Good Foods During Pregnancy

 We are all either undermethylators, overmethylators or normal methylators.

Many persons with depression are under or over methylators. Depressed women during pregnancy are frequently undermethylators. The good news is, there are many foods that provide to reverse the deficiency and lift depression. 

This published study in the Psych Congress Journal suggests that women who have maternal depression and are undermethylated, often give birth to children who experience depression due to their own ensuing condition of .

Whole blood histamine test is a lab that indicates methylation status. An excellent natural therapy may be methionine or SAMe supplements or foods that are high in methionine. If you have high blood histamines you may be undermethylated. Persons with seasonal allergies are frequently undermethylated. I recommend you get your levels tested before indulging in high methionine foods because your depression may in fact be associated with overmethylation, which requires an opposite approach, to lower methionine.

In consideration of the the study below, know your methylation status, particularly if you are depressed, and to combat during pregnancy, eat foods high in methionine and or take supplements. It won’t just make the mother feel better, but improves chance child won’t end up with depression.

Maternal Depression Linked to Methylation Changes in Offspring

by Will Boggs MD, Psych Congress

By Will Boggs MD

Maternal depression is associated with widespread changes in DNA methylation in their offspring that may persist into adulthood, researchers from Canada report.

“These data further demonstrate the potential long-term consequences of maternal depression for the health of future generations and the importance of mental health and social support of mothers and would be mothers for the physical health of newborn and children,” Dr. Moshe Szyf from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, told Reuters Health by email. “What is remarkable is that the mental state of a mother causes changes in DNA methylation in the newborns in the immune system, not just the brain.”

Maternal mood disorders and stress during pregnancy can result in attention learning deficits during childhood and mood disorders during adulthood for their offspring. Evidence suggests these consequences may be mediated by modifications of DNA methylation levels.

Dr. Szyf’s team investigated possible associations between maternal depression and DNA methylation changes in T lymphocytes from neonatal cord blood and in hippocampal brain tissues from adults with or without histories of maternal depression.

Offspring of depressed mothers, however, showed significant differences in DNA methylation from those of nondepressed mothers in 145 T lymphocyte CG sites. Most (75.5%) were hypomethylated in the maternal depression group compared with the control group.

“One of the main surprises was that we found a larger effect of maternal depression on the babies’ DNA methylation than the maternal DNA methylation,” Dr. Szyf said. “The second surprise was that it seems that the effect is a consequence of lifelong depression rather than depression only around the pregnancy period.”

“For healthy babies to develop into healthy adults it is important to have healthy mothers,” Dr. Szyf said. “And this involves not only physical and metabolic health but also mental and social wellbeing. This hopefully will be an important pillar in prenatal care as well as public policy relating to preconception health.”

“The consequences of maternal depression might suggest using epigenetic interventions for prevention and reversal of the impacts of maternal depression on the offspring,” Dr. Szyf added. “One clinical potential of the data is the possibility of developing biomarkers of maternal depression that might serve as predictors of lifelong health risks and guide early interventions.”

Dr. Joanne Ryan from University of Melbourne’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Australia, who recently reviewed and depressive disorders, told Reuters Health by email, “An important next step in this research is to determine whether these methylation differences and associated with health outcomes in the infants/children. Maternal depression during pregnancy has been associated with long-term negative outcomes in the child — the data from this study should be used to determine whether such effects can be mediated by differential DNA methylation.”

To find out more about good foods during pregnancy to help with low methionine, we checked with our favorite food resource.

Treatment for Depression without Medication

It is estimated that 13.1 to 14.2 million American adults suffer from clinical and that 32 million will face the disease at some point in their life.  Only roughly 57% ever receive treatment, but those that do seem to find relief in antidepressant medications, such as SSRIs, , and MAO inhibitors.  However, whether or not it is actually the medication which is supplying that relief is up for debate.  And this is exactly the debate that is bravely addressed by psychology researcher Irving Kirsch, in his book The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, and which is addressed in Newsweek’s article “Why Antidepressants Are No Better Than Placebos”, by Sharon Begley.
Backed by Kirsch’s research, Begley writes that “Yes, the drugs are effective, in that they lift depression in most patients. But that benefit is hardly more than what patients get when they, unknowingly and as part of a study, take a dummy pill—a . As more and more scientists who study depression and the drugs that treat it are concluding, that suggests that antidepressants are basically expensive Tic Tacs.”

The placebo effect, “a medical benefit you get from an inert pill or other sham treatment” continues Begley, “rests on the holy trinity of belief, expectation, and hope.”

Begley goes on to point out that some researchers even wonder if “antidepressants are ‘a triumph of marketing over science’” and points out that “even defenders of antidepressants agreed that the drugs have ‘relatively small’ effects.”  Kirsch’s study indicated that “patients on a placebo improved about 75 percent as much as those on drugs. Put another way, three quarters of the benefit from antidepressants seems to be a placebo effect.”
Further, it appears to that those small effects are really only evident in patients which exhibit severe levels of depression, not for the mild to moderate cases.  Although any amount of depression is incredibly difficult, vastly overwhelming, and often simply unbearable, it seems that those suffering from the more mild to moderate levels could very well benefit greatly from treatment for depression without medication.  Which begs the question… why then, since this study, has “the number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled in a decade, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005”?

Psychology researcher Steven Hollon of Vanderbilt University reaffirms the pervasiveness of this placebo effect when he states that “many have long been unimpressed by the magnitude of the differences observed between treatments and controls… […] what some of our colleagues refer to as ‘the dirty little secret.’”

This is undoubtedly difficult for patients and doctors to hear.  A doctor who has witnessed improvement in a patient wants to believe that the treatment they are prescribing is the basis for that improvement… otherwise, how does one really quantify or measure the efficacy of one treatment over another?  But should this desire for standardization get in the way of a patient knowing the truth about his or her treatment options or prescriptions?

Psychotherapists could be excited at the prospect of an upsurge in talk therapy as opposed to medication.  It has been shown that is actually more effective than both pills and placebos, and carries a lower rate of relapse for sufferers of depression.  Unfortunately, most people that currently seek treatment for depression are receiving such from their primary-care doctors, not from psychiatrists (as many do not accept insurance).  Psychotherapy is just not a viable option for many patients.

Depression is devastating for the individual ensnared in its net, as well as often debilitating to the healthy functioning of entire families.  If a pill provides some semblance of relief, even if only by way of a placebo effect, is that really such a bad thing?  Perhaps not.  But one must take into consideration the side-effects which often accompany antidepressant medications, the high cost for prescriptions, the high potentiality for relapse, as well as the difficult and painful symptoms which may arise with withdrawal from that particular medication.  Could there be a better way?  Are there other viable treatment for depression without medication?

Second Opinion Physician believes so. 



See full article from Newsweek

Link to The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, by Irving Kirsch