Spirulina, a naturally occurring molecule that can regulate high blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. Explanations.
Considered by many to be a "super food" because of its high content of vitamins and proteins, the alga Arthrospira platensis, better known as spirulina, could also be of great help in treating high blood pressure.
Researchers belonging to the Laboratory of Vascular Physiopathology of the IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli working in collaboration with the University of Salerno, the Sapienza University of Rome and the Federico II University of Naples have indeed discovered in Spirulina a peptide, c that is to say a molecule composed of amino acids, able to dilate the arteries and thus leading to an antihypertensive action. Their study, published in the journal Hypertension, was conducted in the laboratory on both a murine model and isolated arteries.
An antihypertensive effect
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a hyperpressure of blood on the walls of the arteries. In general, patients with hypertension have a blood pressure score greater than 130 out of 80, although those with a first number greater than 120 are now considered to have high blood pressure. Silent disease, high blood pressure stiffens the arteries and makes them age prematurely, exposing them to a major risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarction, stroke and kidney failure.
Named SP6, the peptide was extracted from spirulina by "simulated gastrointestinal digestion on the raw spirulina extract", explains Albino Carrizzo, lead author of the study. "In other words, we reproduced what happens in the gut after ingesting the substance, so we were able to isolate the peptides that would be absorbed by the body."
Thus identified for the first time, the SP6 peptide was administered in isolated blood vessels in the laboratory. He then showed a vasodilator action, a potentially antihypertensive effect. This led the researchers to administer the SP6 peptide to hypertensive animals: the latter then made it possible to effectively lower their arterial pressure.
"We know that hypertensive patients often have a defect in the natural processes that, through the action of nitric oxide, regulate the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels, in contact with the blood, ed.). that we have isolated in Spirulina extract has a positive effect on this mechanism, "says Carmine Vecchione, professor at the University of Salerno and head of the vascular physiopathology laboratory of the Neuromed Institute.
While he acknowledges that more research will soon be needed, the scientist is optimistic. "We believe that SP6 could be a natural adjunct to current pharmacological treatments to improve endothelial function and, therefore, fight hypertension," he concludes.
Spirulina, a "super food" with many virtues
Nicknamed "the richest food on the planet", spirulina has been used for several years as a dietary supplement. Marketed in the form of dehydrated powder, in capsules, tablets or sometimes fresh, this green blue filamentous cyanobacterium, often wrongly considered as an algae, is notably known for providing excellent quality proteins. It is also an excellent source of iron, also contains vitamins A, E, D, B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B8 and K as well as minerals and trace elements: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc , sodium, manganese, chromium, copper, potassium and selenium.
Although its mechanism of action is still under investigation, spirulina can boost the immune system, help control weight and a normal level of sugar in the blood or strengthen the natural defenses of the body .