Natural Supplement Made With Blueberry Juice May Prevent Postpartum Blues

A natural dietary supplement may prevent postpartum blues and symptoms of depression six months after birth, new research has found.

A dietary supplement made with blueberry juice, among other natural ingredients, was found to prevent postpartum blues in 66% of participants of a new study, suggesting the supplement may be an accessible, low-cost option to prevent the common syndrome.

The study, published in the Lancet’s eClinicalMedicine, says the supplement can not only prevent postpartum blues but also protects against clinical postpartum depression months later, which is far more likely to develop in those who experience severe postpartum blues.

Postpartum blues refers to mood-related symptoms that can occur right after giving birth, including sadness, crying spells, anxiety, restlessness, reduced appetite, and irritability — symptoms that typically peak around the fifth day postpartum.

The condition is extremely common and affects up to eight out of 10 new mothers within the first few weeks following delivery.

During the immediate postpartum period, the body experiences downstream effects of elevated monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), which results in a depletion of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, as well as elevated hydrogen peroxide. Depletion of these monoamines is associated with high risk of depressive syndromes, the authors explained.

As a result, the new supplement, developed by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Canada, is made of blueberry juice and blueberry antioxidants to counter increased production of hydrogen peroxide, l-tryptophan to replace serotonin, and l-tyrosine to replace norepinephrine and dopamine.

To conduct the double blind placebo controlled study of over 100 postpartum participants, researchers randomly selected roughly half the group to receive four doses of the supplement days after giving birth, and the rest received a placebo.

They found that among those who took the supplement, 66% experienced no or negligible postpartum blues symptoms and that over the following months, those in the supplement group shifted towards less depressive symptoms, with none reaching the clinical threshold of postpartum depression six months after giving birth.

However, the supplement had no effect on the severity of depressed mood induction.

“It may seem conceptually unlikely that a dietary intervention completed at day 5 is associated with less depressive symptoms 6 months later, but the link between severe postpartum blues in early postpartum and presence of depression symptoms several months later is well established,” the authors wrote.

This supplement presents an option that is more affordable and accessible than some other prevention approaches, the authors wrote.

"Our study showed that both postpartum blues and later symptoms of depression were lower in women who received the dietary supplement," said Jeffrey Meyer, Ph.D., inventor of the nutraceutical and study senior author, in a news release. "Providing this specialized dietary support in the first few days after giving birth is a crucial window to avoid depressive symptoms which is tremendously important given there is considerable risk that they may recur and have lifelong impact."

The product is expected to be available for sale in the U.S. beginning April 11, 2024 under the name Blues Away, and it’s also in the process of being brought to other global markets, with the pace of approvals being dependent on each country's regulatory requirements and reviews.


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