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Algae powder as a supplement: what you need to know

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In this detailed guide, we tell you everything you need to know about algae protein powder. Learn about the benefits and how you can eat it.

Algae are aquatic organisms, similar to plants, in that they are capable of photosynthesis. But they do not have roots, stems, or leaves. Most people have seen them growing in lakes and oceans, but not everyone knows that they are also edible. From a nutritional point of view, they have a lot to contribute. So stay tuned and you will learn more about algae powder and what this supplement can give you.

Algae protein is a supplement that is said to have many different properties, such as a high content of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Below we will study this product in more depth, looking at its benefits, contraindications, and recommendations for consumption.

Nutritional value in algae

Algae have high nutritional value, although this depends on the species of algae. There are 27,000 species in the world, and only 50 are suitable for human consumption.

Common to all of them, however, is a high protein content, which makes them a complete food. In addition, they provide vitamins and fiber and only a little fat.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of algae in general, which when turned into powder retains most of these nutrients.

A good source of protein

Algae is a protein source of high biological value. The protein content can vary from 10 to 30% when converted into powder.

Amino acids vary depending on the algal species. In general, non-essential amino acids such as glycine, arginine, alanine, glutamic acid, and cystine predominate.

Red algae, in particular, are also sources of taurine, an essential amino acid. Lysine is the essential amino acid that predominates in algae.

The high content of vitamins and minerals

In addition, algae is a source of vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, and E, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. To this, we can add a high content of minerals, which are found in abundant quantities in this food.

100 grams of algae powder can provide between 12 and 42 grams of minerals. These include calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, molybdenum, and manganese.

The fat content in algae is low, between 1% and 5%. But among the lipids, it contains there is a high proportion of essential fatty acids. They synthesize long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Red algae have a high content of EPA, palmitic acid, oleic acid, and arachidonic acid. Brown algae, on the other hand, have high amounts of omega-9, omega-3, and omega-6, but have lower EPA content.

Green algae have more essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Other fatty acids are palmitic acid, oleic acid, and DHA.

Carbohydrate and fiber content

The carbohydrate content varies from 42% to 76%. They include soluble carbohydrates, agar, carrageenans, pectins, and sugars.

The percentage of fiber content in algae can vary depending on the species. On average, they contain 25 grams per 100 grams of fiber, most of the soluble type.

The nutritional value of spirulina

The most common algae are spirulina, but all other edible algae can also be turned into powder. Its composition is as follows:

  • Lipids: 6%
  • Ash: 6.4%
  • Liquid: 4%
  • Proteins: 60%
  • Dietary fiber: 0.1%
  • Carbohydrates: 13%
  • Chlorophyll: 6.10 grams per kilogram

The benefits of algae powder

Despite the fact that algae contain a variety of compounds, below we will concentrate on the specific benefits of their protein content, which constitutes 60% of their nutritional value.

Very easy to digest

Algae are simple photosynthetic organisms that contain nutrients that are easy for the body to digest and absorb. In addition, they cause only a little stomach upset compared to other types of protein.

Comparative studies show that the protein found in algae is better digested than whey protein, which is another important protein. Another study shows that cooking and drying do not affect the concentration of amino acids.

Algae powder as a supplement gives you important amino acids

It is important to note that red algae contain taurine. This amino acid is found in most tissues.

Taurine is involved in the physiological processes of osmoregulation, membrane stabilization, immune system processes, and eye and nervous system development.

Taurine is found in a few foods. The main one that contains it is breast milk, so it is not easy to find adults in the market.

Brown algae, on the other hand, contain phosphoserine. This is a stimulant for the body’s mental functions, improving memory and learning. In addition, it increases concentration under stress. It can also prevent and slow down age-related brain deterioration.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents

Among the proteins in algae, there are two groups, called lectins and phycobiliproteins. Lectins bind to carbohydrates and participate in biological processes of intercellular communication. They also have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory functions.

Phycobiliproteins are protein-pigment complexes with antioxidant properties and may be beneficial in the prevention or treatment of diseases associated with oxidative stress.

They are also known to have other derived compounds, which may be involved in biological functions, such as antihypertensive, immunomodulatory, antithrombotic, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects, in addition to their effects as nutrients.

Algae powder supplements can help you increase muscle mass

Protein supplements help increase strength and muscle mass. Therefore, it is necessary to get protein in conjunction with a training plan.

Possible contraindications to supplementation with algae powder

Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in algae. There is thus a risk with this supplement for people suffering from phenylketonuria.

Patients with this condition cannot break down this amino acid, which therefore accumulates in the body. When the disease is not treated, it can cause intellectual disability, brain damage, and seizures.

How do you take algae powder as a supplement?

You should know that seaweed powder has a strong, bitter, and salty taste, so it might be a good idea to try to contrast it. For example, you can add a spoonful of powder to juices , yogurt, smoothies, or other liquid foods.

It is recommended for breakfast but also for other meals, and goes well with the following ingredients:

  • Yogurt
  • Porridge
  • Rice
  • Salads
  • Soups and broths
  • Soy smoothie

If you want to start taking it, you should consume between 500 milligrams to 1 gram, 1 to 3 times a day. It is always advisable to consult a medical specialist to best adapt the dose to your particular needs.

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