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Resveratrol as potential treatment for depression and anxiety

New research investigates the potential use of resveratrol for depression and anxiety.

Resveratrol is a plant compound found in delicious foods like blueberries, cranberries, dark chocolate, and red wine.  This compound has been shown to have a variety of positive effects, and taking resveratrol supplements has been correlated with lower systolic blood pressure and improved blood lipid levels.

These potential benefits are exciting; however, the compound may be more beneficial than we know.  A recent Chinese study published in the journal Neuropharmacology examined whether resveratrol interacts with other compounds and the effects that these interactions have on the body.

Corticosterone is a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal cortex, and it regulates the body’s stress response.  Experiencing an excessive amount of stress, however, can result in too much corticosterone in the brain.  This excess of corticosterone induces the genetic expression of many enzymes, including phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4).

PDE4 reduces the activity of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which signals important physiological events, including mitosis, cell migration, and cell death.  Reduced cAMP activity leads to brain cell lesions, and this has been associated with depression and anxiety in mice.

In the current study, researchers looked at whether resveratrol could protect cells from corticosterone-induced cell damage.  The researchers found that treating corticosterone-treated cells with resveratrol increased cell viability, and this effect was magnified with higher doses of resveratrol.  Furthermore, resveratrol prevented the reduction in cAMP activity typically caused by corticosterone.

This study suggests that resveratrol could potentially protect against brain cell damage caused by excess stress and could possibly be an alternative treatment option for depressive disorders. Existing antidepressants focus on treating the function of noradrenaline and serotonin, but these treatments are only fully effective in approximately one-third of patients.  More research is needed to determine whether resveratrol could serve as an effective treatment for depression, but it is an exciting discovery.

Written by Avery Bisbee


Zhu, X., Li, W., Li, Y., Yuan, Y., Zheng, V., Zhang, H., . . . Yin, X. (2019). The Antidepressant and Anxiolytic-like Effects of Resveratrol: Involvement of Phosphodiesterase-4D Inhibition. Neuropharmacology, 153, 20-31. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.04.022

Jennings, K., MS, RD. (2017, March 3). 7 Health Benefits of Resveratrol Supplements. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from

Robinson, M. (2019, July 26). Compound found in red wine opens door for new treatments for depression, anxiety. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from



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