What pregnant mothers eat may affect ADHD in their children

Researchers in France and Singapore recently published a study in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, showing a connection between what a mother eats while pregnant and ADHD symptoms in young children.

The researchers followed over 1,200 mothers and their children from pregnancy to when the children were 8 years old. They assessed the dietary patterns of the mothers while they were pregnant, then they assessed the externalizing behaviour of the children 3 times—when they were 3, 5, and 8. They specifically looked for hyperactivity–inattention symptoms.

Maternal diet

While measuring the mothers’ dietary habits, the researchers found 2 patterns:

  1. Healthy dietary pattern: high intake in fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grain cereals
  2. Western dietary pattern: characterized by a high intake in processed and snacking foods

ADHD symptoms

When measuring hyperactivity–inattention symptoms, researchers looked for the following 5 items:

  1. Restless, overactive, or cannot stay still for long
  2. Constantly fidgeting or squirming
  3. Easily distracted or concentration wanders
  4. Can stop and think things out before acting (3 years old) or thinks things out before acting (5–8 years old)
  5. Good attention span or sees work through to the end


What the researchers found was that those participants who followed the healthy dietary pattern the least were more likely to have children who exhibited ADHD symptoms than those who followed that pattern the most. Likewise, they found that participants who followed the western dietary pattern the most were more likely to have children who exhibited ADHD symptoms than those who followed it the least.

This study joins a growing body of research showing a strong connection between mental health and what we consume. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.


In response to their findings, researchers made the following 3 recommendations to improve prenatal diets of expectant mothers:

  1. Implement policies that
    • Make healthy foods cheaper and more accessible
    • Reduce or prohibit the promotion of unhealthy foods (especially toward youths)
  2. Promote a healthy diet in community, school, and occupational settings
  3. Create a comprehensive framework that addresses parents’/children’s lifestyles, focusing on prepregnancy and pregnancy periods, including:
    1. Health behaviours
    2. Physical activity
    3. Substance use
    4. Prosocial behaviours

Supplement solutions

Another way to improve nutrient intake, other than primarily through diet, is through a powerful micronutrient formula like EMPowerplus Advanced. The flagship product of Truehope is a combination of 36 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants designed to support mental and physical well being.

Mothers who have taken EMPowerplus during pregnancy find that their babies reach a 9 or a 10 on the Apgar scale. Mothers who have had babies both pre EMPowerplus and post EMPowerplus say that the children are very different: their children born while taking EMPowerplus sleep better, function better cognitively, and are healthier overall compared to their children born while not taking EMPowerplus.

Truehope EMPowerplus is a 100% natural formula, and studies have shown that it’s safe and effective. Even so, anytime you start a new wellness initiative (including new supplements) while pregnant or nursing, you should always check with your doctor or healthcare specialist.