Abstract Title:

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in prevention and treatment of maternal depression: Putative mechanism and recommendation.

Abstract Source:

J Affect Disord. 2018 10 1 ;238:47-61. Epub 2018 May 16. PMID: 29860183

Abstract Author(s):

Mei-Chi Hsu, Chia-Yi Tung, Hsing-E Chen

Article Affiliation:

Mei-Chi Hsu


BACKGROUND: Women are vulnerable to depression during their childbearing years, and giving birth to a child precipitates postpartum depression (PPD) in some women. This review focuses on comparing the effectiveness of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on depression during pregnancy or PPD after childbirth.

METHODS: MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Collaboration Registry of Controlled Trials etc. through July 2017 were searched. Studies of dietary intake and plasma and/or milk levels of omega-3 fatty acids and trials of benefits and effects of omega-3 fatty acids supplements on pregnant or postpartum women with depression were specifically selected.

RESULTS: Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, due to inadequate intake, fast depletion during pregnancy and lactation, is one of the risk factors of PPD. Associations between neuroinflammation (elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines) and aberrant neurotransmission (low serotonergic transmission activity) and risk of PPD have also been reported by numerous studies. Supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-rich oil can effectively reduce depression during pregnancy and PPD after childbirth. Long term treatment with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich oil can be effective in reducing the risk of PPD in healthy women, but not in lactating women. Supplementation of DHA-rich oil to women begun at pregnancy and continued after childbirth exerts no beneficial effect on depression.

CONCLUSIONS: Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids rich in EPA during pregnancy or postpartum reduces some symptoms associated with depression. DHA supplementation to healthy pregnant women can also reduce the risk of PPD.

Study Type : Review

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