DHA supplements could reduce postnatal depression

Related tags Fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acid Fatty acid Essential fatty acid

Low levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
after pregnancy are associated with postnatal depression, report
researchers in a new study.

The results suggest that supplementing with DHA could reduce women's chances of the often debilitating symptoms.

Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands measured DHA levels in the plasma phospholipids of 112 women at delivery and 32 weeks postpartum. Depression was measured at this point using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) questionnaire.

The results demonstrated that slower postpartum recovery of the functional DHA status is related to a higher risk for the development of postpartum depression.

Writing in the journal Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids​ (vol 69, issue 4 , pp 237-243), the authors note: "Although further studies are needed for confirmation, increasing dietary DHA intake during pregnancy and postpartum seems prudent."

This study is consistent with other studies that show that populations with high intakes of omega-3 fatty acids have lower rates of depression than populations with low consumption of those fatty acids.

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