Whole-cell algae consumption reduces gastrointestinal issues

Researchers from the University of California San Diego have published a study showing Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is beneficial for gastrointestinal health

Photo as seen in the published paper

Researchers from the University of California San Diego have shown that consumption of whole-cell Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has positive impacts on gastrointestinal health.

The paper published in Journal of Functional Foods examined the the impact of single-celled eukaryote green algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, first on rodents, then on humans.

51 human participants completed the study, taking either 1 or 3 g of algae daily. These 51 reported their findings through a questionnaire, and contributed stool samples for gut microbiome analyses.

Though asymptomatic participants reported few changes when regularly consuming C. reinhardtii, participants who typically experienced frequent gastrointestinal symptoms reported significantly less bowel discomfort or diarrhoea, significantly less gas or bloating, more regular bowel movements, and better stool consistency.

Statistically speaking, the results suggested that C. reinhardtii biomass can act as a functional ingredient to reduce the frequency of bowel discomfort and diarrhoea in symptomatic humans.

Mystery link

The causational link is still in questions however, as analysis of participant stool samples suggested the gut microbiome composition in all groups remained complex, and no signs of dysbiosis or adverse effect on microbial composition were observed.

This lack of change in microbiome meant the researchers concluded that this suggests that reported benefits are perhaps caused by a bioactive molecule in the algal biomass or a potentially a shift in gene expression of the gut bacteria brought about by consuming the algae. “However, in order to solidify either of these deductions, additional research must be conducted with a greater number of volunteers,” the conclusion read.

Link to the article online here.