Low omega-3 levels linked to prenatal depression: Taiwan study

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Omega-3 deficiency is associated with prenatal depression. ©iStock
Omega-3 deficiency is associated with prenatal depression. ©iStock

Related tags: Pregnancy

Omega-3 deficiency and heightened inflammation are associated with prenatal depression (PND), with the former resulting in longer depressive episodes, according to a recent Taiwanese study.

The study, conducted by Taichung’s China Medical University, assessed 33 women — 16 healthy and 17 with PND — in the second or third trimester of their pregnancies, measuring their omega-3 levels and inflammatory markers such as tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α).

It found that the women who had PND had significantly lower omega-3 levels and significantly higher TNF-α levels.

The findings correlate with “other observational studies indicating that higher levels of DHA and EPA act as protective factors” ​against major depressive disorder (MDD). Furthermore, greater DHA concentration in breast milk and increased seafood consumption (rich in DHA) have been linked to lower prevalence of postpartum depression, and both DHA and EPA have proven effective in preventing and treating depressive disorders.

Omega-3 is considered vital to foetal development, serving “an important role in cellular and physiological function in the perinatal period”​. The greater need for it during pregnancy could raise the risk of PND in expectant mothers, especially since the physiological and psychological stress brought on by pregnancy could “trigger the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines”​ such as TNF-α, which might be a “biological indicator or even harbinger”​ of PND.

Longer lasting

As such, the study hypothesised that sufficient levels of omega-3 are needed to combat neuroinflammation and produce an antidepressant effect in pregnant women.

Omega-3 deficiency during pregnancy can also lead to longer depressive episodes, lasting even into the first year after delivery. This could result in psychosocial dysfunction, suicide (20% of postpartum deaths in PND sufferers are suicides), adverse childcare and poor mother-child relationships, and destructive behaviours like drug and alcohol abuse, the study detailed.

The study concluded that “future studies with larger sample sizes are also required to replicate our findings and to help elucidate the inflammation mechanism”​ regarding omega-3 in PND patients.

 

Source: Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.05.008

“Polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory markers in major depressive episodes during pregnancy”

Authors: Jane Pei-Chen Chang, et al.

Related news

Related products

show more

Vegan Weight Management INNOBIO CLA TG

Vegan Weight Management INNOBIO CLA TG

INNOBIO Limited | 05-Nov-2018 | Technical / White Paper

INNOBIO® is announcing the launch of a new vegan CLA TG powder. It can easily be incorporated into a wide range of natural foods and supplements and is...

 Cannabidiol: Should you invest in it?

Cannabidiol: Should you invest in it?

The Whitehouse Consultancy | 17-Oct-2018 | Technical / White Paper

An increasing number of CBD containing products are appearing on the market and consumer interest in this substance is rising.

Human Bifidobacteria, selected by Mother’s milk

Human Bifidobacteria, selected by Mother’s milk

Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. | 13-Sep-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Health promoting traits of Bifidobacteria are well-known around the world and its effect is strain-specific, however, whether the residential origin of...

Omegavie® DHA algae Capsules

Omegavie® DHA algae Capsules

POLARIS | 23-Aug-2018 | Application Note

Omegavie® DHA algae capsules is a real opportunity to consume high-performing Omega-3 DHA 100% vegan, natural, sustainable, GMO- and allergen-free. Designed...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars