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Blueberries show promise as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder

Date:
March 30, 2015
Source:
American Physiological Society (APS)
Summary:
Roughly 8 percent of people in the US suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). SSRIs, such as Zoloft and Paxil, are the only currently-approved therapy, but their effectiveness is marginal. Researchers have found that blueberries could be an effective treatment.
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Blueberries.
Credit: © Brian Jackson / Fotolia

Up to 8 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the result of witnessing or being the victim of a traumatic event. People with PTSD have been in a situation in which they were at risk of death, serious injury or sexual violence or have seen first-hand loved ones faces such threats. They may experience flashbacks, emotional detachment and jumpiness, among other symptoms that affect their ability to function in everyday life.

Currently, the only approved therapy for PTSD is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft and Paxil, but their effectiveness is marginal. Now researchers at Louisiana State University have found that a readily available superfood -- the blueberry -- could be an effective treatment.

Ebenezer et al. have previously demonstrated that SSRIs increase levels of serotonin (5-HT) and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) and that the increased NE may reduce the effectiveness of SSRI therapy. In the new study, the research team looked at the ability of blueberries to modulate neurotransmitter levels in a rat model of PTSD. Researchers supplemented some of the rats with a blueberry-enriched (2 percent) diet and others with a control diet. A third control group did not have PTSD and received a standard diet (without blueberries).

They found that PTSD rats who did not receive blueberries demonstrated a predictable increase in NE and 5-HT when compared with the control group. However, the PTSD rats that received blueberries showed a beneficial increase in 5-HT with no effect on NE levels, suggesting that blueberries can effectively modulate neurotransmitters in PTSD.


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Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society (APS). "Blueberries show promise as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150330134405.htm>.
American Physiological Society (APS). (2015, March 30). Blueberries show promise as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150330134405.htm
American Physiological Society (APS). "Blueberries show promise as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150330134405.htm (accessed May 25, 2017).

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