Ellagic Acid: A Mood Enhancer?

Ellagic acid is a naturally occuring phytochemical belonging to the polyphenol group of compounds. Like many dietary polyphenols, ellagic acid has been shown to have beneficial health effects. The health effects so far attributed to ellagic acid include anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, antioxidant, anti-allergic, matimalarial, anti-wrinkle and anti-glycative properties. Evidence also shows that ellagic acid may be useful in the treatment of mood disorders. For example, in one study, researchers administered either the antidepressant drug fluoxetine, or ellagic acid to mice, and then subjected the mice to experimental stress. Both the fluoxetine and the ellagic acid reduced the depressive-like behaviour of the mice, as measured by their immobility times in water. The authors of the study concluded that the ellagic acid was likely acting through modification of the serotonergic and adrenergic neurotransmitter systems, suggesting that ellagic acid is able to significantly alter brain chemistry.

ellagic acid anxiety depression

Ellagic acid is found in high concentrations in a number of foods including walnuts, pecan nuts, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and grapes. Image shows the structure of ellagic acid. Image from: By Yikrazuul – Own work, Public Domain, https:// commons.wikimedia.org/ w/index.php? curid=4189082

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Dhingra, D. and Chhillar, R. 2012. Antidepressant-like activity of ellagic acid in unstressed and acute immobilization-induced stressed mice. Pharmacological Reports. 64(4): 796-807

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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