An Algae that can Help Curb Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol is the most common steroid found in the human body. It, like other steroids, is a type of fat and hence is insoluble in water. Although cholesterol is an integral part of our cells, high amounts of it in the bloodstream is synonymous to an increased coronary heart disease risk.

The cholesterol found in the human body can be divided into 2 subcategories known as the high-density lipoproteins and the low-density lipoproteins.

High-density lipoproteins or HDLs for short are known as the ‘good’ fats. A higher amount of HDL in the bloodstream is connected with decreased heart disease risk. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are the culprit in most cases. A higher number of LDLs in the body is associated with a higher probability of heart disease and stroke.

The bad cholesterol or the LDLs are responsible for the fatty build ups inside the narrow blood vessels and this condition can lead to a heart attack which can prove fatal.

Higher levels of LDL are generally due to an unbalanced diet. Most people are not aware of the average balanced should be. An unbalanced diet can cause because patients can contract a heart disease particularly with a diet that comprises of high levels of saturated fats.

Research conducted by Chinese Scientists in 2018 found that supplements based on Spirulina can go a long way in controlling the levels of undesired fats.

Spirulina is a microalga which has been traditionally used as a food supplement because of its high nutritional value. Though it was being used for centuries its true potential was investigated in 2018.

A leading retailer from the United Kingdom, Holland and Barrett provided some important insight into the use of Spirulina. The store says that it is full of nutrients. It says, “It’s packed with nutrients, including B vitamins, beta-carotene, copper and iron, as well as small amounts of magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

“You can take spirulina in tablets, capsules or as a powder that can be added to shakes and smoothies for a nutritional boost. It’s also increasingly popular as an ingredient in snack or energy balls.”

As there is no recommended dosage the store adds: “Make sure you follow any instructions or recommendations on the product label before taking. Talk to your GP or a trained dietician or nutritionist if you’re concerned.”

“You should not take spirulina if you are pregnant – there’s not enough evidence to prove it is safe, have an auto-immune disease – it may cause the condition to flare up, or are taking blood-thinning medication – it may slow blood clotting.

“If you are on any medication, check you your doctor that it is safe to take spirulina at the same time.”

Apart from Spirulina other substances are also being tested to see if they can help in the control and restriction of cholesterol in the body. So far, based on a study, activated charcoal has been identified as a great choice. The study revealed that 8 grams of activated charcoal taken thrice daily for a month reduced the LDL levels by as high as 41%.

Spirulina requirements are somewhat less than those of active charcoal with studies suggesting that 1-8 grams per day could suffice. The studies also suggested that the antioxidant properties of the algae could help in preventing heart disease as well.

Spirulina itself is safe but it can get contaminated by toxins. If safe and healthy spirulina can be obtained then it can help in reducing a life-threatening condition. People who are allergic to seafood should consume spirulina with caution.

Adeena Tariq

Emma’s professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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