An aqueous extract of pomegranate could be an alternative treatment for depression during menopause.
Depression has been associated with hormonal status and is twice as predominant in women as in men. Thus, the decrease in the hormones estrogens during the transition to menopause represents the period of greatest vulnerability to develop depressive episodes. Pomegranate has a special interest due to its therapeutic actions and high nutritional value as it is a rich source of polyphenols including punicalagin. Recently, an aqueous extract of pomegranate given by oral route induced antidepressant-like actions suggesting its potential to function as an alternative treatment for depression during menopause.
Very recently, Brenda Valdés-Sustaita and co-workers at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico, have studied if the pomegranate extract also produces an antidepressant-like effect when administered intraperitoneally. For this purpose, the investigators used rats with surgical removal of both ovaries (ovariectomized rats) as a model of menopause.
The antidepressant-like actions of the aqueous extract of pomegranate administered by the intraperitoneal route suggest that intestinal biotransformation is not necessary to exert its effects. Its mechanism of action implicates the activation of the estrogen receptors and the serotonergic system, which is involved in the regulation of emotional behavior. Overall, these results contribute to the elucidation of pomegranate antidepressant action, which could be an alternative in menopause-related depression treatment.