It might surprise you to learn, that spirulina, taken over a period of time, can help to mitigate feelings of anxiety and depression*. After taking spirulina for a number of months, I first noticed, quite by accident, that somehow, I felt “bouncier” and happier. But is there any “evidence” to support our anecdotal experience? Keep reading to find out.
A 2018 Paper (1), describes how the lack of good nutrition may be a factor in mental illnesses. It said how nutritional supplements, that contain tryptophan, which is the “natural amino acid precursor in 5‐HT biosynthesis,” that increases serotonin in the brain,” could help. The suggestion being, that spirulina reduces brain swelling. The paper explains that spirulina contains or helps with the production of tryptophan, going on to explain that the nutrients contained in spirulina, are a good source of “nutrients, needed for our body, especially the brain”.
The importance of trytophan in the production of serotonin is highlighted in this interview with Dr Emeran Mayer, gastroenterologist and author of The Mind-Gut Connection. He highlights how trytophan that is produced in the stomach, helps to produce the serotonin our body needs. Its a lengthy video, the reference to trytophan is covered from minutes 19:58 to 22:40:
Academic Performance Improved
Interestingly in an unrelated study (2), evidence from a study in Senegal (2), where 549 schoolchildren from 6 randomly selected schools, were given a 2 gram supplement of spirulina a day, they found that the academic performance of the children improved.
May Protect The Brain From Degenerative Diseases
Researchers have also found in animal studies (3) that Spirulina may be helpful to protect the brain from damage and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. We have previously looked into Dementia
and the super food, appears to help.
You Are What You Eat
Spirulina also contains Alpha Linolenic Acids, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation, (5) encouraging healthy cells. Which include brain cells which may be a reason why it appears to help with anxiety and depression, and might help other mental health conditions*
The way these essential fatty acids encourage healthy cells may perhaps explain the additional benefit as it also, helps to keep the skin beautiful, proving the old adage that you are what you eat (4)! So it might help mental disorders.
How It May Help Mental Disorders
The author of the paper, Sileshi Demelash (1) from the Research and Training Department of Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, describes how most mental illness, “results from a brain and chemical imbalance”, explaining that nutritional therapy is an effective way to improve mental disorders. He describes how it helps with anxiety and depression.
He goes on to say that such supplements can help to manage and help to prevent mental illnesses; “such as Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Use Disorder”.
We are not (not) advocating the latter, as we have not so far found any specific additional supporting evidence, whereas we do have personal experience of the positive benefits of how spirulina eases anxiety and depression. And very clear personal experience of how we have lost the “brain fog” that we used to experience. It is an absolute delight to have a sharp and crisp memory again. So, we are inclined to think the Demelash paper (1) is on the right track with regard to the brain.
There is further evidence of how it helps the brain.
How It Helped My Memory?
Spirulina is packed with antioxidants helping to protect the memory by reducing inflammation in the brain. Spirulina studies with animals (6) (7) (8),) have demonstrated that spirulina can help to protect brain health from environmental toxins and so help to balance the metabolic health of the brain, reducing the risk to memory loss and, impairment.
Looking into Other Conditions.
We will be looking into the other conditions described in the Sileshi Demelash paper (1), to see if there is any merit and evidence for its use in these conditions, beyond good diet, which of course it is excellent for*. Bearing in mind spirulina is used as a treatment for those who have suffered from Radiation and Agent Orange Poisoning, it seems logical that it could also be helpful in treating substance abuse. We are researching further.
Its Worked Well For Us
Its been a great supplement for our health. Indeed, it has helped to turn my health around. I genuinely feel much sharper, stronger and energetic. I feel at least 10 year younger in fact. And its been a great boost to my overall mental health. From our perspective, it is one of the best natural treatments for mental health.* It might help you or a loved one.
Where to Buy Spirulina? Its Wise To Choose Carefully.
Where you buy your supplies of spirulina from, is important to consider carefully.
Please do not be tempted to buy a cheap poor-quality spirulina that has been sitting in your local health food shop or its warehouses for months. This really is a case of you pay for what you get. However, top end spirulina suppliers are not a great deal more expensive than cheaper brands. Some people who do buy the cheapest brands are the same ones you may find on review sites complaining; “it made me sick”.
You want to be sure the spirulina supplement hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse for a long time, getting stale and so less effective. The suppliers we recommend have regular turnover.
To Help You Understand it Better
To help you understand the importance of this better, we have researched and described this in some detail on our; “What is spirulina about” page. Please do review the what is spirulina about page (History) as there are a couple of underlying conditions where we do not recommend spirulina.
Subject to a check with your Doctor, we hope you do try spirulina. With patience and consistency, over a few months, like us, you are likely to see some terrific benefits. But it won’t happen overnight. Do check that how much to take page.
Would Love To Learn Of Your Experience
If you decide to try spirulina, once you have tried spirulina for a while (how much to take) , we would love to hear of your experience. Please leave us a comment in the box below. Your email will not appear on the site. If you need any suggestions or advice, we will be happy to try to guide you.
We hope you have found this article and research useful, and that it can help you or a loved one. Have a great day.
Looking For Further Information Or Advice On How To Manage Depression or Anxiety?
If you are suffering from mild depression, we hope the suggestion to try spirulina will help you.
Have you tried meditation to help with stress? Why not learn more and get some practical advice on how to do it effectively at getthroughburnout.
If you are suffering from serious depression, we recommend you consult a Doctor.
(1) Sasie, Sileshi. (2018). Spirulina as a main source of tryptophan for mental illness: Improving level of serotonin through tryptophan supplementation.
(2) Contribution of supplementation by spirulina to the performance of school children in an introductory course in Dakar (Senegal)
(3) Neuroprotection by Spirulina platensis protean extract and phycocyanin against iron-induced toxicity in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells
(4) French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
(5) The Science of Fatty Acids & Inflammation
(6) Spirulina prevents memory dysfunction, reduces oxidative stress damage & augments antioxidant activity in senescence-accelerated mice
(7) Neuroprotective effect of Spirulina fusiform & amantadine in 6-OHDA induced Parkinsonism in rats
(8) Oral phycocyanobilin may diminish the pathogenicity of activated brain microglia with neurodegenerative disorders
*Please see our “About” page. Nothing on this website should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult a qualified Doctor or health care professional before changing anything related to your healthcare.