Cross-sectional association between vitamin B12 status and p
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Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient for neurological function, as it leads to the regeneration of methionine from homocysteine, which is precursor of biologically active molecule S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAM). Pregnancy is a state of increased demand and delayed postpartum repletion of nutrients may predispose women to depression.

Women who visited the hospital at 6-weeks postpartum for a regular checkup were included. Inclusion criteria were age (18–50 years), and willingness to donate venous sample for analysis. Exclusion criteria included previous history of mood disorders or antidepressant medication use, and any systemic illness like hypothyroidism, epilepsy, diabetes, and hypertension. Based on EPDS score of 10 as a cutoff, 217 women with probable postpartum depression (PPD) and equal number of age and BMI matched controls were included.

Plasma total vitamin B12, holotranscobalamin (holotc), homocysteine (hcy), methyl malonic acid (MMA), 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate (THF), SAM and serotonin levels were estimated using commercially available ELISA kits. Combined B12 (cB12) score was calculated from study parameters. Multivariate analysis was performed to assess the risk of probable postpartum depression.

Total vitamin B12 and combined B12 score were found to be significantly lower (p=0.001) and MMA (p=0.002) and 5-methyl THF (p<0.001) levels were higher in women with probable depression than women without probable PPD. Women in the lowest vitamin B12 quartile had 4.53 times higher likelihood of probable postpartum depression (p<0.001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that decreasing vitamin B12 (OR=0.394; 95% CI: 0.189–0.822) and cB12 (OR=0.293; 95% CI: 0182–0.470) and increasing MMA (OR=2.14; 95% CI: 1.63–2.83) and 5-methyl THF levels (OR=3.29; 95% CI: 1.59–6.83) were significantly associated with the risk of probable PPD.

Low vitamin B12 may contribute to depressive symptoms in vulnerable postpartum period.

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