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Grape Compounds May Help Treat Depression


Scientists in a recent study investigated a natural alternative to help treat depression — compounds derived from grapes. They found beneficial effects that may help alleviate the mental disorder.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression affects 16 million people in the U.S., which is 6.7 percent of the adult populace. The disease can be incapacitating, as it’s the top cause of disability among people between the ages of 15 to 44.

Depression is linked to a broad array of pathological processes, including inflammation of the peripheral nervous system structures, such as lymph nodes, as well as abnormalities in synaptic plasticity, which is the communication between nerve cells. However, the mechanisms by which antidepressants work are mostly limited to targeting systems that regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. No antidepressant medications address the other pathology.

Less than 50 percent of people diagnosed with depression receive temporary relief of their symptoms with depression medications, report the study’s researchers. Because the need for effective treatment is so great, they set out to find an alternative to drugs.

Grape Compounds Improved Resilience to Stress-Induced Depression

Prior research indicates grape polyphenols may help manage major depressive disorder, but the reasons underlying the benefit haven’t been known until now. Lead author Giulio Maria Pasinetti, a professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY, and his colleagues conducted the new study that involved spiking the drinking water of 12 mice with two grape-derived compounds: malvidin-3′-O-glucoside (Mal-gluc) and dihydrocaffeic acid (DHCA). The team exposed the mice to stress-inducing events to assess the compounds’ antidepressant effects.

Among the mice that drank the grape compounds, 70 percent displayed improved social interaction, a response that signifies resilience to stress-induced depression. In comparison, 40 percent of the control group had this response. The compounds produced the antidepressant effect through reducing inflammation and improving the communication between nerve cells.

“Our approach to use a combination treatment of DHCA and Mal-gluc to simultaneously inhibit peripheral inflammation and modulate synaptic plasticity in the brain works synergistically to optimize resilience against chronic stress-induced depression-like phenotypes,” said Pasinetti. “The discovery of these new, natural grape-derived polyphenol compounds targeting cellular and molecular pathways associated with inflammation may provide an effective way to treat a subset of people with depression and anxiety, a condition that affects so many people.”

The results, published in Nature Communications, add to the body of research that shows natural compounds is food hold promise in disease remediation.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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