As the popularity of the supplements continues to rise, the researchers are examining a broad range of ingredients for their likely health benefits. Among these foods is spirulina
Spirulina refers to the biomass of Spirulina platensis in dried form. It is a type of cyanobacteria, also known as the blue-green algae, which are quite common.
This ingredient is commonly used as a supplement today. It is also a part of certain food items. The history of spirulina dates back to ancient Africa. People used to harvest these bacteria from lakes and ponds and used them to make cakes.
What are the Health Benefits of Spirulina?
The nutrient-dense spirulina has been associated with a lot of health benefits. For example, research shows that it possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help reduce the lipid levels, control glucose, and manage the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
The use of spirulina can even protect against certain types of cancer.
The research regarding spirulina is expanding with a recent investigation that was published in the journal called Hypertension. In this study, the authors investigated the use of spirulina in order to manage hypertension.
Note that the effects of spirulina on blood pressure have previously been examined by scientists. In the current study, the scientists aimed at drilling down into details in order to check how this agent interacted with blood vessels to control hypertension.
The scientists began by simulation of digestion effects on spirulina. They attempted to reproduce the happenings inside the human gut after the substance is ingested. In this way, they were able to isolate the peptides that would be absorbed into the body.
Following this, the researchers aimed at testing the digested spirulina on the arteries that they had extracted from mice. The results were according to the expectations as the spirulina extracts caused relaxation of the arteries in a way similar to nitric oxide.
Identification of the Active Ingredient
Following this, the team intended to determine the active ingredient found in the digested spirulina that was to be held responsible for this effect.
For this purpose, the scientists adopted a complex multistep peptidomic approach. In this approach, they identified a peptide that was imparting the antihypertensive prowess of spirulina i.e. SP6.
SP6 is said to interact with a pathway known as the PI1K/AKT. This causes NO to release leading to a drop in blood pressure. For further testing of the antihypertensive powers of SP6, the scientists injected it into mice. This lead to a drop in the blood pressure.
Lastly, the scientists examined the effects of SP6 in an animal model of hypertension and found that it exerted anti-hypertensive effects.
This was the first attempt to identify and label SP6 as a likely anti-hypertensive. Therefore, more research is required to back up the findings. However, the prospects are positive and the scientists are determined.
The scientists believe that SP6 might be a natural adjuvant to various pharmacological therapies for improvement of endothelial functions and combatting hypertension.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension hits one-third of the adult population of the United States. Finding a method which is natural, safe, and cost-effective can help save money and extend lives.