Health Benefits of Blue-Green Algae: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

The anti-inflammatory function of BGA is mediated, at least in part, by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway to decrease the production of proinflammatory mediators. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the health-promoting functions of BGA against cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are major health threats in the developed countries. BGA contain various bioactive components, such as phycocyanin, carotenoids, γ-linolenic acid, fibers, and plant sterols, which can promote optimal health in humans. BGA inhibit intestinal cholesterol absorption and decrease hepatic lipids, lowering plasma total cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations. BGA can also reduce inflammation by inhibiting the nuclear factor κ B activity, consequently reducing the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Studies have demonstrated that several BGA species or their active components have plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering properties due to their modulation of intestinal cholesterol absorption and hepatic lipogenic gene expression. Studies in cells, animals, and humans, have demonstrated that edible BGA can be an effective natural product for improving blood lipid profiles and for preventing inflammation and oxidative stress. However, safety assessments of any BGA species should precede recommendations for the BGA consumption in humans because contamination of toxin-producing BGA has been reported in some naturally

Blue-green algae (BGA) are among the most primitive life forms on earth and have been consumed as food or medicine by humans for centuries. BGA contain various bioactive components, such as phycocyanin, carotenoids, γ-linolenic acid, fibers, and plant sterols, which can promote optimal health in humans. Studies have demonstrated that several BGA species or their active components have plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering properties due to their modulation of intestinal cholesterol absorption and hepatic lipogenic gene expression. BGA can also reduce inflammation by inhibiting the nuclear factor κ B activity, consequently reducing the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, BGA inhibit lipid peroxidation and have free radical scavenging activity, which can be beneficial for the protection against oxidative stress. The aforementioned effects of BGA can contribute to the prevention of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the health-promoting functions of BGA against cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are major health threats in the developed countries.

There has been an increasing demand for dietary interventions for the prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as CVD and NAFLD. Studies in cells, animals, and humans, have demonstrated that edible BGA can be an effective natural product for improving blood lipid profiles and for preventing inflammation and oxidative stress. As described in Figure 1, BGA contain bioactive components, namely, carotenoids, GLA, PC, fibers, and plant sterols, which can be beneficial for preventing CVD and NAFLD. BGA inhibit intestinal cholesterol absorption and decrease hepatic lipids, lowering plasma total cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations. The anti-inflammatory function of BGA is mediated, at least in part, by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway to decrease the production of proinflammatory mediators. BGA can also decrease oxidative stress due to their free radical scavenging activity and inhibition of lipid peroxidation. In conclusion, BGA can be consumed as a dietary supplement or a food component to obtain health benefits against CVD and NAFLD. However, safety assessments of any BGA species should precede recommendations for the BGA consumption in humans because contamination of toxin-producing BGA has been reported in some naturally harvested BGA products.