Blue green algae (BGA), or cyanobacteria, are capable of photosynthesis. They have been used as food for humans for centuries. BGA contain amino acids, gamma-linoleic acid, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, iron, beta-carotene, and chlorophyll. The many effects of BGA are antiviral, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-diabetic, antibacterial and lipid-lowering. The result is that BGA lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
NAFLD can be a relatively benign disease due to diabetes and obesity. The presence of inflammation and oxidative stress can cause it to progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), with risk of scarring, cirrhosis and even hepatocellular cancer. Spirulina platensis has been shown to be of benefit in NAFLD, which helps prevent NASH.
BGA are being studied for lipid-lowering effects in place of statins, which have significant side effects. Spirulina has lipid-lowering effects, also.
Doses of BGA are around 5 grams per day. The use of whole algae is beneficial due to the synergistic effects of its components, including phycocyanin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-12, carotenoids, phenols and minerals. The safety of BGA during pregnancy and lactation is not clear at this time.
CONCLUSION: Blue-green algae is an effective dietary treatment for oxidative stress. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and prevent progression of NAFLD to the more serious NASH.
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