According to CDC, hypertension has almost attacked one-third of the adult population in the United States. As per the recent study, spirulina the bacteria aids in reducing blood pressure. The researchers have also pointed out the active compounds in it which brings out this benefit. Over the past few years the need of supplements has increased tremendously, thus the researchers are trying to identify some nutritional ingredients which might provide them with their possible health benefits. Among these well-known superfoods is spirulina.
Spirulina is the dried form of the species Spirulina platensis. This specie belongs to the group of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Spirulina, its benefits, and use have a long history back to the era of Aztecs and ancient Africa. Today these bacteria are being used on a large scale in the supplements as well as some foods. Decades back, people used to extract spirulina from water bodies like ponds and lakes and changed them into CAKES.
Scientists were keen to make research on this special ingredient considering its high nutritional value. They were eager to know that if they are safe for consumption, or can they cover long distances as well as do spirulina has the ability to treat the problem of malnutrition.
It is a nutrient dense product and has a range of health benefits. According to some researches, spirulina acts as an anti-inflammatory ingredient, has the ability to suppress the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and treat certain cancers. It also acts as a homeostatic ingredient for glucose and lipid level in the blood. Despite the fact that these points still lacks enough evidence, researchers have made their new finding of it in the journal Hypertension.
A team led by the institutions across Italy like the Vascular Physiopathology Laboratory of the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli studied about its ability to reduce hypertension. The researchers have already observed the positive impact of spirulina on blood vessels. In this recent study, the researchers are finding out how spirulina affects the blood vessels to produce this benefit.
At first, the researchers produced effects of digestion on spirulina. The lead author Albino Carrizzo said: “[W]e reproduced what happens in the human gut after ingesting the substance. This way we have been able to isolate the peptides that would be absorbed by our body.”
The scientists then simply observed the interaction of digested spirulina on the extracted arteries of mice. The digested spirulina produced the same effect as nitric oxide on the arteries. NO plays a major part in keeping up a healthy pressure of the blood.
Another goal of the team was to know the active compounds in the digested spirulina which is behind these benefits. By using a “complex multistep peptidomic approach” scientists found that there is one certain peptide which imparts spirulina’s antihypertensive prowess – SP6. SP6 influence a significant signaling travel path that is PI3K/AKT. Due to this following interaction, No is released in the blood which in ultimately causes the relaxation of arteries.
Professor author Carmine Vecchione said: “We know that hypertensive patients often have a defect in the natural processes that, by the action of nitric oxide, regulate endothelium (the inner wall of blood vessels). The peptide we isolated in spirulina extract acts positively on this mechanism.”
For further carrying out the research, the researchers tested SP6’s antihypertensive powers in mice. Here also they observed a drop in blood pressure. On their final findings of the study, they tested SP6 in an animal model; the result was again the same.
As it is the first study which identified SP6 as a possible hypertensive, more research is needed to be done. Professor Vecchione states: “SP6 could be a natural adjuvant to common pharmacological therapies in order to improve endothelial function and, consequently, combat hypertension.”