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Breastfeeding, retinoids, and postpartum depression: A new theory.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23816449     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Postpartum depression (PPD) is an international public health problem affecting at least 1 in 8 mothers. Known risk factors include: giving birth to a preterm or low birth weight infant, babies with greater symptoms of illness at age 4-6 weeks, formula feeding, younger maternal age, smoking, and fatigue. Prolonged breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of PPD but the mechanisms are not well understood. Interventions for PPD focusing on psychosocial risk factors have been largely unsuccessful, suggesting that the condition has a mainly biological basis. The hypothesis proposed for consideration is that breastfeeding protects against PPD by maintaining endogenous retinoids (vitamin A-related compounds) below a threshold concentration. In fact, breast milk is rich in retinoids; pregnant women accumulate retinoids in liver and breast in preparation for lactation; there is increasing evidence that retinoids in higher concentration are associated with cognitive disturbances and mood disorders, including depression and suicide; and prolonged lactation reduces maternal stores of retinoids. Consistent with this hypothesis, it is estimated that an amount of vitamin A is transferred from mother to infant during the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding equivalent to 76% of a dose known to cause acute vitamin A poisoning in an adult. Breastfeeding may thus have evolutionary-adaptive functions for both mother and infant, transferring vital nutrients to an infant unable to feed itself, yet at the same time providing a natural means of reducing potentially toxic concentrations of retinoids in the mother.
Authors:
Anthony R Mawson; Wang Xueyuan
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-6-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of affective disorders     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1573-2517     ISO Abbreviation:  J Affect Disord     Publication Date:  2013 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-7-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7906073     Medline TA:  J Affect Disord     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Affiliation:
Behavioral and Environmental Health, School of Health Sciences, College of Public Service, Jackson State University, 350 West Woodrow Wilson Drive, Room 229, Jackson, MS 39213, USA. Electronic address: amawsn@gmail.com.
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