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In this third part of the analysis we will see which are the most defining components of algae such as chlorophyll, minerals and trace elements
In two previous articles we have analyzed, in detail, the components and the therapeutic properties of algae, given the importance they are currently acquiring, both at a culinary, environmental, and therapeutic level.
In the first part, we analyze the proteins, fatty acids and carbohydrates that algae have (Atsushi, Kazi, Idam, Nobuyoshi, Junichi et al., 2014).
In the following article, we delve into the components of algae, making special reference to vitamins, alginic acid and alginates, ending with fucinic acid and fucans (Hanssen et al., 2014).
Following the most relevant research on the subject, (Barbosa, Coutinho, Costa and Reis, 2019; Li, Wu, Shao, Wang, Qian and Xu, 2013) we will see below the most characteristic components of algae:
- It is a green pigment, present in plants and algae.
- Its biological activity is fundamental, since it is what makes photosynthesis possible. This process is essential for the development of life on earth.
- It acts as a solar captor, attracting and capturing energy-rich light particles.
- In algae, chlorophyll is found in chloroplasts and absorbs only the red and blue of the solar spectrum (which reach the Earth, even in cloudy weather and overcast the sun) and reflects green.
- At the same time, chlorophyll protects the cells of plants, cooling them and preserving them from ultraviolet radiation.
- In this way, chlorophyll prevents plants from drying out, while stimulating the production of nutrients.
- The human being, who is at the end of the food chain, takes advantage of all these concentrated components
- Chlorophyll, at a therapeutic level, is characterized by:
- Avoid constipation.
- Increase repair of damaged tissues.
- Help lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Fight bad breath.
- They have anticarcinogenic properties.
Mineral salts and trace elements
- Seaweed is rich in calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
- The mineral content of some reaches 36% of their dry weight, which makes them the food with the highest contribution of these substances.
- During cooking in water, mineral salts tend to stay in the liquid. For this reason, the “broth” of the seaweed should not be thrown away, but used for herbal teas or soups.
- Another source of health is the so-called trace elements (or trace elements), which are arousing growing interest in terms of their key role in all vital metabolic processes and also to combat early aging.
- Trace elements are also mainly responsible for the detoxifying properties of algae.
- Of special interest are iodine, zinc, silicon, cobalt, chromium, and manganese.
- Let’s see how small doses of these substances influence our health:
- The human body contains a total of 2 to 3.5 grams of zinc.
- If the level of zinc in the pancreas falls, there is an imbalance in the secretion of insulin, increasing blood sugar
- For insulin to be effective, it must contain zinc
- Lack of zinc causes fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
2. COBALT AND IRON
- Essential for making hemoglobin, which is the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells.
- Its lack can cause severe anemia.
3. CHROME AND MANGANESE
- In infinitesimal amounts, they lower the level of glucose in the blood (glycemia) in juvenile diabetes, since they play a very important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
- In combination with calcium, it strengthens the bones and keeps them flexible.
- It is part of the composition of the nails, hair and skin.
- Dermatoses (skin conditions) heal faster when supplemental silicon is provided in the diet.
- Silicon helps keep hair strong and shiny, and prevents hair loss.
- For the thyroid gland to function normally, it needs 150 micrograms of iodine per day.
- For example, in Switzerland (a developed and rich country although far from the sea), despite the fact that common kitchen salt is enriched with this substance, it has been found that the contribution of iodine in human nutrition is insufficient in most of the population.
- In inhabitants of some towns in underdeveloped countries, it is common to find multiple cases of hypothyroidism due to this deficiency.
- A thyroid with decreased activity due to lack of iodine, exerts an unfavorable action on the pancreas.
- In addition, iodine decongests the lymph nodes, activates the secretion of the endocrine glands, and facilitates cell metabolism.
- Seaweed is 5 times richer in iodine than seawater itself. For this reason, people affected by hyperthyroidism should not consume food supplements made from seaweed without consulting their doctor beforehand.
- However, people with hypothyroidism can safely ingest freshwater algae (such as Haematococcus Pluvialis, which gives rise to the pigment Astaxanthin, which we talk about so much in Algamania).
In summary, the existing scientific literature on the subject indicates that marine algae are rich in minerals essential for health, such as iodine, iron and calcium, among others. Algae stand out, above all, for their high concentration of iodine, a mineral essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and which is not easy to find in foods that do not have marine origin.
Also interesting is the contribution of minerals such as phosphorus and calcium that appear highly concentrated in seaweed (as an example, it is considered that Spaghetti sea algae provides a lot of phosphorus, while Hijiki seaweed is especially rich in calcium (Müller et al., 2013).
In addition to that, algae have a high concentration of iron that also appears naturally accompanied by vitamin C, which favors its absorption by the body (Capitanio, Sinagra, Weller, Brown and Berardesca, 2012).
Atsushi, F., Kazi, AS., Idam, H., Nobuyoshi, A., Junichi, T., Hidenori, T., Atsuya, Y., Kohji, M., Masamichi, N., Masayoshi, T., Poh, WP., Youichi, S., Naoki, Y. et al. (2014). Identification and Biochemical Characterization of Halisulfate 3 and Suvanine as Novel Inhibitors of Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Helicase from a Marine Sponge. Marine Drugs, 12 (1), 462-476.
Barbosa, A., Coutinho, A.J., Costa, S.A. and Reis, S. (2019). Marine polysaccharides in pharmaceutical applications: Marine Polysaccharides in Pharmaceutical Applications: Fucoidan and Chitosan as Key Players in the Drug Delivery Match Field. Marine Drugs, 17 (12), pii: E654.
Capitanio, B., Sinagra, J.L., Weller, R.B., Brown, C. and Berardesca, E. (2012). Randomized controlled study of a cosmetic treatment for mild acne. Clin. Exp. Dermatol., 37 (4), 346-349.
Hanssen, KO. et al., (2014). The Bromotyrosine Derivative Ianthelline Isolated from the Arctic Marine Sponge Stryphnus fortis Inhibits Marine Micro-and Macrobiofouling. Marine Biotechnology, (NY) 19 (1), 213-219.
Li, YX., Wu, HX., Shao, CL., Wang, CY., Qian, PY. and Xu, Y. (2013). Antifouling Activity of Secondary Metabolites Isolated from Chinese Marine Organisms. Marine Biotechnology (NY), 15 (1), 552-558.
Müller, WE. et al. (2013). Principles of biofouling protection in marine sponges: a model for the design of novel biomimetic and bio-inspired coatings in the marine environment ?. Marine Biotechnology, (NY) 15 (1), 375-398.
Ruxton C. and Jenkins, G. (2013). A novel topical ingredient derived from seaweed significantly reduces symptoms of acne vulgaris: A general literature review. J. Cosmet. Sci., 64 (1), 219-226.