Spirulina is celebrated as a so-called "superfood" because of its possible beneficial properties, although its mechanism of action is still under investigation. With the scientific name of Arthrospira platensis , spirulina is a cyanobacterium capable of photosynthesis. Sometimes classified as a "blue algae," it was supposedly used as a food by the Aztecs.

Hypertension 

(HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP) , is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure usually does not cause symptoms. Long-term high blood pressure, however, is a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, vascular disease, vision loss, chronic kidney disease, and dementia.

High blood pressure is classified as either primary (essential) high blood pressure or secondary high blood pressure. Now, research from the Vascular Physiopathology Laboratory of the IRCCS Neuromedin Pozzilli (Italy) shows that one of its extracts may counteract arterial hypertension by dilating blood vessels.

Neuromed researchers, working in collaboration with the University of Salerno, Sapienza University of Rome and Federico II University of Naples, isolated to a peptide from spirulina extract capable of dilating arteries, thus leading to antihypertensive action. The study, published in the journal Hypertension, was conducted both in the laboratory, on isolated arteries, and animal models.

Albino Carrizzo, the first author of the paper, says, "The research started by conducting simulated gastrointestinal digestion on the raw extract of spirulina, in other words, we reproduced what happens in the human body after ingesting the substance. able to isolate the peptides that would be absorbed by our body. "

One of the isolated peptides, SP6 , has been identified for the first time. Administered to isolated blood vessels in the lab, it showed vasodilatory action, a potentially antihypertensive effect. This led researchers to apply SP6 to hypertensive animals, resulting in a lowering of blood pressure.

Carmine Vecchione , a professor at the University of Salerno and head of Vascular Physiopathology Laboratory at the Neuromed Institute, says, "We know that hypertensive patients often have a defect in the natural processes that, by the action of nitric oxide, regulate endothelium (the inner wall of blood vessels.) The peptide we isolated in spirulina extract acts positively on this mechanism.

Of course, further research will be necessary, but we think that SP6 could be a natural adjuvant to common pharmacological therapies to improve endothelial function and, consequently, combat hypertension. "