What Is Postpartum Depression?
Our first clue to what postpartum depression is follows from a study of young boys who have mothers that suffered from the condition. It was found that often display behavioral problems in school. This has usually been attributed to their emotional development being inhibited by mom's condition.
I do not think so. It has been shown quite conclusively that women in the critical early postpartum period of 4 to 6 days, where the blues most often set in, have significantly elevated levels of a brain protein called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A).
Tested against a control group they were found to have, on average, 43% higher levels of MAO-A. This is significant because neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, are removed by MAO-A. There is little doubt about the role serotonin plays in mood alteration.
A host of very effective antidepressants, like Prozac for example, are designed specifically to boost serotonin levels. This demonstrates that the high risk at this critical time of the sunset of a major depressive episode is not psychological.
No, it is biological! The 13% of women who do end up suffering postpartum depression are obviously missing the essential nutrients to boost their serotonin levels. The young boys in the study, who have behavioral problems, almost certainly have basic diets very similar to their mothers.
So, the boys also suffer from a biological, rather than psychological effect. If their mothers' diets are deficient in some essential nutrients it is safe to absorb so their also. It is very likely that the mothers' shortcomings inhibit full development of their children's nervous systems.
Although there has been a significant amount of research into this phenomenon, very little attention has been paid to nutrition.
Nutrition And Depression
This lack of research is unfortunate, but a fact of life. Sophisticated brain imaging techniques to measure levels of proteins and other chemicals, as well as the researchers who conduct them, do not come cheaply. The only ones with the money and the motivation are not in the food industry, they are in the pharmaceutical industry.
Here, most research is aimed at synthesizing drugs to raise serotonin levels or lower MAO-A levels. Even though research has not been able to conceal why they become abnormal. This is so typical of medical research, find and treat the symptom while ignoring the root cause.
Why this is really unfortunate is that researchers are now beginning to believe that all depression stems from increases in MAO-A levels, not just postpartum depression. I submit that even without the research we can, not only attribute depression to poor nutrition, but we can take steps based on what we do know, to avoid it.
We do know, for example, that there are certain foods that feed the nervous system. We also know there are toxins in foods that adversely affect the nervous system. Here, the most logical and healthy way to deal with or avoid depression is to eat the former and avoid the latter.
All of the huge number of different types of proteins are a combination of just 22 amino acids. Amino acids can act as neurotransmitters or precursors to other transmitters like serotonin. The small group of sulphur containing amino acids are especially important for brain function.
These are mainly found in eggs and meat. And remember to always put the juice left in the pot back in with the meat. This is where the highest concentration of sulphur containing amino acids are found. Other foods known for their efficiency in feeding the nervous system include butter and cream as well as shell fish, fish eggs, cod liver oil and liver.
Speaking of pots be sure to avoid aluminum as it is associated with damage to the nervous system. So also are aspartame, the artificial sweetener in many soft drinks, mono sodium glutamate (msg) and amalgam dental filings.
A protocol I use to detox from heavy metals, which are almost unavoidable, especially since I have numerous amalgam filings is very simple. I stir a teaspoon of food grade diatomaceous earth in a glass of water and drink it at bedtime.
I use Perma-Guard as it has been extensively tested and shown to effectively bind with heavy metals and carry them out of the body. I do it before bed so it does not bind with all the good minerals that I insure are a part of my daily intake. Cilantro is also a good detox for heavy metals.