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Will Blueberries Help Against Symptoms of PTSD?

Animal research suggests that some features of PTSD may be alleviated by consuming flavonoid-rich blueberries.

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, and they have been reported to lower blood pressure and boost brain power. Older people in a randomized trial of blueberry juice had an improvement in tests of cognitive function after three months.

Rats and Cats

Now researchers studying rats report that blueberries may be able to offer protection against the neural effects of PTSD. In post-traumatic stress disorder, levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine soar. In the study, rats were put under stress by exposing them to cats. Their diets were either enriched with blueberries or standard lab chow. A third group of rats had neither stress nor blueberries.

The blueberry diet protected the rats under stress from the effects of norepinephrine.

Will This Work for People?

It is quite a jump from rats to humans, and as yet there is no research demonstrating that eating blueberries can help human beings suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, blueberries have no known side effects and might help some people deal with the challenges of PTSD.

Experimental Biology meeting, March. 30, 2015, Boston

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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