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Microalga May Help Improve Cholesterol Levels

Microalga are microscopic, photosynthetic organisms that are often living as single cells and floating as plankton. A new study has found that supplementation with oil derived from the microalga Nannochloropsis that contains EPA and polar lipids may help improve very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. 

One hundred and twenty adults participated in the study. They took a gram microalga capsule or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The microalga capsule contained 250mg of EPA, 150mg of polar lipids, and 40mg of arachidonic acid. The researchers measured EPA levels, blood pressure, fasting total cholesterol, triglycerides, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) at baseline and at the end of the study period. 

Participants in the microalga group saw in increase in EPA concentration levels from 0.82 to 1.27. They also saw a 25% decrease in VLDL levels and total cholesterol levels decreased by 3%. Participants with higher total cholesterol levels at baseline saw a 27% decrease in VLDL and a 4% decrease in total cholesterol. Participants in the placebo group saw no change in VLDL levels and a slight increase in total cholesterol levels.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney. It was published online ahead of print on June 23, 2020 in the journal Nutrients.

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