Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Font Size

Limit Fish While Pregnant? Study Questions Advice

Mercury Linked to ADHD Behaviors, Even at Lower Levels continued...

What could be at play here, according to researcher Susan A. Korrick, MD, MPH, an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, is that it's possible that a woman could eat a lot of fish low in mercury, and her children could "reap the benefits of the nutritional content of the fish" instead of the harm from the mercury.

Conversely, women who eat less fish that's high in mercury could have the opposite effect, making their children more prone to ADHD.

“Given that fish is a major source of mercury, it seems a little counterintuitive that both of these things could be observed simultaneously,” Korrick says. “Fish consumption and mercury exposure are related, but they aren’t identical.”

“It’s a complicated message, but the part that’s most important from a public health perspective is that fish is a very healthful food for women to eat during pregnancy. It’s healthy for women to eat fish during pregnancy as long as it’s low in mercury.”

Experts who were not involved in the study agree, saying that telling women not to eat fish while they’re pregnant to avoid mercury may be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

“The beneficial effects of fish intake are [confused] by the presence of mercury in fish. If you don’t take both of them into account, you tend to underestimate the beneficial effects of fish, and you underestimate the adverse consequences of mercury,” says Bruce P. Lanphear, MD, MPH, who studies the effect of environmental exposures on brain function at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Lanphear wrote an editorial on the new research.

“The message is that yes, we should be eating fish. Not only is it beneficial for learning abilities, it is protective against ADHD,” Lanphear says. “Just eat the fish that’s low in mercury.”

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Post it notes
Symptoms and treatments.
Close up of eye
What's zapping your focus?
man driving car
How to manage your impulses.
contemplating woman
Learn to stop procrastinating.
concentration killers
Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications

boy eating egg
smiling man
ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
Adult man lying awake in bed