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Home > Anti-aging Research > Spirulina


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  • Spirulina (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) - M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Spirulina shows immune boosting power for seniors - Nutra USA, 2/17/11 - "Twelve weeks of spirulina supplementation were associated with increased counts of white blood cells, foot soldiers of the immune system ... Immune function was measured using complete blood cell (CBC) counts and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enzyme activity, and results showed that over half of all participants receiving spirulina had higher IDO activity after 6 and 12 weeks, while this proportion was “striking in men with over 75 percent of subjects manifesting such phenomenon” ... In terms of cell counts, spirulina was associated with a steady increase in corpuscular hemoglobin, thereby ameliorating anemia" - [Abstract]
  • Spirulina extract may reverse pain sensitivity - Nutra USA, 6/2/09 - "Both doses of C-phycocyanin were found to “significantly attenuate carrageenan-induced” inflammation ... Markers of inflammation, including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygeanase-2 (COX-2), and the formation of nitrate, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and prostaglandin E2, were also measured ... induction of both iNOS and COX-2 was suppressed by the compound, and this was accompanied by an inhibition of the nitrate, PGE, and TNF-alpha formation" - [Abstract] - See spirulina at Amazon.com.
  • Want Antioxidants? Have You Eaten Micro-algae Lately? - Science Daily, 10/11/07
  • In Praise of Spirulina - CancerDecisions.com, 12/12/02 - "According to a recent scientific review from Latin America, spirulina has a vast array of beneficial properties. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of allergies, anemia, cancer, high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, viral infections, inflammatory conditions, liver damage, immunodeficiency, cardiovascular diseases, and other conditions ... In a 2002 Japanese study, 12 adult males were administered an oral hot water extract of spirulina, and the number and activity of their natural killer (NK) cells was measured before and after treatment. (NK cells destroy tumor cells by binding to them and delivering lethal chemicals that kill on contact.) At the study's end, there was a significant increase in the production and cancer-killing ability of these subjects' NK cells ... Spirulina also shows potential for decreasing the adverse effects of both chemotherapy and radiation"
  • Pond Scum Makes a Health Splash, Scientists Debate Immune Benefits of Spirulina Algae - WebMD, 12/11/00
  • Spirulina May Boost Immune Response - Medscape, 12/8/00 - "We found that nutrient-rich spirulina is a potent inducer of interferon-gamma (13.6-fold increase) and a moderate stimulator of both interleukin-4 and interleukin-1beta (3.3-fold increase)"


  • The effects of spirulina intake on clinical and metabolic parameters in Alzheimer's disease: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial - Phytother Res 2023 Mar 2 - "Mini-mental state examination score (MMSE) ... Compared with placebo, spirulina intake resulted in a significant improvement in MMSE score (spirulina group: +0.30 ± 0.99 vs. Placebo group: -0.38 ± 1.06, respectively, p = 0.01). In addition, spirulina intake decreased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) (spirulina group: -0.17 ± 0.29 vs. Placebo group: +0.05 ± 0.27 mg/L, p = 0.006), fasting glucose (spirulina group: -4.56 ± 7.93 vs. Placebo group: +0.80 ± 2.95 mg/dL, p = 0.002), insulin (spirulina group: -0.37 ± 0.62 vs. Placebo group: +0.12 ± 0.40 μIU/mL, p = 0.001) and insulin resistance (spirulina group: -0.08 ± 0.13 vs. Placebo group: 0.03 ± 0.08, p = 0.001), and increased insulin sensitivity (spirulina group: +0.003 ± 0.005 vs. Placebo group: -0.001 ± 0.003, p = 0.003) compared with the placebo. Overall, our study showed that spirulina intake for 12 weeks in patients with AD improved cognitive function, glucose homeostasis parameters, and hs-CRP levels" - See spirulina at Amazon.com.
  • Antiinflammatory Activities of Curcumin and Spirulina: Focus on Their Role against COVID-19 - J Diet Suppl 2023 Feb 2 - "over the past two years, researchers have focused on analyzing the possible role of nutraceuticals in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or mitigating the symptoms of COVID-19. Among nutraceuticals, turmeric, extracted from the rhizome of the Curcuma Longa plant, and spirulina, commercial name of the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis, have assumed considerable importance in recent years ... The demonstrated antiviral properties of spirulina and the fact that these cyanobacteria may modulate or modify some mechanisms also involved in the onset of COVID-19, lead us to think that it may have the same importance as curcumin in fighting this disease and to speculate on the possible combined use of these two substances to obtain a synergistic effect" - See curcumin at Amazon.com and spirulina at Amazon.com.
  • A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled add-on trial to assess the efficacy, safety, and anti-atherogenic effect of spirulina platensis in patients with inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus - Phytother Res 2023 Jan 4 - "The efficacy of spirulina platensis (S. platensis) as an add-on therapy to metformin and its effect on atherogenic keys in patients with uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) was evaluated ... During the three-month intervention period, supplementation with S. platensis resulted in a significant lowering of HbA1c (↓1.43, p < 0.001) and FBS (↓ 24.94 mg/dL, p < 001) levels. Mean TG in the intervention group was found to be significantly lower in the intervention group than in controls (p < 0.001). Total cholesterol (TC) and its fraction, LDL-C, exhibited a fall (↓41.36 mg/dL and ↓38.4 mg/dL, respectively; p < 0.001) coupled with a marginal increase in the level of HDL-C (↑3 mg/dL; p < 0.001). Add-on therapy with S. platensis was superior to metformin regarding long-term glucose regulation and controlling blood glucose levels of subjects with T2DM. Also, as a functional supplement, S. platensis has a beneficial effect on atherogenic keys (TG and HDL-C) with no adverse events"
  • Enhanced co-culture and enrichment of human natural killer cells for the selective clearance of senescent cells - Aging (Albany NY) 2022 Mar 4 - "In the context of aging and age-associated diseases, Natural Killer (NK) cells have been revealed as a key cell type responsible for the immune clearance of senescent cells. Subsequently, NK cell-based therapies have emerged as promising alternatives to drug-based therapeutic interventions for the prevention and treatment of age-related disease and debility. Given the promise of NK cell-mediated immunotherapies as a safe and effective treatment strategy, we outline an improved method by which primary NK cells can be efficiently enriched from human peripheral blood across multiple donors (ages 20-42 years old), with a practical protocol that reliably enhances both CD56dim and CD56bright NK cells by 15-fold and 3-fold, respectively. Importantly, we show that our co-culture protocol can be used as an easily adaptable tool to assess highly efficient and selective killing of senescent cells by primary NK cells enriched via our method using longer co-culture durations and a low target to effector ratio, which may be more physiological than has been achieved in previous literature"
    • Phycocyanin - Wikipedia - "Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allophycocyanin and phycoerythrin.[1] It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. All phycobiliproteins are water-soluble, so they cannot exist within the membrane like carotenoids can"
  • Chemopreventive effect of spirulina microalgae on an animal model of glioblastoma via down-regulation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and up-regulation of miR-34a/miR-125B expression - Phytother Res 2021 Oct 4 - "This is the first in vivo report on the chemo-preventive effect of Spi against glioblastoma, suggesting its potential use in the chemoprevention of this cancer and the antiglioma molecular mechanism of Spi"
  • Spirulina supplementation during gradual weight loss in competitive wrestlers - Br J Nutr 2021 Mar 15 - "We aimed to assess the effects of spirulina supplementation during gradual weight loss on serum concentrations of follistatin (FST), myostatin (MST), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and body composition in competitive wrestlers. Forty competitive wrestlers (age: 22 ± 2 years) were randomly assigned to one of two groups: gradual weight loss + spirulina (SP; n=20) or gradual weight loss + placebo (PL; n=20). Subjects in both groups lost weight according to a designed diet over 12 days and were required to reduce baseline body mass by 4%. Subjects in the SP group received two tablets of spirulina, while subjects in the PL received two tablets of placebo before each meal ... Body mass (SP = -3.1 kg and PL= -2.9 kg), body fat percentage (SP = -2.1 % and PL= -0.6 %), fat mass (SP = -2.2 kg and PL= -0.9 kg), and skeletal muscle mass (SP = -1.4 kg and PL= -1.5 kg) significantly decreased in both groups (P<0.05). The changes in body fat percentage and fat mass were significantly greater in SP compared to the PL group (P<0.001). Additionally, MST (SP = -0.1 ng/ml), AST (SP = -2.1 u/l), and ALT (SP = -2.7 u/l) concentrations significantly diminished in SP group (P=0.005) while FST (PL = -0.1 ng/ml) and IGF-1 (PL = -2.6 ng/ml) concentrations significantly decreased in PL group (P<0.05). Spirulina supplementation during gradual weight loss is beneficial in reducing body fat percentage, fat mass, MST, and liver enzymes while maintaining IGF-1 and FST concentrations in competitive wrestlers"
  • Effects of Spirulina supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials - Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Dec 2019 - "Results of 5 studies (7 treatment arms) showed a significant reduction in weight (MD: -1.56 Kg, 95% CI: -1.98 to -1.14) after Spirulina supplementation. Subgroup analysis based on health status revealed that weight change in obese subjects (MD: -2.06 Kg, 95% CI: -2.45 to -1.68) was greater than overweight participants (MD: -1.28 Kg, 95% CI: -1.62 to -0.93) following Spirulina supplementation. Also, pooled analysis showed that Spirulina supplementation led to a significant reduction in body fat percent (MD: -1.02, 95% CI: -1.49 to -0.54) and waist circumference (MD: -1.40, 95% CI: -1.40 to -1.39), but not in body mass index and waist to hip ratio" - [Nutra USA] - See spirulina at Amazon.com.
  • Effect of Fermented Spirulina maxima Extract on Cognitive-Enhancing Activities in Mice with Scopolamine-Induced Dementia - Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Nov 26 - "it can be concluded that the fermented extract exerts memory-improving effects in the hippocampus of scopolamine-treated mice through an initial increase in ERK signaling and a sequential induction of the expression of p-CREB and BDNF, and these effects are related to the antioxidant activities of β-carotene and other components"
  • An attempt to induce an immunomodulatory effect in rowers with spirulina extract - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Feb 20;15:9 - "The results of this study imply that supplementation with spirulina extract may protect athletes against a deficit in immune function (especially, anti-infectious function) associated with strenuous exercise, and may cause a beneficial shift in "overtraining threshold" preventing a radical deterioration of immunity"
  • Supplementation of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) Improves Lifespan and Locomotor Activity in Paraquat-Sensitive DJ-1βΔ93 Flies, a Parkinson's Disease Model in Drosophila melanogaster - J Diet Suppl. 2017 Feb 6:1-16 - "Apart from high protein contents, it also contains high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as carotenoids, β-carotene, phycocyanin, and phycocyanobilin, indicating its possible pharmaco-therapeutic utility ... Our results suggest that antioxidant boosting properties of spirulina can be used as a nutritional supplement for improving the lifespan and locomotor behavior in Parkinson's disease"
  • 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;67(2):203-6 - "After 1 week, a 3 g/day dose of spirulina produced a small, but statistically significant increase in exercise output (Kcals consumed in 30 min exercise on a cross trainer machine). A mathematical based mental fatigue test showed improved performance 4 h after the first time of supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. Similarly, a subjective survey for a sense of physical and mental fatigue showed improvement within 4 h of the first supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. These results show that spirulina intake can affect fatigue in men" - [Nutra USA]
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Spirulina platensis Extract via the Modulation of Histone Deacetylases - Nutrients. 2016 Jun 21;8(6) - "We previously demonstrated that the organic extract of Spirulina platensis (SPE), an edible blue-green alga, possesses potent anti-inflammatory effects ... Our results suggest that SPE increased global histone H3 acetylation by facilitating HDAC protein degradation, but decreases histone H3K9/K14 acetylation and p65 binding at the promoters of Il-1β and Tnfα to exert its anti-inflammatory effect"
  • 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 Feb 17:1-4 - "Spirulina may increase people's ability to resist mental and physical fatigue. This study tested that hypothesis in a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled study in men. After 1 week, a 3 g/day dose of spirulina produced a small, but statistically significant increase in exercise output (Kcals consumed in 30 min exercise on a cross trainer machine). A mathematical based mental fatigue test showed improved performance 4 h after the first time of supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. Similarly, a subjective survey for a sense of physical and mental fatigue showed improvement within 4 h of the first supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. These results show that spirulina intake can affect fatigue in men"
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of Spirulina supplementation on plasma lipid concentrations - Clin Nutr. 2015 Sep 25 - "This meta-analysis showed a significant effect of supplementation with Spirulina in reducing plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides and elevating those of HDL-C"
  • Impact of daily supplementation of Spirulina platensis on the immune system of naïve HIV-1 patients in Cameroon: a 12-months single blind, randomized, multicenter trial - Nutr J. 2015 Jul 21 - "The significant increase of CD4 count cells (596.32-614.92 cells count) and significant decrease of viral load levels (74.7 × 103-30.87 × 103 copies/mL) of the patients who received a supplementation of S. platensis was found after 6 months of treatment. Haemoglobin level was also significantly higher in the same group while the fasting blood glucose concentration decreased after 12 months compared to control"
  • Effects of Spirulina platensis supplementation on lipid profile in HIV-infected antiretroviral naive patients in Yaounde - Cameroon: a randomized trial study - Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Dec 13;13(1):191 - "Patients were randomized and received either Spirulina supplementation combined with local diet (n = 82) or local diet only (n = 87) ... there is a significant increase in HDL-cholesterol and a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides in the group of patients who consumed Spirulina platensis" - See spirulina at Amazon.com.
  • Exercise and spirulina control non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis and lipid profile in diabetic Wistar rats - Lipids Health Dis. 2011 May 15;10(1):77 - "The rats were divided into four groups: Diabetic Control (DC) - diabetic rats fed with a control diet and no physical exercise; Diabetic Spirulina (DS) - diabetic rats fed with a diet that included spirulina; Diabetic Spirulina and Exercise (DSE) - diabetic rats fed with a diet that included Spirulina and that exercised; and Diabetic Exercise (DE) - diabetic rats fed with a control diet and that exercised. Results The groups DS, DSE, and DE presented lower plasma concentrations of LDL cholesterol than DC, as well as lower levels of total liver lipids in groups DS, DSE, and DE in comparison to DC. Conclusion Thus, spirulina appears to be effective in reducing total circulating levels of LDL-cholesterol and hepatic lipids, alone or in conjunction with physical exercise in diabetic rats"
  • The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens - Cell Mol Immunol. 2011 Jan 31 - "Participants took a Spirulina supplementation for 12 weeks and were administered comprehensive dietary questionnaires to determine their nutritional regimen during the study. Complete cell count (CCC) and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enzyme activity, as a sign of immune function, were determined at baseline and weeks 6 and 12 of supplementation. Thirty study participants completed the entire study and the data obtained were analyzed. Over the 12-week study period, there was a steady increase in average values of mean corpuscular hemoglobin in subjects of both sexes. In addition, mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration also increased in male participants. Older women appeared to benefit more rapidly from Spirulina supplements. Similarly, the majority of subjects manifested increased IDO activity and white blood cell count at 6 and 12 weeks of Spirulina supplementation. Spirulina may ameliorate anemia and immunosenescence in older subjects"
  • Antiinflammatory and antihyperalgesic activity of C-phycocyanin - Anesth Analg. 2009 Apr;108(4):1303-10 - "Pre- or posttreatment with C-PC (30 or 50 mg/kg, IP) significantly attenuated carrageenan-induced inflammatory nociception and the induction of iNOS and COX-2 at the late phase, (4 h) accompanied by an inhibition of the formation of TNF-alpha, prostaglandin E(2), nitrate and myeloperoxidase activity ... Based on these results, it is suggested that the inhibition of NO and prostaglandin E(2) over-production through suppressing iNOS and COX-2 induction and attenuation of TNF-alpha formation and neutrophil infiltration into inflammatory sites by C-PC may contribute, at least in part, to its antihyperalgesic activity"
  • Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report - Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Nov 26;6:33 - "the calculated values for cholesterol associated to low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) were significantly reduced by the Spirulina maxima ... significant differences were found comparing initial and final SYST-P and DIAST-P blood pressure in both male and female: SYST-P male 121 +/- 9 vs. 111 +/- 8 mm Hg (p < 0.01), DIAST-P male 85 +/- 6.5 vs. 77 +/- 9 mm Hg (p < 0.01); SYST-P female 120 +/- 9.5 vs. 109 +/- 11 mm Hg (p < 0.002), DIAST-P female 85 +/- 11 vs. 79 +/- 7.5 mm Hg"