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Omega-3 backed for postpartum depression

2 comments26-Nov-2012
Last updated the 28-Nov-2012 at 16:21 GMT

Omega-3 backed for postpartum depression

Increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids could help to battle postpartum depression, according to a new review.

The suggestions come after the new review – published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry – found that women who are at risk of depression during childbearing years could be at higher risk if omega-3 status is lowered.

Led by Gabriel Shapiro from the University of Montreal, Canada, the authors examined 75 studies investigating the risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD), finding that there is accumulating evidence that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake is associated with risk of PPD.

"The literature shows that there could be a link between pregnancy, omega-3 and the chemical reaction that enables serotonin, a mood regulator, to be released into our brains," explained Shapiro.

He noted that because omega-3 is transferred from the mother to her foetus and later to her breastfeeding infant, maternal omega-3 levels decrease during pregnancy, and remain lowered for at least six-weeks following the birth.

Without adequate intake to counter this, levels of omega-3 PUFAs will be significantly lowered in the mother, and could – according to the new review – result in a higher risk of PPD.

"Many women could bring their omega-3 intake to recommended levels," said Shapiro.

However, he added that the study findings were preliminary, and that further research would be needed to clarify the link and identify reasons for it.

Source: Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
 Volume 57, Number 11, Pages 704-712, doi: 
“Emerging Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression: Serotonin Transporter Genotype and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Status”
Authors: Gabriel D Shapiro, William D Fraser, Jean R Séguin, 

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Omega-3s Are Healthy

I am a pre-med student at Harvard and I think it is quite obvious that salmon can help improve our cognitive abilities. However, I do think eating fish is much healthier than taking pills because there are other important nutrients that whole fish has that pills do not have. I wrote about this on my blog which you can check out here: http://nutritashealth.com/the-health-benefits-of-salmon/. Let me know what you think!

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Posted by Laurence Girard
24 December 2012 | 19h46

Great Article

Interesting work, and potentially of great value. By the way, all the authors are male, despite the reference in this article's last paragraph.

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Posted by Jack Marshall
26 November 2012 | 17h41

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