What is the bioavailability of phycocyanin?

by | Apr 30, 2021 | Phycocyanin, Science, Spirulina, Technical | 0 comments

You will often hear that phycocyanin is 5,000 times more bioavailable than spirulina in its full form, but what does that mean?


When you take spirulina, you are consuming the complete cell comprising the different organelles constituting it such as chloroplasts, thylakoids, phycobilisomes where phycobiliproteins and therefore phycocyanin are found… .. bioavailability

All of these compounds are locked inside the cell under different membrane layers. We often talk about the fragile wall of spirulina and therefore easy assimilation of all its compounds, but the reality is that the more there is wall to break / digest, the more the compounds will be difficult to assimilate by the body. So despite all the virtues that spirulina offers, it is not ideal to consume it whole if you only want to enjoy the benefits of phycocyanin .

More details…

Let’s assume that you want to make the most of the virtues provided by phyco while consuming your spirulina. Phycocyanin represents only 10 to 15% of spirulina , which once ingested, its walls must be digested in order to release all the cellular content.

After this lysis step (destruction), it is still necessary to make available the phycocyanin which is naturally attached to the thylakoids (membranes in the form of discs where photosynthesis takes place).

All these successive stages are long and energy intensive for our organism, and this explains the difficulty of assimilation of phycocyanin from an intact spirulina cell, and even more in its dry form (which imposes on the organism a further step additional prior solubilization).

Thus, in this case, until the digestion and the release of the contents take place, the passage in the digestive tract continues, and in the end only a tiny portion of phycocyanin will be assimilated.


This is where the phycocyanin extraction step comes in. . Indeed, during the extraction there is a first step of cell lysis which makes it possible to break the cells and release all the contents of interest. We could stop there and offer a complete product but where the phycocyanin would still be in the middle of other organelles or cellular debris which could slow down the assimilation of our phycocyanin in the small intestine, or which could distort the effects. beneficial.


Our other stages of extraction and purification with mineral water therefore allow us to obtain a product containing our liquid and purified phycocyanin , completely biologically free. Since phycocyanin is completely soluble in water when it arrives at the level of the duodenum, it will be easily assimilated by the digestive wall which has a large exchange surface, which will allow it to pass optimally into the blood.

Once assimilated, phycocyanin will then be able to express its benefits with much greater efficiency.

This is what must be understood behind this famous sentence: “the 5000 times greater bioavailability of phycocyanin compared to spirulina”.


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