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Study under review: Selective dietary supplementation in early postpartum is associated with high resilience against depressed mood
Maternal depression after childbirth (postpartum depression) is estimated to affect 13% of childbearing women, with serious adverse consequences on the welfare of the entire family and the psychological development of the newborn. Importantly, postpartum depression is distinct from postpartum blues, which is a relatively common emotional condition associated with the hormonal changes accompanying childbirth, characterized by crying, confusion, anxiety, and a depressed mood state. Symptoms appear within a week of giving birth and last for a few hours to a few days.
Despite the relatively normal and benign nature of the postpartum blues, some evidence suggests that it may increase the risk of developing postpartum depression; one study found a risk of postpartum depression of 6% in those without severe postpartum blues, but a 23% risk in those with it. Changes in brain function are one possible explanation for the link between these two neuropsychiatric conditions. Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A, outlined in Figure 1) is an enzyme responsible for breaking down serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in the brain and has been implicated in the onset, progression, and therapy of depression.
Observational research suggests that MAO-A may also be elevated in women with the postpartum blues. For example, one study documented that MAO-A density in the brain was significantly greater among women who gave birth four to six days earlier, when compared to healthy non-pregnant women. A follow-up investigation showed that women with postpartum blues have similar levels of MAO-A density in the brain as women with postpartum depression, both of which were significantly higher than women without postpartum blues and non-pregnant women. So, if MAO-A increases during postpartum blues, this increase could persist, in theory raising the risk for full-blown postpartum depression.
Considering the link between postpartum blues and postpartum depression, reducing the severity of the postpartum blues may be an effective prevention strategy against postpartum depression. The study under review is a pilot trial testing the effectiveness of a dietary supplement to reduce the severity of the postpartum blues, based on its association with elevated MAO-A levels.
The postpartum blues is a common emotional state of crying and depressed mood that occurs shortly after giving birth. Some evidence suggests that it may increase the risk of suffering from postpartum depression, possibly because both conditions have been associated with an increase in brain levels of monoamine oxidase A, an enzyme responsible for breaking down serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. The study under review tests the effectiveness of a dietary supplement to reduce the severity of postpartum blues through negating the effects of MAO-A increases.
Other Articles in Issue #31 (May 2017)
Does vitamin D supplementation fight off the common cold?
Anecdotally, vitamin D is known for "immune supporting properties". But many people just want to know if it helps prevent the common cold. This meta-analysis looked at the evidence.
Interview: James Krieger, MS
For a good dose of realism, on topics ranging from insulin and fat loss myths to the most important factors in weight training, there aren't many better sources than James Krieger.
Putting the “C” in Cancer
Decades ago, seminal research looked at vitamin C cancer benefits ... then research stopped. Researchers are back at it, with this trial looking at vitamin C for specific types of lung and brain cancer.
Can a shot of vinegar reduce blood glucose levels?
Medications and supplements aren't the only ways to address blood sugar regulation. This meta-analysis looked at all the vinegar and blood sugar trials conducted to date.
Throwdown, round 2: plant vs. animal protein for type 2 diabetes
In round one of this fight, an earlier study showed that a diet with proteinrich plants didn't provide a metabolic advantage. Round two explores metabolic impacts from a different angle: amino acid composition of plant versus animal protein
Interview: Sohee Lee
Dieting is often equated to a focus on calories and nutrients, but an arguably bigger factor is the psychology of eating. We delve into that with Sohee.
Can omega-3s prevent migraines?
Chronic migraine is a pain, both literally and figuratively, especially since it doesn’t have many good prevention methods. Could omega-3 supplementation help?