Text Size
Smaller
Bigger
Postpartum Depression

Researchers Say Dietary Supplement May Help Cure Postpartum Depression

posted 12:18 AM EST, Wed May 05, 2010

Canadian researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto say they’ve figured out why some women succumb to postpartum depression after childbirth – and they say that they’re working on a dietary supplement that may well reduce the severity of the condition.

Researchers in Toronto say they’ve discovered neurological changes that occur after childbirth that very likely explain the baby blues and post partum depression.

Using PET scans, the researchers compared the brains of health very new moms to women who had not recently been pregnant. They found that levels of a brain chemical called MAO-A were 43% higher in women who had given birth 4 to 6 days previously, compared to women who had not recently been pregnant.

The difference in MAO-A levels was most striking on the fifth day after childbirth, which is the day that postpartum depression is usually at its worst.

MAO-A is a neurochemical that removes serotonin from the brain. Since serotonin is a neurochemical that is necessary for regulating normal moods, an MAO-A caused reduction in serotonin can lead to a depressed mood. Elevated levels of MAO-A have already been research linked to other forms of depression.

Lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Meyer of CAMH commented on the significance of the findings by saying, “Understanding the biology of postpartum blues is important because when it is severe it leads to clinical level postpartum depression, the most common complication of childbearing affecting 13% of mothers, and one that can have a devastating impact. We hope this information may be used in the future to create dietary supplements that could provide the nutrients removed by high MAO-A and lower the risk for postpartum depression.”

Roughly 80% of new moms experience the baby blues and 10-15% experience post partum depression.

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category
Story Highlights
  • Researchers: Think they can soon cure postpartum depression
Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

Helpful Information
Overcoming Depression: Feeling Good Again with Mindfulness
Mindfulness and Depression: Learning to Feel Good Again © Premasagar
How Mindfulness can overcome depression, teach us how to ignore unwanted thoughts and help us choose what is healthy for ourselves. Read Article
Depression Treatment July 07, 2015 (1)
Use Gut Bacteria to Fight Anxiety and Depression
Gut Bacteria Protect Your Mental Health. Learn How to Protect Your Microbiome © NIAID
Imbalanced gut bacteria may increase your risk of anxiety, depression, obesity and a host of other diseases. Learn how digestive bacteria can cause anxiety and find out how dietary changes can help you instill or protect an optimal balance of beneficial bacteria. Read Article
Co-Occurring Disorders May 26, 2016
Dealing with Depression and Chronic Pain Learn how opioids can lead to depression, how depression worsens pain and what to do when you have both pain and depression. Read Article
Pain & Opioid Issues April 07, 2015
Like Our Site? Follow Us!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.