Could algae hold the key to reducing cholesterol?

A recent study, published in the Nutrition Journal, looked at the impact in people who had slightly raised cholesterol of taking chlorella, a type of fresh water algae. 63 subjects took part in the double blind, placebo controlled trial, over four weeks and, by the scientists own admission, the results were remarkable.

Those in the study who took the chlorella saw their serum triglyceride levels (the amount of fat in their blood) drop by a massive 10%, as opposed to those on the placebo who saw their levels rise by nearly 12%. Likewise there was a drop in very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol) of 11% in those taking the chlorella and a rise in those on the placebo of nearly 12%.

Whilst the researchers didn’t look in depth at how chlorella’s actions may be working they found some evidence to suggest it acts to reduce the amount of fats absorbed by the body.

What is particularly significant about these results is that patients were only using 5g of chlorella a day, an amount that can easily be added to everyone’s diets in the form of a powder in smoothies or sprinkled over salads or taken as a capsule.

The results also come at a time when some cholesterol drug use is being looked at very closely. Whilst drugs can reduce bad cholesterol levels by much more than 12%, and no doubt researchers will want to try and repeat the results from this study, this research highlights the huge potential of chlorella as being an easy and healthy way to reduce cholesterol in those who have slightly raised cholesterol levels.

 

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