I drove home from a funeral today half listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR. My elderly neighbor, the one who’s lived across the hall from me for over ten years passed away on Monday. There was a graveside memorial that I unfortunately missed because the funeral home gave me the wrong information. I managed to get there in time to see her son and the one other person who was there for her. Her casket was already lowered and when I peered over the edge of the hole, there it lay, with a sprinkling of yellow roses resting on top. I took one from the arrangement nearby and paused before dropping it onto the coffin. There’s nothing like staring down into a grave to make you appreciate where you are placed in this world.
I was so angry to have missed the memorial that once in the car I drove in a kind of haze. Probably not the best thing to do, but it was a lot to take in by that time.
The Diane Rehm show played in the background of my thoughts until, at a stop light, the word methylation penetrated the fog. Instantly I was listening intently to the person on the radio speaking about postpartum depression. He was discussing how some women are more sensitive to the fluctuations in estrogen and how he is studying the hippocampus of their brains. He spoke metaphorically about a dimmer switch, and how with some women estrogen flips the switch on. He’s researching how estrogen interacts on a cellular level and how some day they might even be able to diagnose postpartum depression with a blood test.
None of this surprises me. On some level, I think it’s what I’ve been talking about for a year and a half. Why anyone would not think estrogen and hormonal imbalances aren’t the obvious culprit in postpartum depression mystifies me. But I guess what is new to the discussion is why the estrogen imbalance causes some women to suffer from it and others not. And that’s where the discussion of methylation, or the dimmer switches as he calls them, comes in.
Many of you have investigated whether you are an under or over methylator, so this is not a new term in our lexicon. Methylation reactions are critical for the proper synthesis of the neurotransmitters that play an important role in mood regulation. And this process could also have a direct effect on whether you are histamine intolerant or not.
It’s not a big jump in my mind to even think women with postpartum depression might also be histamine intolerant. We’re talking about all of the same systems using all of the same vocabulary. Depression is already linked to histamine intolerance. Why not postpartum depression?
Wouldn’t it be something if a women suffering from postpartum depression could do what many of us have done to get ourselves back into balance: healthy eating, vitamins, no junk food, low inflammatory high anti-histamic diets?
It will be interesting to see what comes of the research. I, for one, will watch anxiously as the research unveils the truth: women aren’t crazy, their hormones are.
In the meantime, if you’d like to listen to the whole segment online, click here.