While the birth of a child brings excitement and joy to a mother, it can also result in depression. Postpartum blues (PPB) is a term used to describe mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping that is often experienced by new mothers. It not only affects a mother’s well-being but can also have damaging effects on the infant. Postpartum blues is often an early symptom of postpartum depression (PPD), a more severe and long-lasting form of the mental disorder.
According to a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 13, 2017, a three-supplement nutrition kit has been found to nearly eliminate PPB experienced by new mothers. The dietary kit has been created to counter mood-altering brain changes linked to depression. It consists of three supplements: tryptophan, tyrosine and blueberry extract. The supplements were taken by new mothers over three days starting the third-day post-birth of their child.
The three components were selected to compensate for a surge in a brain protein called MAO-A, known to occur in early postpartum phase and that also resembles brain changes that persist for longer periods in those with clinical depression. MAO-A breaks down serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine that help maintain the mood. The MAO-A levels peak five days post giving birth, a time when postpartum blues are most prominent. Researchers at the Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), confirmed that when taken in large doses, the three substances did not affect the overall concentrations in breast milk.
The study involved 41 healthy women. While 21 women received dietary supplement intervention, the rest received none. During the study, the participants were aware that they were receiving the nutritional supplements. On day five, post giving birth, the participants underwent various tests.
The testing methodology included sad mood induction during which the women were asked to read and reflect on statements that expressed pessimism, lethargy and dissatisfaction, and were asked to listen to a sad piece of music. The findings revealed that while women taking the supplements did not experience any depressed mood, those who were not receiving supplements witnessed a significant increase in their depression scores.
“Developing successful nutrition-based treatments, based on neurobiology, is rare in psychiatry,” said Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, head of the Neuroimaging Program in Mood & Anxiety at CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. According to him, the study was the first of its kind to show such a strong effect that intervention could have in reducing baby blues at the time when it peaks.
According to the researchers, the kit could be integrated as a dietary supplement to prevent postpartum depression. Meyer said that the latest approach also represents a promising avenue for creating new dietary supplements for medicinal usage.
In the weeks following a child’s birth, mothers who develop PPB may feel worried, anxious and weak. While not the only psychiatric illness, postpartum depression is the most common illness found among women who have just given birth.
The Sovereign Health of Arizona understands the needs of women and provides comprehensive treatment for them. At our facility, women suffering from mental health conditions can receive individualized behavioral health treatment in a safe and supportive environment.
For more information about the treatment of mental health disorders at the Sovereign Health, give a call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-598-5661. Chat online with our representatives to know about the various treatment programs offered at our certified mental health treatment facilities. In addition to mental health treatments, we also offer treatment for substance abuse, co-occurring disorders and trauma-related disorders.
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