Study reveals the magic of muscle-boosting algae

With most of us looking for alternatives to eating animals, new research has found a surprisingly eco-friendly source of protein – algae.

University of Exeter study has been published Journal of Nutrition And it is the first of its kind to demonstrate that ingestion of two of the most commercially available algae species is rich in protein that supports muscle rebuilding in young healthy adults. Their findings suggest that algae may be an interesting and sustainable alternative to animal-derived proteins with regard to maintaining and building muscle.

Our work shows that algae can be part of a safe and sustainable food future. As more and more people are trying to eat less meat for ethical and environmental reasons, interest in non-animal-derived and sustainably produced proteins is increasing. “We believe it is important and necessary to begin looking at these alternatives and have identified algae as a promising novel protein source.”

Ino van der Heijden, Researcher, University of Exeter

Foods rich in protein and essential amino acids have the ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which can be measured in the laboratory by determining the incorporation of labeled amino acids into muscle tissue proteins and translated into rates over time. May go. Animal-derived protein sources strongly stimulate muscle protein synthesis at rest and after exercise.

However, because animal-based protein production is associated with increasing ethical and environmental concerns, it has now been discovered that an interesting eco-friendly alternative to animal-derived proteins is algae. Grown under controlled conditions, Spirulina and Chlorella are two of the most commercially available algae that contain high amounts of micronutrients and are rich in protein. However, the ability of Spirulina and Chlorella to stimulate myofibrillar protein synthesis in humans remains unknown.

To bridge the knowledge gap, researchers at the University of Exeter compared spirulina and an established high-quality non-animal-derived dietary protein source (fungal-derived mycoprotein) to blood amino acid concentrations at rest and fasting. Assessed the effects of chlorella consumption. -Exercise myofibrillar protein synthesis rate. Thirty-six healthy young adults participated in the randomized, double-blind trial. After a one-legged resistance leg exercise, participants consumed a drink containing 25 grams of protein from fungal-derived mycoprotein, spirulina or chlorella. Blood and skeletal muscle samples were collected at baseline and during a four-hour postprandial and post-exercise period. Blood amino acid concentrations and myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in resting and exercising tissues were evaluated.

Protein intake increased amino acid concentrations in blood, but with the most rapid and higher peak responses following intake of spirulina compared to mycoprotein and chlorella. Protein intake increased myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in both resting and exercised tissues, with no differences between groups, but higher rates in exercised tissues compared to resting muscles.

This study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that ingestion of spirulina or chlorella robustly stimulates myofibrillar protein synthesis in resting and exercising muscle tissue, and compared to a high-quality non-animal derived counterpart ( mycoprotein) to an extent equal to.

In a companion commentary, Lucy Rogers and Professor Leigh Breen of the University of Birmingham highlight the strength and utility of these novel findings, as well as identify ways forward for future research that focuses on diverse populations such as older adults. .

the paper is entitled Algae consumption increases resting and exercise myofibrillar protein synthesis rates similar to mycoprotein in young adults. and has been published in Journal of Nutrition,


Journal Reference:

van der Heijden, I., and others. (2023). Algae consumption increases resting and exercise myofibrillar protein synthesis rates similar to mycoprotein in young adults. Journal of Nutrition,

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