(NaturalNews) Researchers at the University of Colorado recently identified a potential link between micronutrient deficiencies and the development of postpartum depression. Up to 15 percent of women experience a period of depression after giving birth, and a link between nutrition and the psychoneuroimmunology behind symptoms of depression may help prevent or remedy postpartum depression with natural supplements or a targeted diet.
Although a few small studies have identified a potential link between vitamin D, zinc, and selenium deficiencies and the development of postpartum depression, no previous review of the current literature had searched for consistent evidence of a connection. Researchers E.R. Ellsworth-Bowers and E.J. Corwin also examined the evidence surrounding B vitamins and n-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids, and found only preliminary connections and mixed results.
The field of nutrition-based depression prevention is growing rapidly, and the nutrients listed above are often the targeted substances because of their known associations with decreased depression levels in non-perinatal populations. Diet has long been connected with mood, and modern science has identified the mechanism behind the link.
Zinc supplementation or dietary intake (from milk, for instance) can help reduce feelings of anger, hostility, and depression. A selenium supplement or dietary intake (from whole wheat products) can improve the function of the thyroid gland, which in turn can help regulate mood. Other micronutrients, such as magnesium, have also been shown to dramatically affect sleep, irritability, and emotional stability.
By eating a diet rich in the ingredients thought to promote brain and emotional health, women may be able to avoid symptoms of postpartum depression. To help fight it off, a well-balanced diet should include the following powerhouse foods: fatty fish (such as salmon), eggs, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, milk or other dairy products, citrus juice, nuts and beans, and even an occasional chunk of dark chocolate (for the phenylalanine and antioxidants, of course).
Even if a diet full of micronutrients essential to brain health, restorative sleep, and mood regulation is not yet explicitly linked to the prevention of postpartum depression, research is mounting for a psychoneuroimmunological link in non-perinatal populations and postpartum women alike. Before taking additional supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding; however, consult a physician for dosage advice.
About the author: Katie BrindAmour is a Certified Health Education Specialist and passionate health and wellness freelance writer. She enjoys cooking, yoga, gardening, searching for the perfect wine and chocolate combination, and spending time with friends. She has a Masters in Biology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Services Management and Policy. She also enjoys blogging for Women's Healthcare Topics and Healthline Networks.