Women should know nutrients in fish benefit fetus brain development, but Mercury free fish is best!
A recent study has found that (i) low-level prenatal mercury exposure is associated with a greater risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) related behaviors and (ii) fish consumption during pregnancy is protective against these behaviors.
The study found a protective association against ADHD for fish consumption of greater than 2 servings per week. Pregnant women that consumed more than 2 fish servings weekly helped protect their child from ADHD type behaviors, especially in impulsivity and hyperactivity.
"Women need to know that nutrients in fish are good for the brain of a developing fetus, but women [also] need to be aware that high mercury level in some fish pose a risk." said lead author of the study, Sharon Sagiv, PhD.
Results also showed that not only was mercury exposure associated with inattention and impulsivity/hyperactivity, but the risk for these behaviors increased with maternal hair mercury levels.
The key is for women to know which seafood is low in mercury. Previous studies have shown that certain fish are more likely or less likely to contain mercury. Here is a list of fish less likely and more likely to contain mercury.
The study was published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine and conducted in part by Susan Korrick, MD, assistant professor Harvard Medical School and Sharon Sagiv, PhD, MPH, from Boston University School of Public Health in Massachusetts. Soon after birth, hair samples were collected from mothers and analyzed for mercury levels. The mothers also filled out a questionnaire regarding fish consumption during pregnancy.
788 infants were enrolled in the study.
<-- back to top
Prenatal Exposure to Mercury and Fish Consumption During Pregnancy and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder–Related Behavior in Children, Sharon K. Sagiv, PhD, MPH, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med
Mercury Contamination in Fish, Natural Resources Defense Council
Risk Factors for Preterm Birth in an International Prospective, PLoSOne
Early cannabis use and Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms from adolescence to middle adulthood, DeidreM. Anglin, Cheryl M. Corcoran, Alan S. Brown, Henian Chen, Quenesha Lighty, Judith S. Brook, Patricia R. Cohen, Schizophrenia Research