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Flashback Friday: Coconut Water and Melancholy

Beneath is an approximation of this video’s audio content material. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, photos, and quotes to which Dr. Greger could also be referring, watch the above video.

In the event you log on, you may see claims that coconut water could also be “useful for melancholy.” And, they even cite research. There it’s, in black and white: “Coconut water ameliorates melancholy.” Did they only make that up? No, click on on it and there it’s in PubMed, similar to they mentioned. And, for a restricted time provide of simply $39.95, the writer will allow you to learn it. However, why waste your time—it says it proper there within the title: “coconut water ameliorates melancholy.” May as properly spend that 40 bucks shopping for some coconut water to spice up your temper! And, anyway, studying all of the research, so that you don’t must—that’s my job!

In the event you take a look at the examine, it begins out saying that “vegetation are regularly examined [these days] for [their] antidepressant potential. Okay, sounds good. “Due to this fact coconut water a generally used plant based mostly beverage was chosen to discover its antidepressant potential.” I’m with you to this point. So, “[r]odents had been chosen for this examine and a compelled swim check was carried out.” What?

The compelled swim check is among the “most generally [used] check[s] to discover antidepressant exercise.” You replenish a “clear cylinder” with water over the mouse’s head, so it’s “compelled to swim.” After which, you drop a mouse in and see how lengthy it struggles to maintain from drowning earlier than you see it merely hand over and simply float to the highest. And, lo and behold, you feed them some coconut water first, they usually maintain out a bit longer earlier than giving up—demonstrating an antidepressant impact. Due to this fact, we should always use coconut water to deal with “depressive issues” in folks. What?! It depresses me to even learn such wasted analysis alternatives. The place did they even get this concept?

It was invented by a bunch of French scientists within the 70s to mannequin “behavioral despair.” Jogs my memory of the Harlow experiments with “vertical chamber confinement” that he referred to as “the pit of despair,” which was mainly only a steel contraption with sloped sides. Lock a child monkey in it for 45 days, and you may produce “profound” behavioral modifications. They find yourself simply type of hugging themselves in a fetal place. And, afterwards, after 10 weeks alone within the chamber, they exhibit behaviors like “contact cling[ing],” the place they only come collectively and hug one another for lengthy intervals of time. “It isn’t but clear why confinement within the vertical chamber is outwardly so efficient in producing irregular habits.” However, to not fear; they’ve bought heaps extra research to do. I’ll spare you the analysis on puppies.

I can see why you’d need some mannequin to check out new antidepressant medicine. However, if you wish to determine if pomegranates have antidepressant results, why not simply feed folks some pomegranates, somewhat than chucking some mice off the deep finish? There are actually 1000’s of printed research on meals or meals merchandise utilizing this compelled swim check, permitting the egg trade to be like, see, “eggs could also be an [egg]cellent meals for stopping and assuaging the situations of main melancholy.” Why? All as a result of rats struggled longer? Whereas in folks, eradicating eggs from the food regimen improves temper, although additionally they eliminated meat. So, it’s not clear which did what, or perhaps they had been simply consuming extra wholesome plant meals, like soy—which the soy trade is glad to let you know “decreases depressive-related habits” in postmenopausal rats, who had been swimming for his or her lives.

In folks, although, the most effective soy merchandise might be able to do is simply work in addition to medicine like Prozac and Zoloft, and everyone knows how little that’s truly saying. I imply, the compelled swim check is simply “a response to the acute traumatic stimulus of being positioned in a container with out an escape route,” whereas “human melancholy displays a power subjective emotional state”—an “inner emotional state.” And, to this point, we haven’t been in a position to ask animals how they’re feeling. You possibly can’t even simply take a look at human habits and inform if somebody has a melancholy analysis.

So, “it’s unattainable to conclude” that the swim check is a few check for human melancholy. “The benefit with which” 1000’s of scientists try this, nonetheless, “is disquieting,” in that it makes assumptions “that discourage…vital thought.” In actual fact, the entire thing has been in comparison with some Monty Python skit, the place you see if the witch floats or not. “[B]ut at present it’s in use to label a rodent as being depressed.”

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