Microalgae could boost cognitive health in ageing, study finds

Published: 19-Mar-2024

Positive effects were observed on markers of oxidative stress, including brain and plasma levels of lipid peroxidation

A preclinical study provides further evidence of the neuroprotective and cognitive enhancement benefits of BrainPhyt, a standardised extract of microalgae Phaeodactylum tricornutum (PT) from Microphyt, the company announced today. 

The study was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Drugs.

Microphyt is a global company specialising in developing microalgae-based natural solutions for nutrition and well-being. The company utilised a mouse model with accelerated aging induced by D-galactose exposure to study the effects of BrainPhyt on cognitive function, oxidative stress and inflammation parameters. 

BrainPhyt is a nutrient-rich extract of PT containing 2% fucoxanthin — a carotenoid and potent antioxidant that fortifies neurotransmitters and neuronal networks, as well as encouraging the synthesis of omega-3 fatty acids.

In the randomised study, 72 mice were divided into a control group, a negative control group and four BrainPhyt groups, each with varying doses. 

During this 51-day study, the control group got a saline injection, while the others received D-galactose injections five days per week. 

The results showed that BrainPhyt provided significant protection against memory and behaviour issues caused by D-galactose. 

In fact, higher doses of BrainPhyt not only mitigated, but completely reversed, the D-galactose-induced cognitive decline. The BrainPhyt responses were dose dependent.

“The study clearly shows the positive cognitive effects of BrainPhyt on spatial working memory and short-term memory in the face of accelerated aging,” said Dr. Rémi Pradelles, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Microphyt. “The data are consistent with previous studies demonstrating neuroprotective effects of extracts from Phaeodactylum tricornutum.”


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Biochemical analyses further support the study results. Positive effects were observed on markers of oxidative stress, including brain and plasma levels of lipid peroxidation. In addition, inflammatory markers, including TNF-α and IL-6, were significantly reduced in groups receiving BrainPhyt.

Remarkably, BrainPhyt showed significant cognitive improvement compared to the placebo group as measured by all the endpoints in this study.

“The regulation of oxidative stress and inflammation pathways appears to be key to the observed cognitive benefits of BrainPhyt,” said Dr. Pradelles. “These promising results reveal the complementary mechanisms by which this unique microalgae extract offers neuroprotective benefits.”

A clinical study evaluating the cognitive health benefits of BrainPhyt is pending publication.


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