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Chlamy Helps Gut Issues

February 10, 2020

In professor Stephen Mayfield’s lab on the UC San Diego campus, scientist Frank Fields and other researchers grow algae samples, including one specific species, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. “We’ve usually explored it as a host for the production of pharmaceuticals or biofuels, but now that we are starting to look at how we can use algae as a food, we wanted to focus on this species,” Mr. Fields said.

UCSD scientists first looked at the algae’s effects on mice with stomach problems. Then, the researchers asked a group of about 50 people, half with healthy guts and the other half with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, to eat a couple of scoops of “Chlamy” — in freeze-dried powder form — for a month. “And what we found in the case of the mice and our human volunteers is that they both improved in their gastrointestinal function over time as they were eating this algae,” he said.

“People have been looking at this algae for decades, but this is the first study to show what many of us have suspected,” Dr. Mayfield said. It is “exciting because it demonstrates a clear benefit: If you have IBS-like symptoms, this is good for you.”

Video by Nicholas McVicker, Courtesy KPBS

Reported by Shalina Chatlani

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