Nutrients ease depressive symptoms during, after pregnancy

Probiotics postpartum 

In this study, 380 women between 14 and 16 weeks pregnant began taking lactobacillus rhamnosus or a placebo daily through six months after giving birth. Doctors asked the women to report their symptoms of depression and anxiety by recalling when their child was one to two months old.

Compared to placebo, women taking the probiotics reported significantly fewer symptoms of postpartum depression, and had lower anxiety scores on standard depression and anxiety tests. Moms whose babies had colic reported higher depression and anxiety scores than mothers of non-colicky babies, but probiotics still significantly reduced both depression and anxiety in these women.

Commenting on the findings, doctors said, “The results are astonishing—that one capsule containing lactobacillus rhamnosus could have such an important effect.”

Prenatal omega-3s

Prenatal depression is common in pregnant women, with effects in both the mothers and their children. In this study, doctors measured omega-3 levels in 16 healthy pregnant women and 17 pregnant women with prenatal depression.

Overall, women with prenatal depression had lower levels of omega-3s, and a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, compared to the healthy pregnant women. Looking more closely, women with prenatal depression had lower levels of the omega-3s EPA and DHA, and higher levels of a sign of inflammation.

Doctors said the brain is rich in omega-3s which regulate biological processes that directly affect mood and cognitive function, and that these findings support the connection between omega-3 fatty acids and healthy mood in pregnancy.

Reference: Journal Ebiomedicine; October, 2017, Vol. 24, 159-65
Natural Insights for Well Being February 2018
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