Blueberries have long been deemed a superfood but new new research shows they may be a powerful weapon in the fight against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
About 8 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives, which is caused by either emotional or physical trauma. It's estimated that PTSD afflicts up to 20 percent of veterans. Right now the most effective treatments for PTSD are drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRIs – that is, medications that boost levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood disorders. These medications are not known as the most effective and researchers have been looking for something better for some time now.
The latest findings, indicate that blueberries may be a helpful alternative, at least in rats. Experiments conducted by Philip Ebenezer at Louisiana State University involved rats which developed PTSD after being (deliberately) terrified by cats.
The researchers found that rats who were fed blueberries following their traumatizing experience had notably higher serotonin levels than rats fed a blueberry-free control diet, suggesting a better recovery. If blueberries have similar effects on neurotransmitter levels in human beings, they may help alleviate the problems of the severely traumatized.
One cup of blueberries per day was the human adjusted amount of the berry needed to produce the same effect in people.