Algae may be just what you need to make your gut alright

If a healthy gut is the foundation of a healthy mind and body (and research shows that it is), it’s no wonder so many of us are dealing with mental and physical health issues…

Our guts are ailing us on a massive scale. Acid reflux, ulcers, constipation, diverticulitis, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, food allergies, and intolerances.

Something is not agreeing with our guts. The question is… what can we do about it?

Diet’s going to play the biggest role in getting your gut health back on track. But I’m also a fan of using supplements to support your gut health. Some of the most popular gut-supporting supplements are probiotics, digestive enzymes, collagen, and fiber.

But there’s another supplement you may not immediately associate with gut health even though it has an amazing ability to get a grumpy gut back in alignment — algae.

The algae that gets IBS in check

A new study from researchers at the University of California San Diego found that an algae called C. reinhardtii improves diarrhea, gas and bloating associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The study included 51 people. Some of these people had symptoms of IBS, others didn’t. But they all received daily spoonfuls of powdered C. reinhardtii.

Everyone in the study kept track of their gastrointestinal health for one month. And people with IBS reported less gastrointestinal symptoms during that period.  They had:

  • Less bowel discomfort
  • Less diarrhea
  • Not as much gas or bloating
  • More regular bowel movements

Now, before you run to the store to buy yourself a bottle of C. reinhardtii, you should know, this is the first time C. reinhardtii’s effect on human health has been studied. It’s been studied extensively for other purposes, like its potential as a biofuel. It’s even been studied in mice before…

In fact, mouse studies show that C. reinhardtii stops weight loss in mice with acute colitis, an inflammatory disease that affects the digestive tract and causes unhealthy weight loss.

But it’s new to the human health arena, so you probably won’t be able to buy it for a while. That’s okay, though. You have plenty of other algae options…

The other algae that can tame a grumpy gut

C. reinhardtii is far from the only algae with beneficial effects on the digestive system. Other algae species contain healthy oils, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and fiber that can support digestion and overall health. One that I’d recommend trying is spirulina.

Peak Digestion

Protects You From Unwanted Effects of Gluten Ingestion, Calms Stomach Upset and Supports Digestion!

Spirulina is blue-green algae that grows naturally in mineral-rich alkaline lakes. It contains protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitamins A, K, and B. It’s also an antioxidant reported to have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Reported health benefits include cholesterol balancing, anxiety relief, metabolism support and, of course, digestive help.

Some people say it tastes like a mouthful of lake water. But if you add a powdered scoop to a smoothie or stir a spoonful into your favorite berry yogurt, you won’t even notice it’s there. But your digestive system will be happy it is.

Sources:

  1. Algae shown to improve gastrointestinal health— MedicalXpress
  2. Effects of the microalgae Chlamydomonas on gastrointestinal healthJournal of Functional Foods
  3. Time To Stock Up On Seaweed: New Study Finds Algae Can Help Leaky Gut— MindBodyGreen
  4. Leaky Gut Supplements: What You Need to Know to Feel Better— Healthline
  5. 15 ways superfood spirulina will surprise you— Easy Health Options

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.