Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders. It occurs when an individual has at least three metabolic conditions that occur together: elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This condition increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
One of the main causes of metabolic syndrome is high consumption of calories. While this condition may be improved through following a healthy diet and exercising regularly, supplements like spirulina also play a role. Metabolic syndrome may also be improved by delaying and reducing the digestion and/or absorption of energy sources, lipids, and carbohydrates.
Researchers from Shikoku University School of Health Sciences and Shokei Junior College in Japan looked at the effect of spirulina extract on lipase and alpha-glucosidase activities in people with metabolic syndrome.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has been used for centuries as a food source in many countries. In recent years, it has become a popular dietary supplement available in capsules, tablets, and powder. It has also been incorporated into some food and drinks, such as energy bars, popcorn, and smoothies. (Related: Spirulina explained: Here's what you need to know about this healing superfood.)
For the study, the researchers assessed the effect of a protein-deprived extract prepared from blue-green algae spirulina (Spirulina platensis) on metabolic syndrome, particularly on lipase and alpha-glucosidase activities.
Based on the experiment's results, spirulina extract inhibited lipase activity, but not alpha-glucosidase activities. This indicates that the extract inhibited triglyceride levels from rising. Spirulina extract produced this effect by reducing the absorption and digestion of lipids in the intestinal tract. In addition, the researchers suggest that nonprotein compounds of spirulina may be responsible for this effect.
With these findings, the researchers concluded that spirulina extract may be used to lower lipid levels and improve metabolism in people with metabolic syndrome.
Spirulina is a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-vitamins. It also contains high amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Moreover, it is a great plant-based source of iron and protein.
Spirulina has been studied for its potential benefits. A study in diabetic mice reported that spirulina reduced the mice's blood sugar levels. Because of this finding, the researchers suggested that it may be beneficial in the future to people with Type 1 diabetes. Another study, which was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, revealed that it helped regulate blood sugar levels and improved lipid profile of people with Type 2 diabetes.
In a 2010 study on rabbits, researchers discovered that spirulina can lower the buildup of plaque within arterial walls even after consuming a high-cholesterol diet. Some studies also reported that it may help reduce anemia and improve muscle strength and athletic performance. Other studies showed that c-phycocyanin, which gives spirulina its deep green/blue color, may fight inflammation, protect against oxidative stress, and prevent problems in the nervous system.
Read more news stories and studies on the health benefits of spirulina by going to Spirulina.news.