Innovative Supplement Prevents Postpartum Blues

Summary: A new study introduces a natural supplement that significantly reduces postpartum blues and depression symptoms. The four-year study demonstrated that the supplement, taken shortly after childbirth, prevents the onset of postpartum blues in 66% of participants and protects against clinical postpartum depression six months later.

This discovery is pivotal, given the prevalence of postpartum blues among new mothers and the potential for developing postpartum depression—a condition with profound implications for both mother and child. The supplement’s development, based on combating the rise of the MAO-A protein after childbirth, opens a promising avenue for postpartum care and is set to be marketed as Blues Away.

Key Facts:

  1. The CAMH-developed supplement is proven to effectively prevent postpartum blues and reduce depression symptoms, with none of the supplemented group reaching the clinical threshold for postpartum depression six months post-birth.
  2. The nutraceutical targets a critical period after childbirth to counteract the dramatic increase in the brain’s MAO-A protein, associated with mood regulation.
  3. Set for U.S. release in April 2024 under a partnership with Exeltis, the supplement represents a significant advancement in postpartum mental health care, with plans for global distribution pending regulatory approvals.

Source: CAMH

A new study published in the Lancet discovery science  journal eClinicalMedicine has confirmed that a novel natural supplement—invented, researched, developed and commercialized at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)—prevents postpartum blues, and reduces symptoms of postpartum depression over the following six months after giving birth.

Up to 8 out of ten new mothers experience postpartum, or ‘baby,’ blues, characterized by mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. The condition usually begins within the first few days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks. Postpartum blues strongly raises the risk of postpartum depression, a serious mental illness affecting 13 percent of mothers.

This shows a mom and baby.
The researchers previously showed that the amino acids in the supplement do not affect their total concentrations in breast milk, which was expected since these amino acids are already found in proteins in breast milk. Credit: Neuroscience News

Postpartum depression has important health care consequences: impairing quality of life, increasing risk for future depressive episodes and suicide, and is associated with cognitive and emotional effects in children. Until now, options for widespread prevention have been lacking for either condition.

The study, entitled Dietary Supplement for Mood Symptoms in Early Postpartum: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial, involved more than 100 postpartum participants between January 2019 and December 2022 who either took four doses of the natural supplement several days after giving birth, or a matching placebo.

Within the supplement group, two-thirds (66 per cent) experienced either no symptoms or only negligible symptoms of postpartum blues. Furthermore, in the following six months, participants who received the supplement experienced less symptoms of depression with none reaching the clinical threshold of postpartum depression six months after giving birth.

“Globally 140 million births take place every year. Most women then experience postpartum blues, which, when severe, increases the likelihood of getting full-blown postpartum depression at least fourfold.

“Our study showed that both postpartum blues and later symptoms of depression were lower in women who received the dietary supplement,” said Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, inventor of the nutraceutical and study senior author.

“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.”

Dr. Meyer has been investigating postpartum blues for more than 15 years. His previous imaging research found that a protein called MAO-A rises dramatically in the brains of postpartum women and this protein removes important brain chemicals—like serotonin and dopamine—that support normal mood. It also acts as an oxidant and is linked to the development and progression of certain mental illnesses.

To combat this effect, the nutraceutical is made up of a patented unique combination of natural ingredients, including blueberry extract, which contain antioxidants, and amino acids that replenish essential neurochemicals in the brain to support healthy mood and the ability to concentrate under stress.

The supplement was well tolerated and women who took it tended to report less symptoms, in part due to less drowsiness, headache and restlessness. The researchers previously showed that the amino acids in the supplement do not affect their total concentrations in breast milk, which was expected since these amino acids are already found in proteins in breast milk.     

CAMH has partnered with international women’s health supplement and pharmaceutical company Exeltis via a licensing agreement to bring the product to market under the name Blues Away®. 

Exeltis has maintained the natural health product approach in their preparations and manufacture for widespread distribution of the supplement. It is expected that the product will be available for sale in the U.S. beginning April 11, 2024. 

It is also in the process of being brought to other global markets—including Canada—with the pace of approvals being dependent on each country’s regulatory requirements and reviews. 

“We are thrilled to unveil the culmination of years of dedication and collaboration in the form of our groundbreaking nutraceutical for postpartum blues prevention.

“It is great that we are able to simultaneously share our clinical research around this product while also partnering with a  global women’s health industry leader to make it available to the new mothers who need it,” said Klara Vichnevetski, Director of Industry Partnerships and Technology Transfer. CAMH has nurtured this innovation from its inception, guiding it from bench to bedside where it can make an immediate and profound difference in the lives of millions of women and their families.”

A limitation of the study was that, of the several measures of depression in the study, the supplement did not demonstrate the expected protective effect in an experimental test that involves inducing low mood with sad stimuli, although it is possible that the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and moving the setting of the study to participant’s homes during the pandemic may have influenced the results of this particular test.

Aristotle Voineskos, Vice President of Research, added: “Two major pillars of our CAMH approach to research are the importance of integrating scientific findings into advancing mental health care and the value of early intervention.

“Through the perseverance and dedication of our researchers and technology transfer team, this novel preventative therapy may contribute to best practice when it comes to postpartum care and help women around the world avoid more serious and chronic mental illness.”

Funding: This research was funded by CAMH, with some additional funding from Exeltis.

About this postnatal depression research news

Author: Hayley Chazan
Source: CAMH
Contact: Hayley Chazan – CAMH
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
Dietary supplement for mood symptoms in early postpartum: a double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial” by Jeffrey Meyer et al. EClinicalMedicine


Dietary supplement for mood symptoms in early postpartum: a double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial


Postpartum blues (PPB) is a frequent syndrome of sad mood, crying spells, anxiety, restlessness, reduced appetite, and irritability, typically peaking day 5 postpartum. When severe, it greatly increases risk for later postpartum depression. This trial compared a dietary supplement to placebo on PPB severity. The supplement was designed to counter downstream effects of elevated monoamine oxidase A level, implicated in causing PPB.


Participants recruited by advertisement from the Toronto region completed procedures at CAMH, Canada and/or participants’ homes. Oral supplement or identical appearing relatively inert placebo were administered in randomised, double-blind fashion. Supplement was blueberry juice and extract given four times between nighttime day 3 and morning day 5 postpartum; tryptophan 2 g nighttime day 4 postpartum, and tyrosine 10 g morning day 5 postpartum. On day 5, depressed mood induction procedure (MIP) and postpartum blues were assessed. All data is presented (NCT03296956 closed,


Between January 2019 and December 2022, participants took supplement (n = 51) or placebo (n = 52). There was no significant effect on primary outcome MIP on visual analogue scale for depressed mood (mean difference = −0.39 mm, 95% CI: −6.42 to 5.65 mm). Stein Maternity Blues scores, exploratory PPB measure, was lower in the active group (effect size 0.62; median, interquartile range (IQR): active 2.00 (IQR 1, 4); placebo 4.00 (IQR 1.5, 6); regression with general linear model, supplement effect, β coefficient = −1.50 (95%: CI −2.60, −0.40), p = 0.008; effect of CES-D crying category before supplement, p = 0.03–0.00000023). Twenty-six and 40 different adverse events occurred within 25% and 42% of supplement and placebo cases respectively (Chi-Square, p = 0.06).


The primary outcome was negative for effect on depressed mood induction, however the supplement moderately reduced PPB.



Join our Newsletter
I agree to have my personal information transferred to AWeber for Neuroscience Newsletter ( more information )
Sign up to receive our recent neuroscience headlines and summaries sent to your email once a day, totally free.
We hate spam and only use your email to contact you about newsletters. You can cancel your subscription any time.