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Remember all that fuss a couple of years ago about ADD symptoms being caused by nutritional deficiencies in some cases? The theory behind this is that the brain cannot function properly without the vitamins and minerals it uses to create neurotransmitters and that our kids eat too much junk. Makes sense… our bodies have to run off of something and we Americans are known around the globe as crummy eaters. As a side note: I was tested last year and found to have a zinc deficiency after complaining about skin and nail problems. Zinc. Apparently we need all of those vitamins and minerals that are listed on the side of that vitamin bottle buried in the back of my cupboard. Not only that, but we’re supposed to get them from a “balanced diet” because our bodies and brains have a better chance of using them that way.

So, I’ve recently learned that some doctors, naturopaths, and dietitians are having success in treating cases of postpartum depression with nutritional supplements and dietary changes. During pregnancy, our reserves are depleted by all of that human-growing going on. We cut out entire categories of food that make us sick, we lose lots of nutrition during labor and delivery and then start nursing a baby who will grow entirely off what we eat and our reserves while we eat quick, easy, non-nutritious foods. The chances that we consume enough vitamins to grow a strong and healthy baby and a strong and healthy mom are slim.

Even some of the nutrients we do manage to absorb are thwarted from combining with other nutrients to improve brain function by stress hormones. What new mother isn’t stressed out? Low serotonin levels are, apparently, often to blame for bouts of tearfulness and anxiety and can be sometimes be remedied by dietary and lifestyle changes. This is the same logic that is behind placentophagia, the practice of mothers drying, crushing, encapsulating and consuming the placenta after birth; although some doctors say that the placenta loses most of its nutrition in this process.

And did you ever feel like you “fell into a deep, dark hole and just cannot muster the energy to get out”? Low nor-epinephrine leves can be the culprit here and fixing adrenal and thyroid levels can do the trick. As a postpartum thyroiditis sufferer myself, I can attest to that!

Find more information on this here, here or here or google “postpartum depression and nutrition”.

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