The gut and brain connection is real. The gut is now even referred to as ‘The second brain‘. It was discovered not that long ago that the gut and brain are connected by one of the largest nerves in the body, the vagus nerve. So we really need our gut to be in good health, for our brains and a lot of other reasons. Let’s talk about it.
Thank you for allowing me to add to the discussion here on whyspirulina.com. I’m happy to contribute. If you are new to spirulina and want to learn more, you may want to check out the FAQ page, as there are a surprising number of conditions where spirulina helps.
The Gut Microbiome
You’ve probably heard of the microbiome. It is the good bacteria that play many roles including digestion and are even part of the immune system. They need to be in balance to do their job and keep the bad bacteria at bay. It’s a delicate balance. An article in Science Direct (Dempsey, Little, & Yue Cui, 2016) says that the human gut microbiome contains more microorganisms than anywhere else in the human body, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses.
Environmental Stress and The Gut (Including Noise!)
There are factors that can disturb this balance in the gut and lead to autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal distress and diseases, depression, brain fog, and more. Environmental stressors, toxins, poor diet, drugs, antibiotics, and according to the the Dempsey et.al article, even noise can wreak havoc on the gut. Antibiotics kill bacteria but they also kill the good bacteria in the gut.
The Gut and Brain Connection Explained
The gut actually produces or manipulates some neurotransmitters. And there are 500 million neurons in the gut alone. The gut and brain communicate through the nervous system. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is produced in the gut. It helps calm the nervous system and helps control feelings of anxiety. It’s called the gut-brain axis.
The gut also helps regulate other neurotransmitters that affect the brain: Cortisol, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are all manipulated by the gut (Strandwitz, 2018). These are the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters that give you the feeling of satisfaction or well-being.
Depression & Poor Gut Health
Depression can sometimes be caused by poor gut health. Now that we know the neurotransmitters affected by the gut, it makes sense.
Since the gut and brain are connected, one could be causing problems for the other. Conditions not 100% in the brain can cause intestinal problems and if the gut isn’t 100%, it can cause problems in the brain or even depression or other mood disorders.
More on the Gut-Brain Axis
There are three (known) systems that communicate with each other, according to Dempsey et. al. The autonomic nervous system (ANS), the enteric nervous system (ENS), as well as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).
The ANS system is responsible for automatic bodily functions. The ENS system is the gut’s nervous system. The HPA system has a lot to do with hormones so it’s easy to see how that alone would cause our mental state to change if the gut isn’t in good health.
Inflammation, A Big Factor
Inflammation is responsible for most diseases. Arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and most other chronic diseases are caused by inflammation in the body. The gut is one of the first points of contact in our immune system so it is really critical that it is working properly and not inflamed.
Oxidative stress is a term that refers to an imbalance of free radicals in the body (molecules with unpaired electrons) and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify them by giving them a spare electron (Mandal, 2019, news-medicalhealth.net). That’s where antioxidants such as spirulina come in.
When the gut has inflammation, it causes lots of problems. Leaky gut is one of those problems and is just what it sounds like. The delicate lining of the gut develops holes with inflammation and imbalances and food and other substances can get right through to the bloodstream. This causes a great deal of inflammation in the body, including the diseases mentioned above. The immune system is so busy fighting these ‘invaders’ that it becomes quite stressed and can even start attacking the body itself, creating autoimmune disorders.
Irritable bowel disease, colitis, Celiac disease, systemic Lupus, stress, and hormonal imbalance when the HPA axis is out of sync. Food allergies, Diverticulitis, Gastroenteritis. All of these wreak havoc on the gut and ultimately, the brain and body.
But even just an unhealthy diet can cause this too.
Taking probiotics helps but in my research, I found some research about spirulina and gut health. We’ll talk about that next.
Spirulina for Inflammation and Leaky Gut
A very recent study was published by Yu T, Wang Y, Chen X, Xiong W, Tang Y, Lin L.(July 2020) after studying gut permeability, inflammation, and taking spirulina. They found that spirulina has high properties as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and boosts the immune system.
They actually did their study on rats, giving them a high-fat diet to induce inflammation and leaky gut gave them spirulina and cataloged the results. They also had a control group who didn’t receive spirulina to see the differences. It’s amazing.
The control group not eating spirulina had colon tissue damage and thinning of the intestinal walls.
Spirulina effectively healed the gut lining and the inflammation was greatly reduced on the spirulina-treated group. Even while they were still eating an unhealthy diet. And, their microbiota actually increased. Spirulina actually helped the good gut microbes flourish and grow. This is impressive.
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Where We Are Now
We learned that the gut and brain are connected and that the gut is one of our first lines of defense in the immune system. It can become damaged, causing brain issues and overall health issues. It’s really critical to keep our gut healthy. Spirulina is shown to help heal the gut and even improve it. Click on the links on this page or via this click through to find out where to get known good sources. Thank you for having me today. I hope you learned a lot about gut and brain health and how you can keep it in good working order.*
==>Click Here If You Are Interested In Buying Quality Spirulina Or Chlorella<==
Frequently Asked Questions – (what Conditions Can this superfood help?)
Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to learn which other conditions, other than gut and brain health, spirulina may help.* If you have any additional questions, please feel free to drop us a line via a comment below and we will be happy to try and advise.
How Much To Take?
This is a common question we are asked as there is no “official advice”. Please check our click through for a suggested approach.
How Long Has Spirulina Been Around?
To learn more, and also so see the very few exceptions where spirulina is best avoided , please check out our history of spirulina page.
Thank You Paula
certified health coach from mywellbrain.com with personal experience of dealing with people with dementia. Thank you for contributing as a guest writer on our site.is a
You can learn more about the gut and its importance with our health at empoweryourlifestyles.com
Thank you, For Visiting
Thank you for visiting whyspirulina. We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any comments or questions, kindly leave them below and we will get back to you.
You might have seen the “affiliate link” button at the top, that links to a page. This basically means we could make a tiny commission, if you purchase anything using one of our affiliate links on this page. It helps to keep us in coffee, making a small contribution, allowing us to research and write articles on the benefits of superfoods. You will not pay more by making a purchase via one of our links.
Dempsey, J., Little, M., Yue Cui, J. (2019) Gut microbiome: An intermediary to neurotoxicity.
Dr. Meghan Dishman, ND. (2016). The 6 Common Causes of Leaky Gut
Strandwitz P. Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota. Brain Res. 2018;1693(Pt B):128-133. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005194/
Yu T, Wang Y, Chen X, Xiong W, Tang Y, Lin L. Spirulina platensis alleviates chronic inflammation with modulation of gut microbiota and intestinal permeability in rats fed a high-fat diet. J Cell Mol Med. 2020;24(15):8603-8613. doi:10.1111/jcmm.15489 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7412692/
*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.
*Please see the About page for the references
12 thoughts on “The Gut and Brain Connection and Spirulina”
Wow, thank you for this fascinating article. The gut and brain connection is so amazing, and the research about the effects of Spirulina on gut inflammation seems very promising. This could help many people who suffer from diseases caused by inflammation and imbalances in gut flora. I have heard of the benefits of Spirulina before and considered trying it, but this seals the deal. I definitely will order some soon. Thanks again for sharing!
Thank you Bailey for your comment. Yes it is very promising indeed. Please be careful with your choice of spirulina, you may wish to check out these brands which we support on this site. Did you have a chance to check our spirulina FAQs? That page lists the many benefits of spirulina. The history page is also interesting and also lists a few conditions where spirulina is best avoided. I recommend you also check out the how much too take page before you start using it.
Is spirulina an all-natural source of supplement? I’ve been recently reading a lot of good things about it but would like to know what consists of it, is it a synthetic supplement?
Also, how does it stack up to probiotics, as those are related in terms of maintaining good gut health?
Julius, I can confirm that spirulina is 100% natural. You can learn more via our history of spirulina page which explains how it has been used for many thousands of years. In terms of how it stacks up with pro-biotics, spirulina is not a pro-biotic so you can e.g. take spirulina in a smoothie or shake that includes pro-biotic yoghurt but equally you can take spirulina on its own. Or you can take pro-biotics too. Its a superfood, so taken over time you are likely to experience many benefits. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions on Spirulina and also How Much Spirulina To Take for further advice.
To know of the connection between the gut and the brain is very fascinating and this is actually the first time I’m reading about it. Many times, we don’t seem to know some things until we take the time to read about it and this is a good article, knowing about the connection is educative. Have you found that spirulina has helped your gut?
Thanks Bruce. No question, for me spirulina has made a huge difference to my health starting with my gut. My journey from being very obese with diabetes and mild cognitive problems was not easy but with the help of spirulina, my gut has improved immeasurably and my memory has improved beyond measure! My initial experience taking spirulina resulted in a pretty drastic detox (I was taking too much), so learn from my experience and follow our suggested advice on how much to take. Beyond, how much spirulina to take, probably the most important piece of advice I can share is to buy a good quality and clean spirulina. A good quality one is only a little more expensive than a “cheap spirulina” that may not be good for you. I currently take about 4 grammes a day, (too much to start with) which is about the equivalent of 4 kilos of mixed fruit and vegetables. Hard to believe? Check out the video in this article. We recommend you also check out our Spirulina FAQs page and also check in with the history of spirulina page too.
If you are interested in superfood, we thoroughly recommend MACA too. Its great for; enhancing the libido for men and women, helps women with menopause – naturally!. Your wife or partner might want to check out this organic and gmo free Peruvian maca. It also boosts your memory and helps with hormones. Check this click through for further details.
This is very interesting and crucial to read. The gut and the brain are actually interdependent on each other. The health of one depends on the other. This means we must equally take care of them. For long I have been thinking that challenges from the brain can cause problems for a gut, but now I am learning that it can be either way.
Hello Bogadi, we are glad you liked the article and can see that there is a connection between the gut and the brain. Spirulina definitely seems to help, its certainly done wonders to boost my brain health and now Paula has unearthed evidence from a study to confirm that spirulina helps with cognitive health. You might find our FAQs helpful to peruse and the what is spirulina about page is also interesting.
I really love your article. I never really looked at the way the brain and the gut could be connected but it makes so much sense. It is really true what you wrote here, your brain really is connected with you gut and what we eat has a lot do do with it as well. When you get bad news you wanna go to the bathroom, thats a connection right there! You have “a gut feeling”, that’s when it hits the brain first. ,This article is so good, I will share this with my social friends for sure. keep posting I will certainly keep reading and commenting. love it.
Thank you so much for your comment and your positive feedback. We are glad you liked the article from our guest writer. We agree, its a great article and with good evidence too! You might find our how much spirulina to take? page helpful. Also the Spirulina FAQs page might be a helpful reference for you for future visits. The history of spirulina page also has some important advice.
Most migraine sufferers can confirm there is a powerful connection between gut and brain. This is because we know that when you get a migraine your digestion slows down, which is why oral pain killers might not work or be as effective as perhaps an alternative remedy might be.
All the best
Thank you Lawrence for your really interesting observation and comment regarding migraines and the connection between the gut and the brain. What you say makes good sense. Of course oral pain killers, if taken regularly, can also impact on the well being of our internal organs such as our kidneys too. We have not looked in detail at how spirulina might help to prevent migraine attacks although a quick search suggests that spirulina as a functional food, might indeed help to prevent attacks, providing of course, it is taken regularly and in sufficient quantities, as well as avoiding known triggers e.g. cheese.
Something that a migraine sufferer who starts to take spirulina regularly might experience is a detox, (as I did when I first started, and initially had some headaches whilst my body was detoxing – I was very obese when I first started taking spirulina regularly), so there might be a certain “pain before the gain” experience,(as I had) but in the long run, it may well be a sustainable solution, leading to less need to revert to oral pain killers. Please carefully note We would recommend anybody who is a migraine sufferer who plans to try spirulina for the first time, to be aware of the likely detox and to only take this approach in close consultation with their doctor. Finally, something that would be absolutely essential for migraine sufferers is to be absolutely certain of the quality of the spirulina supplier.
We always emphasise the importance of buying spirulina from a quality supplier to experience the true benefits of spirulina, as the people who complain “it made me sick”, often experience this for one of two reasons (or both), One, they purchase cheap or old supplies – often old stock or stock that has been sitting around in hot warehouses, from e.g. large online Department Stores, i.e. NON SPECIALIST SUPPLIERS.
We only recommend smaller specialist suppliers with shorter supply chain systems. & TWO, they experience a detox and don`t understand what it is. So they think they are sick, when in fact their body is detoxing. Thank you again for stopping by and leaving such an interesting and intelligent observation. Have a great day.