Natural Compound In Grapes Inhibits Methamphetamine Effects
If you are in treatment for methamphetamine use, do not be surprised if your doctor or nutritionist recommends that you eat more grapes as part of your recovery.
Grapes and other colored fruits and veggies contain the compound resveratrol, which seems to inhibit the drug's impact on the brain’s dopamine neurons.
“Dopamine is critical to the development of methamphetamine addiction – the transition from using a drug because one likes or enjoys it to using the drug because one craves or compulsively uses it,” said researcher Dennis Miller.
How Resveratrol Helps
Methamphetamine use is associated with dopamine surges in the brain. Initially, the pleasure triggered by dopamine motivates people to continue using the drug. However, continuous drug use can damage dopamine neurons, leading to behavioral impairments.
Previous studies revealed that resveratrol minimizes the degeneration of dopamine neurons in stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients. Recent research suggests that resveratrol provides the same protection to users of methamphetamine.
Resveratrol and Rats
The methamphetamine research involved rats that were given resveratrol once every day for one week. They received approximately the same amount a person would get from consuming a healthy diet. After the week of resveratrol, scientists measured the amount of dopamine released when the intrepid rats were given methamphetamine.
Researchers discovered that the resveratrol significantly impaired methamphetamine’s ability to raise the brain’s dopamine levels. They also observed that the resveratrol diminished the drug’s power to increase the rodent’s activity level, suggesting that the compound may also reduce hyperactivity behavior in people who take the stimulant.
"Our initial research suggests that resveratrol could be included in a treatment regimen for those addicted to methamphetamine and it has potential to decrease the craving and desire for the drug,” says Miller.
“Resveratrol is found in good, colorful foods, and has few side effects. We all ought to consume resveratrol for good brain health; our research suggests it may also prevent the changes in the brain that occur with the development of drug addiction.”
Foods That Contain Resveratrol
- Red grapes. The skin of red grapes is a good source of resveratrol, and grapes also provide vitamins C, K and B1, and minerals such as potassium and manganese.
- Blueberries. Although blueberries are not as rich in resveratrol as grapes, they are loaded with other antioxidants, vitamins K and C, manganese and dietary fiber.
- Dark chocolate. A square of pure dark chocolate not only provides resveratrol, but it is also rich in other antioxidants and minerals such as iron, copper and manganese.
- Peanut butter. Peanut butter is a yummy source of protein and niacin, and it also contains some resveratrol. It also makes a great dip for a square of dark chocolate.