Saturday, September 17, 2011

Can More Omega 3 in Your Diet Reduce Postpartum Depression?

By Peter Leigh

One of the great delights of life is having children. But with children come problems, and one of the problems commonly suffered by women as a result of childbirth is postpartum depression, or what is sometimes also called postnatal depression.

Postpartum depression is a condition suffered by more women than you might expect. And some research is even now suggesting that some men could suffer from postpartum depression.

And whilst it might seem a little unlikely to someone who does not suffer from the condition, depression after childbirth can be severely debilitating for some time, and negatively impact on the woman's ability to mother her child.

There's a range of treatments for postpartum depression, however many of these are pharmaceutical treatments and come with unpleasant side effects. However there is one treatment which may offer some significant advantages, and which does not involve any significant unpleasant side effects.

Research is showing that increasing your intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids may well have a role in helping prevent or treat postpartum depression in women.

The Omega 3 essential fatty acids are fats which are primarily found in the oil of fish, though they are also found in small amounts in some other food sources. The 2 most important of these are DHA and EPA.

Whilst it might seem unlikely that the oil from fish could help someone suffering from postpartum depression there is in fact good reason why this might be so. DHA is the single most prevalent fat in the brain, and research has shown that plenty of DHA in the early years can help mental development as well as reduce the risk of ADD and ADHD.

And it has also shown that it can help improve the learning outcomes for children as well as reduce the risk of memory loss in older people, and perhaps even reduce the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

All of these outcomes would suggest that the Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your brain. But on top of that there is also research to suggest that more Omega 3 may well help reduce the incidence of general depression.

And so it would seem there is a strong connection between mental health and a significant supply of Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet, and it would therefore seem that the conclusion drawn by some researchers, namely that more Omega 3 fats in the diet can help reduce postpartum depression, is a good one.

Of course that's not to say that any woman who takes Omega 3 supplements cannot suffer from postpartum depression, however it may well be an important part of an overall strategy.

And on top of that more Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your health generally and the health of your baby, and that has to be good as well.

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