Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules during pregnancy might reduce risk of postpartum depression. The small study released today involved only 52 women and it”s simply too small of a study to draw any definitive conclusions. One supplement craze in the past few years is the omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), taken mainly in fish oil. Because of its positive effect on the brain and nervous system, some have wondered if it can prevent postpartum maternal depression and/or enhance cognitive development in the fetus.
However, as we reported earlier another group of researchers in Australia recently conducted a clinical trial to try to assess the benefits of DHA and they found it may not be worth the cost and time of taking. But if you”ve taken the supplement, not to worry; while the results of their research found no difference between women who took fish oil and those who took vegetable oil, there were also no negative effects from the supplementation.
Things to keep in mind:
- Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid (translation: we must get them from our diet) that are important to our health and have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help heart disease, prevent strokes and prostate cancer.
- Don”t like fish? Omega-3s come from plant sources, too, including: walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax (seeds/oil) and canola oil.
- If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and consuming fish note the recommendations to avoid mercury toxicity. FDA has the details: Limit intake to 12 oz. of “low mercury” fish per week, “high mercury” fish to less than three 6 oz. servings per month and avoid “highest mercury” fish completely.
- The results of this association are not yet conclusive. We previously reported on another study that showed fish oil to benefit men and women with depression but not anxiety disorder.
- As with most things nutrition related, just because some is good, more doesn’t necessarily make it better. Review our guide to fish oil supplementation, and ask your doctor what is best for you.