Algae for Nutraceuticals

Finding The Right Balance

In today's fast-paced world, maintaining a healthy work/life balance as well as good nutrition is becoming more & more difficult. An increasing number of people are turning to nature's super foods, like algae, to meet this need.  Algae have proven to be a significant source of a diverse number of critical nutrients. Many of these unique characteristics (carotenoids, proteins, amino acids, antioxidants and essential fatty acids) have led to an extensive base of compounds that have excellent applications for human health.

 

The Existing Market and Beyond

Currently there are two main species of algae that are widely used in the neutraceutical industry Spirulina and Chlorella. These are found in abundance in tablet form, powders and gel capsules. However, there is well-founded, enormous potential for a greater variety of microalgal species to be utilized in human nutrition. A myriad of microalgae contain protein of high quality for humans. Several of the most common microalgal pigments (chlorophyll, β-carotene, astaxanthin and lutein) are beneficial to human health, possessing cancer prevention compounds and functioning as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Nutritious polyunsaturated fatty acids  (PUFA's) also proliferate in many algal species, providing essential fatty acids necessary for cardiovascular, ocular, and neurological health.

 

Compounds in Algae Which Have Exceptional

Benefit for Human Health

 

Non Animal Derived (Vegan) Omega 3

These long chain omega-3 fatty acids provide significant health benefits to the human population, particularly in reducing cardiac diseases such as arrhythmia, stroke and high blood pressure. Additionally, they have been seen to offer beneficial effects to depression, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Currently, the principal source of EPA and DHA for human consumption is marine fatty fish such as salmon, mullet and mackerel. However, global catches have been in decline since the late 1980s and the number of overfished stocks has been increasing exponentially since the 1950s. Furthermore, the presence of chemical contaminants (e.g. mercury) in fish oil can be harmful to consumers. In addition, fish oil is not suitable for vegetarians and vegans, so a non animal derived algae alternative has great potential in this market.
Omega-3s Can Fight Depression and Anxiety. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world.
Omega-3s Can Improve Eye Health. DHA, a type of omega-3, is a major structural component of the brain and retina of the eye. When you don’t get enough DHA, vision problems may arise. Interestingly, getting enough omega-3 has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness.
Omega-3s Can Promote Brain Health During Pregnancy and Early Life. Omega-3s are crucial for brain growth and development in infants.
DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain, and 60% in the retina of the eye. Therefore, it’s no surprise that infants fed a DHA-fortified formula have better eyesight than infants fed a formula without it.
Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy has been associated with numerous benefits for the child, including:
Higher intelligence.
Better communication and social skills.
Less behavioral problems.
Decreased risk of developmental delay.
Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy.
Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy and early life is crucial for the development of the child. Deficiency is linked to low intelligence, poor eyesight and an increased risk of several health problems.
Omega-3s Can Improve Risk Factors For Heart Disease. Heart attacks and strokes are the world’s leading causes of death.
Decades ago, researchers observed that fish-eating communities had very low rates of these diseases. This was later found to be partially due to omega-3 consumption. Since then, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have numerous benefits for heart health.
These include:
Triglycerides: Omega-3s can cause a major reduction in triglycerides, usually in the range of 15–30%.
Blood pressure: Omega-3s can reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure.
HDL-cholesterol: Omega-3s can raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol levels.
Blood clots: Omega-3s can keep blood platelets from clumping together. This helps prevent the formation of harmful blood clots.
Plaque: By keeping the arteries smooth and free from damage, omega-3s help prevent the plaque that can restrict and harden the arteries.
Inflammation: Omega-3s reduce the production of some substances released during the inflammatory response.
Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Several studies have found that children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, compared to their healthy peers. What’s more, numerous studies have found that omega-3 supplements can actually reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
Omega-3s help improve inattention and the ability to complete tasks. They also decrease hyperactivity, impulsiveness, restlessness and aggression. Recently, researchers evaluated the evidence behind different treatments for ADHD. They found fish oil supplementation to be one of the most promising treatments.
Omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children. They improve attention and reduce hyperactivity, impulsiveness and aggression, to name a few.
Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a collection of conditions. It includes central obesity (Belly Fat), high blood pressure, Insulin Resistance, high triglycerides and low HDL levels.
Omega-3s can have numerous benefits for people with metabolic syndrome. They can reduce insulin resistance, fight inflammation and improve several heart disease risk factors.
Omega-3s Can Fight Inflammation. Inflamation is incredibly important. We need it to fight infections and repair damage in the body. However, sometimes inflammation persists for a long time, even without an infection or injury being present. This is called chronic (long-term) inflammation. It is known that long-term inflammation can contribute to almost every chronic Western disease, including heart disease and cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines. Studies have consistently shown a link between higher omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation. Omega-3s can reduce chronic inflammation, which can contribute to heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.
Omega-3s Can Fight Autoimmune Diseases. In autoimmune disease the immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign cells and starts attacking them. Type-1 diabetes is one prime example. In this disease, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Omega-3s can help fight some of these diseases, and may be especially important during early life.
Studies show that getting enough omega-3s during your first year of life is linked to a reduced risk of many autoimmune diseases, including type-1 diabetes, autoimmune diabetes in adults and multiple sclrosis.
Omega-3s have also been shown to help treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and psoriasis.
Omega-3s Can Improve Mental Disorders. Low omega-3 levels have been reported in people with psychiatric disorders. Studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses in people with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease violent behavior. Improving omega-3 status seems to improve symptoms.
Omega-3s Can Fight Age-Related Mental Decline and Alzheimer’s disease. A decline in brain function is one of the unavoidable consequences of aging. Several studies have shown that higher omega-3 intake is linked to decreased age-related mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, one study found that people who eat fatty fish tend to have more gray matter in the brain. This is brain tissue that processes information, memories and emotions.
Omega-3s May Help Prevent Cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Western world, and omega-3 fatty acids have long been claimed to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Interestingly, studies have shown that people who consume the most omega-3s have up to a 55% lower risk of colon cancer. Additionally, omega-3 consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
Omega-3s Can Reduce Asthma in Children. Asthma is a chronic lung disease with symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Severe asthma attacks can be very dangerous. They are caused by inflammation and swelling in the airways of the lungs. What’s more, asthma rates have been increasing over the past few decades. Several studies have linked omega-3 consumption to a lower risk of asthma in children and young adults.
Omega-3s Can Reduce Fat in The Liver. Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is more common than you think. It has increased with the obesity epidemic, and is now the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce liver fat and inflammation in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Omega-3s May Improve Bone and Joint Health. Osteoporosis and arthritis are two common disorders that affect the skeletal system. Studies indicate that omega-3s can improve bone strength by increasing the amount of calcium in bones. Omega-3s may also help with arthritis. Patients taking omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength. Omega-3s can improve bone strength and joint health. This may lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.
Omega-3s Can Alleviate Menstrual Pain. Menstrual pain occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis, and often radiates to the lower back and thighs. It can result in significant negative effects on a person’s quality of life. However, studies have repeatedly shown that women who consume the most omega-3s have milder menstrual pain. One study even found that an omega-3 supplement was more effective than ibuprofen in treating severe pain during menstruation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Improve Sleep. Good sleep is one of the foundations of optimal health. Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes and depression. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with sleep problems in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Low levels of DHA have also been linked to lower levels of the hormone melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Studies in both children and adults have shown that supplementing with omega-3 increases the length and quality of sleep.
Omega-3 Fats Are Good For Your Skin. DHA is a structural component of the skin. It is responsible for the health of cell membranes, which make up a large part of skin. A healthy cell membrane results in soft, moist, supple and wrinkle-free skin.
EPA also benefits the skin in several ways, including:
Managing oil production in sk
Managing hydration of the skin.
Preventing hyper-keratinization of hair follicles (the little red bumps often seen on upper arms).
Preventing premature ageing of the skin.
Preventing acne.
Omega-3s can also protect your skin from sun damage. EPA  helps block the release of substances that eat away at the collagen in your skin after sun exposure. Omega-3s can help keep skin cells healthy, preventing premature aging and more.

 

Amino Acids

Twenty percent of the human body is made up of protein. Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of it. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure. They also play a key role in the transport and the storage of nutrients. Amino acids have an influence on the function of organs, glands, tendons and arteries. They are furthermore essential for healing wounds and repairing tissue, especially in the muscles, bones, skin and hair as well as for the removal of all kinds of waste deposits produced in connection with the metabolism.

 

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment generally found in plants and fruits. However, some algae species are especially high in Beta-carotene. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) - beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. Beta-carotene, like all carotenoids, is an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules; it protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through oxidation. Eventually, the damage caused by free radicals can cause several chronic illnesses.

 

Amalgamated Protein

Brain cells, muscle, skin, hair and nails are just some of the body parts that are protein-based. Estimates suggest that about half of the human body’s dry weight is made up of protein. Many of the foods we eat contain protein. These proteins are broken down during digestion to release amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins. Once inside the body, these amino acids are used to make new proteins including enzymes and hormones such as adrenalin. Proteins are sometimes also used as an energy source. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.

 

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health implications. Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Astaxanthin can reduce the inflammatory compounds that drive many chronic diseases.
Astaxanthin Helps Fight Fatigue: Astaxanthin provides excellent recovery from exercise. Astaxanthin can help athletes do their best. Pure natural astaxanthin is indicated for recovery of muscles, better endurance, enhanced strength and improved energy levels.
Astaxanthin Supports Eye Health: Astaxanthin has the unique ability to cross through a barrier and reach your retina. Well-designed clinical trials have shown that astaxanthin helps diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye strain and fatigue and seeing in fine detail. There are well-designed positive human clinical trials supporting eye health.
Astaxanthin Cleans Up the Cells:  Astaxanthin is in a class of its own when it comes to antioxidant coverage, because it filters into every cell of the body. Its unique molecular lipophilic and hydrophilic properties allow it to span the entire cell, with one end of the astaxanthin molecule protecting the fat-soluble part of the cell and one end protecting the water-soluble part of the cell.
Skin and Sunscreen Protection: Astaxanthin has been shown to protect the body’s largest organ, the skin. The studies are clear and consistent and show excellent results for helping with skin moisture levels, smoothness, elasticity, fine wrinkles, and spots or freckles. Astaxanthin reduces damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In fact, if you get a sunburn, which causes inflammation, astaxanthin penetrates the skin cells and reduces UVA damage.
Natural astaxanthin is exceptionally powerful in singlet-oxygen quenching. A 2007 study analyzed several popular antioxidants and their antioxidant power. This study found astaxanthin was 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid.

 

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is a green pigment that’s instrumental in photosynthesis. Research also suggests it’s instrumental in promoting good health. Chlorophyll possesses an amazing range of benefits and is readily available to everyone. Chlorophyll contains essential vitamins and nutrients needed for cardiovascular, muscular, and neural health.
Helps Control Hunger and Cravings. A study released in September of 2013 determined that compounds containing chlorophyll might help suppress hunger.
Controls Body Odor. Chlorophyll is good for your body from the inside out, literally. When tested in a nursing home with 62 patients, one study reported improvements in the odors emanating from the test subjects. In addition to odor reduction, it also alleviated constipation and gas.
Encourages Healing. The use of chlorophyll to promote the healing process was first reported nearly 100 years ago. One report published by Butler University (in 1950!) discussed its use for improving healing times. A more recent study found that, when used as a spray, chlorophyll significantly helped wound therapy. The research clearly backs its effectiveness in this area.
Promotes Cleansing. Environmental pollutants such as toxic metals can quickly destroy health. Chlorophyll binds with toxic metals to hamper absorption, and research has shown it can do the same with some carcinogens. A crossover study with 4 human volunteers tested chlorophyll’s ability to remove ingested aflatoxin, a known carcinogen. Each volunteer received three servings of the aflatoxin, followed with a meal, the latter two included a tablet of chlorophyll. The results showed rapid elimination with 95% evacuated within 24 hours.
Protects DNA Against Fried Foods. Fried foods aren’t just bad for your waistline, they also contain chemicals known to damage colon tissue and the DNA of colon cells. In one study, participants who ate fried foods coupled with protective foods, including chlorophyll, were observed to have less DNA damage of colon cells.
Super Potent Antioxidant Action. Chlorophyll’s status as a superfood is due to its nutritional and potent antioxidant properties. It protects cells from oxidative damage by eliminating free radicals. One plant known for its high chlorophyll levels, Conyza triloba, showed very active superoxide scavenging behavior. An in vitro study found it capable of reducing free radicals while reducing cell damage.
Promising Potential for Cancer Therapy. Although the research doesn’t currently show that chlorophyll is an all out cancer cure, researchers are excited about its potential as a therapy. One study found men with lower levels of dietary chlorophyll had higher risks of colon cancer. Another study noted it effective at stimulating liver detoxifying enzymes and may protect against other carcinogens.
Effective Against Candida albicans.  Candida Infection is a big problem for many individuals and can lead to fatigue, depression, and digestive problems. Research has shown that isolated chlorophyll solutions stop Candida.
Relieves Systemic Redness and Swelling. Traditional medicine has long used green leaves for infections. With modern approaches that have limited effectiveness and a long list of side effects, natural remedies are getting another look. Animal studies have found that green leaves help to reduce swelling and redness!
Promotes Healthy Iron Levels. A modified form of chlorophyll known as chlorophyllin may be highly effective for anemia. By swapping iron for magnesium at the center of the molecule, it provides a bioavailable form of iron the body can use. While scientists may look for ways to develop patent-able medicines, no one needs to wait to take chlorophyll to gain its benefits.

 

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