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Nutraceuticals for Calming and Stress

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Abstract

Stress in animals is evident through the disruptive behaviors exhibited, including excessive barking, restlessness, repetitive behavior, extreme vigilance, etc. Sociability is a key factor in determining the successful adaptation of pets to their environment. Sociable dogs are more comfortable with strangers and unfamiliar situations. Thus, reducing stress and anxiety in pets is essential in providing positive social interactions and to improve the quality of their life and that of the owners. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain, and many anxiolytic drugs exert their action through interactions with the GABA receptors. In addition to the GABAergic system, serotonergic, dopaminergic, and noradrenergic systems are also implicated in the development of anxiety and stress in various animal models and in humans. Furthermore, the involvement of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and dysregulation of the immune system may also mediate social stress in animals that produces aggression and/or depression. While a number of anxiolytic drugs are available on the market, dietary supplements and herbal extracts are shown to exert equivalent calming effects with no or minimal addictive or aversive side effects. This chapter describes the underlying mechanisms involved in the development of stress and anxiety and various nutraceuticals and substances that have potential to reduce the stress behavior and improve social interactions in canines.

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... Several natural products of plant origin including Emodin [7], Momordica charantia [8], Moringa oleifera [9] and many others, have been reported to increase Molecules 2022, 27, 3858 2 of 17 stress tolerance and extend lifespan. Other nutraceuticals like Ginseng, Gingko biloba, Valerian etc., have also been highlighted to regulate hormone and neurotransmitter levels which aid in reducing stress-related depression and anxiety [10]. One potential understudied nutraceutical is amber, commonly found on the pine tree. ...
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Amber is a fossilized tree resin historically used in wound healing and stress relief. Unfortunately, there is no concrete scientific evidence supporting such efficacy. Here, the stress buffering and longevity effect of Amber extract (AE) in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) was investigated. Survival assays, health span assays, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), Stress biomarker detection assays, Green Fluorescence Proteins (GFP), Real Time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and C. elegans mutants were employed to investigate the stress buffering and longevity effect of AE. In the study, it was observed that AE supplementation improved health span and survival in both normal and stressed worms. Additionally, AE positively regulated stress hormones (cortisol, oxytocin, and dopamine) and decreased fat and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. Through the Insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway, AE enhanced the nuclear localization of DAF-16 and the expression of heat shock proteins and antioxidant genes in GFP-tagged worms and at messenger RNA levels. Finally, AE failed to increase the survival of daf-16, daf-2, skn-1 and hsf-1 loss-of-function mutants, confirming the involvement of the IIS pathway. Evidently, AE supplementation relieves stress and enhances longevity. Thus, amber may be a potent nutraceutical for stress relief.
... Moreover, commercial preparations derived from land-animal husbandry experiences are also proposed as stress relievers. These preparations, based on different compounds such as tryptophan, nucleotides, minerals or herbal extracts, reduce anxiety signals and improve social behaviour in livestock and companion animals (Alex and Srivastava, 2019;Liu et al., 2018), but their effectiveness are still to be defined in fish farming. Their effects will depend on the magnitude of the stressors and on the specific responses of each aquaculture species. ...
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Postnatal maternal separation (PMS) has been shown to be associated with an increased vulnerability to psychiatric illnesses in adulthood. However, the underlying neurological mechanisms are not well understood. Here we evaluated its effects on neurogenesis and tonic GABA currents of cortical layer 5 (L5) pyramidal neurons. PMS not only increased cell proliferation in the subventricular zone, cortical layer 1 and hippocampal dentate gyrus in the adult brain, but also promoted the newly generated cells to differentiate into GABAergic neurons, and PMS adult brain maintained higher ratios of GABAergic neurons in the survival of newly generated cells within 5 days immediately post PMS. Additionally, PMS increased the tonic currents at P7-10 and P30-35 in cortical L5 pyramidal cells. Our results suggest that the newly generated GABAergic neurons and the low GABA concentration-activated tonic currents may be involved in the development of psychiatric disorders after PMS.
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In this brief reflection I outline how Fred Graeff and I came to integrate our ideas and findings concerning the behavioural functions of serotonin (5-HT) over 20 years ago in '5-HT and mechanisms of defence', reproduced in this volume (pp. 000-000). The principal insight was that different 5-HT pathways mediate distinct adaptive responses to aversive events of different types. It emerged from a number of strands in neuropsychopharmacology: the functional implications of the still-fresh images of monoamine neuroanatomy of the 1970s; the ethological differentiation of behavioural responses to proximal and distal threats; and the seemingly contradictory effects of 5-HT drugs in unconditioned, Pavlovian and instrumental paradigms of reward and aversion. The article has been cited over 600 times and continues to be cited. The evidence was mainly from the animal literature but included some experimental psychopharmacological tests in humans. Some more recent and notable human corroborations are highlighted in this perspective.
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This study assessed the mechanisms underlying the behavioral differences between high- (HR) and low-anxiety (LR) rats selected for their behavior in the contextual fear test (i.e., the duration of the freezing response was used as a discriminating variable). Rats were subjected to chronic restraint stress (21 days, 3h daily). We found that in the HR group, chronic restraint stress decreased rat activity in the Porsolt test and reduced the concentration of corticosterone in the prefrontal cortex. The behavioral changes were accompanied by a lower expression of alpha-2 GABA-A receptor subunits in the secondary motor cortex (M2 area) and in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG) compared to LR restraint animals. Moreover, restraint stress increased the density of alpha-2 GABA-A subunits in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in HR rats and decreased the expression of these subunits in the DG and M2 areas compared to the HR control group. The present results suggest that, in HR rats exposed to chronic restraint stress, the function of hippocampal and cortical GABAergic neurotransmission is attenuated and that this effect could have important influences on the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and on depressive symptoms.
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Many antidepressants inhibit serotonin or norepinephrine reuptake or both to achieve their clinical effect. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants (SSRIs) includes citalopram, escitalopram (active enantiomer of citalopram), fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline. The SSRIs are as effective as tricyclic antidepressants in treatment of major depression with less significant side effects. As a result, they have become the largest class of medications prescribed to humans for depression. They are also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, alcoholism, obesity, migraines, and chronic pain. An SSRI (fluoxetine) has been approved for veterinary use in treatment of canine separation anxiety. SSRIs act specifically on synaptic serotonin concentrations by blocking its reuptake in the presynapse and increasing levels in the presynaptic membrane. Clinical signs of SSRI overdose result from excessive amounts of serotonin in the central nervous system. These signs include nausea, vomiting, mydriasis, hypersalivation, and hyperthermia. Clinical signs are dose dependent and higher dosages may result in the serotonin syndrome that manifests itself as ataxia, tremors, muscle rigidity, hyperthermia, diarrhea, and seizures. Current studies reveal no increase in appearance of any specific clinical signs of serotonin toxicity with regard to any SSRI medication. In people, citalopram has been reported to have an increased risk of electrocardiographic abnormalities. Diagnosis of SSRI poisoning is based on history, clinical signs, and response to therapy. No single clinical test is currently available to confirm SSRI toxicosis. The goals of treatment in this intoxication are to support the animal, prevent further absorption of the drug, support the central nervous system, control hyperthermia, and halt any seizure activity. The relative safety of the SSRIs in overdose despite the occurrence of serotonin syndrome makes them more desirable than other antidepressants. The prognosis in animals that receive treatment is excellent. In one retrospective study, there were no deaths in 313 SSRI-poisoned dogs. No characteristic or classic histopathologic lesions result from SSRI toxicosis. Differential diagnoses for SSRI overdose must include ingestions of other serotonergic medications such as phenylpiperidine opioids (fentanyl and tramadol), mirtazapine, buspirone, amitraz, and chlorpheniramine.
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The behaviour and emotional state of 15 dogs, known to be fearful of the veterinary clinic was evaluated during a standardised 5min waiting room procedure and standardised 2min consultation room procedure prior to a sham clinical examination, in the presence of Dog Appeasing Pheromone and placebo. Subjects acted as their own controls and were semi-randomly allocated into treatment groups to control for order effects. A triple blinding procedure was used in order to remove bias from the assessment of video recordings of the dogs, with two naïve independent raters used to analyse the video recordings of the behaviour of dogs during the test procedures. The raters showed good, and similar, agreement in their evaluation of both the specific behaviour of the dogs and their putative emotional state (relaxed, aroused and anxious). The results suggested that the use of DAP in the clinic was associated with greater relaxation of the dogs but there was no effect on aggressive behaviour during the clinical examination.
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Hypericum (H.) perforatum, popularly called St. John's Wort has been used traditionally for the treatment of anxiety, depression and as a nerve tonic. Large amount of clinical and animal experimental data demonstrate that H. perforatum acts by biochemical mechanisms similar to the tricyclic antidepressants or serotonin reuptake inhibitors. However, its efficacy in comparison to standard antidepressant drugs is not well studied. The present study evaluated H. perfortum extract in animal models of depression compared to clinically used antidepressants. The effects of standardized extract of H. perforatum was compared with standard antidepressants using animal models of depression such as forced swim test (FST), yohimbine induced lethality test, pnetylenetetrazole (PTZ) induced convulsion and locomotor activity tests. Different doses of the plant extract and standard drugs were administered to rats or mice intraperitoneally (i.p). In the FST, H. perforatum extract (30-90 mg/kg i.p.) caused a dose dependent reduction in immobility time in rats with maximal effect being 53% at 90 mg/kg. This effect was reversed at higher doses (100 mg/kg) showing a U-shaped dose response curve. Fluoxetine and imipramine (30-70 mg/kg i.p.) produced similar reduction in the immobility time in rats. Venlafaxine exhibited weak antidepressant effect. H. perforatum extract (30-100 mg/kg i.p.), dothiepin (10-50 mg/kg i.p.), fluoxetine (30-60 mg/kg i.p.) and venlafaxine (20-40 mg/kg i.p.) potentiated yohimbine induced lethality. PTZ induced toxicity was also enhanced with these agents. In the locomotor activity test H. perforatum decreased the locomotor counts of mice similar to standard antidepressants. H. perforatum has antidepressant properties similar to standard antidepressants. The antidepressant profile of H. perforatum is closely related to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors class of antidepressants.
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The calming effects of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) by oral administration were investigated in four adult Shih Tzu dogs. Three dosage levels (1, 2 and 4 mg/kg body weight) and non-administration were tested by an increase and decrease method. Changes in activity (for 1.5 h) and urinary cortisol levels (pre-administration, 3 and 7 h later) of dogs were monitored after administration. Without reference to dosage level, the mean times spent standing (P = 0.06), sitting (P < 0.05) and walking (P < 0.05) tended to decrease compared to non-administration. A significant depression in the urinary cortisol level was observed at 7 h after administration (P < 0.05). These results indicate that orally administrated GABA exerts calming effects on dogs as well as humans.
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The putative effects of a tryptic bovine αs1-casein hydrolysate on anxious disorders in cats was investigated. This product is known as alpha-casozepine and patented under the name of Zylkene (Ingredia, Arras, France). Within veterinary practices, 34 cats were recruited by certified behaviorist surgeons. This 56-day trial against placebo showed the statistically positive effect of this product in the management of anxious disorders such as social phobias in cats. Global score, as well as different items (fear of strangers, contact with familiars, general fears, fear-related aggressions, autonomic disorders), were all significantly improved by the use of this natural decapeptide.
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This study investigated the roles of cholecystokinin (CCK)(A) and CCK(B) receptors on CCK-4-induced anxiety-like behaviors in mice through behavioral and neural evaluations. Anxiety-like behaviors in mice were induced by an intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of CCK-4, which can bind to both CCK(A) and CCK(B) receptors. The effects of CCK(A) and CCK(B) receptor antagonists (devazepide and CI-988, respectively) were examined using mouse anxiety tests (elevated-plus maze and light-dark box) and also by examining neuronal activities through EEG monitoring and c-Fos immunohistochemistry in the cortex and amygdala. CCK-4 (3μg/kg of body weight i.c.v.) significantly induced mouse anxiety-like behaviors in the anxiety tests and also affected their EEG patterns with respect to pre-drug tracing, resulting in increase in spectral power in relative power distribution in the delta and theta bands (0.5-5Hz frequency bands) and also in increase in c-Fos immunopositive neuron counts. These CCK-4 effects were completely suppressed by 1.0mg/kg CCK(B) receptor antagonist, CI-988, while the same amount of CCK(A) receptor antagonist, devazepide was partly able to suppress the same effects. These findings indicated that not only CCK(B) receptors but also CCK(A) receptors in the brain play important roles in regulating anxiety-like behaviors in mice. The present study also proposed a possibility that cortical EEG is useful for assessing anxiety.
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After a first study showing efficacy on anxiety disorders in cats, the putative effects of alpha-casozepine (a tryptic bovine as1-casein hydrolysate) on anxious disorders in dogs was investigated. The trial was conducted against a control molecule, selegiline. Thirty-eight dogs were recruited within veterinary practices by certified behaviorist surgeons. This 56 day trial, against the reference molecule, selegiline, showed that both products were efficient to decrease the EDED score and no statistical difference was found between their success score. Owners assessment was also statistically perfectly equivalent. Due to this efficacy, and to its safety, alpha-casozepine (Zylkene) should be considered an option by the veterinary surgeon for the biological management of anxiety beside the compulsory behavior modifications.
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To assess the ability of human intestinally derived strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium to produce γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were grown in medium containing monosodium glutamate (MSG). Growth of the bacteria and conversion of MSG to GABA were measured. Of 91 intestinally derived bacteria assessed, one Lactobacillus strain and four strains of Bifidobacterium produced GABA. Lactobacillus brevis DPC6108 was the most efficient of the strains tested, converting up to 100% of MSG to GABA. The ability of the cultured intestinal strains to produce GABA was investigated using a simple pH-controlled anaerobic faeces-based fermentation, supplemented with 30 mg ml⁻¹ MSG. The addition of Lact. brevis DPC6108 to a faeces-based fermentation significantly increased the GABA concentration (P < 0·001), supporting the notion that this biosynthesis could occur in vivo. The production of GABA by bifidobacteria exhibited considerable interspecies variation. Lactobacillus brevis and Bifidobacterium dentium were the most efficient GABA producers among the range of strains tested. The addition of Lact. brevis DPC6108 to the culturable gut microbiota increased the GABA concentration in fermented faecal slurry at physiological pH. Identification of optimal MSG conversion to GABA by particular cultured elements of the commensal intestinal microbiota and the demonstration that this can occur under simulated in vivo conditions offer new prospects for microbiota modulation to promote health.
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Panic disorder (PD) is characterized by panic attacks, anticipatory anxiety and avoidance behavior. Its pathogenesis is complex and includes both neurobiological and psychological factors. With regard to neurobiological underpinnings, anxiety in humans seems to be mediated through a neuronal network, which involves several distinct brain regions, neuronal circuits and projections as well as neurotransmitters. A large body of evidence suggests that the neuropeptide cholecystokinin (CCK) might be an important modulator of this neuronal network. Key regions of the fear network, such as amygdala, hypothalamus, peraqueductal grey, or cortical regions seem to be connected by CCKergic pathways. CCK interacts with several anxiety-relevant neurotransmitters such as the serotonergic, GABA-ergic and noradrenergic system as well as with endocannabinoids, NPY and NPS. In humans, administration of CCK-4 reliably provokes panic attacks, which can be blocked by antipanic medication. Also, there is some support for a role of the CCK system in the genetic pathomechanism of PD with particularly strong evidence for the CCK gene itself and the CCK-2R (CCKBR) gene. Thus, it is hypothesized that genetic variants in the CCK system might contribute to the biological basis for the postulated CCK dysfunction in the fear network underlying PD. Taken together, a large body of evidence suggests a possible role for the neuropeptide CCK in PD with regard to neuroanatomical circuits, neurotransmitters and genetic factors. This review article proposes an extended hypothetical model for human PD, which integrates preclinical and clinical findings on CCK in addition to existing theories of the pathogenesis of PD.
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Integration of the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal stress response occurs by way of interactions between stress-sensitive brain circuitry and neuroendocrine neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Stressors involving an immediate physiologic threat (`systemic' stressors) are relayed directly to the PVN, probably via brainstem catecholaminergic projections. By contrast, stressors requiring interpretation by higher brain structures (`processive' stressors) appear to be channeled through limbic forebrain circuits. Forebrain limbic sites connect with the PVN via interactions with GABA-containing neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, preoptic area and hypothalamus. Thus, final elaboration of processive stress responses is likely to involve modulation of PVN GABAergic tone. The functional and neuroanatomical data obtained suggest that disease processes involving inappropriate stress control involve dysfunction of processive stress pathways.
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GABA(A) (γ-aminobutyric acid, type A) receptors are a family of ligand-gated ion channels that are essential for the regulation of central nervous system function. Benzodiazepines - which non-selectively target GABA(A) receptors containing the α1, α2, α3 or α5 subunits - have been in clinical use for decades and are still among the most widely prescribed drugs for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety disorders. However, their use is limited by side effects and the risk of drug dependence. In the past decade, the identification of separable key functions of GABA(A) receptor subtypes suggests that receptor subtype-selective compounds could overcome the limitations of classical benzodiazepines; furthermore, they might be valuable for novel indications such as chronic pain, depression, schizophrenia, cognitive enhancement and stroke.
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Observational studies have linked lower omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and higher omega-6 (n-6) PUFAs with inflammation and depression, but randomized controlled trial (RCT) data have been mixed. To determine whether n-3 decreases proinflammatory cytokine production and depressive and anxiety symptoms in healthy young adults, this parallel group, placebo-controlled, double-blind 12-week RCT compared n-3 supplementation with placebo. The participants, 68 medical students, provided serial blood samples during lower-stress periods as well as on days before an exam. The students received either n-3 (2.5 g/d, 2085 mg eicosapentaenoic acid and 348 mg docosahexanoic acid) or placebo capsules that mirrored the proportions of fatty acids in the typical American diet. Compared to controls, those students who received n-3 showed a 14% decrease in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated interleukin 6 (IL-6) production and a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms, without significant change in depressive symptoms. Individuals differ in absorption and metabolism of n-3 PUFA supplements, as well as in adherence; accordingly, planned secondary analyses that used the plasma n-6:n-3 ratio in place of treatment group showed that decreasing n-6:n-3 ratios led to lower anxiety and reductions in stimulated IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) production, as well as marginal differences in serum TNF-α. These data suggest that n-3 supplementation can reduce inflammation and anxiety even among healthy young adults. The reduction in anxiety symptoms associated with n-3 supplementation provides the first evidence that n-3 may have potential anxiolytic benefits for individuals without an anxiety disorder diagnosis. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00519779.
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Adult male and female hooded rats (about 110 days old) consumed vitamins C and E separately and combined together in their drinking water and were assessed for anxiety approximately 50 and then 80 days later in an open field and an acoustic startle apparatus. They were tested when 160+ days old, and then again at 190+ days. For both testing ages combined, the vitamins and their combination increased open-field ambulation and occupancy of the four center squares of the apparatus, while also accordingly decreasing occupancy of the four corners. Treatment with vitamins C and E separately and combined together also decreased acoustic startle amplitude. While there were several significant overall sex and testing age differences, there was no evidence that the vitamin treatment effects were dependent on the operation of either variable. There was also no evidence of synergism between vitamins C and E in their effects. It was suggested that decreases in anxiety produced by the vitamins may have arisen from their antioxidant properties, attenuation of cortisol activity or some as yet undetermined effects on anxiety-related brain structures and neurotransmitters.
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Exercise has been shown to increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) to a point that can exceed antioxidant defenses, to cause oxidative stress. The aim of our trials was to evaluate oxidative stress and recovery times in trained dogs during two different hunting exercises, with reactive oxygen metabolites-derivatives (d-ROMs) and biological antioxidant potential (BAP) tests. A group of nine privately owned Italian hounds were included. A 20-min aerobic exercise and a 4-h aerobic exercise, after 30 days of rest, were performed by the dogs. Our results show an oxidative stress after exercise due to both the high concentration of oxidants (d-ROMs) and the low level of antioxidant power (BAP). Besides, the recovery time is faster after the 4-h aerobic exercise than the 20-min aerobic exercise. Oxidative stress monitoring during dogs exercise could become an interesting aid to establish ideal adaptation to training.