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Polyphenols: A Potential New Strategy for the Prevention and Treatment of Anxiety and Depression

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Following recent evidence that disturbances in oxidative metabolism are involved in anxiety disorders, high anxiety levels and depression, the use of antioxidants has been proposed as a novel approach for the prevention or treatment of these conditions. Polyphenols are naturally-occurring antioxidant substances which can have pharmacological actions on the central nervous system. This mini-review aims to examine the current evidence for the potential use of dietary polyphenols as neuroprotective agents to reduce anxiety and to manage depression. I will outline recent findings which demonstrate that polyphenols have anti-anxiety effects at higher doses (300/60/30/20 mg/kg body weight) as well as at lower doses (2-4 mg/kg); this can be compared to conventional anxiolytics, which only have anxiolytic effects at lower doses (1-5 mg/kg). To circumvent problems associated with polyphenols (e.g., quercetin) having difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier and to effectively reduce the active dose, intranasal administration in the form of liposomes could be an interesting approach. I also suggest that dietary polyphenols could be a new alternative approach to treat depression, because they exhibit antidepressant activity with relatively lower doses (0.3-2 mg/kg) than commonlyused antidepressants such as imipramine (10 mg/kg). The polyphenols discussed in this mini-review are found in vegetables and fruits such as apples, plums, cherries, onions and tea. Therefore, a varied diet that is rich in naturallyoccurring polyphenols could be an effective means to prevent (or delay) anxiety, depression and other diseases linked to oxidative stress.





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Keywords: Polyphenols; antioxidants; anxiety and depression; neuroprotective; oxidative stress

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • Current Nutrition & Food Science publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on basic and clinical nutrition and food sciences. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all nutrition and food scientists.
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