Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common mental health condition among Canadian children and affects five per cent of children worldwide, states facts from Statistics Canada. Children with ADHD tend to suffer with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to girls. Symptoms of ADHD are most prominent during elementary school years, but persist throughout adulthood in most (seventy-five per cent) of cases.
The cause of ADHD is not known, but it is expected that there are multiple factors which can increase a child’s risk of developing ADHD. Some research has looked at maternal exposures and whether they could increase a child’s risk of having ADHD. Research in the past has made a possible link between long-term use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) by expecting moms and an increased risk of ADHD in their child. This research leads us to question if any other medicines or compounds which pregnant women are exposed to could increase their child’s risk of developing ADHD.
New research has looked at a potential connection between maternal exposure to fluoride and the chance of their child being diagnosed with ADHD. This study, carried out at the University of Toronto and published in the journal Environment International, investigated the presence of ADHD symptoms in children aged six to 12 in Mexico City between 1994 to 2005. A total of 213 mother-child pairs were followed over the course of the study.
The researchers analyzed the mothers’ urine samples in an effort to assess their total fluoride exposure during pregnancy. The children also had their urine samples analyzed who were between the ages of six to 12 to further establish their lifetime fluoride exposure. The results of the urine analysis showed that children with higher levels of prenatal fluoride exposure were more likely to later be diagnosed with ADHD.
“Our findings show that children with elevated prenatal exposure to fluoride were more likely to show symptoms of ADHD as reported by parents. Prenatal fluoride exposure was more strongly associated with inattentive behaviours and cognitive problems, but not with hyperactivity,” said Morteza Bashash, the study’s lead author.
It is important to note that while this study has made a correlation, it is not conclusively saying that the fluoride is to blame for the increased risk of ADHD. Further research will help to clarify maternal fluoride exposure’s role in ADHD diagnoses.
“If we can understand the reasons behind this association, we can then begin to develop preventive strategies to mitigate the risk,” said Christine Till, an associate professor of psychology at York University and co-author of the study.
While this is not the first study to make a correlation between maternal fluoride exposure and ADHD in children, more research is ongoing. Till, one of this study’s senior investigators, is also the principal investigator in another study examining fluoride exposure in a large group of pregnant Canadian women. It will be interesting to watch for the results of this ongoing study to learn more about the potential link between maternal fluoride exposure and children being diagnosed with ADHD.
Do you have questions about natural methods of managing ADHD symptoms? Ask your naturopathic doctor.
Dr. Colin MacLeod ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing full-time in Upper Tantallon at MacLeod Naturopathic. His practice focuses on pain management and maintaining health through physical activity and diet. Visit him online at drcolinmacleod.com.
*Original article online at https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/community/health-naturally-fluoride-adhd-link-found-in-recent-study-252381/
* Following the Media: The three new studies and the news articles that they generated are here