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Nutrition and Postpartum Depression

  It is well documented that some women suffer depression after giving birth. Until recently it was not well known how prevalent this condition is. The largest study to date shows that as many as 1 in every 7 women suffers postpartum depression. And the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that 22% continued to experience postpartum depression for a year after delivery. Symptoms of postpartum depression can range from mild to very serious and can include feelings of hopelessness, guilt, shame, and even thoughts of suicide. Postpartum depression can leave sufferers and their families feeling helpless and isolated. Research shows a link between nutrition, specific nutrients in particular, in both maternal depression and postpartum depression. Numerous studies, such as randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and ecological studies, have found a positive association between low omega-3 levels and a higher incidence of maternal depression. In addition, nutrient inadequacies in pregnant women who consume a typical western diet might be much more common than researchers and clinicians realize. Women who have recently given birth may experience a drop in potassium associated with a decrease in progesterone. This can result in postpartum depression. Adequate selenium levels are crucial for the prevention of depression and anxiety. Consuming the recommended amount of selenium has been demonstrated to relieve depression and anxiety caused by major life stressors. Numerous studies have supported its effectiveness at preventing postpartum depression. Recently, researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada studied 475 pregnant women to see if selenium played a role in preventing postpartum depression. They found that prenatal supplementation with selenium decreased the risk of postpartum depression. A 2011 study of 166 pregnant women in Iran reached the same conclusion; selenium supplementation during pregnancy significantly decreased the risk of postpartum depression. While selenium supplementation reduces the risk of depression, deficiencies in vitamin D, zinc, and selenium all contribute to the development of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a potentially serious condition that can be prevented in many cases with adequate nutrition. Maintaining adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, selenium, vitamin D and zinc during pregnancy will reduce the risk of maternal depression and postpartum...

Boost your Brain with B-6

  Vitamin B-6 is required for the brain to produce serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA and for myelin formation. It is also necessary for the proper maintenance of red blood cell metabolism, the nervous system, and the immune system. Deficiencies can cause dermatitis (skin inflammation), depression, confusion, cognitive dysfunction, convulsions, and increased risk of heart attack. A deficiency in vitamin B-6 can be induced by certain drugs, including antidepressants. A vitamin B-6 deficiency is characterized by mental changes such as fatigue, nervousness, irritability, depression, insomnia, dizziness, confusion, and nerve changes. These mental changes are related to the body’s decreased ability to manufacture neurotransmitters. Cooking and freezing destroy vitamin B-6 so eating fruits and vegetables raw and other sources with the shortest cooking times required will help ensure maintenance of B-6. Mild deficiency of vitamin B-6 is common in the U.S. Sources of vitamin B-6: Chicken Turkey Liver Cheese Eggs Seafood Bananas Carrots Peas Dark leafy greens Potatoes Avocado Watermelon...

VITAMIN E is a STRESS-BUSTER among other things!

Vitamin E is an especially powerful antioxidant involved in the protection and regeneration of skin cells. Used topically and orally, it is very effective at preventing and reducing scarring and discolorations of the skin. Research has also shown that vitamin E possesses anti-inflammatory effects that can combat arthritis, asthma, and other inflammatory disorders linked to chronic inflammation including depression. Foods high in Vitamin E lower risk of Alzheimer’s Recent research suggests that eating foods high in vitamin E may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive decline. Interestingly, while these results have been found when subjects obtained vitamin E from food, they have not been replicated when using vitamin E supplements in clinical trials. This may be another of those cases where there are multiple nutrients, or forms of nutrients, working together when consumed in food that is impossible to simulate with a nutrient in isolation. Vitamin E deficiency induces anxiety A study by the Department of Agricultural Chemistry at the Meiji University, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Japan found that a deficiency in vitamin E increased anxiety in both juvenile and adult rats. In a 2009 study at the same university, researchers discovered that they could induce anxiety behaviors in rats by making them deficient in vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiency linked to depression When compared to healthy Australians, researchers at the University of Wollongong found 49 patients suffering from major depression to have significantly lower levels of vitamin E. A similar study at the Clinical Research Center for Mental Health in Antwerp, Belgium compared blood samples of 49 depressed patients to 26 healthy volunteers and found significantly lower vitamin E in the depressed patients. Researchers looking at a low-income elderly population in central Israel found that a deficiency in vitamin E was associated with depression. They found that an increase in as little as 1 mg per day of vitamin E decreased the risk of depression. Prenatal vitamin E has long lasting effects on stress In another study in Italy, researchers tested groups of adult rats whose mothers had been given elevated doses of vitamin E during pregnancy against those whose mothers had not been given additional vitamin E. The rats whose mothers had been given vitamin E performed much better in stressful situations, demonstrating less anxiety and fear than the other group. Prenatal exposure to vitamin E while in the womb had lasting effects in decreasing anxious responses to stress into adulthood. In other words, the offspring of mothers who took vitamin E during pregnancy were not only born with higher tolerance to stress but that tolerance...