Resveratrol in red wine could be used to treat depression and anxiety

Resveratrol, a plant compound found in red wine because present in grape skin, shows anti-stress and other positives effects, as demonstrated by several studies. A new study, this time conducted by the University of Buffalo, shows that this compound can have strong anti-stress effects because it blocks a particular stress-related enzyme in the human brain.

This means that resveratrol can be an effective enough alternative to treat patients suffering from anxiety disorders or depression, as Ying Xu, the lead author of the study as well as a professor at the Pharmacy School of Health, also says.

Resveratrol is present in the skin but also in the seeds of grapes and various other berries. Already in the past research had verified its antidepressant effect but this research has identified the reaction, previously unknown, which leads to this effect: it involves the enzyme phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme that is influenced by the stress hormone, the corticosterone.

Excessive amounts of corticosterone in the brain can, in fact, lead to too high levels of stress and if this condition continues over time, depression and other mental disorders can develop. Antidepressant drugs sometimes do not work precisely because they focus almost always only on serotonin or noradrenaline in the brain.

However, several studies have shown that PDE4 causes almost the same depressive and anxiety-causing effects by lowering cyclic adenosine monophosphate, a messenger molecule, leading to physical alterations in the brain. Resveratrol, in turn, shows protective effects against corticosterone by precisely inhibiting PDE4 expression.