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The symptoms of depression are often treated with drugs that can have long-term adverse side effects. A new study finds chlorella significantly reduces symptoms of major depression.
Certainly we can't blame depression on nutrition alone. There is certainly a spiritual component – an emptiness from within, or call it what you want. This is why natural health uses the moniker, "body, mind and spirit" – because the condition of the spirit is critical for the health of our body and mind.
But within this moniker, 'body, mind and spirit' we also find there is a link between the three. One cannot separate them, whether clinically or abstractly.
For this reason, our moods are often linked with hormone and neurotransmitter balance and availability – along with their reception among nerve and brain cells.
The question is whether or not natural therapies can seriously affect our moods – more importantly, those producing greater symptoms of anxiety and depression. Apparently, the clinical answer is yes.
Chlorella and clinical depression
Research from the University of Western Australia in Perth has found that chlorella can significantly improve symptoms of depression.
The researchers tested 92 patients with major depressive disorder – a disorder that affects millions of people around the world.
The researchers split the patients into two groups. They gave 42 of the patients 1,800 milligrams of Chlorella vulgaris extract per day. The other 50 patients continued their standard care.
The researchers used a scale called the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to test the patients' symptoms of depression, along with the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) scale. Both of these have been used in clinical settings to establish the range of depressive symptoms and the severity of the diagnosis.
After six weeks of treatment with either the standard pharmaceutical treatment or chlorella extract, the researchers found that those patients who had taken the chlorella had significantly reduced scores in both depression tests. The BDI-II scores went down by over four points and the HADS scores went down by 3.71 points.
To give some reference, the HADS scale consists of 21 points, and anything over an 8 is considered symptomatic of anxiety or depression.
In addition to reduced total scores, the researchers also saw significant reductions in some of the subset scores. For example, physical and cognitive symptoms were significantly improved in the chlorella group, and subscales for depression and anxiety were significantly lower among the chlorella group.
The researchers concluded:
"This pilot exploratory trial provides the first clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of adjunctive therapy with CVE in improving physical and cognitive symptoms of depression as well as anxiety symptoms in patients who are receiving standard antidepressant therapy."
Chlorella is a microalga. It is a single-celled algae that is typically grown in controlled growth medium tanks. It is significantly high in protein, with over 40 percent protein, with all of the essential amino acids. It also contains proteins that stimulate growth hormone and brain neurotransmitters.
Concentrated extract was used in this study due to the fact that whole chlorella can be difficult for the body to break down the cell wall. An extract provides the contents of the cell after the cell wall has been broken.
Panahi Y, Badeli R, Karami GR, Badeli Z, Sahebkar A. A randomized controlled trial of 6-week Chlorella vulgaris supplementation in patients with major depressive disorder. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Aug;23(4):598-602. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.06.010.
Hawkins RL, Nakamura M. Expression of human growth hormone by the eukaryotic alga, Chlorella. Curr Microbiol. 1999 Jun;38(6):335-41.