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Nutritional quality and safety of the Spirulina dietary supplements sold on the Slovenian market

Authors
  • Masten Rutar, Jasmina
  • Jagodic Hudobivnik, Marta
  • Nečemer, Marijan
  • Vogel-Mikuš, Katarina
  • Arčon, Iztok
  • Ogrinc, Nives
Publication Date
Jun 21, 2022
Source
University of Ljubljana
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

The microalgae Spirulina may be a popular dietary supplement rich in essential nutrients and vitamins, but oversight of the supplement industry, in general, remains limited, and increasing incidents of adulteration, misbranding, and undeclared ingredients together with misleading claims create potential risks. In response, this study characterized the elemental, amino acid and fatty acid content of commercially available Spirulina supplements in Slovenia using EDXRF, ICP-MS and GC-MS and compared the results with their nutritional declaration. The gathered data confirm that Spirulina supplements are a good source of calcium (0.15 to 29.5% of RDA), phosphorous (3.36–26.7% of RDA), potassium (0.5 to 7.69% of RDA) and selenium (0.01 to 38.6% of RDA) when consumed within recommended amounts. However, although iron contents were relatively high (7.64 to 316% of RDA), the actual bioavailability of iron was much lower since it was mainly present as the ferric cation. This study also confirms that pure Spirulina supplements are a good source of essential and non-essential amino acids, and ω-6 but not ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The presence of additives resulted in significant variation in nutrient content and, in some instances, lower product quality. Moreover, a high proportion (86.7%) of inappropriate declarations regarding the elemental content was observed. Overall, the study conclusions underline the need for a stricter control system for Spirulina-based supplements.

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