Wine could treat depression, study finds

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Although alcohol is considered a depressant, wine could ease the mental health condition, new research suggests.

Compounds found in grape seeds significantly improve resilience in depressed mice, a study found.

Researchers believe these compounds work by easing inflammation and improving the transmission of signals in the brain.

Past findings suggest current depression treatments provide temporary relief in less than 50 percent of sufferers.

The researchers, from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, therefore believe there is a huge unmet need for more effective therapies. 

Depression affects around 16 million people every year in the US. In the UK, approximately three in every 100 people suffer. 

How the research was carried out 

The researchers gave 12 eight-week-old mice compounds, known as polyphenols, found in grape seeds.

The animals were also given trans-resveratrol, which certain plants produce to fight off fungal infections.

These compounds were added to the mice's drinking water. 

The animals were put under stress by being exposed to aggressive mice for 10 minutes a day for 10 consecutive days. They were then separated from these rodents via a cage divider.

The study's mice were also suspended by the tail and forced to swim. 

'An effective way to treat people with depression and anxiety'

Of the stressed mice exposed to grape compounds, 70 percent demonstrated improved social interactions, which suggests resilience.

This is compared to less than 40 percent in the control group. 

Lead author Professor Giulio Maria Pasinetti said: 'The discovery of these new, natural grape-derived polyphenol compounds targeting pathways associated with inflammation may provide an effective way to treat a subset of people with depression and anxiety, conditions that affect so many people.'

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. 

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