarluzea J, Lertxundi A, Fernández-Somoano A, Tardón A, López-Sabater MC, Romaguera D, Vrijheid M, Sunyer J, Julvez J (2019) J Pediatr.  2019 Mar.  pii: S0022-3476(19)30246-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.02.022. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here



To evaluate whether higher omega-6:omega-3 (n-6:n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio in cord plasma is associated with more symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at 4 and 7 years of age.


This study was based on a population-based birth cohort in Spain. N-6 arachidonic acid and n-3 eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid concentrations were measured in cord plasma. At 4 years old, ADHD symptoms were reported by teachers through the ADHD Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed checklist (n = 580). At 7 years old, ADHD symptoms were reported by parents through the Conners' Rating Scale-Revised (short form; n = 642). The ADHD variable was treated as continuous (score) and as dichotomous (symptom diagnostic criteria). Child and family general characteristics were prospectively collected through questionnaires. We applied pooled zero-inflated negative binomial and logistic regressions adjusted for covariates.


A higher omega-6:omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio in cord plasma was associated with a higher ADHD index (incidence rate ratio, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.03, 1.23) at 7 years old. The association was not observed at 4 years old (incidence rate ratio, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.92-1.18). No associations were found using ADHD symptom diagnostic criteria.


High prenatal omega-6:omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio preceded the appearance of subclinical ADHD symptoms during mid-childhood. Our findings suggest that maternal diet during pregnancy may modulate the risk to develop long-term ADHD symptoms in the offspring.


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