Transcript: Human Neurotransmitters in Plants
Last year a strange letter was published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience suggesting fruit as a treatment for depression. It starts out talking about how bad the disease is, how abnormally low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain may be responsible, how we now have several classes of drugs such as SSRIs—Prozac--that may work by boosting serotonin levels, but then of course notes how these medications bring with them some serious problems side effects, etc. And so a new therapeutic approach is needed.
How about using high-content sources of serotonin to provide our body with these substances, you know, like, plantains, pineapples, bananas, kiwis, plums, and tomatoes. What? Since when do plants have animal neurotransmitters? Since forever, I was surprised to learn.
Animal neurotransmitter substances in plants. They’ve got all the stuff we have. There’s adrenaline in plants, there’s dopamine, serotonin, melatonin—in fact there was a recent study trying to figure out which varieties of tomatoes and strawberries had the most. And there’s actually enough in a serving to enhance levels in our blood stream.
Humans use serotonin as a neurotransmitters, plants use serotonin in a protective role, adaptation, flowering, and establishing it’s shape. In fact, the same drugs that we use to affect our psychology can affect a plant's biology. This is your plant (St. John's Wort). This is your plant on Prozac, Ritalin, and amphetamines.
OK, so bioactive human neurotransmitters in plants, but what’s in it for us? Can fruit really be used to treat depression?
We will find out in tomorrow’s video-of-the-day.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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