Background: Algae are commonly consumed in Asia and have also gained popularity in Europe. However, data on the bioavailability of their components are limited. The present study was designed to determine the composition of Ulva rigida and the effects of inclusion of 10% of the algae in a standard diet for 4 weeks on nutritive value and serum parameters in order to consider the usefulness of Ulva as a dietary supplement.
Results: Ulva rigida is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals and has a low lipid content. Analysis of the amino acid composition revealed good-quality protein. The algae were well accepted by experimental animals and did not significantly change nutritional parameters but reduced LDL cholesterol.
Conclusions: Ulva rigida is an excellent source of nutrients and could improve a balanced diet. Further studies are required to research the potential of the seaweed as a natural source of bioactive compounds.