Stock up on nutritious berries, Chinese tea,coffee and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! In a new experiment, researchers used valproic acid to bestow the gift of perfect pitch to a group of adult males between the ages of 18 to 27.
After studying the composition of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and chocolate, scientists from the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in Florida found that the chemicals in these foods bear striking structural similarity to valproic acid.
“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood. In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid,” said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., leader of a research team that has been studying the effects of flavors on mood. She described research done while working at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and now is with the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Sold under brand names that include Depakene, Depakote and Stavzor, valproic acid is used to smooth out the mood swings of people with manic-depressive disorder and related conditions.
“The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food,” noted Martinez-Mayorga.
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