A dietary supplement containing tyrosine, tryptophan and blueberry extract showed efficacy in combating common effects of postpartum depression and sadness.
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 13% of women in the postnatal stage. It is commonly seen 1-4 weeks after delivery and is characterized by the mother experiencing feelings of sadness, worry, excessive fatigue and withdrawal from the new baby and family members.1
Along with the emotional experience attributed to childbirth, research has shown there are also a number of physical processes affected after the birth experience.1 Postpartum blues (PPB) often occurs at the onset of postpartum depression. During PPB there is a 40% increase in monoamine oxidase A levels which impact the neurobiological mechanisms associated with depression and mood and is caused by decreased levels of estrogen.2
Currently there are no consistent prevention strategies for PPB or PPD. In a recent study published in the February 2017 edition of PNAS, Dr Yekta Dowlati, et al., developed a dietary based supplement combination to help combat the increase in monoamine oxidase A. This supplement included tryptophan, tyrosine, blueberry juice and extract. 41 women completed the study, 21 participants received the supplement on days 3, 4, and 5 after birth and 20 participants received no treatment. Mood and depression feelings were evaluated using visual analog scales and questionnaires including POMS. The control group saw an increase in depression and sadness while the intervention group saw no increase [43.85 ± 18.98 mm vs. 0.05 ± 9.57 mm shift; effect size: 2.9; F (1, 39) = 88.33, P < 0.001].
While a small trial, this research shows that there may be a safe, effective and natural dietary supplement option for the management of postpartum depression in women.
Why is this Clinically Relevant?
- Preventative supplements can help women avoid postpartum blues
- A combination of tryptophan, tyrosine and blueberry juice can help counter the effects of increased monoamine oxidase A
- Providing dietary supplement during days 3-5 after birth can help avoid sadness and depression symptoms
1 National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml. Accessed April 27, 2017.
2 Dowlati Y, Ravindran AV, Segal ZV, Stewart DE, Steiner M, Meyer JH. Selective dietary supplementation in early postpartum is associated with high resilience against depressed mood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017;114(13):3509-3514. doi:10.1073/pnas.1611965114.