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Phycocyanine: what is it and what are its benefits?

Écrit par Ecosystem Laboratoire - Publié le

Although spirulina seems to be increasingly well known to the general public, phycocyanin, which is one of its components, remains much less well known. Long used as a natural colouring agent, phycocyanin is involved in the photosynthesis of spirulina and gives it a bluish appearance. Phycocyanin also has many benefits for the body. Find out everything there is to know about phycocyanin in this article!

Where does phycocyanin come from?

Phycocyanin is one of the natural components of a now famous cyanobacterium: spirulina. Considered a superfood, spirulina is often consumed in the form of a food supplement and contains three different types of pigments: green, which is the dominant colour and corresponds to chlorophyll, orange for beta-carotene and blue for phycocyanine. In practice, spirulina consists of 10 to 18% phycocyanin, which makes it one of its main active molecules. While its distinctive blue colour has made it an ideal natural tissue dye for many years, phycocyanin has been the subject of several studies demonstrating its benefits for the body. It comes in two forms: C-phycocyanine and allophycocyanine. The former is often used in the cosmetics industry as well as in medicine, and has been studied in particular in the context of cancer treatment. Allophycocyanin is also frequently used in immunological tests. Today, like spirulina, it is available in the form of a food supplement, so it is interesting to learn about the benefits of phycocyanine.

The benefits of phycocyanin

In addition to being a particularly effective colouring agent, phycocyanin seems to have many benefits that have now been demonstrated. This molecule is thus nicknamed the "blue gold of spirulina".

  • 1st benefit: Phycocyanin to facilitate blood and cell oxygenation

One of the best known effects of phycocyanine is its ability to oxygenate blood and cells. Its molecular structure, similar to erythropoietin (EPO), allows it to facilitate the formation of red blood cells and makes it an ideal means of easily transporting oxygen in the blood. Phycocyanin's antioxidant properties also ensure that red and white blood cells are protected against oxidative stress generated by the production of free radicals. In other words, it helps the body's cells to breathe and renew themselves in a completely natural way. As a result, athletes are often recommended to consume it in order to achieve better performance and recovery following intense effort.

  • 2ᵉ benefit: An excellent anti-inflammatory

Among the main properties of phycocyanin is its anti-inflammatory action. Indeed, it acts as an inhibitor for certain enzymes that cause inflammation such as COX-2, lipoxygenases or iNOS. In addition to causing these problems, the latter also contribute to the damage of joints and cartilage, which can lead to severe pain, which can be largely alleviated by the anti-inflammatory properties of phycocyanine. Phycocyanine is a particularly effective painkiller: by blocking the activity of COX-2, for example, phycocyanine reduces the sensation of pain caused by inflammation. This is also known as an anti-hyperalgesic effect.

  • 3ᵉ benefit: A highly effective liver detoxifier

According to several studies, phycocyanin is said to participate in promoting the detoxification process of the liver, especially due to its antioxidant properties. The cleansing process of this vital organ is very complex and requires the presence of antioxidant enzymes. In addition, by ensuring better blood circulation, phycocyanin facilitates the elimination of toxic waste such as heavy metals clogging up organs such as the liver.

  • 4ᵉ benefit: An ally against bad cholesterol

Other benefits of phycocyanin include its ability to reduce the concentration of "bad" cholesterol in the blood. It effectively helps to reduce the presence of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, which are the cause of various disorders such as high blood pressure or overweight. Phycocyanin acts as a cholesterol-lowering agent, i.e. it naturally lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood.

  • 5ᵉ benefit: Phycocyanin to fight neurodegenerative diseases

As a powerful antioxidant, phycocyanin is very effective in protecting the neurological functions of the brain against oxidative stress, generated by the production of free radicals. In this respect, its action is even more effective than that of vitamins C and E. As a result, it prevents, among other things, the premature destruction of cells and tissues as well as the risk of diseases such as heart disease or neurodegenerative diseases. It also helps to combat strokes.

You now know the benefits of phycocyanine. Ecosystem Laboratoire offers you two liquid food supplements dedicated to spirulina, Mac Oc Premium and Mac Oc Classic!

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