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Green Algae May Help Improve Irritable Bowel Symptoms

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a type of green algae that is found all over the world in soil, fresh water, and oceans. According to a new study, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may help improve irritable bowel symptoms including diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

Fifty-one adults who were experiencing varying degrees of gastrointestinal symptoms participated in the study. They were broken into 4 groups:

  1. Low-frequency symptoms who consumed 1 gram of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii daily;
  2. Low-frequency symptoms who consumed 3 grams of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii daily;
  3. High-frequency symptoms who consumed 1 gram of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii daily;
  4. High-frequency symptoms who consumed 3 grams of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii daily.

The participants completed questionnaires throughout the month to report on their gastrointestinal health. They also provided three stool samples – one before beginning algae consumption, another one week after beginning consumption, and the third after 4 weeks of consumption.

Prior to consuming the algae, low-frequency symptom participants reported experiencing bowel discomfort, bloating, gas, or diarrhea rarely. After consuming the algae that changed to almost never. Prior to algae consumption, high-frequency symptom participants reported experiencing bowel discomfort, bloating, gas or diarrhea often or sometimes. The majority reported feeling symptoms rarely after algae consumption. Frequency of bowel movements increased in both groups.

No adverse effect on the microbial composition of the participants was found.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego. It was published online ahead of print on December 19, 2020 in the Journal of Functional Foods.

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