The consumption of certain fruits is suggested as a potential treatment for depression given the presence of psychoactive neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin in many plant foods.
Human Neurotransmitters in Plants,
Image thanks to GerryShaw via Wikimedia Commons.
Last year a strange letter was published in the Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neuroscience suggesting fruit as a treatment for depression. 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 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 is in a protective role, adaptation, flowering, establishing it’s shape, In fact the same drugs that we use to affect our psychology can affect a plants biology. This is your plant (St. Johns Wort). This is your plant on, Prozc, , Ritalin, , 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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This is the first of a four-part video series on boosting the levels in the brain, the so-called "happiness hormone." That's what drugs like Prozac do, but are there more natural ways without so many side effects? Tomorrow's video-of-the-day The Wrong Way to Boost Serotonin will talk about tryptophan supplements. Then A Better Way to Boost Serotonin dispels the common myth about tryptophan and turkey and finally The Best Way to Boost Serotonindiscusses a strategy to maximize the transport of the serotonin precursor across the blood-brain barrier. This whole saga reminds me of the Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods story, and of Power Plants in general. Please check out my other videos on Improving Mood Through Diet, as well as my full-length Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death presentation (in which this video content is mentioned in the suicide section). If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free byclicking here. And welcome to volume 10!