Posted on Feb 18, 2019, 1 a.m.
Those with metabolic syndrome may benefit from taking spirulina extracts, as it was found to improve metabolism by reducing absorption of lipids in participants with metabolic syndrome, as published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of metabolic disorders that occurs when an individual has at least 3 metabolic conditions occurring together such as excess body fat around the waist, elevated blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, or abnormal triglyceride levels; the condition increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
High consumption of calories is one of the main causes of metabolic syndrome. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly may improve metabolic syndrome. However supplements such as spirulina may also play roles in improve the condition which can also be improved by delaying and reducing digestion and/or absorption of energy sources, lipids, and carbohydrates.
Shikoku University School of Sciences and Shokei Junior College investigated the effects of spirulina extract on lipase and alpha glucosidase activities in individuals with metabolic syndrome; assessing effects of a protein deprived extract prepared from blue green spirulina extract particularly on alpha glucosidase and lipase activities on metabolic syndrome.
Spirulina is a blue green algae that has been used as a food food source for centuries that has become popular as a dietary supplement which is widely available in powder, tablets, and capsules that can be incorporated into foods and drinks such as smoothies, popcorn, salad dressing, and energy bars. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-vitamins; has a high content of minerals such as zinc, selenium, magnesium, and calcium; and is a good choice of plant based protein and iron.
Based on results spirulina extract inhibited lipase activity but not alpha glucosidase activities, indicating that the extract inhibited triglyceride levels from rising. The effects was produced by reducing absorption and digestion of lipids in the intestinal tract; nonprotein compounds if the extract were suggested to possibly be responsible for the effect. Spirulina extract was concluded to be able to be used to help lower lipid levels and improve metabolism in those with metabolic syndrome by the researchers based on their findings.
Spirulina has been studied for potential benefits: Spirulina was reported to reduced blood sugar levels in mice and was suggested to be potentially beneficial to those with diabetes; and another study in the Journal of Medicinal Food reveals it helped to regulate blood sugar levels and improve lipid profiles of those with type 2 diabetes.
In 2010 spirulina was discovered to lower buildup of plaque within arterial walls of rabbits even after consuming high fat diets. Some studies suggest it may help to reduce anemia and improve muscle strength as well as athletic performance. C-phycocyanin which gives spirulina its colour has been shown to help fight inflammation, protect against oxidative stress, and prevent problems in the nervous system.
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