A woman’s risk for depression is higher during pregnancy, but this risk may be lowered by ensuring an adequate intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids, report researchers. Omega-3s are found in cold water fish, such as salmon and mackerel, as well as flax seeds. Omega-3 supplements are also available in health and nutrition stores.
In the study by National Institutes of Health and University of Illinois-Chicago, researchers found pregnant women who had a deficient intake of omega-3s had double the risk of depression than women with a normal to high intake.
“During pregnancy, the baby gets omega-3 at the expense of the mother,” explains one of the study’s authors Dr John Davis. As the fetus develops, it draws on its mother’s fatty stores for optimal neurological growth.
Using British data from over 14,000 women who were pregnant in the early 1990s, researchers analyzed the association between omega-3 fatty acids and depression. They found that there was indeed a strong association between a deficiency of omega-3 and increased risk of depression. They also noted that in countries where omega-3 intake is the highest, the incidence of depression appears to be the lowest.
HealthScout News, May 22, 2003