Irritable Bowel Syndrome Can Now Be Treated With Algae

In a new study, scientists have shown that a certain type of algae has positive effects on gastrointestinal problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome, such as diarrhea, flatulence, pain and bloating.



Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is the most studied algae in the world. For decades, it has been used as a model for the development of biofuels or for studying the evolution of plants. While other algae are used in food supplements to provide vitamins, proteins and fiber, the health benefits of consuming Chlamydomonas reinhardtii have not yet been researched.

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This is good for you

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have shown in a new study that these algae can improve symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome such as diarrhea, bloating and gas. The results of their work were published in the Journal of Functional Foods. “People have been observing this seaweed for decades, but this is the first study to show what many suspected: It’s good for you,” says Stephen Mayfield, lead author of the study.

The symptoms diminish or even disappear

In previous analyses in rats, it was found that consumption of C. reinhardtii reduces weight loss in rats with acute colitis as a result of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Based on these results, researchers at Mayfield Laboratory performed a similar test on human volunteers. For one month, these participants took daily scoops of C. reinhardtii powder made from biomass while reporting on their gastrointestinal health. As a result, volunteers who had symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome reported less diarrhea and intestinal discomfort. Their gas and bloating were significantly reduced and bowel movements became regular.

The microbiota was not impacted

The positive effects of these algae were therefore quickly observed. In addition, the researchers determined on the basis of stool samples that the intestinal microbiota of the participants continued to be diverse. This is associated with good health. The actual composition of the intestinal bacteria has not really changed, which is encouraging. The researchers in the study now want to carry out tests with more people and over longer periods of time. They also still do not know how these algae improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract.


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