Researchers from Louisiana State University have found that blueberries may be effective in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Findings from the study have been presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in Boston, Mass.
Presently, the only therapy approved by the FDA for PTSD is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline and paroxetine. Study authors have previously shown that SSRIs increase the level of serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine, and that the increased norepinephrine be a possible reason for the reduced efficacy of SSRI therapy.
For this study, Philip J. Ebenezer, PhD, and colleagues studied the ability of blueberries to modulate neurotransmitter levels in a rat model of PTSD. Some of the rats received a 2% blueberry-enriched supplement diet and others received a control diet. A third control group consisted of rats without PTSD and received a standard diet without blueberries. Scientists used high-performance liquid chromatography to to measure monoamines and related metabolite levels.
Rats with PTSD who did not receive blueberries showed a predictable increase in 5-HT and norepinephrine level compared with the control group. But rats with PTSD that received blueberries showed a beneficial increase in 5-HT levels with no impact on norepinephrine levels, which suggest that blueberries can alter neurotransmitter levels in PTSD.
More studies are needed to understand the neuroprotective effects of blueberries and its potential target as a treatment for PTSD.
Ebenenzer, PJ. The Neuro-Protective Efficacy of Blueberry in an Animal Model of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Presentation at the Experimental Biology 2015 Meeting. March 30, 2015.
This article originally appeared on MPR