Could A Protein Prevent Postpartum Depression?

Saw lots of headlines last week … or was it the week before … about how a nutritional supplement could be the answer to postpartum depression.



I didn't write about it then because I had the feeling that was an oversimplification. So I waited to see if I could learn a bit more.

The headlines were based on research published May11 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, entitled "Elevated Brain Monoamine Oxidase ABinding in the Early Postpartum Period".

Yeah, I don't know what that means either.

Thankfully, Medscape helped to clarify:

"During the first postpartum week, when postpartum blues tend to occur, women experience a "dramatic" increase in monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) binding in key areas of the brain that affect mood, according to results of a study in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"MAO-A metabolizes serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, and excess depletion of these chemicals results in low mood," Jeffrey H. Meyer, MD, PhD, of University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, an investigator on the study, noted in a telephone interview with Medscape Psychiatry

OK. But the baby blues and postpartum depression are twoseparate things. What's the connection?

"Given that postpartum depression is so common, maybe there is an underlying change that happens early in post partum that puts women generally at risk for depression," Dr. Meyer said. A spike in MAO-A right after delivery, fueled by rapidly declining estrogen levels, could be one such change.

If confirmed in future studies, the finding could have potentially important clinical implications in terms of preventing postpartum depression, Dr. Meyer noted.

"Because MAO-A is elevated in this 4- to 6-day postpartum time period, it might be important to try to give nutrients that will replace what MAO-A moves during this time period," he told Medscape Psychiatry. "We are going to do a study to see if there might be a health supplement that can do this and possibly reduce the risk of postpartum depression."

In addition, "MAO-A inhibitors might end up being particularly useful for postpartum depression in the future," Dr. Meyer said.

Interesting. We'll just have to wait and see.

Click here for more stories on the potential prevention of postpartum depression.

Looking for Support? Join PPDChat Mondays on Twitter

Lauren Hale, author of the blogMy Postpartum Voice, came up with a very clever idea to host PPD chats on Mondays on Twitter. They are now held every Monday at 1pm and 8:30pm Eastern, and if you are on Twitter you can participate. Go here to learn how to join in, and I'll see you … or rather, tweet you there.

From me, aka@postpartumprogr on Twitter

Six Women Share Their Stories of Anxiety, Guilt and Postpartum Depression (Oh, and Brooke Shields!)

I was so busy with all the work for the Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health that I hadn't had a chance to catch you up on some of the other moms out there writing about maternal depression and anxiety. Here's a roundup (as if you don't already have enough to read with all those great rally posts!):

Julia Baird writes a piece in Newsweek about what it means to be a"bad mother" and wonders aloud whether mothers shouldn't just lower the bar a bit in their expectations of themselves and each other. Julia was the one who informed us that Queen Victoria had postpartum depression.

Allison at the blog O My Growing Family writes about reaching out for help after 9 months of suffering.

Amy at Wego Health shares her experience with postpartum depression and her belief that it is her responsibility to speak up.

Katie at the blog IThought I Loved You Then writes about the guiltthat comes fromhaving postpartum depression. (We all know where you're coming from Katie.)

The mom at the blog Mommynanibooboo writes aboutbeing able toforgetthe pain of postpartum depression.

Pam, who writes the blog 2 Much Testosterone, on shares her story of postpartum depression.

Thank you for your honesty and courage Warrior Moms.

Justwait! There's more …

Brooke Shields is speaking out about her crippling depression.

Susan Dowd Stone writes all about the press conference with Senator Menendez & Brooke Shieldscelebrating passage of the MOTHERS Act on the EmpowHERwebsite. The glamour quotient must have been through the roof with Brooke there. (Tried to download a pic of the actual event but can't get it to work. Boo. Sorry!) I'mreally glad to see she was there to support this exciting advancement for moms with PPD. I know she can generate media attention for this issuelike no one else.

The mom at the blog Charmingly Chandler is admitting that she has postpartum depression. Go give her a virtual Warrior Mom hug.

Amber at Beyond Postpartum writes about how anxiety has so many different faces.

And here's a little bit more on that guilt thing from Lauren, whose blog is now called My Postpartum Voice.

Welcome to the 2010 Mother's Day Online Rally for Moms' Mental Health! (Video)

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm so glad you've decided to visit Postpartum Progress and check out the Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health. Today you will be reading a wide variety of letters from an amazing group of women. I hope you will find something inspiring or helpful in each and every one of them. (And if this is your first visit, and you'd like more general information about postpartum depression and related illnesses and how to get help for them, click here.) I also hope you will be sure to comment on the posts and thank these incredible moms for their courage.

Note:This post will be at the top of the blog all day today to welcome people who stop in throughout the day. Just scroll down past it to read all the entries.

To get you started, I put together a little intro video for you about what I want you to know about today's rally: