World Mental health day: Postnatal depression

Today is world Mental health day, so many of us take care of our bodies with what we eat, exercising however we tend to forget our mental health. With cases of depression and other mental health conditions on the increase and discussed negatively by the media it’s so important to raise awareness. To end the stigma surrounding Mental health, so people can seek the support they need, to stop the feels of isolation.

3yrs 4months, 2 children later I’m still taking medication for postnatal depression, with the stress and upheaval in my life of late it’s reared its ugly head again. I’m disappointed, well devastated to be honest, I so wanted to come off my medication this year, however it looks as though 2013 isn’t going to be my year to do this.

I’m trying to exercise more, for health reasons I’ve stopped eating chocolate which has helped my mood, a few months ago I was approached by a woman called Marcela about a guest post on my blog. She’s written a great piece on vitamins for PND, quite fitting for today!!

Read, enjoy and I hope it helps

The Best Vitamins and Mineral Supplements to Help Combat Postpartum Depression

Motherhood should be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life, yet the commonly experienced phenomena of postpartum depression can send new moms into tailspins that can potentially lead to serious, and even dangerous, complications.

Psychiatric medication is generally effective, but many women would prefer natural alternatives—an especially wise choice for breastfeeding mothers. The following are vitamins, minerals and other natural supplements that are recommended for anyone seeking optimal health, but even more so for moms in the throes of emotional instability.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons File:Pregnant_woman2.jpg

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

B Vitamins
The various B vitamins are some of the body’s hardest workers, keeping a stable metabolism and boosting energy levels—both indispensable for avoiding wild mood swings. Moreover, B-rich foods and B-complex vitamins are vital in converting tryptophan into serotonin, a natural chemical that tells your brain to feel happy.
In addition to supplements, seek out legumes, nuts, lean meats and cereals.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are highly effective in warding off depression of all kinds. In fact, they are even known to keep acute symptoms, such as bipolarity, in extended remission. Additionally, the omega-3 EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is a crucial support for eyes, the brain, and the central nervous system, making it a must for mothers during pregnancy and lactation.
Walnuts and fish—especially tuna and salmon—are great sources of omega-3s; however, mothers in particular should be vigilant against toxins, such as mercury, that may come along with seafood. Because toxins can be eliminated in the refining process, here is one case in which supplements might be preferable to nature’s way.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium has been shown to be extremely effective in combating postpartum depression, but it relies on a symbiotic relationship with vitamin D for a maximum delivery system. For lactating mothers, no more than 2500 mg of calcium should be taken in conjunction with 400 international units of vitamin D.
Vitamins are absorbed particularly well through diet, so look to green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals and dairy for calcium; milk and intermittent, safe exposure to sunlight for vitamin D.


While there are long-term clinical studies of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also called oxitriptan, this amino acid and synthesizer of serotonin and tryptophan yields great results among clinically depressed patients, often within only several days of use (due to its ability to promote regular sleep). Although it is a naturally occurring chemical, it appears only in negligible doses in foods, therefore, you’ll need to visit a good health food store for supplemental capsules.

Vitamin C

One more vital way to convert tryptophan into serotonin. Citrus fruits are an obvious source of this vitamin, but for those sensitive to the acid levels of such juices, a 1 gram/day supplement is sure to reduce depression in less than a month.
Folic acid
Although technically a member of the B vitamin family, folic acid has benefits that warrant singling out. It has been shown to be effective in countering severe depression (and even schizophrenia), and of additional interest for mothers, it may be crucial in preventing neural tube defects.
Zinc is not a direct defense against depression, but since it does reduce crankiness and increase appetite—a positive collateral benefit, given the positive effects of a regular diet on moods—it is highly recommended for new mothers. Wheat germ, whole grains and meats provide great sources of zinc, in addition to supplements.

DLPA, or phenylananine, is another supplement that addresses several symptoms that will be of interest to new mothers. In addition to being a known mood-elevator, DLPA pumps up your endorphin levels, making it a great pain killer with no risk of addictions. As it also curbs cravings for carbs and sugars—and enhances libido—DLPA is a great one-stop for postpartum blues.
Niacin and Iron

Whether from food intake or supplements, both niacin and iron are powerful enemies of depression, as they too help your body increase its serotonin levels. As new moms can be highly vulnerable to dips in iron levels, making supplementary intake is even more important.

Because both have recommended dosage ceilings, consult your doctor on the right intake for you.
St. John’s Wort
Herbal remedies, such as St. John’s Wort—a yellow flowering plant that can be taken in tea form as well as an extract—are also worth considering as a natural route of feeling good. Unfortunately, while reviews of this time-honored remedy are glowing, product dose levels may vary, so it may take some experimenting to find your appropriate intake level.

Whether you are going to be a new mom or have already experienced the beauty of motherhood, you will want to be sure to include the necessary amount of vitamins and supplements into your diet in order to increase your chances of preventing PPD.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Southern California who writes on a wide range of topics, from marketing to technology, as well as health, nutrition, and fitness. As a mother of three, she understands very well how motherhood can affect a woman’s state of mind


2 thoughts on “World Mental health day: Postnatal depression

  1. Gerlinde says:

    Hey, look after yourself and take your time! It is 5 years later here and I am only feeling that I am gaining myself back since this year. I thought, being a control freak, I had everything under control and it would never happen to me. I never took medicine but looking back I think it might having been better to do so.
    In both cases, it takes a hell of a long time to get out of it again, time and acceptance seem to be the main answer. I wish though that I would have been warned before, there is such a discrepancy between what you think motherhood should be and what the reality is, nobody tells you how tough it is mentally and physically. Never saw any pink clouds here!

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