Postpartum Depression - Address and Prevent with Fish Oil

Published: October 24, 2012
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Summary

To prevent or address postpartum depression, consider:

  1. Fish oil 1-2 tsp a day during pregnancy and 1 tablespoon a day after till depression lifts.
  2. Bioidentical Progesterone (from a holistic physician).
  3. Take a good multivitamin powder.
  4. Optimize thyroid hormone with prescription Armour thyroid—even if blood levels are "normal."
  5. Walk at least 30 minutes a day outside in the sun.

In an 8-week, randomized, dose-ranging pilot trial involving 16 mothers with postpartum depression, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was found to have a beneficial effect. Subjects were randomized into 3 groups that received varying dosages of omega-3 fatty acids. Six subjects consumed 0.5 grams per day, 3 subjects consumed 1.4 grams per day, and 7 subjects consumed 2.8 grams per day. For all 3 groups, the depression scores dropped by around 50%.1

In another study of 24 women with major depression during pregnancy given fish oil (~ 1 tsp) or placebo for 8 weeks, the fish oil was significantly more effective than placebo (remember, Prozac overall is not significantly more effective than placebo).2

A third large, multi-country observational study of postpartum depression found that eating more seafood was associated with a lower risk of postpartum depression.3

In addition to fish oil, be sure thyroid levels are optimized ("within normal limits" is not enough). Adding NATURAL BIO-IDENTICAL progesterone (NOT synthetic Provera, which I feel is dangerous) can also help, as can overall nutritional support with a good multivitamin powder. For example, those with optimal levels of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) had half the risk of developing postpartum depression.4

References

  1. "Randomized dose-ranging pilot trial of omega-3 fatty acids for postpartum depression," Freeman MP, Hibbeln JR, et al, Acta Psychiatr Scand., 2006; 113(1): 31-5.
  2. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Major Depressive Disorder During Pregnancy: Results From a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial," Su KP, Huang SY, et al, J Clin Psychiatry, 2008, Mar 18;
  3. "Hibbeln JR. Seafood consumption, the DHA content of mother's milk and prevalence rates of postpartum depression: a cross-national, ecological analysis." J Affect Disord. 2002;69:15-29.
  4. "Dietary folate and vitamins B(12), B(6), and B(2) intake and the risk of postpartum depression in Japan: The Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study," Miyake Y, Sasaki S, et al, J Affect Disord., 2006 June 29; [Epub ahead of print]. 
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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