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Probiotic Strain May Ease Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Previous research suggests that women’s gut microbiome changes during pregnancy and that changes in gut microbiome may be linked with depression. A recent study suggests that taking a supplement of a probiotic strain may help improve postpartum depression symptoms.


In this study, researchers used the Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 strain of probiotics. Participants in the study were 423 women in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand who were recruited at 14 to 16 weeks gestation. The women were given either  a placebo or HN001 daily starting at enrollment and for six months postpartum, if they were breastfeeding. The researchers used a questionnaire on psychological outcomes to determine postpartum depression.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found an association between probiotic supplementation and improved psychological outcomes — including lower depression and anxiety scores — after giving birth. The researchers believe the effects are due to modulation through the immune system and anti-inflammatory properties of the probiotics.


Researchers from the University of Auckland conducted the study. It was published in the October 2017 issue of EBioMedicine.

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