Got Pond Scum? Eating Algae Could Help Control Diabetes and Keep You Fit

Diabetes conjures up images of needles and insulin pumps, but future treatment may also include a healthy diet of algae.

Solazyme, a San Francisco Bay Area green tech company, and the University of Manitoba have secured a… patent for using a strain of microalgae called Chlorella protothecoides to treat people with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes.

Research suggests that consuming algae can lower blood sugar levels: A 2008 study found that animals’ consumption of Chlorella protothecoides resulted in lower blood sugar levels.

In another study 17 healthy people and 17 subjects at risk for lifestyle-related diseases were fed algae for four months. The researchers noticed significant reductions in body fat, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in the algae eaters—all good things. The scientists also noticed that in the high-risk group, genes involved in fat metabolism and insulin signaling fluctuated, suggesting that eating algae was altering people’s metabolism.

Solazyme spokesperson Katie Ringer said the company has found in animal testing that algae decreased blood sugar levels without relying on insulin. The patent claims that traditional treatments for diabetes and other illnesses could be reduced or eliminated after a subject starts consuming algae.

The company is also using the algae strain to boost the relative abundance of beneficial stomach bacteria that keep people healthy.

Solazyme was founded to make low-carbon algal biofuels. But as the company’s scientists developed new strains of algae, they discovered that with some tweaking the algae could be used as healthy substitutes for fat-and-cholesterol-laden butter, eggs, and other foods.

 

Photo caption: (Photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters)

Katharine Gammon, Take Part

View original article at: Got Pond Scum? Eating Algae Could Help Control Diabetes and Keep You Fit

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