Simple dietary supplement may help block postpartum blues
Monday March 20, 2017. 11:52 PM , from Ars Technica
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Postpartum blues are a common and healthy range of sadness that tends to peak five days after giving birth. But those blues are also a high-risk state for postpartum depression, which is the most common childbearing complication in the US. A recent paper in PNAS shows that dietary supplements intended to combat physiological changes that occur after giving birth are effective in reducing the sadness associated with postpartum blues. This dietary supplement reduced postpartum sadness and effectively cut the risk of postpartum depression.
For psychiatrists, postpartum blues are considered the “prodrome” for postpartum depression. That means that increased postpartum blues signal the likely onset of postpartum depression. If the severity of the postpartum blues could be reduced, then the likelihood of developing depression should also be reduced.
Postpartum blues are thought to be driven by hormonal changes. After giving birth, women experience a severe drop in estrogen and progesterone levels, and these declines are thought to be associated with depressive symptoms. Postpartum depression is also associated with changes in brain chemicals, including an elevation in the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), which helps the brain regulate neurotransmitter activity.
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