Banana a day keeps the depression away

We are all familiar with the famous rhyme “an apple a day keeps the doctor away“. And well, it’s true! Apples are a great source for essential nutrients, such as B & C vitamins.

But did you know that Bananas are just as important? This soft yellow fruit is simply a treasure box of brain nutrients…

Our brain is the most sophisticated machine ever created. It’s comprised of trillions of cells, among them you could find no less than 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons. These neurons communicate with each other by secreting special chemicals known as neurotransmitters.

Dopamine and Serotonin are two neurotransmitters that are proven to have great impact on our mood, our ability to concentrate, and our emotional stability. In fact, drugs like Prozac and Ritalin work by adjusting the levels of Serotonin and Dopamine (respectively) in our brains.

Now what would you say if you knew that a simple banana is packed with both serotonin and dopamine?! It can be considered a natural medicine for depression, not too mention a very tasty medicine.

Of course bananas can’t replace conventional therapy, but they’re a good addition for anyone taking drugs to combat depression and other mental ailments. For example, children who take Ritalin often experience a period of nervousness when the medication wears off in the evening. This withdrawal effect results from the depletion of dopamine reservoirs in the brain, since the Ritalin has increased dopamine usage throughout the day. So eating a pair of bananas in the early evening might help somewhat with avoiding the withdrawal effect, as it helps the body to renew its dopamine reservoirs.

While medications are central to any form of conventional behavioral disorder treatment, there are some natural remedies that could augment the healing process.

So I think I finally know why monkeys are so “high” all the time… they’re banana addicts!

5 Replies to “Banana a day keeps the depression away”

  1. Dear well-intentioned blogger,

    The fruit of the banana itself does not contain the supposed dopamine and serotonin. It is the peel of the banana that contain tryptophan and tyrosine, which are amino acids that your body turns into many kinds of protein.
    There is no evidence that pouring these amino acids into your body will increase dopamine and serotonin uptake.
    Moreover, dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters active in your brain. The brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier, which acts to regulate traffic between the brain and the rest of the body. The banana must first be metabolized into its component amino acids; these acids must cross the blood brain barrier, and then be hydroxylated and decarboxylated into dopamine and serotonin.

    Assuming you are depressed, adhd, or suffering from an anxiety disorder, your serotonin and dopamine reuptake is screwed up anyway. Increasing the intracellular amount of these chemicals will make a negligible, if any, difference, because the excess will be reuptaken as usual.

    Given the details of this scenario, it is extremely unlikely that eating a banana peel in the morning will get you “high”.

    Patrick

  2. banana peel contains up 10X more Dopamine AKA catecholamine. It uses Catechelamines as antioxidant to slow oxidative processes. It eventually gets converted to products that give banana the brown look when ripen.

    The previous user is correct when they say DA is made in the body by tyrosine, however, catecholamines are small, and therefore cross the lumen of the gut with little metabolism.

    Catecholamines do cross the BBB however most of the dopamine (catecholamines) get converted to something else peripherally before reaching the BBB. This explains why Levodopa is given with Carbidopa (because carbidopa prevents conversion of dopamine to something else before reach the brain) in Parkinsons patients. A good way of naturally preventing conversion is taking green tea with bananas because green tea has a substance that inhibits dopamine conversion peripherally and therefore allows more dietary and adrenally produced catechols to reach the brain.

    As far as the serotonin concentrations in the pulp or peel, that I am clueless about.

  3. I have to agree with Patrick. His explanation is completely right.

    Yet..you see, I ´ve been diagnosed Dysthimia, and because of that, prescribed Sinemet (Carbidopa/Levodopa). My life has changed for the better, I feel GREEEAT!

    Yet, you know, i do feel better eating bananas. Before taking Sinemet, I used to eat a lot of bananas, and they seemed to make a difference.

    Of course, it is impossible to get high on them. And whatever dopamine or dopamine precursor they might have, it is utterly insufficient to treat the complete depletion of dopamine in the brain that a depressed/dysthymic/ social anxiety/withdrawal/low self steem symptons a given person has.

    Yet..after reading this i´ve doubled my intake of bananas.

  4. I suffer from dysthymia / atyical depression. I function, go to work, talk with my kids, but hit my limits very easily. Life has been a constant struggle, like I’m drowning, with molehills looking like mountains.

    I’ve tried two anti-depressant medications so far (Cymbalta & Mirtazapine), with little benefit.

    This week, I’ve eaten 1 banana skin a day for the last 5 days, and every single day I feel 5x better. Have been able to decrease my caffeine & chocolate intake, and feel more capable and alive.

    Might not work for everyone, but for me eating the banana skin has been a Godsend. Definitely not a placebo, I find it works for about 6½ hours.

  5. Two and half weeks later and I’m even more pleased. Atypical Depression episodes seem to be down to 1 per week, from 3 or 4 per week before. Dysthymia is much reduced.

    I used to have high caffeine dependence, meaning that I thought about caffeine many hundreds of times each day, hanging out for my next fix, now I only think of it about a dozen times a day.

    Here’s an example, I slept just 5½ hours last night, because I was getting something done late last night, and had to get up at 5:45AM this morning. When I got into work, I didn’t even think about having a coffee. Before I wouldn’t have been able to think straight without a coffee first.

    Molehills still look like mountains, but I’ve started to be able to tackle them. I got a good start on sorting out my personal finances last weekend, which I haven’t been able to do for the last 12 months.

    The 6½ hour timeframe doesn’t seem to apply any more, seems to be a more generalised affect, given I didn’t eat a banana skin until lunch today, but I was very capable this morning with no caffeine at all.

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