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6 Natural Ingredients for Postpartum Depression

Six Natural Ingredients for Postpartum Depression

Did you know that 70–80 percent of all new mothers experience some negative feelings after the birth of their child? It’s common for women to experience severe mood swings after giving birth, which are known as baby blues. But when this sense of sadness doesn’t go away, it may be the start of postpartum depression.

While roughly three-quarters of all new mothers experience baby blues 4–5 days after the birth of the baby, for mothers who had a traumatic birth experience, these feelings can come on even earlier. Mothers with baby blues often experience the symptoms of postpartum depression, such as impatience, irritability and anxiety. These feelings generally disappear within 14 days after delivery.

But when these mood swings continue past a 2-week period, it may be a sign that the woman is going through postpartum depression. According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, postpartum depression affects up to 15 percent of mothers.

But Studies have found that there are many natural functional ingredients that have a good effect on postpartum depression.

1. Blueberry

Researchers from the Department of Bad Habits and Mental Health in Canada let some pregnant mothers do the depression tests. 21 of them drink blueberry juice every day, and the other 20 do not drink.

Three to six days after giving birth, the new mothers were tested again. The results show:

The new mothers who drank blueberry juice every day did not have a depressed mood. However, the new mothers who did not drink, their postpartum depression test scores are higher than those before the birth.

Researchers published an article in the USA “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”: A protein called MAO-A will increase in the brain of the new mothers, which breaks down the pleasant chemicals of 5-HTP, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It makes them feel depressed.MAO-A reached its highest level after five days of birth, and the new mothers are at the lowest mood at this time.

Blueberries contain a lot of tryptophan and tyrosine, it can solve this problem.

2. Soy isoflavone

In 2016 a Japanese research team found that pregnant women who eat more natto and other soy products have lower depression, which may be due to the role of isoflavones in soybeans.

The research team thinks that pregnant women and new mothers have large changes in estrogen levels and are prone to depression.

The isoflavones contained in soybeans have an estrogen-like effect and may have the effect of depression.

3. St. John’s wort

It is commonly thought to treat depression. Evidence on whether this supplement is effective at treating PPD is mixed. It may or may not be safe to use this supplement while breast-feeding. It’s best not to take this supplement unless your doctor advises you to do so. More research is necessary to evaluate the benefits and risks.

4. Vitamins

Omega-3 fatty acids are getting some attention among researchers as a possible help for PPD. In fact, a recent study has shown that low dietary intake of omega-3s is associated with developing this type of depression in the first place. Though more research is necessary, nutritional stores of omega-3s do get tapped quite a bit during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, may also help decrease your risk of developing PPD. In a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers examined this vitamin along with folate, cobalamin, and pyridoxine. Riboflavin was the only one they found to have a positive effect on the mood disorder. The researchers suggest moderate consumption for the best results.


L-Theanine, a non-protein amino acid component in green tea, it can break through the blood vessels and brain barriers and directly affect brain activity, and then affects human emotions.

GABA(γ-Aminobutyric acid), is also a natural non-protein amino acid. GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system.

L-Theanine and GABA ‘s soothing mood has been widely recognized. For example, at the SupplySide East in the United States 2018, there was a functional food aimed at relieving the pressure on mothers “stress killer-Mother Nature’s best weapons against stress”, its active ingredient:L-Theanine and vitamins.

6. Probiotics

To evaluate the effects of probiotic supplementation on postpartum depression and anxiety, researchers from New Zealand randomly assigned 423 women to receive daily HN001 (n=212) or placebo (n=211). They enrolled women at 14 to 16 weeks gestation and continued the treatment for up to 6 months postpartum. At 6 to ≥12 months postpartum, the researchers asked women to self-report their depression and anxiety by recalling when their child was 1- to 2-months-old using modified versions of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and State Trait Anxiety Inventory.

Compared with placebo, women in the HN001 group had significantly lower mean depression (7.7 vs 9.0; P =.04) and anxiety scores (12.0 vs 13.0; P =.01). Moreover, fewer women who received HN001 had clinically relevant anxiety compared with women receiving placebo (odds ratio 0.44; P =.002).

Higher depression and anxiety scores were associated with infant colic (P <.001 for both depression and anxiety), with an increasing interval between delivery and when the questionnaires were completed (P =.07 and P =.06, respectively). However, after adjusting for infant colic and interval before questionnaires were completed, the association of probiotic supplementation with depression (P =.04) and anxiety scores (P = .01) remained significant.

Because postpartum depression is a special period during the lactation period, many new mothers are reluctant to take antidepressants, fearing that the medicines will affect their baby through breast milk.

All of these functional ingredients can enter the daily diet as a food ingredient.

As PPD becomes more concerned, it is worth looking forward to develop functional foods or dietary supplements based on these natural functional ingredients.

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