How Do Polyphenols Protect From Anxiety and Depression?

Polyphenols are a group of phytochemicals found in plants. Polyphenols are bioavailable and are metabolised in humans and animals to a large number of metabolites. Evidence suggests that these metabolites are able to modify the biochemistry of the cells of the brain, and in doing so are able to protect from the mood disorders that develop as a normal consequence of stress. Polyphenols do this by altering the normal metabolic routes that lead to synapse growth and increased receptor density. This happened because polyphenol metabolites can activate the CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) pathway. In doing this the polyphenol metabolites increase the amount of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and this brain-derived neurotrophic factor then binds to the tropomyosin receptor kinase B receptors, triggering glutamate release. This causes cellular changes that ultimately leads to improved synaptic efficiency, that is protective of neuronal health.

poluphenols anxiety depression

Polyphenols are found in plants and categorised under 4 main subgroups. Flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes and lignans are the main subgroups of polyphenols. Polyphenols are bioavailable, have an excellent safety record, and have accrued a large body of evidence to show they produce beneficial health effects. Tea, nuts, cocoa, wine, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of polyphenols.

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Ward, L. and Pasinetti, G. M. 2016. Recommendations for Development of Botanical Polyphenols as “Natural Drugs” for Promotion of Resilience Against Stress-Induced Depression and Cognitive Impairment. Neuromolecular Medicine. 18(3): 487

About Robert Barrington

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