There's a reason why blueberries are often hailed as a Superfood. Packed with nutrients, they have been thought to lower blood pressure, prevent high cholesterol and even fight off cancer. But a new study suggests the bitesize fruit could even help banish the baby blues.
A dietary supplement kit, created to counter mood-altering brain changes linked to depression, virtually eliminated feelings of sadness among mothers, according to a new study conducted at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The pills consist of three supplements - including blueberry juice for antioxidant effects. The kit also includes tryptophan and tyrosine, amino acids which can be found in foods such as eggs, spirulina and salmon.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), led by Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, included 21 women who received the supplements and a comparison group of 20 mothers who did not. The supplements were taken over three days, starting on the third day after giving birth. Women who were not taking the pills had a significant increase in depression scores. In contrast, women taking the dietary supplements did not experience any low mood.
Dr Meyer said: ‘We believe this is the first study to show such a strong, beneficial effect of an intervention in reducing the baby blues at a time when postpartum sadness peaks. Postpartum blues are common and usually resolves 10 days after giving birth, but when they are intense, the risk of postpartum depression increases four-fold.’
Dr. Meyer's team had also tested and confirmed that the supplements, given in higher amounts than people would normally get in their diet, did not affect breast milk.
Postpartum blues are common among women after giving birth. Often symptoms will hit within four to five days after the birth of the baby. They include weepiness or crying for no apparent reason, impatience, irritability and restlessness.