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Spirulina as a main source of tryptophan for mental illness: Improving level of serotonin through tryptophan supplementation

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Abstract

Spirulina is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, lipids, minerals, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, enzymes and pigments. It is useful in human nutrition, due to the high quality and quantity of its protein (60%-70% of its dry weight). Tryptophan, the natural amino acid precursor in 5-HT biosynthesis, increases serotonin synthesis in the brain. serotonin synthesis mostly will depend on numerous factors including the free plasma tryptophan levels, the plasma levels of tryptophan relative to the other large neutral amino acids, the activity of the system that transports the large neutral amino acids into brain, the gene expression of tryptophan hydroxylase, degradation of tryptophan hydroxylase, compartmentalization of tryptophan and tryptophan hydroxylase in brain cells. The best ways of mental health recovery and prevention are nutritional therapy by supplementing specific nutrients like tryptophan. Such supplementation can help for controlling and preventing mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, and substance use disorder.
GLOBALJOURNALOFMEDICINEANDPUBLICHEALTH
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Spirulinaasamainsourceoftryptophanformentalillness:Improvinglevel
ofserotoninthroughtryptophansupplementation
SileshiDemelash*
ABSTRACT
Spirulinabeanexcellentsourceofproteins,vitamins,lipids,minerals,
carbohydrates,nucleicacids,enzymesandpigments.Itisusefulinhuman
nutrition,duetothehighqualityandquantityofitsprotein(60%70%ofitsdry
weight).Tryptophan,thenaturalaminoacidprecursorin5HTbiosynthesis,
increasesserotoninsynthesisinthebrain.serotoninsynthesismostlywill
dependonnumerousfactorsincludingthefreeplasmatryptophanlevels,the
plasmalevelsoftryptophanrelativetotheotherlargeneutralaminoacids,the
activityofthesystemthattransportsthelargeneutralaminoacidsintobrain,
thegeneexpressionoftryptophanhydroxylase,degradationoftryptophan
hydroxylase,compartmentalizationoftryptophanandtryptophanhydroxylase
inbraincells.Thebestwaysofmentalhealthrecoveryandpreventionisnutritionaltherapythrough
supplementingspecificnutrientsliketryptophan.Suchsupplementationcanhelpforcontrollingand
preventingmentalillnesslikedepression,bipolardisorder,schizophrenia,eatingdisordersandanxiety
disorders,attentiondeficitdisorder/attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder(ADD/ADHD),autism,and
substanceusedisorder.
Keywords:Spirulina,Tryptophan,Serotonin,MentalDisorder
INTRODUCTION
Arthrospira(Spirulina)aremulticellularand
filamentousbluegreenalgaethathasgained
considerablepopularityinthehealthfoodindustry
andincreasinglyasaproteinandvitaminsupplement
toaquaculturediets.Itgrowsinwater,canbe
harvestedandprocessedeasilyandhasveryhigh
macro‐andmicronutrientcontents.Ithaslongbeen
usedasadietarysupplementbypeoplelivingcloseto
thealkalinelakeswhereitisnaturallyfoundfor
instancethoselivingadjacenttoLakeChadinthe
Kanemregionhaveverylowlevelsofmalnutrition,
despitelivingonaspartanmilletbasediet.Inmany
countriesofAfrica,itisstillusedashumanfoodasa
majorsourceofproteinandiscollectedfromnatural
water,driedandeaten.Ithasgainedconsiderable
popularityinthehumanhealthfoodindustryandin
manycountriesofAsiaitisusedasprotein
supplementandashealthfood.1
Spirulinagrowsabundantlyaroundtheworldinvery
alkaline,mineralrich,largelypollutionfree,soda
lakes.Itthrivesinverywarmwatersof32to450C
(andhasevensurvivedintemperaturesof600C.
Certaindesertadaptedspecieswillsurvivewhen
theirpondhabitatsevaporateintheintensesun,
dryingtoadormantstateonrocksashotas700C.In
thisdormantcondition,thenaturallybluegreen
bacteriaturnafrostedwhiteanddevelopasweet
flavorasits71%proteinstructureistransformedinto
polysaccharidesugarsbytheheat.Infact,thehotter
itgetsandthemorethemineralsaltsconcentrateas
waterevaporatesthefasterandmoreprolifically
Spirulinagrows.1,2
GJMEDPH2018;Vol.7,issue2
*CorrespondingAuthor
SileshiDemelash
ResearchandTrainingDepartmentof
AmanuelMentalSpecializedHospital
sileyeshi21@gmail.com
TelephoneNo.+251911261296
ConflictofInterest—none
Funding—none
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Significantlythemostfertilevalleyofsodalakeswith
heavyArthrospiragrowthtodayliesinAfrica.InEast
Africa,theGreatRiftValleybeginsinEthiopiaand
runsverticallythroughdesertwastelandsfor
hundredsofmileslinkingEthiopia,Kenya,Tanzania,
andBotswana.Thisvalleyfloorislinedwithseveral
largesodalakes.Theselakesarelargebasins
concentratinghugequantitiesofmineralsalts
leachedfromthevolcanicsoilsbyrainwaterrunoff
overmillennia.Alongwiththeintenseheatand
sunlightofthearea,theselakesprovidetheperfect
growingconditionsforSpirulina.3,4
InEthiopia,threesodalakes,LakeArenguade
(Hadho)(approx.3kmsouthofBishoftu),LakeKilole
(approx.14kmEastofBishoftu)andLakeChitu
(approx.37KmwestofShashemenenearbySenbete
Shala)wereknownaslakesrichwithSpirulina.But
KenyaandChadarethespirulinabreadbaskets".In
Kenya‐ LakeBogoria(11+squaremiles),Lake
Elementita(7+squaremiles),LakeMagadi(29+
squaremiles),LakeNakuru(30squaremiles),and
LakeTurkana(2,325squaremiles)containquantities
ofSpirulina.3,4
Since1970,Spirulinahasbeenanalyzedchemically.It
hasbeenshowntobeanexcellentsourceofproteins,
vitamins,lipids,minerals,carbohydrates,nucleic
acids,enzymesandpigments.Itisusefulinhuman
nutrition,duetothehighqualityandquantityofits
protein(60%70%ofitsdryweight).Thenutritive
valueofaproteinisrelatedtothequalityofamino
acids,digestibilitycoefficient,aswellasbyits
biologicalvalue.Spirulinacontainsessentialamino
acids;thehighestvaluesareleucine(540mgper
10m),valine(400mgper10g)andisoleucine(350mg
per10g)andtryptophan(90mgper10g).
DenaturationofArthrospiraproteinisobservedwhen
itisheatedabove670C,atneutralaqueoussolution.
Hydrophobicregionsinteractionduringheatingand
hydrogenbondsformationduringcoolingare
aggregationandgelationfactorsofArthrospira
protein.47
TRYPTOPHANASAPRECUSOR’SSEROTONIN
Tryptophan,thenaturalaminoacidprecursorin5HT
biosynthesis,increases5HTsynthesisinthebrain
and,therefore,maystimulate5HTreleaseand
function.Sinceitisanaturalconstituentofthediet,
tryptophanshouldhavelowtoxicityandproducefew
sideeffects.Basedontheseadvantages,dietary
tryptophansupplementationhasbeenusedinthe
managementofneuropsychiatricdisorderswith
variablesuccess.8
Therateofserotoninsynthesismostlywilldependon
numerousfactorsincludingthefreeplasma
tryptophanlevels,theplasmalevelsoftryptophan
relativetotheotherlargeneutralamino
acids,theactivityofthesystemthattransportsthe
largeneutralaminoacidsintobrain,thegene
expressionoftryptophanhydroxylase,degradation
oftryptophanhydroxylase,compartmentalizationof
tryptophanandtryptophanhydroxylaseinbrain
cells.9
Theserotonergicsystemformsadiffusenetwork
withinthecentralnervoussystemandplaysa
significantroleintheregulationofmoodand
cognition.Thegutbrainaxisisabidirectional
systembetweenthebrainandgastrointestinaltract,
linkingemotionalandcognitivecentresofthebrain
withperipheralfunctioningofthedigestivetract.An
influenceofgutmicrobiotaonbehaviorisbecoming
increasinglyevident,asistheextensionto
tryptophanandserotonin,producingapossibility
thatalterationsinthegutmaybeimportantinthe
pathphysiologyofhumancentralnervoussystem
disorders.10
Dysfunctionoftheserotoninergicsystemhaslong
beensuspectedinmajordepressionandrelated
disorders.Drugfreedepressedpatientshavelower
thannormalconcentrationsofserotoninmetabolites
incerebrospinalfluidandpostmortembraintissue,
lowerthannormalplasmatryptophan
concentrations,andanincreaseinthedensityof
brainbindingsitesforserotonin.Serotonin,
neurotransmitterinthebrain,ismadeupofthe
aminoacidtryptophan.Adeficiencyinoneorbothof
theseaminoacidsisassociatedwithlowmoodand
aggression.
Tryptophanhydroxylase,theratelimitingenzymeon
thepathwayfromtryptophantoserotonin,isnot
normallysaturatedwithtryptophan.Inhumans,
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increasingtryptophanlevelscanincreaseserotonin
synthesisasmuchastwofold,11whiledecreasing
tryptophanavailabilitycancauseasubstantial
declineinserotoninsynthesisandturnover.12When
tryptophanisgiventoincreaseserotoninsynthesis,a
doseof6g(aboutsixtimesthenormaldailydietary
intake)13isenoughtosaturatetryptophan
hydroxylaseanddoubletherateofserotonin
synthesis.14,15Howeverdietarymodificationand
eatingbalancedfoodthatcanimprovebrain
concentrationofaminoacidtryptophanisagood
optiontominimizesideeffectandimprove
complianceofpatients.
TRYPTOPHANDEPLETIONRELATEDMENTAL
DISORDER
TRPdepletioncausesclinicallysignificantdepressive
symptomsinremitteddepressedpatientstaking
medication.AstudybyDelgadoandothersin1990
foundthatTRPdepletioncausedatransient
depressiverelapsein67%ofdepressedpatientswho
recentlyhadtherapeuticantidepressantresponsesto
somemedications.16
Themostcommonmentaldisordersthatare
currentlyprevalentinvariouscountriesare
depression,bipolardisorder,schizophrenia,
substanceusedisorderandobsessivecompulsive
disorder.17,19Lowbrainserotonin(5HT)levelsor
functionhavebeenimplicatedinvarioustypesof
psychopathology,includingdepression,suicide,
aggression,anxiety,andbulimia.9Anotablefeature
ofthedietsofpatientssufferingfrommental
disordersistheseverityofdeficiencyinthese
nutrients.20Studieshaveindicatedthatdaily
supplementsofvitalnutrientsareofteneffectivein
reducingpatients'symptoms.21Supplements
containingaminoacidshavealsobeenfoundto
reducesymptoms,astheyareconvertedto
neurotransmitterswhichinturnalleviatedepression
andothermentalhealthproblems.20
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Mooddisorderssuchasmajordepressionare
commonillnesseswithconsiderablemorbidityand
significantmortality.Animbalanceinserotoninbrain
chemicalwhichisderivedfromprecursortryptophan
(5hydroxytryptamine;5HT)iscriticallyinvolvedin
thesymptomsanddevelopmentofclinical
depression.22Thisisaclearindicationofroleof
tryptophaninalleviatingdepression.
TRYPTOPHANSUPPLEMENTATIONFORMENTAL
DISORDER
Thiscanindicatesthebestwaysofmentalhealth
recoveryandpreventionisnutritionaltherapy
throughsupplementingnutritionandfollowinga
gooddietarypractice.Thesemaybeappropriatefor
controllingandtosomeextent,preventing
depression,bipolardisorder,schizophrenia,eating
disordersandanxietydisorders,attentiondeficit
disorder/attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder
(ADD/ADHD),autism,andsubstanceusedisorder.21
Majorityofpsychiatricmedicationincluding
antipsychoticandantidepressanthaveownside
effects.20Thiscanleadspatientsnottocomplytheir
medicationandfamiliestoneglecttheaffected
individualandincreasehealthcost.Thiscanalso
increaselengthofstayinthehospital,professional
liabilityandrateofcomplication.23Thisusually
causesthepatientstoskiptakingtheirmedications.
Suchnoncomplianceisacommonchallengefor
healthcareproviderandfamilieslateritcommitting
suicideorbeinginstitutionalizedandincrease
mortalityrates.24
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Majorityofindividualsarenotawareofwhat,how
andwhentoeat.Thisshowsthattheyarenotaware
thebondbetweendietandhealthrathertheyeasily
observethelinkbetweennutritionaldeficienciesand
physicalillness.Mentalillnessisresultedbecauseof
animbalanceofbrainchemicalleadingasa
biochemicalandemotionalbased.Achangeinbrain
signaltransmissionatthelevelofchemicalsynapse
areessentialinthedevelopmentofmentaldisorders
orachangeinaneurotransmitter'schemical
structure,oranimbalanceatanypointinthis
complexprocess,mayaffectemotions,moods,
thoughts,andbehaviors.25,36Hencenutritioncanplay
intheonsetaswellasseverityanddurationofthe
illness.21
Depressionisadisorderassociatedwithmajor
symptomssuchasincreasedsadnessandanxiety,
lossofappetite,depressedmood,andalossof
interestinpleasurableactivities.Withoutan
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immediateintervention,itcannegative
consequenceslikecommittingasuicide.18Lowlevel
ofbrainchemicalorneurotransmitterslikeserotonin,
dopamine,noradrenalin,andγaminobutyricacid
(GABA)areoftenassociatedwithdepression.1721
Differentstudyshowsthat,theaminoacids
tryptophan,tyrosine,phenylalanine,andmethionine
areoftensupportiveintreatingmanymooddisorders
includingdepression.2628,37Injectionoftryptophan
especiallywithanemptystomachwilleasily
convertedintoserotoninandhelpsincalmnessof
theindividualandcanhelpsanindividualtohavea
qualitysleep.Thisrestorationorimprovingthelevel
ofserotoninthatcantreatdepressionisanindication
ofthatthecauseofserotonindeficiencyisdiet.2731,35
Concentrationsofcerebrospinalfluid(CSF)5
hydroxyindoleaceticacid(5HIAA),theprincipal
metaboliteoftheneurotransmitterserotonin,leads
serotoninturnoverorbrainconcentrationof
serotonin.33Thiscanleadsanxietyandimpulsive
control,suicidality,depressionandalcoholism.3234
CONCLUSION
Spirulinaisagoodsourceofmostnutrientsneeded
forourbodyespeciallyforourbrain.Asmostmental
illnessisresultedfromanimbalanceinbrainchemical
atthelevelofthesynapse,focusingonnutritional
therapyisoneofthebestwaysofimprovingmental
disorder.BecauseMedicationsachievetheirintended
effects,improvedcompliancewithmedication,less
needforadditionalmedicationorhigherdosages,
fewercaloricornutrientsupplementsarerequired,
adversesideeffectsareavoided,optimalnutritional
statusispreserved,accidentsandinjuriesare
avoided,diseasecomplicationsareminimized,the
costofhealthcareservicesisreducedandthereis
lessprofessionalliability.Therefore,Spirulinaisthe
mostimportantcreatureinthisplanetwhichisabest
sourceofforfreelyavailableitcanbethebestoption
toimprovetheaminoacidandothernutrient
requiredforourmentalhealth.
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... Results assessed by this test showed that pre-treatment of blue-green alga not only attenuated the cognitive impairment induced by dizocilpine but also exhibited nootropic effects as evident from greater preference index in spirulina treated rats. The present results can be further justified by the presence of amino acid tryptophan in spirulina as it has variety of neuroprotective effects such as it increases utilization of vitamin B complex, improvement in nerve health and also stability of emotions (Demelash et al., 2018). Moreover, it is the precursor of serotonin, which is helpful in preventing mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, eating and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, autism and substance use disorder (Jenkins et al., 2016). ...
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