Extensive studies have been devoted to evaluate its therapeutic benefits on an array of diseased conditions including hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycerolemia, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer and viral infections.
US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE National Institutes of Health
Cardiovasc Ther. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 August 1.Hypolipidemic, Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Microalgae Spirulina
Spirulina naturally grows in high-salt alkaline water reservoirs in subtropical and tropical areas including America, Mexico, Asian and Central Africa. Early studies were mainly focused on the nutritional value of Spirulina as a food source. As early as over 400 years ago Spirulina is free-floating filamentous microalgae growing in alkaline water bodies. In addition, due to its concentrated nutrition, Spirulina was recommended by both National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) as one of the primary foods during long-term space missions.
With its high nutritional value, Spirulina has been consumed as food for centuries in Central Africa. It is now widely used as nutraceutical food supplement worldwide. Recently, great attention and extensive studies have been devoted to evaluate its therapeutic benefits on an array of diseased conditions including hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycerolemia, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer and viral infections. The cardiovascular benefits of Spirulina are primarily resulted from its hypolipidemic, antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities.
It has been reported that consumption of Spirulina as diet supplement has health benefits in preventing or managing hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycerolemia, certain inflammatory diseases, allergies, cancer, environmental toxicant- and drug-induced toxicities, viral infections, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other metabolic disease among others
In this review, emphasis is given to the potential beneficial effects of Spirulina on cardiovascular diseases with highlights on Spirulina’s hypolipidemic, antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities in preclinical and clinical studies.Lipoprotein analysis showed that HDL cholesterol was increased by 15% whereas LDL cholesterol was significantly decreased. In addition, both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly reduced in both men and women.The hypolipidemic effect of Spirulina was also demonstrated in ischaemic heart disease patients with hypercholesterolemic condition
Thus, it was concluded that supplementation of Spirulina at a daily dose of 2 or 4 g for three months significantly improved the lipid profile of the patients with ischaemic heart disease. Taken together, the data are consistent with the notion that Spirulina is a promising agent as a functional food supplement for controlling hyperglycerolemia and hypercholesterolemia and thus reducing cardiovascular risk in the management of type 2 diabetes.
Allergic rhinitis is characterized by allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness to nonspecific stimuli, often involving activation of mast cells by IgE. Thus it was concluded that Spirulina was clinically effective on managing allergic rhinitis through its anti inflammatory and/or antioxidant properties.
The authors’ research is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources
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