Navigation Links
Could Food Flavors Act Like Mood-Stabilizing Drugs?

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The notion that eating certain foods when feeling blue is a form of self-medicating is gaining traction after scientists identified some ingredients very similar chemically to a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.

The research, scheduled for presentation Sunday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, builds on a large body of evidence reporting mood-boosting effects from chocolate, teas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and other comfort foods.

"The tendency to depression in its many forms has increased due to our stressed society, [and] antidepressants are effective for only 50 percent to 60 percent of patients," said study author Karina Martinez-Mayorga, who initiated the study while at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, in San Diego. Martinez-Mayorga is now a research scientist at the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University in Mexico.

"All this suggests the need for creative and new strategies," she added. "I'd like to emphasize that our primary interest is in flavors for enhancing mood in normal, healthy people during 'down times' not [associated with] clinical depression."

Study funders included Robertet Flavors, Inc., which manufactures flavor compounds and other products.

Martinez-Mayorga and her team used "chemoinformatics," which utilizes computers to screen the chemical structures of more than 1,700 food flavor ingredients for similarities to approved antidepressants, marketed drugs and substances with established antidepressant effects. She did not identify specific ingredients or flavors, since the study is ongoing, but reported that some bear a striking chemical similarity to the prescription drug valproic acid.

Also used to treat seizures, valproic acid helps stabilize manic symptoms -- such as an abnormally excited mood -- associated with bipolar disorder, which is marked by periods of depression alternating with mania. The drug is sold under brand names such as Depakote, Depakene and Stavzor.

Food industry research on mood modulators has focused on less-severe mood changes, she noted, and patients taking prescribed antidepressants should continue to do so.

But her team's future research may result in dietary recommendations or new nutritional supplements with positive mood effects, she said.

Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said she wasn't surprised by the study, given an ever-growing supplement market that seeks to identify key nutrients and duplicate them in pill or extract form.

But Zarabi pointed out that it's well established that various food groups have mood-modulating effects. For example, protein from meat, fish, poultry and eggs is known to increase levels of "feel-good hormones" affecting alertness and energy, she said, and unrefined carbohydrates raise levels of a brain neurotransmitter that diminishes pain and increases calmness.

"I personally believe everything you eat affects the way you feel," she said, adding that she encourages her patients to seek key nutrients from whole foods. "We don't need supplements and pills ... we need food for fuel, so if we look to our food to give us energy to perform throughout the day, at the same time we'll be getting the proper nutrients for neurotransmission."

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about valproic acid.

SOURCES: Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., research scientist, Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, and formerly at Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, San Diego; Sharon Zarabi, nutritionist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Aug. 19, 2012, presentation, American Chemical Society annual meeting, Philadelphia

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. DNA wires could help physicians diagnose disease
2. Red wine compound could help seniors walk away from mobility problems
3. Could FastStitch device be the future of suture?
4. Scientists decode TREX which could see new treatments for cancer realized
5. Could Chocolates Antioxidants Boost Brain Function?
6. Coach could be key in helping stroke patients
7. Could Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Pose Skin Cancer Risk?
8. New bat virus could hold key to Hendra virus
9. Researchers fish-eye view could offer insights for human vision
10. Usain Bolt could break his own record with the help of altitude and the wind
11. Depression Could Shorten Cancer Survival, Study Suggests
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Could Food Flavors Act Like Mood-Stabilizing Drugs?
(Date:6/27/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... using cutting edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the ... are aware of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Carolina (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... of a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The ... centuries. , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 ... brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live ... not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, ... presented a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary ... part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone ... physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If ... at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , ... Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, ... announced the five finalists of Lyme Innovation ... More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Calif. , June 24, 2016  American Respiratory Labs (ARL), ... is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments in patients, homes, ... , Inc. Patients are no longer limited to ... EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne R. of ... in the comfort of her own home. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading ... and more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced ... Series-A funding is led by Innova Memphis, followed ... other private investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate ... the market release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: