New mothers eat blueberries to keep 'baby blues' at bay
Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 14 : A Canadian study suggests that by consuming fruit-based supplement kit, containing blueberry juice, may help new mothers to beat feelings of sadness and mood swings post-delivery.
The study was published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports the Mirror.
The finding suggest that two doses of concentrated blueberry juice, which helps to prevent oxidation damage to the brain's messenger chemicals, as well as two compounds that are essential for making those chemicals, can "virtually eliminate" post-partum melancholy.
They recruited 41 pregnant women in their late 20s and early 30s, roughly half of whom were about to give birth for the first time.
Starting three days after the births, the researchers gave half of the women two blueberry drinks, 2g of tryptophan and 10g of tyrosine.
The rest were not given any supplements.
The results suggest that 20 mothers randomly chosen not to have the treatment produced significant increases in psychological test scores for depression after their babies were born.
"Developing successful nutrition-based treatments, based on neurobiology, is rare in psychiatry," said lead researcher Dr Jeffrey Meyer from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada.
"We believe our approach also represents a promising new avenue for creating other new dietary supplements for medicinal use," Meyer added.
Days after giving birth, women experience a surge in the brain protein MAO-A which breaks down three "feelgood" chemicals - serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
MAO-A levels peak five days after giving birth, precisely when post-partum "baby blues" are pronounced the most.
Post-partum blues are common and usually resolve 10 days after giving birth, but when they are intense, the risk of post-partum depression increases four-fold.