Should Omega 3 A Be Part Of Treatments For Postpartum Depression?
Can Omega 3 supplementation help postpartum depression or depression during pregnancy?
We’ll find out soon.
For some time there has been research suggesting that increasing the intake of the Omega 3 fatty acids may have a role in helping treat depressive illnesses in women who are either pregnant, or after pregnancy.
Postpartum depression, and depression during pregnancy, are far more common than you may think. Although it is not entirely clear, because many women do not report suffering from some form of depressive condition, it is estimated that anywhere up to 20% to 25% of women can suffer from some form of postpartum depressive symptoms after giving birth.
There is now significant evidence that increasing the intake of the Omega 3 fatty acids may have a positive effect on depression generally, and there is also evidence that increasing the intake of Omega 3 can also be a partial treatment for postpartum depression.
Not only that but there are other powerful reasons why women who are pregnant should be taking some form of Omega-3 supplementation, including because this can help improve the neurological development of the fetus, as well as reduce the chances of postnatal depression, according to the US director of the mother and child foundation, David Kyle.
A new study is now being undertaken to examine this exact question, of whether or not an increase in the Omega 3 essential fatty acids can have any preventive effect on major depressive illnesses in pregnant women, or after birth.
In June of 2011 an abstract of the study was published indicating the study’s parameters.
The background to the study notes potential problems in the use of antidepressants during pregnancy, and in particular the concern about negative neurobehavioural outcomes in infants which may have been exposed to those antidepressants.
It also notes that as there is evidence of the beneficial use of Omega 3 fatty acids in depressive syndrome for non-pregnant people, that this may also extend to pregnant women.
It is also noted that observational studies in the psychiatric literature have suggested that a deficiency of DHA may well lead to the development of depressive disorders both during pregnancy and thereafter.
The study will recruit 126 pregnant women, of less than 20 weeks, from Michigan. Each of these women will be followed during pregnancy and up to 6 weeks thereafter.
There shall be 3 groups of women. One group shall take fish oil supplements high in EPA, with some DHA. The 2nd group shall take fish oil supplements high in DHA with some EPA and the 3rd group shall take a placebo.
These women shall be scored according to the Beck Depression Inventory at 6 weeks after birth.
The intention of the study is to examine the effectiveness of both DHA and EPA at preventing the onset of depressive symptoms among pregnant women, if any.
Depressive illnesses both during pregnancy and thereafter can have major impacts on the women who suffer from them. Not only can they have major impacts on the woman but they can also have very serious impacts on the infant that results from the pregnancy as well.
Many studies on the effectiveness of Omega 3 essential fatty acids at preventing or ameliorating various health conditions are extremely long. Many last for years or even tens of years. That will not be the case with this study, the outcome should be forthcoming relatively soon.
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Filed under: Omega 3 Studies