A recent review of 75 studies investigating the risk factors for postpartum depression found that women who are at risk could be at higher risk if their Omega 3 levels are lowered.
“The literature shows that there could be a link between pregnancy, Omega 3 and the chemical reaction that enables serotonin, a mood regulator, to be released into our brains” explained the review’s leader Gabriel Shapiro of the University of Montreal.
As Omega 3 is transferred from the mother to the foetus as it develops and later via breastfeeding, the mother’s Omega 3 levels decrease during pregnancy and remain lowered for at least six weeks following birth. Without adequate intake of Omega 3 to counter this, levels of Omega 3 will be significantly lowered in the mother and could result in higher risk of postpartum depression.
Whilst this study gives an indication as to the link between Omega 3 levels and PPD, further research would be needed to clarify the link and the specific reasons for it.
‘Emerging Factors for Postpartum depression: Serotonin Transporter Gentype and Omega 3 Fatty Acid Status’ Gabriel D Shapiro, William D Fraser, jean R Seguin