Inflammation and a diet high in wheat and gluten could be causing your baby blues and other mood disorders. Inflammation appears to be a primary determinant of depressive symptoms such as flat mood, mood swings, slowed thinking, avoidance behavior, anxiety and altered perceptions. Wheat and gluten are powerful drivers of inflammation. Many individuals are intolerant of these foods products even though they test negative for celiac disease. How can this be? Their response is a non-celiac inflammatory response that you cannot currently test for because to this date there has been no clinical test developed to test for this non-celiac response. How many times have you eaten a bowl of pasta only to feel bloated, gassy and sleepy? I know this has happened to me and when I stay wheat free, gluten free I feel great with tons of energy and even my belly gets flat. Another culprit that can cause inflammation in the body is dairy. For many women, dairy products can increase inflammation in the body making them feel inflamed, bloated and mucousy. For many post-partum women wheat, gluten and diary can lead to increased levels of inflammation and can be the underlying cause of their post-partum depression. This new way of thinking is called inflammatory model of depression and it treats the underlying causes. This way of thinking does not use pills to mask and or suppress the symptoms. This is a model of empowerment because women can look into their lifestyles, their homes, and their foods and make the necessary changes to get back on track again.
Furthermore, post-partum women are more vulnerable to auto immune disorders and inflammation due to the high demands of pregnancy and the quick hormonal shifts that happen after the baby is born. Cytokines and other inflammatory by-products are released in the blood when there is inflammation in the body. These inflammatory messengers are many times found in the bloods of post-partum and could be the cause of their mental anguish.
Not every woman gets depressed? Why? You need the proper atmosphere and proper circumstances to increase inflammation in the body. The perfect storm arises when the following three criteria’s are met:
1- There needs to be a genetic susceptibility (its in your genes)
2- There has to be environmental triggers (we are swimming in a pool of toxins- think pesticides, pollutions, GMO foods, processed foods)
3- There has to be intestinal permeability (disruption to the Gut–Brain connection)
To combat the baby blues, dietary and lifestyle changes are very necessary. A food based approach can make all the difference for new moms. If you want to re-gain mental clarity and combat the baby blues start with what you eat and then add some exercise and meditation into the mix and you’ll start to feel like your old self again. Below I have listed the top three recommendations that could help you regain your mental health in a holistic non-pharmacological way. Read the three tips below on how to deal with your baby blues:
1. First see your MD immediately if you feel are suffering from depression, anxiety or psychosis. Seek the right kind of help from someone who knows how to treat baby blues. Don’t go to someone who will just prescribe you an anti-depressant after meeting you for 45 minutes. Many doctors prescribe these meds without giving you a proper medical and diagnostic work-up. They should be testing for many things including inflammatory markers ,thyroid levels, adrenals level, B12, Folate, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and A. Stools samples should be taken to evaluate for bacteria in the gut.
2. Eliminate inflammatory agents and eat only real foods. NO FAKE FOODS ALLOWED. Dr. Kelly Brogan, holistic psychiatrist, recommends a diet free of wheat and gluten for at least 1 to three months or longer until you stabilize. Additionally, Dr. Brogan is a firm believer in helping the body reach homeostasis by including supplements and vitamins into the diet. Dietary supplements and vitamins and eating the “RIGHT” whole foods work to not only strengthen the body from the inside out, but also to provide a platform by which health can be achieved without the intervention of pharmacological agents or psychotropic drugs. For more information on the food-inflammation-depression connection please visit www.kellyBroganMD.com
3. Breastfeeding decreases the likelihood of post-partum depression. There is not enough support for new moms when it comes to breastfeeding. Get lactation help right away and have weekly lactation consultations if possible until breast-feeding has been established. Breastfeeding is hard work and you need support.
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