For baby’s lifelong health and happiness, women of childbearing years should eat quality, clean meat and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, choline, heme iron, B12, cholesterol, and zinc.
The primary cause of ADHD is inadequate neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that orchestrates and consciously controls thought and behavior. It is involved in planning, attention, self-discipline, social skills, and much more. With a less-developed prefrontal cortex, a child will be disadvantaged. With a well-developed prefrontal cortex, a child will have better impulse control, better focus, higher intelligence, better relationships, and more life success.
The prefrontal cortex begins developing in the mother’s womb. Its development determines how strong and active it is, and its development is highly sensitive to mother’s nutritional status during gestation in the womb.
Inadequate nutrition has been shown to be a primary cause of ADHD in numerous studies (other biological causes include heavy metals and organic pollutants). Specifically, ADHD is correlated with low maternal and child nutrient status in the following areas:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Inadequate levels of the above nutrients during pregnancy increases risk of developmental difficulties involving cognitive, social-emotional, language development, motor skills, emotion, behavior, and adaptive functions.
Vegetarians and vegans are consistently lower (and often dangerously low) in the above nutrients, as shown in hundreds of independent research studies. A low-meat dietary pattern likely causes or contributes to ADHD and other developmental issues in children. Proponents of meat-free diets cite longer lifespan as ostensible proof that meat avoidance is healthy, but we must recognize the distinction between quality (happiness, functioning) of life and quantity (length) of life.
Due to the quantity of missing nutrients and the inconsistency in its implementation, reliance on dietary supplementation alone to fill gaps is precarious at best and insufficient at worst.
Following is a small representative sample of the many studies linking the above-mentioned deficiencies to both vegetarianism/veganism and separately to ADHD. For the sake of future generations, I urge researchers to DIRECTLY study a potential link between ADHD in children and mother’s vegetarian/vegan dietary pattern before and during pregnancy.
Low DHA and EPA (omega-3) levels in vegans and vegetarians:
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Long-chain n-3 PUFA in vegetarian women: a metabolic perspective
- n-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Mothers, Preterm Infants, and Term Infants and Childhood Psychomotor and Visual Development: A Systematic Review …
- Current evidence and future directions for research with omega-3 fatty acids and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Prenatal Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms
Meat avoiders have lower iron stores on average, and low maternal iron stunts brain growth
- Perinatal iron deficiency and neurocognitive development
- Association between psychiatric disorders and iron deficiency anemia among children and adolescents
- Addressing Female Iron-Deficiency Anaemia in India: Is Vegetarianism the Major Obstacle?
- The impact of maternal iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia on child’s health
- Iron deficiency in mother and baby alters sleep patterns
- RLS in middle aged women and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in their offspring
- Leblanc, J. Ch., Yoon, H., Kombadjian, A., & Verger, Ph. (2000). Nutritional intake of vegetarian populations in France. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 54. 443-449.
- Donovan, U. M., & Gibson, R. S. (1995). Iron and zinc status of young women aged 14 to 19 years consuming vegetarian and omnivorous diets. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 14. 5. 463-472.
- Pongstaporn, W., & Bunyaratavej, A. (1999). Hematological parameters, ferritin, and vitamin B12 in vegetarians. Journal of Medical Association of Thailand. 82. 3. 304-311.
- Wilson, A. K., & Ball, M. J. (1999). Nutrient intake and iron status of Australian male vegetarians. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 53. 189-194.
Low B12 Status in Meat Avoiders
- Vitamin B-12 status in infancy is positively associated with development and cognitive functioning 5 y later in Nepalese children
- Homocysteine levels in vegetarians versus omnivores.
Lower Zinc Intake in Meat Avoiders
- Dietary, Nutrient Patterns and Blood Essential Elements in Chinese Children with ADHD
- Changed Plasma Levels of Zinc and Copper to Zinc Ratio and Their Possible Associations with Parent- and Teacher-Rated Symptoms in Children with Att…
High Fish and Organ Meat Dietary Pattern Linked to Least ADHD Risk
Low Cholesterol Levels Linked to ADHD Risk
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is associated with reduced levels of serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adolescents. Data from t…
Low Iodine Levels in Vegans and Risk for Stunted Brain Growth and ADHD Symptoms
- Maternal Iodine Intake and Offspring Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Results from a Large Prospective Cohort Study
- Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders in the offspring of mothers exposed to mild-moderate iodine deficiency: a possible novel iodine defic…
- Iodine Status and Thyroid Function of Boston-Area Vegetarians and Vegans
Higher Amounts of Dietary Choline as found in Animal Products Needed For Optimal Brain Development
- Usual Choline Intakes Are Associated with Egg and Protein Food Consumption in the United States
- Perinatal Phosphatidylcholine Supplementation and Early Childhood Behavior Problems: Evidence for CHRNA7 Moderation
- Choline transporter gene variation is associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder