Reference Number: 453
Objectives: The green seaweed Ulva sp. contains a large amount of ulvans, a family of sulphated polysaccharides. The present study was designed to investigate in rats the antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of a hydrophilic extract of Ulva sp. (MSP) containing about 45% of ulvans.
Methods: After a 14-day administration of MSP at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mg/kg/day, 48 and 60 male adult Wistar rats were respectively tested in the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and the forced swimming test (FST). In the FST, MSP effects were compared to the reference antidepressant drug imipramine (IMI) (10 mg/kg/day). Acute and sub-chronic toxicities of the extract were also assessed in male and female rats following OECD guidelines.
Results: MSP treatment did not modify anxiety-related behaviour in the EPM. In contrast, MSP induced a dose-dependent reduction of immobility behaviour in the FST. At the highest tested dose of 40 mg/kg, MSP displayed a significant antidepressant-like effect similar to IMI. MSP did not modify the exploratory behaviour of rats in the open field test and did not produce any toxic effect.
Discussion: MSP may potentially represent a good adjunct or alternative to existing antidepressant therapeutics. Further studies are necessary to confirm the mechanism of action of MSP and its modulation of brain functioning.
Significance of this study to the baker:
Seaweed Lettuce (Ulva lactuca) is the group of edible green algae distributed widely along the coasts of the world’s oceans and sometimes commonly referred to as ‘Green Nori’. Here at the Sourdough School, we had some Seaweed Lettuce into our botanical blends.
Human consumption is widespread across the globe and it is often used raw in salads or cooked in soups. It is high in protein, soluble dietary fibre and contains a range of vitamins and minerals, being particularly high in iron. The human research is not yet with us, however in vivo studies, like this one here, they suggest an extract of green seaweed lettuce was well tolerated and potentially reduce anxiety-like behaviour. We should note that Seaweeds contamination with heavy metals however, may make a high consumption dangerous for humans.