High intake of fish — rich in omega-3 fatty acids — can lower postnatal depression, experts claim.

Emerging evidence suggests that many pregnant women are deficient in omega-3 which may be behind postnatal depression, according to a review led by the University of Montreal.

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth.

“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,” lead reviewer Gabriel Shapiro said in a statement.

Since omega-3 is transferred from the mother to her foetus and later to her breastfeeding infant, maternal omega-3 levels decrease during pregnancy, and remain lowered for at least six-weeks following the birth.

“These findings suggest that new screening strategies and prevention practices may be useful,” Shapiro said, noting that the study was preliminary and the further research would be needed to clarify the link and identify the reasons for it.

The findings were announced by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

(This article was published on November 16, 2012)
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