In recent health news, two natural foods have been singled out for their ability to protect your cells from damage. Both spirulina and whey protein were studied in a recent trial conducted at the National Research Center, Taif University, Saudi Arabia.
Spirulina is a fresh-water alga. This healing food contains a whopping 60% protein content. If this doesn’t sound special to you, consider the following percentages of protein content: red meat, at 27%; and soy, at 34%. Spirulina also contains an impressive array of minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium, along with a ton of vitamins. Whey protein is a collective term referring to a group of proteins found in milk. Beta-lactoglobulin is the most abundant whey protein making up approximately 50% to 55% of the whey proteins. Beta-lactoglobulin provides an excellent source of the essential and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are the chief building blocks of protein and are needed to form muscle.
Back to the study now, in which Saudi researchers evaluated the antioxidant potential of spirulina and whey protein to protect DNA and counteract oxidative stress in rats. Eighty male rats were divided into eight groups, which included a control group and a group fed an aflatoxins-contaminated diet. Aflatoxins are a class of toxic compounds that are produced by certain molds found in food, and can cause liver damage and cancer. Other groups included rats treated orally with whey protein concentrate, a group treated orally with spirulina and a group treated orally with whey protein plus spirulina.
After conducting a number of tests, the researchers found that supplementation with spirulina or whey protein reduced the oxidative stress induced by the aflatoxins. Both supplements also inhibited DNA damage. Moreover, whey protein was found to be more effective than spirulina and the combined treatment was more effective than the single treatment. The research team concluded that both spirulina and whey protein demonstrate a protective action against toxin-induced DNA damage.
To learn more about spirulina, read the article Algae That Could Lower Risk for Osteoporosis and Reduce Blood Sugar.
You can find both spirulina and whey protein at your local health-food store and as healthy ingredients in many snack foods.