Alternative Health Blog
Nutrition and Risk of Perinatal Depression: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Folate, B Vitamins, Iron, Calcium
In a review examining the role of nutrition in perinatal depression, the authors discuss the prevalence of antenatal (during pregnancy) depression (as high as 20%) and postnatal/postpartum (12 months post-delivery) depression (12-16%). The reviewers found that according to numerous randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and ecological studies, low levels of omega-3 fatty acids were linked to a higher incidence of maternal depression. In addition, the authors point out that studies have showed links between low levels of folate, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc, and mood in general. Various studies have reported inadequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, B vitamins, iron, and calcium in pregnant women. The authors conclude, “Depletion of nutrient reserves throughout pregnancy can increase a woman's risk for maternal depression.” The impact of nutritional supplementation in pregnant women on the risk of perinatal depression war rants further investigation.
“Perinatal depression: prevalence, risks, and the nutrition link--a review of the literature,” Leung BM, Kaplan BJ, et al, J Am Diet Assoc, 2009; 109(9): 1566-75.