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Cyane® spirulina, an organic and eco-friendly sports nutrition ingredient

Cyane® is made of 100% organic spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) cultivated in Brittany (north-western France) using environmentally friendly practices.

Cyane® contains 60% proteins as well as many minerals and vitamins, preserved through a conscientious processing method, thereby maximizing spirulina’s nutritional quality. Spirulina has many health benefits, particularly for the immune system, cardiovascular health and high blood pressure. Its superior taste is another one of its qualities.

Cyane® obtained organic certification from Ecocert in November 2017.

It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Elementa markets Cyane® in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Spain

Description

History of microalgae and spirulina

Spirulina belongs to the blue-green algae, a group of organisms that contributed to the emergence of life on Earth. These microalgae are photosynthetic single-celled microorganisms that have lived in fresh, brackish and saltwater for more than three billion years. There are more than 100,000 species of microalgae and only a dozen or so are cultivated (Cyane, 2017). There are two types of microalgae: eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Spirulina is a prokaryotic microalga that is classified in the phylum Cyanobacteria.

Research on microalgae began in the early 20th century, revealing the enormous potential of microalgae in many areas including cosmetics, energy and nutrition & health.  Among microalgae, spirulina is particularly interesting. It is commonly considered a “superfood” due to the variety of nutritional compounds it contains.

Cyane® spirulina

Cyane® is made of the spirulina species Arthrospira platensis cultivated and processed on the Plougastel-Daoulas peninsula in Brittany.

Owing to its cultivation practices and its special processing method, Cyane® has exceptional nutritional qualities and taste.

Cyane® spirulina is rich in proteins. Its contains roughly 60% high-quality proteins in terms of their amino acid profile and digestibility. Spirulina contains in particular 8 essential amino acids.

Cyane® is an exceptional source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It contains iron (94 mg in 100 g of powder) , beta-carotene (126.6 mg in 100 g of powder), vitamin B12 (107 µg in 100 g of powder).

It is moreover rich in phycocyanin, the only natural blue pigment, which also possesses powerful antioxidant activity. Cyane® contains small quantities of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, selenium, chlorophyll, etc. In addition, Cyane® contains 16% complex carbohydrates, which offer a progressive supply of energy to muscles in particular.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

   Classified as a “superfood”, spirulina has been cited by the World Health Organization as the best food for humankind in the 21st century and the most complete food. It gained this superfood status as the result of its excellent nutritional composition.

Spirulina is thus recommended for fighting against fatigue and stress, particularly during intense physical activity, nutritional deficiencies, or dieting.

Spirulina offers many benefits, particularly for cardiovascular health and exercise performance. Several studies have proven these effects on health and performance.

  1. Exercise performance
  2. Cardiovascular health

 

Exercise performance

Several clinical studies have demonstrated the effect of spirulina supplementation on exercise performance, with — in particular — improved muscle strength and reduced fatigue and muscle damage after taking supplements.

Sandhu et al. (2010) carried out a randomized controlled trial on 40 people in good health. In the trial, the participants were divided into two groups:

  • One group of physically active subjects, undergoing sports training (n = 20)
    • Of these, one subgroup took spirulina supplements (n= 10)
    • and another subgroup took a placebo (n=10)
  • One group of subjects not involved in any sports training (n=20)
    • Of these, one subgroup took supplements (n=10)
    • And another subgroup took a placebo (n=10).

The participants in the supplemented groups received 2g of spirulina (Spirulina platensis) daily for 8 weeks. The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of spirulina supplementation on muscle strength and endurance. Two isometric contractions of the quadriceps muscle in the dominant leg were measured to assess muscle strength and endurance (using an HUR1 5340 leg extension/curl computer-controlled instrument).

Between the beginning and the end of supplementation, the supplemented groups — but not the placebo groups — showed a significant increase in average and peak muscle force as well as a significant decrease in the fatigue index (Student’s t test).

The figure below shows the measurements of peak force (measured in Newton) before and after supplementation. In the supplemented sports-training group, the average force was 337.4  ± 77.40 N, which is 40% higher than in the placebo group, also practicing intense physical exercise.

Spirulina graph

After supplementation, there was a significant difference between the groups in terms of average and peak muscle strength. Moreover, muscle strength in the spirulina-supplemented sports-training group increased more (ANOVA, p<0.01) in those not undergoing any physical training (p<0.05) and significantly so compared with the placebo groups.

Therefore, daily supplementation with 2 g of spirulina affects muscle strength, particularly in those who practice intense physical activity.

Other studies on the effects of spirulina have been carried out.

Johnson et al. (2016) did a randomized double-blind controlled study on 17 men in good health to assess their level of mental and physical resistance to fatigue. One group received 3 g of spirulina (Spirulina platensis) per day (6 tablets of 500 mg) for 8 weeks. Spirulina supplementation improved fatigue in as little as 4 h after taking the supplement and still had an effect 8 weeks later (Uchida-Kraepelin mental fatigue test).

Practicing a sport and intensive use of muscles lead to the production of free radicals and other reactive oxygen species in the working muscle. This is due to an increase in oxygen consumption in tissues and to the inability of the body to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidation within cells, in particular of proteins, causing muscle fatigue (Jackson, 1998).

Daily spirulina supplements of 7.5 g for three weeks showed a significant decrease in the plasma concentrations of malondialdehyde, an oxidative stress marker in a group of people who exercise regularly (Lu et al, 2006). Other studies have demonstrated positive results on markers of inflammation.

Cardiovascular health and high blood pressure

The effect of spirulina on high blood pressure and cardiovascular health has also been proven.

In the Miczke et al. (2016) study, the objective was to assess the effects of spirulina (Spirulina maxima) supplementation on body mass, blood pressure and endothelial function. The randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial conducted on 40 high blood pressure patients studied the effect of a daily dose of 2 g for 3 months.

The study recorded anthropometric measurements, diastolic and systolic pressure and the static arterial stiffness index (marker of endothethial functioning measured using plethysmography, a non-invasive method for measuring cardiac output). Results show significant reduction in systolic pressure (149 ± 7 vs. 143 ± 9 mm Hg, p = 0.0023) and in arterial stiffness (7.2 ± 0.6 vs. 6.9 ± 0.7 m/s, p < 0.001) in the group supplemented at the beginning and the end of supplementation. Systolic and diastolic pressure and arterial stiffness were also significantly different after 3 months between the placebo and supplemented group.

Therefore, three months of supplementation help improve endothelial function and high blood pressure in overweight patients with high blood pressure.

Sources:

Johnson M. , Hassinger L, David J., Devor ST, DiSilvestro RA. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study of spirulina supplementation on indices of mental and physical fatigue in men. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Mar; 67(2):203-6.

Lu HK, Hsieh CC, Hsu JJ, Yang YK, Chou HN. Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. Eur J Appl Physiol.2006 Sep;98(2):220-6.

Miczke et al (2016). Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians : a double-blind placebo controlled randomized trial. Eur. Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Jan;20(1)150-6.

Sandhu et al. (2010) . Efficacity of Spirulina Supplementation on Isometirc Strengh and Isometric Endurance of Quadriceps in Trained and Untrained Individuals – a comparative studu. Ibnosina Journal of Medecine and Biomedical Sciences. 2010, 2 (2):79-86.

Regulatory Information

Cyane® is authorized as a food supplement in France.

Spirulina spp. are algae that are authorized for human consumption in France according to the opinion* of the French High Council for Public Health (CSHPF). It is not considered as a novel food.

Spirulina is considered as a food by the FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)**. 

Spirulina platensis is listed in the list of eligible plants article 15 of the 2006-352 decree about food supplements published on the 20th of June 2006.

Cyane® is therefore authorized in food supplements.

In France, Spirulina platensis is listed in the Annex 1 of the French decree on plants authorized for use in food supplements, the so-called French “Plant” decree (in French) published on the 24th of June 2014 (all plant parts authorized).

In Belgium, Spirulina platensis is listed in the Belgian Royal Decree of 29 August 1997 (in French) (all plant parts authorized for unicellular algae).

Spirulina platensis is also found in the draft of the  BELFRIT project that aims to harmonize the legislation on plant products in food supplements indicating a list of safe plants common to Belgium, France and Italy.

Cyane® also complies with the  Ecocert standards for eco-friendly production of microalgae as well as with European laws on organic production.

In effect, microalgae, and more specifically spirulina, are now included in the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/673 of 29 April 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control.

*Opinion of the French High Council for Public Health issued during the sessions held on 14 June 1988, 13
December 1988, 9 January 1990 and 14 October 1997 and published in the Official Bulletin of the Ministry for Health (no. 90/45, p. 103; no. 2/98-030; and no. 4/99-079).

**Opinion of the l’Anses – Saisine n° 2014-SA-0096

Technological Properties and Formulation

Cyane® spirulina has superior organoleptic qualities, giving it a relatively neutral taste.

This characteristic can be attributed to the way it is cultivated and its rigorously controlled processing method. Spirulina is cultivated in a controlled environment in greenhouses without any animal products, pesticides, herbicides or additives. Water and inputs are carefully selected and controlled.

Cyane® spirulina is dried at low temperatures for at least 6 hours in a sterile room under a controlled atmosphere. This low-temperature drying method helps preserve the nutritional and sensory qualities of the product, particularly its taste. The production of spirulina is environmentally friendly and meets the ISO:22000 standard.

 

Cyane® is available in various forms: powders, tablets or nibs.  Powdered spirulina can be compressed without excipients, no additives are thus required.

Cyane® can be used in the formulation of food supplements (gel tablets, pills, powder sachets, etc.) or consumed alone as a regular food or mixed with cereals, fruit juice, etc.

The recommended dose of Cyane® is between 3 and 10 g per day taken in the morning or at noon before or during meals. It does not produce side effects.

Products can be tailored to meet client needs.

 

Nutrition and Health Claims

Spirulina contains substantial quantities of iron and vitamin B12. Several claims can also be used for iron and vitamin B12 according to Regulation (EC) no. 1924/2006:

  • Iron contributes to normal cognitive function;
  • Iron contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism;
  • Iron contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin;
  • Iron contributes to normal oxygen transport in the body;
  • Iron contributes to the normal function of the immune system;
  • Iron contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue;
  • Iron has a role in the process of cell division;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal psychological function;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal red blood cell formation;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal function of the immune system;
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Regulation No. 432/2012 on health claims stipulates that “The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of protein or a source of vitamin B12 as referred to in the claim defined in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006”.

There are several pending claims for spirulina that are tolerated by the European Commission. For example, “Spirulina platensis helps enhance tonus and vitality” (ID 2737).

Cyane® spirulina contains a high amount of proteins. Several health claims can be used for proteins in food products according to Regulation (EC) no. 1924/2006:

  • “proteins contribute to the growth of muscle mass”;
  • “proteins contribute to the maintenance of muscle mass”, and
  • “proteins contribute to the maintenance of normal bone”.

Regulation No. 432/2012 on health claims stipulates that “The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of protein as referred to in the claim SOURCE OF PROTEINS as listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006”.

A food is called:

  • “high in protein” if at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein, or
  • a “source of protein” if at least 12% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.